Go Stuff Yourself!

Picture from flickrhivemind.net

A vegetarian alternative, for your Thanksgiving dinner.

A few hundred years ago, the Indians were nice enough to donate all of their land and worldly possessions to the settlers of this great country, so in return, I’ve decided to pay it forward and spare a turkey. Seems like an even trade. So maybe you can too!

Now before you go calling me a communist for even suggesting that you not dig into these delicious little gobblers on one of the biggest American holidays of the year, just look at this one. Can you blame me?

Please don’t eat me! Picture from Wikipedia.

OK, so you’re still going to eat a turkey, however I’d like to share this amazing recipe that I got from Alicia Silverstone’s cookbook “The Kind Diet” and maybe you’ll substitute it for a meat dish in the future. I’ve made this a number of times, for even the most skeptical of my friends, and it’s always been a hit.

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

In case you’re wondering what seitan is, it’s a wheat protein, that when cooked, has the look and texture of meat. Is your mouth watering yet? However, being that it’s made from wheat, it is obviously not appropriate for those on a gluten free diet, just to clarify. Dinner parties are impossible these days, aren’t they?

To make it, you’ll need all of these things:

3/4 cup tomato paste                                                8-10 pieces plain seitan (about one pound)

1/4 cup umeboshi vinegar                                       2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry red wine                                                 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice                 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup minced garlic to taste                                1 cup ground pecans

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley                               2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon dried tarragon                                   1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

To get started, bust out your blender. I don’t have a blender so I used this little guy:

(For anyone who is going to be eating the seitan that I prepared for this post and is afraid of contracting a scathing case of E.coli, I promise you, the inside was clean.)

Next, throw all this stuff in it: tomato paste, vinegar, wine, freshly squeezed orange juice (Tropicana makes a great one) shoyu, garlic, parsley, tarragon and rosemary.

I had a couple of hiccups during this initial step, actually. First, I’m not about to mince or finely chop anything like the ingredients list says. Besides, I don’t even know where the fresh rosemary would be in my grocery store, so all of the spices I used are dried.

Second, my refrigerator was apparently having an identity crisis and believed itself to be the freezer, so when I pulled out my garlic from all the way in the back, it was a frozen block and looked like this:

I don’t own a microwave, so this was a tricky issue, but luckily I’m a genius. If you encounter the same problem, simply boil a pot of water and stick your frozen plastic container of garlic into it. You’ll know it’s done when it looks like this:

Once again, anyone afraid they are going to be violently ill after eating my frost bitten garlic, a duh! I boiled it! That should kill all of the tuberculosis.

Now blend up all of your ingredients. If your Cuisinart looks like this after you’re finished…

…it’s time to get a new one. Someone is definitely going to die from this meal.

Transfer the marinade into a shallow dish and add the seitan, making sure to coat them on all sides. Then cover it and throw it into your fridge next to your mangled garlic for at least three hours or overnight.

Once your family has had all of their shots and you’re ready to serve them your tasty turkey alternative, grind up the pecans and mix them with the flour, salt, pepper and more rosemary. Then drop the marinated seitan in the flour mixture and roll it around all over the place. Finally, place the seitan in a saute pan with the heated oil for two to three minutes.

Now they’re ready to eat. I made roasted vegetables and green beans with mascarpone as my side dishes.

My friend Emily showed up at just the right time to test them out.

Brave girl.

 “It tastes like a meatball sub! Only without the bread, so it’s better for your waste-line.”

Thanks Emily! So I guess in the end, pecan-crusted seitan is really nothing at all like eating a turkey but if ever there were a holiday where it was traditional to eat meatball subs, this would be perfect. So go ahead and serve it to all of your friends on Superbowl Sunday. At that point, at least you won’t have to worry about the food killing you, as all of the football fans in your apartment will have already done so upon discovering what’s for dinner.

In closing, if you do decide to spare a bird on Thanksgiving, just remember, all together it only takes about thirty minutes to prepare seitan, which means you can spend the extra five and a half hours you’ll save not making a turkey, arguing with your relatives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Emily

    Meatballs are good for any occasion! And at least this year you can have your seitan and eat it too!!! ;) LOVE YA!

    • Kelly

      You’re adorable! Thanks for taking a chance.

  • Oma

    Well Kelly , I,m not fond of the Bird nether, but looking at the mess cooking your meal, I think I have myself a TV Diner. Just kidding, Nicole would not approve of it.
    Have a real good Thanks Giving, I will miss you all. Besides, you doing a fantastic job, what a lot of work you put in your Block. Love you Muffin.

    • Kelly

      Danke Oma, tat ich mein Bestes, aber ich denke, ich werde eine Karriere als Schriftsteller, nicht kochen zu verfolgen. In der Zwischenzeit bin ich jedoch üben mein Deutsch Alltag in der Vorbereitung für meine große Reise zurück in die Heimat! Nicht so schlecht, nicht wahr? Haben Sie ein glückliches Thanksgving sich. Ich liebe dich! Deine Muffin.

      • Jeff

        Huh??

        • Kelly

          I’ll translate, it says: “Thank you Oma! Perhaps if any of your other grandchildren possessed the same admiration and respect for their cultural background as I do, they too would have taken four years of German in college, leaving them fully capable of understanding what is taking place in this conversation right now. However, that is not the case, so we can say what ever we want and no one will be the wiser! (Granted no one translates this entire paragraph word for word, in the reply section below) I’m so happy I have always been and will continue to be your favorite grandchild! Have a good Thanksgiving! P.S. do you know anyone in Berlin who makes a vegetarian schnitzel? Love, your Kelly Muffin”

  • Jeff

    What the f (sorry oma) is organic shoyu and where do I buy it (in Milwaukee)?

  • Gabriele

    Too funny! Har! Har! Har! (I’m laughing in German!)

  • Gabriele

    I vill tell you dis..Die Jermans vood not approve of dis aritcle as die kitchen items are “dreckit!” (I think I spelled that wrong…should be the German work for dirty).

    Die Jermans are verrrrry particular about sie conditions of sie kitchen. It should be sparklin’ clean und no jerms should be in sight!

    Und venn you are done vis dis article….do not forget to tell sie people, they vill eat it… und they vill like it! There. I am done vis die commenting.

    Aufwiedersehen. Und sie spell check does not verk. Have it fixed or else! Deine Muttie (that means: Love from your mommy)

  • Auntie Nic

    Has the whole world gone crazy? The first step in this recipe should clearly be…pour yourself a glass of that red wine. Seriously. It’s like I don’t know you anymore.

    • Kelly

      Well it is all coming to an end in a matter of weeks or so, right? Perhaps the gravitational pull has already shifted and turned me into a Mormon or something. Christ, that’s terrifying. I’m going to go chug a bottle right now just to make sure I’m still going straight to hell.

  • Oma

    well Kelly, Auntie Nicole was making fun of me again for saying BLOCK instead of BLOG, and no, I don’t know anybody in Berlin who makes a Vegetarien Schnitzel

    • Kelly

      I was going to say something but I didn’t want to jeopardize all the work I’ve put in kissing up to you in order to get to number one grandchild. I should have known Nicole would handle it.

  • Risa

    Go you with your bad seitan!! That sounds yummy.

    Unfortunately, I can’t be a vegetarian/vegan without gaining a ton of weight (been there tried that), so we’re having a duck. Because ducks are assholes. (I have proof.)

    • Kelly

      Haha! Yeah, they are kind of dick-ish aren’t they? Screw em. Can you believe after all this I left my seitan in Queens? I’m having eggplant for dinner.

      • Risa

        Gaah! Well, eggplant is damn good as well. We have kale with hazelnuts, butternut squash with vanilla sugar, yams, and cornbread stuffing to go along with our meenz food. ;)