Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More from Viva Vegan!

Greetings from Planet Houston!

(The astronaut cow statue at Houston's IAH airport)

I'm back in Houston after having to testify in a trial in New York City.  I had forgotten how much I loved New York's vegan food.  During the short time I was there, I ate at Candle Café and Blossom, two of my very favorite restaurants.  I love Houston, but I don't know if a day will ever come that I can go out for a nice fancy dinner and order seitan in a port wine-mushroom sauce.  A girl can always dream.

In the spirit of yummy vegan food, here are the results of my most recent projects from Viva Vegan!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I made the Red Chile Sauce (page 45) and wanted to use it in the Red Chile Enchiladas (page 135).  To do so, I also had to make the Steamed Red Seitan (page 34) and Pine Nut Crema (page 45).

The Steamed Red Seitan didn't look like I thought it would; it was more tan than red.  

I eventually realized that I had only used half of the amount of tomato paste that I was supposed to use.  Even though I had gone slightly off-recipe, it still turned out delicious.  It was shockingly moist.  I've heard people talk about meat that falls right off the bone (gross) or melts in your mouth.  I imagine this seitan was the vegetarian equivalent.  

The recipe yielded twice as much seitan as needed for the enchiladas, so the night before I made the enchiladas I used the seitan to make a quick meal for Boyfriend and I- sautéed seitan, onions, and black beans with yellow rice and avocado.  Boyfriend LOVED the seitan.  All of the recipes I've made from Viva Vegan! have scored major points with him.

I also made the Pine Nut Crema ahead and refrigerated it until I was ready to make the enchiladas.  I tried out the Pine Nut Crema after I made it and was skeptical.  I'm not vegan.  I'm vegetarian, so I know what cheesy sauces are supposed to taste like.  This sauce tasted like tofu mixed with pine nuts.  At that point, I had a feeling I was not going to be thrilled with the enchiladas.  I made them anyway, and was pleasantly mistaken. 

The enchiladas were filled primarily with waxy potatoes and Steamed Red Seitan.  They were bathed in the Red Chile Sauce and topped with the Pine Nut Crema.  In the interest of full disclosure, I used some low-carb onion and herb tortillas instead of the corn tortillas that were called for.  I also ended up only making half of the recipe, since the full recipe would feed six people and I was only cooking for myself: one fresh meal and two quick reheated lunches.

The Red Chile Enchiladas were what I imagine meat enchiladas are supposed to taste like.  If I had grown up on this kind of food, or even if I had ever eaten a meat-filled enchilada, I'm sure these enchiladas would make great comfort food.  I'm happy to report that the Pine Nut Crema, in combination with the Red Chile Sauce, really did taste like a creamy cheesy sauce.  That kind of taste is very hard to accomplish with a vegan recipe, but Master Terry managed, of course.  The only down side to this meal is that it does take a lot of effort.  Since I made most of the ingredients ahead of time, it came together rather quickly.  Still, I think the next time I make enchiladas I might opt for a semi-homemade version using pre-made enchilada sauce and Daiya "cheese" on top. 

This cookbook might be too good.  I decided to give myself a little distance from it because I've been neglecting so many of my other cookbooks that I want to try out.  My newest one, "Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey", by Najmieh Batmanglij, has been begging me to experiment with it.  So, Latin America may have to wait for a bit while I head over to Persia.

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