Seitan is Back, And He Looks Like Crap

So I’ve been experimenting with making my own seitan, not from vital wheat gluten as one might purchase from Bob’s Red Mill for a goshdarn mint, but from whole wheat flour. Boy howdy has this been an adventure! This week, I soaked a bunch of flour, which went great except that I hadn’t made it into dough first.

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In the hours of sieving and rinsing that followed, it became abundantly clear to me that one must first make the flour into a dough, then rinse and knead such that the carbs on the outermost layers consistently wash away, leaving you with a ball that gently shrinks into gluteny goodness instead of a whitish soup that you then have to pass through a strainer and mush with your fingers.

Anyway, I did get seitan out of this, but it was grainy (bran!) and needed to be cooked. Brilliantly, I thought I’d stir-fry it. Halfway through this process it became clear that the seitan either wasn’t rinsed as thoroughly as I’d thought or it needed to be boiled first, because it was falling the heck apart. So I decided to boil it in situ – did I mention I’d marinated it for a while before all this went down? Well I did – and dumped a bunch of water on it. Then I went back to work, because most of this was happening on my lunch break, and essentially forgot about it.

I came back and the water had all boiled away. I had on my hands a massively unappealing mound of brown goo, not quite solid and not quite sauce. It tasted like smoked steak, except to such an extent that it hurts your mouth, and looked exactly like shit.

Red Devil from Scream Queens is sad - Drawception

Luckily, I have a backup plan. You see, this, my friends, is Friday. That means that I am prepared with that most beautiful of culinary treats: a 1-lb packet of Beyond Beef. I’m also possessed of bread, which I threw together this morning on the off chance that seitan stir-fry would somehow, in a twist of fate nigh inconceivable to my mortal mind, not happen.

So I’m going to fry up a few burgers and use my overmarinated brown goo seitan squelch as a condiment. I bet it’ll be awesome. If it’s not, we’re going to eat it anyway because it’s still nutrition gosh darn it and for this seitan I spent an hour of my precious, finite life with a sieve. (I’ll mix it with rice. It’ll be fine.)

But there is time before I must hie unto my hot stove, friends. My wife works until well after 7 and I have had such a day that I have not really run through my coding exercises yet. Obviously I had to run and breathlessly report my seitan adventures because IT’S SEITAN, but now I will return to my regularly coded practice.

I’ll leave you with this: yesterday was a good day because I learned that, in Python, you don’t necessarily have to make a whole if statement if you want to return a True or False. You can just stuff your parameters into a return. Behold in awe as this clugey nonsense, which used to be my mode:

code1

…becomes this sleek, gorgeous nonsense, which is my mode au courant!

code2

Maybe not a killer app, but I was pleased.


Thus Did I Make Beyond Meatballs

I’m an avid environmentalist. As such, I believe that the most meaningful action against climate change must come from large-scale governmental and corporate action with buy-in from a majority of the population. That’s why I’m so psyched about the appearance of good-tasting beef substitutes – that, and I frickin’ love burgers. I don’t eat beef at all because of its environmental impact, and I miss it, so obviously I’m a big Beyond and Impossible fan.

Since I am also Italian, the existence of a ground beef substitute begs one question: does this mean I can make meatballs again? The answer, my friends, is a resounding YES. It’s worthwhile to mention that Subway has already figured this out, but I didn’t know that when I awoke in the dead of the night with this brilliant idea. Beyond Burger also has its own recipe. Mine is based on the one that multiple generations of my family have made with dead cows. It’s also worth noting that part of my fancy schmancy DIY jerry-rigged Mad MAX librarian IRA includes something like four shares of Beyond Burger. Pretty sure I’m eating all the profits, but if that matters to you, there you go.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs Beyond Meat. I had to get three packs of burger patties, which was a pain, but hopefully Market Basket will start selling by the pound sometime soon.

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 Tbs dried parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

Process

1. Defrost the Beyond Meat patties. (Or, if you’re a lucky tomato, your packet of ground Beyond Beef.) You will need the beefy stuff to be squishy. You can accomplish this with the microwave or by leaving them overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Mix the eggs and the water.

4. Mix the crumbs and the spices.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the eggy water.

6. Using your hands, combine the defrosted Beyond Meat and the crumby eggy mix.

7. Shape the resulting wet doughy stuff into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter and arrange them on a cookie sheet.

8. Bake for 40 minutes.

Eat your heart out, recipe blogs!

In all seriousness, I’m pleased as punch about the success of this little innovation. I don’t have a picture because I’m in a cafe right now and the Beyond Meatballs are not with me. Anyway, I’m a crap photographer and have no designs upon the foodie blogosphere. I’m just smug. Try it and you’ll see why.

There are a lot of other recipes out there that use this stuff. Maybe I’ll try them. It’s Sunday, so I’m a cook today, not a librarian.