An exciting-er challenge PLUS a recipe!

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January 6, 2009 by missmegany

So today I found this absolutely AMAZING challenge. – a vegan couple living in CA spent September 2008 eating $1 per person per day–and succeeded. They did go on and on about how little they ate, and their idea of vegan protein did seem to revolve a lot around peanut butter, but they did it. I sent the link to Mac and asked if he would be interested in doing the £ equivalent, but I don’t know whether he’d be willing to do it. They didn’t eat junk food, though (I don’t think they could have afforded it!) and had some really nice dinners.

I did the math quickly, and if we wanted to keep our vegetable box, that’s already £0.75 a person per day. . . . However, that’s not bad for a week’s worth of organic vegetables delivered to your door. It might mean that we’d need £2 a day per person. I think we could do that easily! I think we’d have to eat vegan for the month, though. I don’t think we could get any milk or cheese cheap enough, much less the organic dairy I would insist on.

The couple did make their own wheat-based protein (seitan) which I thought was pretty cool. Who needs semi-pricey quorn when you can make your own “mock meat”? I might give it a go. As far as I know, it just involves washing out lots and lots of flour. PostPunk Kitchen have a recipe, but it involves starting with “vital wheat gluten flour”, which I don’t know what that is. Here’s a recipe from the International Vegetarian Union (I don’t know what kombu is, though…):

Home-Made SeitanFrom: bambooshoot
Here is a recipe for home-made seitan, a wheat gluten product:
6 cups stone-ground whole wheat bread flour or high-gluten unbleached white flour
3 cups water (or more, depending on the amount of gluten in the flour)
1/2 cup tamari
12 slices fresh ginger,
each 1/8 inch thick,
and 1 piece of kombu, about 3 inches long.

1. Mix the flour and water by and or in a machine to make a medium-stiff but not sticky dough.

2. Knead the dough by hand on a breadboard or tabletop, until it has
the consistency of an earlobe (!), or by machine until the dough forms a ball that follows the path of the hook around the bowl. You may need to add a little extra water or flour to achieve the desired consistency. Kneading will take about 10-12 minutes by hand or about 6-8 minutes by machine.

3. Allow the dough to rest in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes., While the dough is resting, prepare the stock. In a large pot, bring to boil 3 quarts of water. Add the tamaari, ginger, and kombu, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. This stock must be cold before it is used. (the col liquid causes the gluten to contract and prevents th eseitan from acquiring a “bready” texture.) You will be using this stock to cook the seitan later.

4. To wash out the starch, use warm water to begin with. Warm water loosens the dough and makes the task easier. Knead the dough, immersed in water, in the bowl.

5. When the water turns milky, drain it off and refill the bowl with fresh water. In the final rinses, use cold water to tighten the gluten. If you wish, save the bran by straining the water through a fine sieve: the bran will be left behind.
Save the starch, which you can use for thickening soups, sauces, and stews.

6. When kneading, remember to work toward the center of the dough so that it does not break into pieces.

7. After about eight changes of water, you will begin to feel the dough become firmer and more elastic. The water will no longer become cloudy as you knead it.

8. To make sure you have kneaded and rinsed it enough, lift the dough out of the water and squeeze it. The liguid oozing out should be clear, not milky.

To shape the seitan, lightly oil a one pound loaf pan. Place the rinsed seitan in the pan and let it rest until the dough relaxes. (after the dough has been rinsed for the last time in cold water, the gluten will have tightened and the dough will be tense, tough, and resistant to taking on any other shape.) After it has rested for 10 minutes, it will be much more flexible.

Seitan is cooked in two steps. In the first step, the dough is put into a large pot with about 3 quarts of plain, boiling water. Boil the seitan for about 30-45 minutes, or until it floats tothe surface. Drain the seitan and cut it into usable pieces (steaks, cutlets, 1-inch chunks, or whatever) or leave whole.

Return the seitan to the cold tamari stock. Bring the stock to a boil, lower the temperature, and simmer in the stock for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (45 minutes if the seitan is cut into small pieces). This second step may also be done in a pressure cooker, in which case it would take between 30-45 minutes.

To store seitan, keep it refrigerated, immersed in the stock.
Seitan wil keep indefinitely if it is brought to a boil in the tamari stock and
boiled for 10 minutes twice a week. Otherwise, use it within 8 or 9 days.

Instead of boiling the seitan in plain water and then stock, let the seitan drain for a while after it has been rinsed. Slice it and either deep-fry or saute the slices until both sides are brown. Then cook it in the stock according to recipe.

Seitan also may be cooked (at the second step) in a broth flavored with carrote, onion, celery, garlic, tamari, and black pepper, which will give it a flavor similar to that of a pot roast, (I know, I know, I know, we’ve heard it all before). Shiitake mushrooms may also be added to the stock.
And there you have it. Hope in comes in handy for ya, buying premade
seitan can be pretty


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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.


Less and Less and More

Finding more in our gardens, our plates, our communities

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