Baby It's Cold Outside!
It's coming. Some would say, it's already here. Shanghai winter. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about the coming of the loathsome and hot summer. Now, here I am with my long johns on, and it's not even December. I have to admit that am a total wimp, and most people aren't dressed for the arctic quite yet.
One thing I do love about winter is the fact that cooking no longer induces near heat stroke. Actually, the heat from the oven warms my frozen hands, and the steam from the slow cooker that forms on the glass is fun to draw snowmen in. I look forward to experimenting with many soups, stews, and other baked goodness soon. I'm thinking: seitan and dumplings, pot pies, spicy chili, and seitan noodle soup.
Until then, a couple of recipes to hold you over. I have been meaning to post these for a while, but you know how city life goes. One minute you are putting away the winter coat, the next you're in long underwear, perched under the heater (not that that's what I'm doing, of course).
This quick and easy to make dish tastes delicious, especially paired with a big salad that's topped with carrots, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, blanched broccoli and tomatoes. To tone down the heat, omit cayenne pepper and black pepper.
1 package Savory Flavor Serenity Seitan, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1 tbs. paprika
1 and 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
6 tbs. melted butter (olive oil would probably work too)
1. Combine spices in a medium sized bowl, mixing well.
2. Using 3 tbs. of butter, lightly brush pieces of seitan
3. Coat seitan pieces in spice mix, pushing down on the pieces as needed to make sure it sticks.
4. Heat a large, heavy pan or skillet to medium-high. I like to use a grill pan for the nice marks it gives the seitan.
5. Coat the bottom of the pan in 1 tbs. of butter and cook 1/3 of the seitan, 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining butter and seitan.
6. Serve fresh and hot.
Makes 2 generous servings.
Zesty Italian Seitan Pastry Rolls
These filling rolls are hearty and fairly easy to make. It's the perfect dish for when you want something fast, hearty and hot, yet healthy.
1 package Zesty Italian Serenity Seitan, ground in a food processor or blender, or chopped into small chunks.
1/4 c. plain bread crumbs
1/2 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1 tbs. olive oil
1 well beaten egg or egg replacer
200 grams puff pastry, thawed
1 tbs. milk or soy milk
1 tbs. dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
1.In a medium bowl, mix seitan, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, sage, olive oil, and egg or egg replacer.
2. Roll out pastry dough and cut lengthwise into 2 equal pieces.
3. Spread dijon mustard onto pastry pieces.
4. Spoon 1/ 2 of the mixture onto the center, lengthwise, of each pastry piece.
5. Roll one side of the pastry dough over the seitan mixture, and seal the two ends together, pinching lightly.
6. Cut each log into 3 pieces and place seam down in a baking dish.
7. Brush pieces with milk (optional: beat one egg with milk for a golden wash).
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden.
Top with freshly diced tomatoes cooked in olive oil, a pinch of salt and sautéed garlic.
Back in Blue...and Red...and Green
It's been a while. Too long in fact. While I have been away from writing this blog, I have been busy starting a new school year, visiting South Korea, and finally I have had a little bit of time to do some experimenting in the kitchen. I am so happy to present to you two new flavors of Serenity Seitan-Spicy Mexican and Zesty Italian.
I love the original flavor, the Savory in blue, but variety is awesome. To help customers change up in their kitchens, I wanted to bring in something Italian flavored, something for all of your pastas and pizzas. Make it into a meatball sandwich or a lasagna for a filling lunch or dinner. I also wanted to kick up the heat a little bit, for all of you spice lovers out there. Spicy Mexican is one you can use on anything south of the border style: tacos, nachos, burritos. Muy caliente! Makes me wish I had a Corona in my hand and a sombrero on my head (I think I have even seen pinatas at Carrefour). I hope it will have a similar effect on all that try it.
The good thing is, you won't have to look very far to try these protein packed treats, as soon they will be available for delivery on Gusto Fine Foods' Shanghai Yummy site, as well as Artisan Eats and Boutique in Jinqiao.
I could never forget the original flavor, so before I start posting recipes for the new flavors, here is an ode to the seitan that started it all:
Baked Lemon Seitan
2 packages Savory Serenity Seitan
1/4 c olive oil
9 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c white, dry wine such as Chardonnay (I used cooking sake and it worked well)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 3 tbs)
1 and 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp (plus some for sprinkling) salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1. Preheat oven to 400 F 200 C
2. Over medium heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute, stirring to cook evenly, but not brown
3. Remove from heat and add white wine or cooking sake, lemon zest and juice, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix well.
4. Pour mixture into a 9 inch by 12 inch glass baking pan.
5. Place seitan pieces into pan, and generously sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Wedge lemon slices in between pieces.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until edges of seitan are slightly golden
7. Take out and cover with foil for 10 minutes
8. Serve with remaining olive oil and spice mixture poured over the top
We had this with mushroom couscous and a salad. It was very light and refreshing.
Until next time (which I hope isn't too long from now!), stay classy Shanghai.
Smoky Maple Seitan
Wow. June is definitely here. The temperatures are rising and the humidity is consistently sticky enough to make me feel kinda gross. Summer in Shanghai...no one loves it, but we all get excited when it comes anyway. A lot of people also get excited about sandwiches in the summer. I wanted you to get excited about it too, so here it is, the perfect vegan sandwich stuffer, smoky maple seitan.
1 package Serenity Seitan
2 tbs. maple syrup
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional, but so good)
1 tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1. Slice seitan lengthwise into very thin slices, using a serrated knife
2. Mix all ingredients, except the seitan in a shallow dish
3. Add seitan to dish and mix well, making sure all pieces are coated well
4. Let marinate for 10-20 minutes
5. Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a pan
6. Only layer at a time place seitan strips in pan, cooking for about 1 minute on each side. If desired, add a small amount of leftover marinade to pan to each batch.
7. Remove from pan, sprinkle lightly with salt (if desired)
We had it on a multigrain loaf of bread with lots of lettuce and tomato. It was delicious! My husband was sad when he found out that we were out of bread, so he couldn't have seconds. He then proceeded to eat all of the seitan.
Oh, man. So good.
Tonight my husband and I had dinner at a friend's house. Luckily for me, they really like Serenity Seitan, so I made it three different ways. I made good old spicy buffalo style, BBQ style, and I think I finally found an Asian orange seitan recipe good enough to share. I really should have snapped a photo when the plates were full of deliciousness, but I had to take a bite first. Then one turned in to two, which turned into four, and...you get the point.
I hope you like it as much as we did!
Asian Orange Seitan
2 packages Serenity Seitan
1/2 c. soy milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. flour
1 and 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs (can be found at some City Shops)
1 and 1/2 c. orange juice (fresh is best)
1/4 c. low-soduim soy sauce
3 tbs. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. orange zest
3 tbs. white rice wine
2 tsp. chili garlic paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tbs. corn starch
3 tbs. water
1. Cut seitan pieces into irregular 1 inch by 1 inch pieces
2. Dip 4-5 pieces at a time into the soy milk mixture, then dredge in flour and panko mixture, coating each piece completely
3. Place on a baking tray, making sure the pieces are not touching. Bake at 190 C (350 F) for 20 minutes or until outside is slightly brown and crispy.
4. While seitan is baking, start on the sauce. In a medium pan, mix together orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange zest, rice wine, chili garlic paste, garlic and ginger. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, then turn to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, mix together corn starch and water. Once mixed well, pour into orange sauce and bring to a boil, heating until the sauce thickens. Turn off heat.
6. Once seitan is finished, place in serving dish and with a large spoon, cover seitan with orange sauce and mix until all pieces are coated. Add more sauce as needed.
Best served with steamed rice. Serves 4.
...I know I did. Last week was one hectic week. I helped to organize the Battle of the Bands for Heart to Heart (another one of my favorite charities), and it was rockin'. But now I am faced with that, I just got hit with a truck feeling. My body was craving something hearty, crunchy...and fried. I pulled myself off of the pavement and dusted myself off. It was time for some home cookin'.
I headed to City Shop to get a few ingredients and I could barely contain my excitement. It didn't help that "Who Let the Dogs Out" came on to my iPod while I was walking down the produce aisle. I was bobbing my head, and probably mouthing the words, but I didn't care, I was about to eat some fried seitan!
This recipe is ama-a-a-h-h-zing (yes, with an h). Here you are...Country Fried Seitan
2 packages Serenity Seitan
1 heaping tablespoon *nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. water
1 and 1/2 tbs. spicy brown mustard
1 tbs. baking powder
3/4 c. plain bread crumbs or panko
1 and 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1. If seitan cutlets are thick (1 inch or more), slice into thinner pieces, widthwise
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly.
3. In a separate bowl, mix water and mustard
4. Add 1/2 of the dry mix to the wet mix. Mix thoroughly.
5. Add breadcrumbs and baking powder to remaining dry mix
6. Heat oil in large skillet
7. One at a time, dip each seitan piece in wet mixture, then fully coat each piece in dry mixture
8. Fry seitan, two pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes each side.
*Nutritional yeast and other hard to find items can be found on iherb.com. They ship to China!
I just really needed some comfort food to feel better, and I after eating this, I definitely did.
If you build it...They will come
Do you remember Field of Dreams? I loved that movie, and last weekend I couldn't get its most infamous line out of my head, "If you build it, he will come." If you read my post from a few weeks back, you know I was worried I had made my dreams too big to accomplish. Last weekend I could not get that quote out of my head, so for a little inspiration, I took a trip back to the 90s and watched the film.
If you remember, everyone thought Ray (Kevin Costner) was crazy for plowing down his corn field to build a baseball field. He was also hearing voices, which did not help matters. Now, my story is a little different, I just bought a lot of things from Taobao and Metro and started making seitan. Instead of me hearing voices, I whispered, "If you build it, they will come," into my husband's ear throughout the day, all day, last Sunday. What Ray and I do have in common is the belief that you have to build something in order to make things happen.
This doesn't just happen in the movies.
Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting a real life hero who built his dream into a reality. His name is Jimmy and he started The Renewal Center, an amazing charity that is doing amazing things for Shanghai's homeless men and women. I listened in awe as Jimmy told the story of how they started the operation 5 years ago. He wanted to do something big to help those in need, so he set about building his dream. The Renewal Center is way more than a shelter. It does exactly what the name says, it renews the lives of those that enter the program. The Renewal Center does so many things, but to name a few, it provides clean clothes, job training, and a safe place to spend time with friends. I am lucky enough to have been there once before. It filled me with so much joy to see how happy the people were. They read newspapers, played Uno and table tennis, and drank tea together. I knew then that I wanted to help.
Last night I told Jimmy about Serenity Seitan, and that once things get off the ground, I would like to donate 1 kuai from every package sold to The Renewal Center. I truly believe in what he has built, a place for those who need it. And they come.
We can build amazing things together.
When I made my first sale over a week ago, I was elated. I had this vision of myself surrounded by ingredients, Katy Perry (don't judge) blasting on the iPhone, and flour dust coming off of the counter in big, billowy clouds. I imagined orders coming in, me barely being able to fill them all. I imagined a lot of things. One thing I am trying to learn how to be is a perfect mix of optimistic and realistic. This has never been one of my strong suits, I am almost always overly optimistic and far from realistic when I get my heart set on something, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. I hope it turns out to be good in this case.
I have been waiting for a shipment of a key ingredient for over two weeks. My Taobao ordering skills have improved, but I am still a novice. I use Taobao by navigating through it using the translate function on Google Chrome, and it works quite well, but it's not perfect. For example, items are referred to as "baby", as in "search for baby" or "I am concerned about the baby". Apparently I ordered a "baby" that is now stuck in customs as it was shipped from the U.S.
It's funny. In Shanghai so many things move at neck-breaking speed. Millions of people are hustling in every direction, entire businesses appear out of thin air, seemingly overnight. It takes about 15 minutes to get married (I know, I did it), and one second to almost get run over by a taxi (or a motor bike, or a bus, or an old lady at the market). When I began selling Serenity Seitan, I thought it would be the same way. I thought I would debut the product and be covered in seitan dough for the next week. Then reality hit. As much as this city teaches us how to move quickly, it also teaches it to be patient. In my experience, it almost always works out in the end.
I have my kitchen utensils ready, the labels are set, and the packaging ready to be cut. Thinking good thoughts, and hoping for the best, but expecting...reality.
Hi! I'm Lindsey, the owner of Serentiy Seitan. I love feeding people healthy and can't-believe-how-delicious-this-is food. I work and live in Shanghai with my husband and our three pets.