Friday, April 30, 2010

Vegan Recipes of the Week plus an exciting opportunity for Ann Arborites

This week’s crEATe article features another delicious, fibrous and unexpectedly large sourdough bread and a recipe for seitan stir fry.  However, an enthusiastic crEATe reader, Jan Kemp, recently contacted me about some fantastic cooking classes that she teaches at the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor (Washtenaw Avenue location). I wanted to give a shout out to her as well as any local readers who may be interested in attending.

Jan Kemp, MS, AASDN and Nutrition Specialist, has been teaching Food for Life classes for five years through the Cancer Project.  The goal of the Cancer Project is to promote cancer prevention and survival through a better understanding of cancer causes, particularly the link between nutrition and cancer.  The classes are designed by physicians, nutrition experts, and registered dietitians and are offered in many cities around the U.S.  The Cancer Project promotes a low-fat, plant-based diet rich in fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.  Several crEATe articles have touched on the long-term health benefits of a plant-based diet, so I’ll leave you to explore crEATe, Jan’s website, or The Cancer Project’s awesome downloadable packets.

 Jan’s classes will be offered at the Washtenaw Ave. Whole Foods every on Mondays from May 3 until May 24, 11AM-1PM.  Topics include maintaining a healthy weight, replacing meat, cancer fighting compounds and immune boosting foods, and foods and prostate cancer survival.  She’s also teaching on Wednesdays at the Chelsea Community Hospital and Thursdays at Ann Arbor’s Wellness Community.  The best part about Jan’s classes is that they are now FREE!  So check out Jan’s website and register for her class.

I’ve been making basic whole wheat sourdough bread for several weeks now, and, yearning for a new, possibly more fibrous bread, I decided to try Breadtopia’s Whole Grain Sourdough recipe, which takes three days to make.  Although three days might be a deterrent for some people, it stirred some nerdish excitement in me to think about what bread might taste like after fermenting and proofing for three days instead of only one.  Turns out, it tastes pretty great and I followed Breadtopia’s recipe with a few reflective notes/realizations:
  • This bread, unlike the other sourdough recipes I have posted, is not “no knead.”  The kneading day was a very busy day for me, and I forgot to knead it, instead mixing the ingredients thoroughly. Luckily for me, it seemed to have no effect on the bread.
  • Next time, I’d probably use more water and cut the recipe in half as this bread turned out fairly dense.
Here’s the recipe:

Whole Grain Sourdough
Day 1 (evening)
Mix together:
7/8 cup water
½ cup sourdough starter
2 cups whole wheat flour.

Cover loosely with plastic and let sit out at room temperature for 12 hours.

Day 2
Add to Day 1 mixture:
1 ¼ cup water
7/8 cup rye flour
2 cups white bread flour
1 ¾ cups spelt flour
1 Tbsp. salt

Knead, return to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 3
Form a loaf and let sit at room temperature, covered with plastic, for five hours.
Place Dutch oven inside oven and preheat oven to 485 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bake bread for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

This is the first crEATe recipe that calls for seitan, so I’ll provide a little background information about this fantastic “wheat meat.”  In my early meat-free days, I avoided seitan, perhaps because it was hard to find in the grocery store or I didn’t know how to pronounce its name (it’s say-tan).  Seitan is great because it’s one of the only meat alternatives not made from soy.  Unfortunately for gluten-free folks, seitan is made primarily from the protein part of the wheat plant.  Because of this, seitan is high in protein (approximately 20 grams per 3-oz., 110-calorie serving) and has a meaty, flavor-absorbing texture that is perfect for stir fries, stews, and even barbeque. 

The recipe I made this week is adapted from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet.  Robertson has recently released a new cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap.

Pan-Seared Seitan with Red Wine Reduction
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 package seitan (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 stalks broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

1.    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add the seitan and cook until heated, about 5 minutes. 
2.    Add garlic, onions, broccoli, and carrots and cook until tender.
3.    Add red wine, vegetable broth, and thyme and cook until about half the liquid is reduced.
4.    Serve over noodles, rice, or your favorite grain.  Enjoy!

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