30 November 2011

General Chlo's Seitan/Tofu/TVP (GF)

Hang on -- before we start, I want to say two things.  Normally this would be served over rice and not spaghetti, but I promised Beetroot (who thought I said 'pumpkin tree' when I really said 'blog entry') he could have whatever he wanted for lunch if he let me cut his hair and he wanted spaghetti.  And, yes, spaghetti and seitan aren't gluten-free, but if you make this with tofu or those giant TVP chunks and serve it over rice, then it is GF.  And a really zany grain-free twist on this dish could involve something like cauliflower or mushrooms instead of seitan/tofu served on zucchini noodles.  (Also, have you seen cauliflower 'rice'?  Do an internet search on it, it's a nifty idea!)

Okay, I know you are all salivating, so I'll cut to the chase.  And by the chase, I mean the sauce.  General Chlo's sauce.  Which is delicious.  You don't just have to use it for this!  Let's go over the ingredients first:
  • garlic (finely chopped)
  • chili (fresh & finely chopped (I used a red finger chili) or dry flakes)
  • ginger (fresh and finely chopped or dry powdered) OR Chinese 5-spice (or both)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • soy sauce (use tamari if GF)
  • sushi vinegar OR [rice vinegar & a pinch of sugar (or agave nectar or whatever)]
  • tomato paste
  • cornstarch (or a similar thickener)
  • stock (or water)
Just pretend the spaghetti is rice, okay?
Fry the garlic, chili, and ginger in the toasted sesame oil until fragrant.  Stir in your soy sauce, vinegar, and tomato paste.  Then you'll want to add the cornstarch and stock.  If you're like me, you'll just shake the cornstarch over everything and hope it dissolves when you stir it up, but you could also dissolve the cornstarch into the stock before adding it. 

I'll assume you know how to make rice and steam broccoli.  I'll also assume you know how to make or procure seitan* or where to find tofu or those big TVP chunks.  For the seitan, you can just stir it into the sauce, but you will need to rehydrate the TVP (soak in warm water or stock for a few minutes) before throwing it into the sauce and you should pan-fry the tofu a little before throwing it in.

Dish up some rice, put some General Chlo's on top.  Arrange the broccoli nicely around the outside of the rice & Chlo's, and top with a little chopped green onion.

Any questions?  :D

 *  And if you don't, would you like a blog post detailing my adventures in making seitan?

16 November 2011


I knew somebody who pronounced squash 'squarsh,' but I don't remember who.  Anyway, here is a fabulous recipe for winter squarsh.  You can use butternut, but I used this thing that looked like a mint-green pumpkin and had the very hard to cut flesh of a butternut squarsh.

Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.  Gut and chop your squarsh (save the seeds and toast them in your oven with a little salt later).  No need to remove the peel, it's totally edible!  Put it in a casserole dish, add about a kilogram (hey Americans, 28 oz will do) of stewed tomatoes (I used whole ones, but you can use chopped) large coarsely chopped onion, a tbsp or two of oregano, a generous a glug of olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste.  Give everything a stir.  Cover (I just used aluminium foil) and bake for about 40 minutes, uncover and stir, and then bake another 20-30 minutes (until the squarsh is tender), stirring occasionally.

Mix in some beans (I used black-eyed peas) and serve plain or over a bed of rice (or whatever!).

P.S.  Check out my new bling!  My friend made me this for my
birthday.  It is extra-cool because she is in America and still
managed to procure a 5 pound note.

15 November 2011


I tend not to make pesto.  Don't get me wrong, I love pesto, but pine nuts are expensive (not to mention hard to find) and I don't usually buy fresh basil -- I also tried growing it here and it does not agree with my area, indoors or out.  My husband brought a huge bunch of fresh basil (reduced price!  10p and in super good condition!) back from the store and I figured it was high time I made a batch of pesto.

Traditionally, pesto is made from basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil (pureed in a blender or food processor, or smooshed* with a mortar and pestle)...and Parmesan cheese, but I don't eat cheese, so I always skip that bit.  Anyway, like I said, pine nuts are expensive, so I thought I'd try something else. 

Why does it look so creamy?  I don't know, but it was delicious!
I happen to have a large bag of pepitas (those green pumpkin seeds you find either in the health or Latino section of your grocery store) in my kitchen, so I substituted them for the pine nuts.  I didn't feel like cleaning my food processor,** so I got out my mortar and pestle.  Actually, my mortar broke a few years ago, so I got out a mixing bowl and my pestle.  I chopped the garlic and basil (on my cutting board) and ground the pepitas in my blade coffee grinder first.  Then I threw everything into the mixing bowl, added a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil and some salt & pepper and got grindin' with the pestle.  When everything was all smooshed into a paste, I spread it on some rustic bread (also reduced price from the store) and toasted it in the oven for a few minutes.  I ate some...I ate some more...and then I ate it all.  It was delicious!  :D

There are other variations on pesto.  I've made it with walnuts instead of pine nuts and ramsons (they grow wild here and are absolutely everywhere in the spring!) instead of basil and garlic.  I've also seen it made with cilantro instead of basil. 

Do you make any other variations?  Do tell.  I've often read one should make a large amount, store it in a clean glass jar, and refrigerate for later, but I generally only make a day's worth at a time.  I've tried making larger amounts in the past, but they seem to go mouldy pretty fast in my fridge.  :/

*  Okay, the culinary word is ground, but who cares.  Smooshed sounds so much more fun!
**  Not that it's not clean, it is, I just didn't feel like cleaning it after making pesto.

11 November 2011


Mouldy Travelodge Bed says, "Happy Birthday!"
Many Crabby Returns!
I don't usually make a big deal about my birthday, but it's 11.11.11!  I've been waiting for this birthday since I was a little kid.  I made gingerbread cupcakes from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World -- I added nutmeg, extra ground clove, and black pepper because that is how I roll, yo.  They were delicious.  Beetroot really wanted to blow out the candle and started crying after I blew it out, so I lit it again and let him blow it out, too.  Raygold didn't care who blew out the candle, he just wanted a wee cake!
Later, Beetroot presented me with a keychain (my keychain) wrapped in a toilet roll.  What a great birthday present!  I was overwhelmed by his generosity. 

I'm laughing because my son is crying for his turn to blow
out the candle.  Moms these days.  Sheesh.

Sleeping Children.  The best birthday present ever.