Yes, I said it. Praise Seitan. I remember the first time I had seitan - it was in a Caribbean-style restaurant in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia called Azure. It's gone now, and that's a shame...I miss Azure - amazing grilled seitan, fantastic wine list, and a never-fail dessert menu. Mister and I went there for our first vegetarian Valentine's Day and went back whenever we could after that. It was, and remains the only restaurant in Philadelphia I would move my car to go to.
Don't get me wrong - Horizons is a very close second. In fact, it has two "edges." First, it is 100% vegan food - Azure was an omni-restaurant. Also, Horizons is only two and a half blocks from my home. There is no weather I can't walk through to get there.
All of this was actually necessary to show you exactly how happy I was about dinner tonight. I made the Jerk Seitan with Coconut Rice from Vegan With a Vengeance. I think Isa has officially replaced dear Martha in my affections. I think I've mentioned before that I really was not even remotely adventurous in my food choices in my younger years. I've generally attributed my willingness to try new things in adulthood to my vegetarian diet, but upon further reflection, I think it is my husband's influence. His sisters, my best friends, who arranged our whole courtship it seemed, swore that my husband could eat worms and they would look delicious. It's true - there is something in the way he eats that makes you want to eat what he's eating. I think even if he and I had never become vegetarians, he would have opened my eyes to a whole new world of flavors and foods. Maybe I would have even eaten whatever meat they usually marinate in jerk spices...
Last time I made this, I didn't have the patience to let the seitan marinate in the seasonings, so I just sauteed it in oil and made a sauce with the marinade ingredients. I can't remember ever being more wrong about something. Tonight, I found the patience to marinate the seitan almost as long as I was supposed to and I can't even describe the difference it made! The seitan was so tender, juicy, and flavorful. Also, serving it on top of the Coconut Rice made a great flavor combination - the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk contradicting and calming the very intense flavor of the marinade-turned-sauce coating the peppers and carrots and seitan. It also smelled great!
On another note, today was a sleepy day - it was rainy and miserable and Saturday. I got up when Mister went to work but couldn't get moving for hours. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do, but tomorrow is another day and since it will be nicer out, I will feel more inclined to be productive since a lot of my errands involve outside-time. I did get the menu done, though:
1. Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from VwaV. Yes, it was on last week's menu - I didn't get to it because I do not have broccoli. I still don't know how I missed that. Grocery shopping is on my To Do list tomorrow.
2. Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens from the August Cooking Light. I dare you to click that link and NOT want to eat the picture.
3. Stir-Fried "Beef" with Broccoli and Bell Peppers from the July Cooking Light. The recipe calls for real dead cow, but I want to try those beef stirfry strips by LightLife again - even in a stirfry this time!
4. Chickpea, Tomato & Spelt Soup from Body+Soul, an imprint of Martha Stewart's little universe. This looks like such an innards-warming soup...I squirreled the recipe away a while ago and I've just been sitting on it. This last week of October seems a good time for its debut. Body+Soul is a magazine I keep going back and forth on - on the one hand, I love Martha and I want to subscribe to a Martha magazine, but MS Living would break my heart with almost daily reminders that my home is too miserably small to entertain loved ones. On the other hand, though there are a lot of uplifting and helpful (think stress-relief) articles, there's also a decent amount of fruitiness going on. Also, I think this Dr. Weil character is a fraud. If he's not a fraud, he is way too fruity for my tastes. I just hate when celebrities "adopt" a pet doctor - I think it's Oprah's fault..."Dr." Phil ruined it for everyone.
5. Chickpea Stew with Fried Polenta from The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook. I don't know what made me think of it, but I remember nostalgically looking back on the first time I made this, over the warmer months, and thinking how awesome this would be as a late October meal. It's been a while, too, since I've sunk my teeth into my beloved polenta. Speaking of favorites - I get to have my pillow-soft polenta with it's crisp outer layer, drenched and warmed in a blender sauce made by my food processor.
In the midst of grocery shopping and donating and organizing and cooking tomorrow, I also plan to get some baking in, so stay tuned!