Monday, November 8, 2010

seitan's just a little shy

Well, we're a week into VeganMoFo and I have to admit... I'm limping a little.  I think I might have shot myself in the foot, or at least been a little overzealous in my menu planning this week.  I got so excited about cooking out of Veganomicon and The Urban Vegan that I didn't use any common sense.  A smarter person than I would have made the extra effort to open a couple of quicker-cooking cookbooks and stagger the slow-cooking recipes with the express recipes.  There's still next week for that, though.  As far as I can tell, I have at least 9 more days before my world starts to spin faster.

I took an ambitious bite out of my menu tonight and cooked up Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya from Veganomicon.  I absolutely love this recipe, despite that it always takes me way longer to make it than it probably should. 

I thought I was pretty slick tonight and figured I stood a good chance of winning my battle against rice - I cooked it separately in broth while I simmered the beans, seitan, herbs, and peppers in another pot.  It probably did prevent me from starting to eat right about now, but the recipe itself just takes a really long time.  I don't think I will ever be able to convert this to a quick-cooking recipe, short of preparing it ahead of time and warming it back up.

Maybe I'm not supposed to, though.  Some foods are meant to be cooked slowly.  There is a depth of flavor that only gets its chance to shine through when you let it sit and stew for a while.  Some recipes are kind of like introverts - they will do their most brilliant work when left alone to simmer for a while.

Lesson learned.  The next time I make this will be on a snowy Sunday (or, if the Farmers Almanac is right, at least a Bitterly Cold Sunday) when I have nothing to do but let this one-pot meal simmer all afternoon if it wants to.  I have never made this without rushing it.  I love this recipe too much to stunt its growth so you are all my witnesses now: I promise not to make this again until I can give it the time it needs to reach its tastiest potential.

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