Wednesday, November 3, 2010

where's the girl scout now?

I confess: when I was a little girl, I was a Brownie.  I think I might have made it as far as Junior Girl Scout before realizing that all you need to do to move up in "rank" in the Girl Scouts was not die (get older).  My mindset and accompanying neuroses are better suited to the Boy Scouts, where you move up based on merit and accomplishments - you have to earn the rank of Eagle Scout - you'll never just be old enough.

Before continuing, please don't get me wrong - I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a tomboy.  I never was, either.  I could probably count the number of years I've consistently worn pants on one hand.  I like dresses and skirts and make-up and getting my hair done and painting my nails and being a princess.

I would be ill-suited to tomboyish behavior and fashion sense.  However, I appreciate the whole preparedness motto of the Boy Scouts.  Surprisingly, following the BSA lead of being [over]prepared is the only thing that has ever caused me to pack like a woman.  I also anticipate running out of important things like bread, coffee, and creamer for Mister as though the world would end if we actually ran out.  Angst runs out of food occasionally, but we never run out of coffee.

Despite my "always be overprepared for every possible situation" mentality, I have something to say:
Tonight, I failed.

Okay, that might be a little overly dramatic, but I think Mister and I both would have liked a second helping of Garlicky Caramelized Seitan with Roasted Potatoes from the most recent issue of VegNews, and unfortunately, the recipe was completely accurate when it said "2 servings."

admit it, you would want seconds, too
Tonight was the first night in two years that I have made dinner for me and Mister on a Wednesday night, so I wanted to make Special Dinner.  I looked at the menu on the fridge and of the three remaining dinners, I have made two in the past, so I decided to try my luck at caramelizing two things that are usually quite savory in nature: garlic and seitan.

I've never made my own caramel and I'm not completely sure I did it right, but it tasted okay in the end, so I'll cut my losses.  It did seem as though the oil did not completely combine with the brown sugar, but that probably prevented it from making my nonstick pan a liar.

Ordinarily, I press garlic, regardless of recipe instructions.  However, my recent tasty tomato-garlic pizza at Stella made me more inclined toward seeing if I could also slice garlic and then saute it to deliciousness.  I love garlic, in fact I tripled the amount called for in the recipe, but I can't lie - this picture freaked me out a little.

Once I added the seitan and it made a horrible hissing noise, all the caramel started chunking up and even sticking to my wooden spoon as I stirred.  I persevered even though I was pretty sure that wasn't supposed to happen.  Turned out I didn't ruin dinner (obviously), but I did need to coax the caramel balls back to a meltier consistency so they'd play nicely with the seitan.  At this point, the mess in my pot started to resemble something I might call dinner.

Meanwhile, I had cubed 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes and tossed them with olive oil and Mediterranean sea salt.  After roasting for about 40 minutes, they were quite possibly one of the best things I have ever done to potatoes.  They were perfectly tender, to the point where you could just squish them between your tongue and the roof of your mouth (after cooling, of course - we don't want blisters, do we?).  As I sat savoring their flavor and texture, I decided to try to always make that happen when I roast things in the future, and began playing with a potential future recipe in my brain.

While I distributed the potatoes between Mister and me, I stirred the broccoli into the caramelized seitan and garlic and let it steam.  Yes, it did taste as good as it looks.

Yes, I sure do wish I had thought ahead and doubled the recipe.  Oh well, live and learn - now I know for next time.

This is one half of a pair of pewter dragon candlesticks.  Mister calls it Boobie Dragon.  Can you see why?


  1. How awesome, I had this for dinner tonight, too!! I was so intrigued by that recipe once I saw it in VegNews. It was very good!!!! I loved the potatoes too, but my supermarket didn't have yukons, so I used red. Anyway...yes it was delicious!!

  2. I love garlic so very much and I totally don't care how much goes in a recipe. But the people around me probably do. :)

  3. I'm impressed by your bravery - I'm not sure I'd have even attempted caramelizing garlic! And way to persevere through the hissing and the chunking. :)

  4. Mo - I feel bad occasionally, wondering if my colleagues can smell me before they see me, but hey - garlic is good for you!
    Ladies and gentleman, I am STILL wishing I had made more. Not just enough for seconds, but also leftovers for lunch!
    Blase - you felt similarly about my pomegranate BBQ tofu, didn't you?