Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The beginning of a love affair

With Vital Wheat Gluten. Whoa that shit is amazing! I had a box sitting in the cabinet for a while and my intentions had always been to attempt making seitan for the first time. To be honest, seitan really intimidates me so it's something I keep putting off.... Someday I will get to it. But until that day comes, I have cutlets. Chickpea Cutlets. TVP Cutlets. And whatever other types of cutlets I can dream up. When the vwg is kneaded in with whatever you are making cutlets out of you can see the gluten strings forming and it gives it an amazing and slightly chewy texture.

I saw a post on the PPK about 2 weeks ago about Chickpea Cutlets. The recipe is in Veganomicon, which I did not own yet. Luckily for me, and you if you don't own it either, the recipe is only a short Google away. I read the reviews and the recipe and decided I HAD to give it a try. I can only take so many store bought faux meats. I made them a few weeks ago with a nooch gravy(nooch is nutritional yeast for all those who don't know the term) and veggies. The recipe came out fantastic even though I didn't follow the recipe exactly(i changed the spices around but that's it), but I didn't take any pics and forgot to blog about it. The very next day I went out and bought my very own copy of Veganomicon as well as Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and The Uncheese Cookbook.

Fast forward a week and I was craving those delicious, crispy, chewy cutlets again. This time my mom and I made a big dinner out of it for us and my dad. I forgot to photograph alot but I did get one good one.
That's the uncooked cutlet. You can see the minced bits of garlic and even though I just ate, it's making me hungry. We pan fried them til they were nice and crispy on the outside and served with a side of sweet potato fries, nooch gravy and green beans. Even my dad loved it. He is mostly vegetarian but I don't think he is big on faux meat unless it's a veggie burger.

All I have been able to think about for the past two days is what else can I make cutlet type foods out of. And then I remembered the bags and bags of TVP sitting in the cabinet with the vwg.

When tvp is rehydrated it has a smiliar texture to the chick peas when they were all food processed up so I figured, why the hell not? That idea literally consumed me ALL DAY. I couldn't get home fast enough to test it out.

I couldn't find any recipes on line for the creation I had in my head so I modified the Chick Pea Cutlet recipe which resulted in a serious party in my mouth. Here is my recipe for TVP Cutlets:

1 cup dehydrated TVP
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/4 boiling water
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic and/or any other combinations of spices you like - to taste
olive oil for frying.

In a mug or bowl mix the boiling water with the vegetable bouillon cube and stir until dissolved. (Normally you are supposed to do i cube for every 2 cups of water but I wanted the flavor a little more concentrated since tvp is virtually tasteless)
In a medium bowl mix the tvp, bread crumbs and spices together. Add 1 cup of the hot liquid and stir until everything is moist and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the vital wheat gluten and remaining liquid to the tvp mixture. Knead with your hands until everything is mixed and you can see the gluten strings forming

 Gather all of the mixture into a ball and form it into a rectangle log and cut into 4 sections.
Take each section and flatten out on cutting board.
Heat oil in skillet over medium to medium high heat.Add cutlets. Fry about 5-8 minutes per side until nice and crispy. Serve with whatever sides you want and devour!

I had them with some Road's End Organics Mac & Chreese topped with some cut up grape tomatoes, leftover mashed cauliflower and left over gravy. It really was the perfect comforting meal for a chilly, rainy New England night.

 I can't wait to keep modifying this recipe to see what I can come up with. Maybe half chick pea half tvp, black beans with Mexican spices, an Asian cutlet, buffalo, bbq?!?!!? The possibilities are endless!!!!!!!!!!!

Gizmo and Gimli waiting very patiently for me to drop something.

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