Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taco Night and Pumpkin Bread. The perfect combo?

What was once a truly laborious task of taking tiny pictures on my cell phone (that's not really designed to make picture taking one of its top priorities) has ended now that my other formerly broken piece of technology - my beloved Kodak EasyShare - has come back from Geek Squad. Although it's no professional food-taking digital camera, it at least provides well-lit, clear pictures of my vegan food efforts - a major "yay" in my book!


Last night, I was craving tacos, so I set out to try something different. I've already made black bean tacos before, and while they're yummy on their own, I was in the mood for something a little more substantial - so I added one of my favorite ingredients to the mix - prepackaged seitan (for anyone that isn't familiar with seitan, I've attached a link to the word).


West Soy is a great brand of Seitan - it's already cooked, so all you have to do is heat it up and add it to your favorite dish. Although not for the gluten-intolerant, Seitan is an awesome alternative to meat. It is meat actually - wheat meat! I love seitan because it's chewy and thick, and it tastes so good in savory dishes, so I figured it would be the perfect addition to taco night.





This is such an easy recipe, so feel free to make it your own, as far as toppings are concerned!


Easy Seitan and Black Bean Tacos


1 package West Soy Stir Fry Strips, shredded 
(you can do this by pulling apart the seitan with your fingers into little chunks)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 package of taco shells 
(my favorite are Organic Blue Corn taco shells)
1 packet taco seasoning mix
(try to get organic, because sometimes you'll find yucky ingredients in regular packets, 
like corn syrup solids)
2 tbsp cooking oil for the pan
Any toppings you like - 
your favorite salsa, chopped tomatoes (organic please),
 guacamole or chopped avocado, vegan cheese or vegan sour cream
(I also love to sautee chopped onions in a little bit of oil with salt and garlic powder)


My spread from last night.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Add oil to a medium sized pan on medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add seitan chunks. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes, or until the seitan is browned on both sides. 
3. Add beans and cook for 1-2 minutes, just to get the beans warm. Add seasoning from packet and amount of water indicated on the packet. Allow seitan and beans to cook according to packet. Mixture should come out nice and thick (add extra water slowly to the pan if you want more of a sauce).
3. While seitan and bean mixture is thickening, place taco shells on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and bake for 5 minutes, or until shells are golden and heated through. 
4. Prepare any extra toppings you would like. 
5. Eat. Smile! You just made a really easy and yummy dinner. 


And now for the pumpkin bread.


This is actually a funny story - a lesson in learning to trust myself as a baker. I found a great pumpkin bread recipe online and decided I would veganize it. Easy, right? Well, not if you're impatient and critical in the kitchen, which I can be sometimes. The bread actually came out so beautifully - moist, dense, and not too sweet. As soon as I took it out of the oven, I wanted to taste-test the bread, and as I cut down the middle, I noticed that it was like a dense sponge on the inside (it looked undercooked, in my book). All too quick to assume I had done something wrong, I yelled to Steve - "I ruined it! I'm gonna have to throw it away!" What I hadn't realized was that the bread just needed to cool and set. I came back later in the evening, all ready to throw out this poor loaf of bread. To my surprise, it looked and tasted just like pumpkin bread. Moral of the story - trust your instincts in the kitchen, and wait until your food cools before you jump to conclusions.


So, here it is: 



Lindsay's Yummy Pumpkin Bread
Yields 1 loaf


1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour 
(or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar 
(I used brown sugar, which I'm sure made it taste less sweet)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. melted margarine (preferably Earth Balance Spread)
2 servings of Energ-G Egg Replacer
(a mashed banana may also work) 
1/4 c. soymilk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional)





1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, margarine, sugar, vanilla (if you're using), 
egg replacer, and soymilk.
3. In a separate large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. 
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet just until moistened.
5. Pour wet mixture into a buttered loaf pan, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until you can place a toothpick in the top of the bread, and it comes out clean.

3 comments:

Whitney Wolf said...

oh lindsssss.... i remember cooking thanksgiving dinner with you oncce.. granted we weren't cooking tofurky and vegan mashed sweet potatoes, but now you've come so far and I can't wait to taste this years thanksgiving (and cook some of it too)! love you!!!

texannewyorker said...

I love tacos! I don't know if your taco seasoning mix has a thickener in it for the sauce (arrow root or cornstarch perhaps?); but you can mimic the seasoning and flavor by mixing chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Go heavier on the paprika and cumin for that smokey flavor. I like to use white pepper.

Lindsay said...

Thanks Whit and Kyleen! It did have a thickener, but I will definitely try mimicing it next time! :)