I have to admit, that I am a little chagrined about how much the seitan chunks look like meat in these photos...I'm not terribly interested in replicating meat experiences...but in the same breath, I'll also admit that these were darn good. I apologize if the meat-like appearance freaks anyone out. (It sort of weirded me out a little too.)
The faux meat is some of Gardein's Beefless Tips...of course any kind of seitan that suits your fancy would work a treat too. I usually opt for the homemade variety...but sometimes you just don't have time to stay on top of the homemade seitan scene and/or whip up seitan on the fly, ya know?
I got the idea from an omni cooking magazine that I was leafing through at my mom's house...the simplicity of the three ingredients together (seitan, red onion, red pepper) appealed to me somehow, so I went with it. The nice thing about this particular combo is that the ingredients all take about the same time to cook (provided they are chopped into similar-sized pieces).
The seitan is marinated in a simple, but delicious mixture. (For an oil-free alternative I think subbing a mixture of lime juice and Bragg's Aminos for the oil would be good--better even. You'd probably want to leave the salt out in that case.)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1.5 tbsp coarsely ground coriander seed
pinch of coarse sea salt
(Marinade and kebab recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, August 2010 issue)
Depending on how much seitan you plan to use, you might want to double or triple the recipe.
After tossing the seitan in the marinade and leaving it for an hour or two, just skewer it all up with the veggies, plop them on the BBQ and baste occasionally with the leftover marinade:
We had them with some salad from the garden, rosemary roasted potatoes, and a drizzle of vegan basil pesto.
But wait, there's more...we have hearty appetites you know. We also dined on some cauliflower and green beans in a sun-dried tomato and shallot vinaigrette:
The beans and cauliflower are lightly blanched and then tossed with the dressing on a bed of frisée lettuce:
Sun-dried Tomato - Shallot Vinaigrette:
1/2 shallot, finely minced (~ 2 tbsp)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or to taste)
1 generous teaspoon Dijon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ( or more/less to taste)
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped (I used dried, reconstituted in warm red wine...if you have any dry sherry on hand, reconstituting them in that would compliment the sherry vinegar)
Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. (If you don't want to use oil, you could substitute with cashew cream.)
This is our dining room during the summer:
And now for a little backyard drama. The photo below shows 3 Western Red Cedars that live in the eastern corner of our backyard.
Our landlord planted these about 15 years ago, thinking that they were a different type of decorative cedar that only reaches a mature height of 12 -15 feet (4-5 meters). Boy, was he mistaken: these trees grow hundreds of feet high. According to my neighbor, these particular trees are just entering their teenage years and have a lot more growing to do. Notice how the tops have all grown intertwined, making it look like one big tree, (the one in the middle must really be feeling the love!) but if you look below the branch line, you see three distinct trunks.
Here's where the drama comes in: my neighbor is afraid that the roots of the trees will eventually push up his foundation and cause structural damage...he's some sort of civil engineer, so I tend to think he knows what he's talking about. He wants my landlord to cut the trees down. My landlord on the other hand, isn't willing to pay for this...so my neighbor and my landlord are in the process of hashing it out; we're stuck in the middle.
I don't want the trees to go, because they are beautiful and just starting out in life. And the critters love them. Raccoons, crows, stellar jays, flickers, chickadees, and other creatures often come down from their limbs to pay us a visit. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the future holds for these young cedars.