Soy-free Seitan


The basis of this came from an old post from a now-defunct vegan recipe site, and we updated it a bit and changed up some of the ingredients. If you don’t have garlic powder, use onion powder, granules, or, whatever. It’s pretty flexible, and doesn’t have to be specifically this. I’ve seen variations that call for 3/4 cup of the vital wheat gluten and 1/4-1/2 cup of various kinds of non-wheat flours (garbanzo, rice, etc), but this is what we use. It’s dead simple to make, and only really requires babysitting the pot for an hour while you’re doing other stuff.


Soy-free Seitan
  • Seitan:
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • Broth:
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt (if needed - some broths or bouillons are really salty)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried ginger
  • ½ tsp dried dill (or oregano, or thyme, or whatever)
  1. Mix the broth ingredients together and bring to a boil.
  2. While the broth is coming to a boil, mix vital wheat gluten and garlic powder.
  3. Add the 1 cup of water and mix into a dough. Knead dough for a minute or two. Don't skip this - the seitan will be mushy and vile if you do. The longer you knead it, the firmer it will be.
  4. Cut the dough into whatever size/shape chunks you need or want: chunks, cubes, strips, blobs, etc. Drop them into boiling broth a couple at a time. We discovered that if you dump them all in at once, they'll clump together and stick and make a mess.
  5. Lower the heat a little bit (to medium-highish), and let them cook in the broth for about an hour. Keep an eye on the pot and make sure the broth doesn't boil completely away.
  6. Pull the pieces of seitan out with a strainer, and discard any leftover broth.
  7. Poof! Done! You can do almost anything with this stuff now. It will keep for a week or so on the fridge, and ages in the freezer. It benefits from being fried a bit before use, and can be seasoned as needed for whatever you want to use it for.


Laughing at my own exhaustion

The last few weeks around here have been incredibly tiring.  Some of it has been exciting and good, some has just been frustrating and stupid.

I hadn’t quite realized just how tired I was, though, until a few moments ago when O handed me a hand-written note that had something underlined in it, and I tried to click the link.

Le sigh.


The most expensive jam pot in the history of jam pots

Yesterday I got a shiny new toy.  It’s something I’ve wanted for many years, and I was finally able to get one, and get it on sale to boot.

Today I made my first batch of jam in it.  And then my entire day went completely pear shaped and got very, very expensive.

We have a stove that everyone in the house hates.  Passionately.  It came with the house, so it wasn’t something any of us chose.

Whoever thought up the concept of glass topped stoves deserves a solid ass-kicking.  They don’t heat well.  They don’t heat evenly.  Their heat is rather random and uncontrollable.  They are a giant pain in the ass to clean.  They scratch, they stain, they suck.

Also, apparently, they can MELT.

I assumed that if I dropped something heavy on it that the top would shatter.  That seemed like a given.  It never occurred to me that I could possible get that stupid thing hot enough (lord knows, it doesn’t get hot when you *want* it to) to damage itself, but while making jam today I realized that the jam was burning on the bottom (rather suddenly), and when I slid the jam pot to the cold half of the stove and looked at the burner that was on, it wasn’t its usual bright red with visible coils, but a large disk of glowing yellow-orange.  I didn’t think too much of it until a few seconds later when I heard a loud WHUMP-POP.  I looked again and realized that the middle of the burner had slumped and that the whole surface of the stove had just cracked (including one small piece from the middle that shot straight up in the air – we never did find that).  Once it cooled down, the glass that had been glowing turned a weird milky grey.



Weird and milky:

Appliance shopping is not how I wanted to spend my afternoon.  Not even a little bit.  Also?  Good stoves are expensive.  Stupidly so.  Grrr.

The jam did not survive, either.

“The Yellow Ones Taste Funny”

So says the child, who refuses to eat the golden raspberries.

I do have to admit that I ate one of the first of our red ones to ripen yesterday, and it was the best tasting raspberry I’ve ever eaten.  Way better than any of the golden ones so far.  Not sure why, but all of the red ones we’ve gotten so far are tiny – less than half the size of the gold ones.

My father has a theory he calls the Unit Flavor Theory – basically that things like strawberries have a finite amount of flavor that each berry can have, and so the small ones will have a much more concentrated flavor than the big ones will.   Elephant garlic is a fine example, too: giant and bland.  The little red raspberry I ate yesterday proved his theory to me once again.  Mmmmmm.  Raspberries.

This morning the garden yielded up:

  • golden raspberries: 4lbs 6.7oz (2006g)
  • red rasberries: 5.7oz (161g)
  • beets: 3.4oz (96g)
  • peas: 2.6oz (75g)

I started picking berries with the smallish mixing bowl, and had to go swap it out for one of the giant ones.  I honestly have no idea what to do with all these raspberries.  Ideas?

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?


Even more berries!

The poor raspberry plants, of which we started with 6 red and 3 or 4 golden, have become a terrifying thicket,  and several of the plants have collapsed from the weight of the berries.

While I was out relieving the plants of their tasty, tasty burden, one of our neighbors stopped by with his two (ridiculously adorable) kids and asked what I was picking – none of them had ever heard of or tasted a golden raspberry.  Aaron seemed ok with them, the kids would cheerfully have wrestled me to the ground and absconded with the bowl of berries if given half a chance.

Even after feeding the kids enough berries to completely ruin their dinners, I ended up with 2lbs 9.3 ounces (1171 grams) of golden raspberries, 9 grams of red raspberries, and 2lbs 9.8 ounces (1185 grams) of strawberries.

The rest of the garden is coming along very, very slowly.  Half of the beets have bolted and will have to be replanted, all of the bok choy has bolted, and everything else is just tiny so far.  The carrots never bothered to come up at all.  Ver’ sad, that.

And, because I can’t be arsed to go get my camera and take a picture of the bounty of berries, here’s a picture of a cat (since that’s what the internet is for, right?), specifically Matt’s parents’ cat Strider:

First harvest

The garden has provided it’s first edibles of the year!

Today’s harvest:

1lb 3.3oz golden raspberries (548 grams)

2lbs 9.1oz strawberries (1165 grams)

The raspberries and most of the strawberries became 7 jars of jam, and the rest of the strawberries went on top of shortcake and straight into our bellies.  Mmmm.

Back from vacation, and injured twice already


I broke a toe within the first 10 minutes of being home (trying to change into comfy pants, in the closet, stubbed it on the edge of the floor on my way out), and then! I burned myself! ON THE STOMACH! on a hot baking sheet (fresh out of the oven, covered with shortcake for the strawberries, putting away the damned hotpad that I was using, to, yes, not burn myself.  Classy.

The trip east was wonderful, other than the heat.  I’m a mess at anything over 70, and it was in the high 90s the entire time we were there.  (that’s the mid-30s for those of you in the civilized world).

There were house finches, goldfinches, cardinals, grackles, blue jays, robins, mourning doves, red-wing blackbirds, and chipmunks at the bird feeders out back, bats and swallows over the pond in the evenings, along with the first fireflies I’ve ever seen.  Also the craziest sunset I’ve seen in a long time:

We took the train to Chicago one day and went to the Shedd Aquarium.  Much fun was had.  Jellies are amazing.

We also went up to Kenosha, so I got to see the town my dad was born in.  It was insanely windy, on top of being stupid hot, and the sand on the beach was blowing out over the water in huge clouds (didn’t seem to deter the sunbathers, though)

It was a wonderful trip, but it’s really, really good to be home.

“If you sell that picture I’ll sue you”

Said the potter at the farmer’s market as I took this picture.

She followed that up with several iterations of “I’m totally kidding”.   She was actually quite nice, and we ended up buying a set of bowls from her.

I found it really odd that the Bellingham farmers market would put two potters immediately next to each other, both in an area that isn’t freestanding booths, but just vendors tucked in under a roof, so there’s not a lot of visual cues to one vendor’s space ending and another beginning.  This one was fairly obvious – one of the potters was good, the other was much better.

The rest of the market is pretty typical farmers market fare, with only a few standout booths.  I still like the Ballard and U-district markets better, but Bellingham is fun, and breakfast with dad at the Daisy Cafe is worth the trip north.

Our neighbors are a bit touched

They decorate for every holiday.

Every. Single. Holiday.

These were taken just after (on?) Memorial Day.  They’ve left it up as a solid foundation for the 4th of July.  It may or may not be left up for Labor Day, and immediately after Labor Day, they’ll start putting up the halloween stuff.  Every inch of the front half of the house (including the roof), the front lawn, the parking strip, and the tree on the parking strip will be decorated.