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.


“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.

“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.

My new favorite beach

Not being one for tropical anything, the beach at White Rock suits me just fine.

We managed to hit it at almost slack tide, so there were lots and lots of herons about, none of whom seemed particularly afraid of us or the many dogs that were all over the place.

blue heron in flight

Blue Heron

two herons coming in to land

two herons coming in for a landing

O spent a great deal of time crouched down taking pictures of things Very Close up

O taking pictures

O taking pictures

On top of the excellent trip to the beach, there was some actual finished knitting. No, really. Duck from Knitty, done up in some Socks That Rock in an orange colorway the label for which I lost ages ago. Not Sun Drops, though, that much i know for sure.

duck booties

duck booties

We tried to get the cat to sit still and have his picture taken with them on. This is about as still as Looshkin gets when being held, though:

Looshkin has no appreciation for knitting

Looshkin has no appreciation for knitting

Gir, though, was much more cooperative, though he had to be held, since the booties are slippery and his feet wouldn’t stay under him.

Gir, as duck

Gir rockin' the duck socks

And on top of all that, there was some much needed time away spent with excellent friends, and tons of tasty food. TONS. Seriously. Cake, two different kinds of bread, soup made from the leeks in the garden, spinach pie, and the leek flower buds grilled with some olive oil and salt, plus lots of really good coffee and tasty cinnamon buns. I was skeptical of that one, but ZOMG. So good. Seriously.

Waffles. It’s what’s for dinner.

Lemon ricotta waffles with orange flower water whipped cream and lingon berry preserves. Inspired by some incredibly tasty lemon ricotta pancakes from the little cafe in the Third Place Books in Ravenna.

Lemon Ricotta Waffles
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • zest of two lemons
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • ⅓ cup ricotta
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  1. Heat up your waffle iron.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and set it aside for a moment.
  4. In a large measuring cup or another bowl, beat together the lemon zest, egg yolks, milk, ricotta, lemon extract, and butter.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients gently into the dry ingredients until just blended.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold them into the batter.
  7. My waffle iron seems to be happiest with about ⅓ cup of batter, and I found that with these I needed to turn the heat down a bit or they got really hard and crunchy. YMMV.
*I always keep a giant Ball jar full of sugar with 3-4 vanilla beans in it. I’m thoroughly addicted to vanilla sugar, so when the jar is about half empty, I refill it, and then roll the jar around for a few minutes to mix the new sugar in with the old. Plain sugar works juuuuuust fine in this recipe too, but if you use plain sugar, you might want to add ½ tsp or so of vanilla with the wet ingredients.

Variations on the Theme
Almond – you could skip the lemon zest and the lemon extract, and use a tsp of almond extract instead. Or go all out and add a tablespoon or two of almond paste, too.

Plain – skip the lemon extract and zest, use 1 tsp of vanilla instead.

Orange – substitute orange zest and extract for the lemon.

Matcha and/or wasabi – I’m really only sort of kidding on this one. A bit of both (or either), powdered, in with the dry ingredients could be really interesting. Definitely not to be served with whipped cream and/or syrup, but the right savory topping?

Cocoa – substitute up to ⅓ cup of the flour with cocoa powder or sweet ground chocolate. If you use unsweetened cocoa, add more sugar (1/3 cup? ¼?), the sweet ground chocolate wouldn’t need any additional sugar.


mmmmm, waffles

mmmmm, waffles

semi-clean plate

they were tasty


Further adventures in weird pickles

Happy mother’s day, y’all!

A trip to the U-district farmers market yesterday netted me some local artisan cheese (duh), some AMAZING carrots*, two Autumn Gold raspberry plants (I’ve only been looking for those for a month now), some farro, some farro/rye/flax hot cereal mix, some crazy Japanese cabbagey thing the name of which escapes me, but which was like baby bok-choy crossed with spinach, and which was damn tasty last night, and some fiddlehead ferns.

Some friends and I had gone to Sutra on Friday night, and one of the courses featured pickled fiddleheads. SO. GOOD. (everything, really, but especially the pickled fiddleheads) When I saw them at the foraged stuff booth at the farmers market, I had to get some and try pickling them. Had to.

They had them both cleaned and uncleaned. I should have popped for the cleaned ones – cleaning them is a pain in the arse. Seriously. That extra few bucks per pound for cleaning? Worth it. Trust me.

First rinse of the fiddleheads

fiddleheads, rinse round 1

Second rinse of the fiddleheads, with water drop

fiddleheads, rinse round 2

After much tedious cleaning, and three rinses, this is what I was left with:


fiddleheads, mostly cleanish

Trimmed, and packed in the jars:


fiddleheads, packed and ready

And, of course, I don’t have a picture of the finished product. Not, mind you, out of sheer laziness, but because I couldn’t get a decent picture of them. The lighting in here failed me. They’ve got to sit for a week or two, and if they’re tasty, I’ll post the recipe. Probably. I am lazy, dontchaknow.

In other weekend pictures, there was a spectacular sundog visible from the deck this afternoon (and yes, speaking of lazy, I was too lazy to get up and get a shot of the whole thing. You only get half.):


sundog, as seen from my deck chair

*Remember what fresh carrots tasted like when you were a kid? That deep, complex, sweet, earthy flavor that hasn’t been found in store-bought carrots in decades? Yeah, these carrots had that and then some. I should have gotten more of them.

Twas a dark and stormy night. With cake!

Ok, so maybe not particularly stormy.
The weathermen in Seattle LIE. All the time. I swear they have a big Wheel of Weather, and they spin it every morning, giggle, make some shit up, embellish the story a bit, and tell us that’s how it’s going to be. How they keep their jobs is anyone’s guess.
Today’s forecast was clouds, rain, thunderstorms, and a high of 56ish. What we actually got was blindingly bright skies, puffy clouds, really strong wind, and a high of about 48. So close, guys! Thanks for playing!

What does a dark, stormy (or not) night need? Cake. (also savory waffles, but that is a recipe for another day – google it if you can’t wait) It also appears to need at least three trips to the grocery store. Cake is a home improvement project, right?

Tonight I got crazy and made not just the red velvet cupcakes I’d promised to some coworkers and the coworkers of a friend who works four floors down from me, but a second cake. For breakfast. Mmmm. Cake.

mmmm, cake!

I love red velvet cake. I don’t know why. I have a quart bottle of red food coloring in my cupboard. It’s about half empty at this point, and I bought it… um… recentlyish. (I also love Cash & Carry. Gallon jugs of food coloring! 50lb bags of cake flour!* Giant bags of lemons!)

I love how the batter looks, especially through the lens of a digital camera, like a bucket of blood.

blood or cake batter?

Recipe is from, well, the sticky piece of paper on my counter. Cobbled together from a variety of internet sources, mostly Pinch My Salt.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Cobbled together from a variety of internet sources, mostly Pinch My Salt. Makes 24 regular size cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp red food coloring
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • For the Frosting:
  • 16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (one stick), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted if you’re feeling ambitious
  • pinch of salt
  1. Cakes:
  2. – Preheat oven to 350 F. Line either 2 12-cup muffin pans, 2 24-cup mini muffin pans, or 1 12-cup muffin pan and 1 24-cup mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. (again, Cash & Carry – 500 of them for less than $3)
  3. – Mix the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Feel free to sift it if you’re so inclined. I rarely am. Set the flour mixture aside.
  4. – In a ramekin or other small bowl, mix cocoa powder, vanilla, and food coloring into a paste. It will be thick, but make sure it’s smooth. Set aside.
  5. – In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar together until light and very fluffy, 3-5 minutes or so. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions, and scraping down the sides each time. Beat in the red cocoa vanilla paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.
  6. – Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk – ⅓ of the flour, then ½ of the buttermilk, then ⅓ of the flour, then the last of the buttermilk, then the last of the flour. Scrape down the bowl between additions, and mix each addition in completely before adding the next.
  7. – Do some science to it! In a small ramekin, mix vinegar and baking soda together. When it’s done being fizzy, add it to the batter and stir well with the spatula to combine.
  8. – Fill the prepared cupcake cups ⅔ – ¾ full – I use a medium-sized cookie dough/ice cream scoop and a very small one to fill the cups evenly with minimal mess (which is key when you’re working with BRIGHT RED batter). Bake 20 minutes or so for the big ones and 17-18 minutes for the little ones. Check them early and often, as they’ll go from perfect to totally overdone awfully quickly.
  9. – Cool on a wire rack, and make sure they’re completely cool before you attempt to frost them. Frost with swirls of cream cheese icing. (I put them in the box and then frost them. I use an Ateco 825 tip for the big ones, and either of two Wilton tips for the small ones and either a disposable pastry bag or a gallon size zip lock bag, which is muuuuuuch easier than picking each one up and spreading frosting on with a knife or a spatula. Also? Looks all fancified.)
  10. Frosting:
  11. Cream the butter and the cream cheese together until smooth.
  12. Add the salt.
  13. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it’s all mixed in, then add the vanilla.
  14. Beat until light and fluffy, adding more powdered sugar if necessary. (I ended up using almost 3 cups this time around, and I’m not entirely sure why it needed that much)
  15. Use immediately, or refrigerate until needed. If you do refrigerate it, though, you’ll need to allow it to come up to room temperature and rebeat it a bit before using it.
You can substitute 2 cups of all-purpose flour for the 2¼ cups of cake flour, and ¾ cup of yogurt plus ¼ cup milk for the buttermilk (or so I’ve heard – I haven’t actually tried that one – the flour I go back and forth on, depending on what I have on hand, so I know that works).

*Yes, 50lb bags of cake flour. When you consider the cost of the wee bitty box (2lb?) of cake flour at the grocery store, which I think was around $5 the last time I bought one, the $15 for the 50lb bag seems staggeringly cheap. Especially if you go through quite a lot of it. A big rubbermaid tub with a good seal, and it will keep for AGES.

Few things are more satisfying

Than the THUNK! of a canning jar sealing itself. A close second is the sound of the vacuum being broken when you open a jar of summery goodness in the dead of winter.

I realized about two weeks ago that I was, of all things, completely out of jam. COMPLETELY out. IPE! Panic! Panic!

So, now my kitchen counter is covered in jars, and The Jam Shelves are no longer naked. See?




This morning it was apricot, strawberry, and strawberry/apricot to add to The Jam Shelves. Last week it was bing cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and loganberry/raspberry, along with watermelon rind pickles and bing cherries in wine.

The two bigger jars at the front are pickles from my friend Elana. She? Is a kitchen GODDESS. Seriously. She makes the best pickles in all the land. And wicked good feta. Just how over-the-top amazing are her pickles? Aside from being unbelievably tasty, they are guffaw-inducingly named, and, I kid you not, sometimes cut into little shapes before being stuffed in the jar. Enclicken the pic to embiggen that sucker and look at the beets. Seriously. Look closely.
Toldja. WAY cooler than I’ll ever be. Girl crush!

Edit: I’ve just noticed that the pics in this post look all jacked up in Firefox. I have NO idea why (it could just be this computer, but in IE they look much more like the originals, but even there they’re darker). Who knows.