Sham or scam – it’s a pigless ham

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Here’s one of the most ridiculously easy and delicious seitan recipes you’re ever going to find. With the investment of just a couple dollars for ingredients and a little more than 2 hours of your time (most of which will be spent watching Netflix while the sham/scam bakes), you’ll end up with a beauty of a faux ham that easily serves 4-5 people.

I had my sham/scam for dinner with sauerkraut and potatoes because I was feeling exuberantly German one night. The next night, still feeling all Teutonic, the sham/scam accompanied a pea soup (recipe to follow).

This recipe, created by Courtney Oliverez, is pretty forgiving and flexible. If you want to substitute in different spices or sweeteners go for it. Just do not play around with the cooking time or temperature or the amount of vital wheat gluten.

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Ingredients

Mix in a blender

14 oz can beets, juice and all (not pickled beets)

½ cup water

3-4 Tbsp brown sugar (I find 3 tablespoons is plenty but if you think you want it sweeter, go for the full 4 tablespoons). You could also try maple syrup for a deeper flavour. I haven’t done this yet.

¼ cup olive oil (or peanut oil)

3 Tbsp liquid smoke (yes, that seems like a lot but trust me on this).

2 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp garlic powder (or as I discovered, 1 Tbsp garlic powder and one clove garlic work too)

3 Tbsp miso (either red or white)

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp sea or kosher salt (Measure this. With the amount of miso already in this recipe, your sham/scam can end up pretty salty very quickly if you over do the salt)

½ to 1 tsp pepper (preferrably white)

Mix in a large bowl

2 cups vital wheat gluten

¼ cup chickpea flour, almond flour or regular flour

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Directions

Pour the blender ingredients into the bowl of flour. Combine everything with a spoon or your hands (I use my hands). You will end up with a very unappetizing pink and brain-like bowl of goop. Oh boy!

sham mix (2)

The unappetizing brain-like dough. 

Let this mix stand for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325F.

After 15 minutes, lay a large sheet of heavy duty tin foil out on your counter. Place the dough mix on the foil and shape into an oval loaf. Wrap the dough thoroughly and tightly but leaving a bit of room for the dough to expand. I like to double wrap my seitan, and if you’re not using heavy duty foil, I strongly recommend you double wrap, making sure all the seams are sealed.**

At this point I like to “burp the baby”. Pat and smack the dough to help spank out air bubbles because you do not want an airy, bready loaf.

Place the wrapped dough on a sheet and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool. Seitan is always best if it’s allowed to cool for a minimum of 8 hours in the fridge, but I have to be honest, I almost always eat a slice of sham/scam as soon as it’s cool enough to handle because it’s that good

Out of the oven

Here’s my sham/scam right out of the oven and unwrapped — a fragrant thing of dubious beauty!

** What’s with all the security?? Seitan can explode in the oven if it’s not wrapped well. By the way, that is not my photo; I haven’t experienced the seitanic explosion yet.

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A seitanic explosion caused by poorly wrapped dough. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

 

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Viking Mounds – the beeting heart of deliciousness

vikingmound3I call these open-faced sandwiches Viking Mounds because they remind me of those mysterious burial mounds found all over Britain, which once sliced into reveal hordes of buried treasure. The ingredients also make me think of what I imagine compassionate Scandinavians eat – sauerkraut, pickles, cucumbers, beets, crisp and mustardy tofu and grainy bread.

This recipe makes 3 mounds hearty enough for any Viking!

Ingredients

The tofu and sauce

12 oz package tofu – dried and cut into slices of even thickness

2 Tbsp agave

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I use seedy mustard)

2 Tbsp olive oil

The sauce

2 dill pickles minced

1 Tbsp brine from the dill pickles

2-3 green onions sliced (or ¼ of an onion diced)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dried dill)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

¼ tsp ground pepper

The rest of the sandwich

3 medium beets, boiled and skins removed, sliced into coins.

¾ cup sauerkraut (try to find unpasteurized sauerkraut; it’s higher in probiotics and better for your gut health

About 8” of cucumber sliced into coins (I use an English cucumber so it doesn’t need to be peeled)

3 slices of whole grain or bread or pitas or similar sturdy bread

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Directions

Heat the olive oil, agave and Dijon mustard in a large frying pan, and stir together to blend. Fry the tofu in this mixture on medium heat until just golden and then flip. Turn the heat off and allow the tofu to remain warm.

Make the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or cup.

Assemble the sandwiches.

Place ¼ cup sauerkraut on top of a slice of bread. Add one third of the cucumber slices on top then one third of the beet slices. Add one third of the fried tofu and cover with one third of the sauce.

Dig in!!

 

Beet, quinoa and kale salad

BeetKaleQuinoaSalad

I love the Thug Kitchen cookbook but, like all cookbooks, I find they are often unnecessarily labour intensive. I guess I’m a lazy-ass thug.

Here’s my lazy version of their beet and quinoa salad.

Ingredients

4-5 medium beets

2 cups kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

½ cup uncooked quinoa

Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)

2 green onions washed and sliced

2 clementine oranges peeled and segmented (optional)

2 Tbsp fresh dill or fresh parsley

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste (I used about ¼ tsp each)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

TIP: I recommend cooking the beets and quinoa the day before so they are nice and cool. If you put hot quinoa or beets on the kale, it’ll wilt.

Cook the quinoa by rinsing it in a mesh strainer and then putting it in a pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer covered with a lid for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

How to peel and cook beets easily

Slice the tops and bottoms off the beets. Place them in a pot with just enough water to cover them. Bring them to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes. A fork will go in easily when they are cooked. Remove the beets from the heat and drain the water. Cover with cold water and let the beets sit for a few minutes. You want the beets to be cool enough to handle.

If you’re making the beets the night before, just drain off the water, put the lid on the pot and put the pot in the fridge.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove from the water and slip off the skins with your fingers. Slice the beets and place in a large bowl.

Add the quinoa, kale, green onions, parsley and/or dill and clementines, if using, to the bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard and toss everything together. Serve up and enjoy!

Borscht with cashew cream

Borscht

This is a winter soup that always makes me feel nourished and well loved. Traditionally borscht, a beet-based soup, is eaten with sour cream. When the two are stirred together, the borscht turns a glorious, creamy fuchsia. The cashew cream has the same effect and adds protein and healthy fat (there is no fat in borscht) to this nutritionally potent soup. Borscht is extremely easy to make and lasts for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients for the borscht

4 medium sized beets – peeled and cubed. You should end up with 3 cups of beets.

1 medium carrot, washed and chopped.

1 onion diced

1 19oz can diced tomatoes

½ head cabbage shredded (about 3 cups). I often use red cabbage for an extra vibrant borscht, but today I only had a Chinese cabbage so that is what went in.

4 cups vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon raw sugar (white sugar is not vegan)

1 tablespoon white vinegar (or use cider vinegar if that’s what you have).

Directions

In a large pot combine the onion, carrot, beets, bay leaf, broth, salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the cabbage and return to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 40 minutes.

This recipe makes 6 large servings.

For the cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashew pieces – soaked in water in the fridge for 2-8 hours and then drained.

½ to ¾ cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days. This recipe makes about 1 cup of cream.