Barbecued Seitan Staff Lunch.

Friday was another one of those marathon-type cooking days.  I had to cook a full staff lunch for our wonderful crew, and then turn around and stay to serve a 4-course dinner to a group of out of town guests. 

Let’s start with lunch!  There was so much crazy cooking going on these past few days, I didn’t even really get to take any prep pictures.  But I did get lots of pictures of the final product, which is all that really matters, right?

I designed my menu around a sort of barbecue or picnic theme – starting with coleslaw.

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I made this using a mixture of shredded cabbage, carrot, and kohlrabi – all sliced thinly on a mandolin.

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Added some julienned bell pepper, and a dressing made of veganaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey.

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It turned out really well!  A big hit at the lunch, with many people going back for seconds.

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Next up – potato salad.  I used a recipe from Vegetarian Times for Curried Potato Salad with Toasted Cumin.  To be honest, I didn’t think the original recipe turned out very good.  There was waaaay too much dressing, and something lacking in the flavor.  I added a few extra things, including a few tbsp of agave to brighten the flavors a little and help save the dish. 

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To lighten up traditional potato salad, this recipe used Greek yogurt!

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This ended up being okay, but I probably wouldn’t use that recipe again. 

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Third dish – roasted beets.  I hadn’t planned to make this originally, but the day before our farm guy brought my a HUGE trug of beets, so I did what I do best and thew them onto a roasting pan. 

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These were all different varieties of beets, and the looked so pretty in the bowl together.  The great thing about this job on the farm is how comfortable and familiar I’ve gotten with ingredients that used to be foreign and scary to me.  Prior to June, I had never cooked a beet in my life, and now I know about 20 different ways to cook them,

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And last but not least, the main dish – barbecued seitan.  Each week I am challenged with sharing some facet of healthy vegetarian eating with the farm staff, so I thought this week we could explore meat alternatives. 

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Seitan is a meat-like product made of wheat gluten, and it is by far the most meat-like in texture and appearance than any other substitute.  I don’t eat much of it at home, but I thought I would make it for the staff to show that there are good, hearty meat alternatives. 

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I made a barbecue sauce with ketchup, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, salt, lots of black pepper, and molasses.  Mmmmmmm mmm mmm. 

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One of our farm interns has Celiac Disease, so I made her a side of barbecued tofu because she wouldn’t be able to eat the seitan. 

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I had a few pieces
of both – totally delicious.  Note to self:  make barbecued tofu more often!

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Served along side a plate of whole wheat hamburger buns…

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Hard to say whether or not the seitan was a success.  It is challenging to present healthy vegetarian meals to a group of country farm boys, but so far they have been very nice and open minded.

The rest of my day was spent racing around getting ready for my next event – a prepared and served gourmet feast – all by myself.  Gulp.

Coming up next!