I Didn’t Always Heart Baby Cows – There, I Said It

Often times I reminisce (I reminisce) about some of my fav, proto-weirdo foodstuffs. As an ardent vegetarian (ok, vegan if you must) I am both confident in the veracity of the following statement, while simultaneously feel utterly ashamed and out-right disgusted by it’s claim: I am the only veg-head in existence whose favorite meal of all time… is veal and peas. And it is entirely Francesca’s doing.

So last night to commemorate the days of blissful ignorance, I decided to make a veganized version of this principal plate of the peasantry.

(Note: I didn’t have enough peas in the garden, so I subbed another backyard staple in its stead – sweet green peppers).

Recipe after bounce


Roasted Tomato Gravy

Papa pan
-Queez (aka food processor)
-Cucchia aka “coo-chah(d)” (serving spoon/scraper)

-6 large, seeded, skin-on tomatoes
-4 cloves of garlic
-1 pinch of sea salt (or a few twists of pink Himalayan)
-2 TBS cold-pressed, imported, extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 batch of Frances’ quick gravy (recipe can be found here)

Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Half-core tomatoes, creating a mini-cone at the top end and give them each a good squeeze over compost bin – this will get the seeds out, but be sure to keep the flesh intact. Place tomatoes bottom up in an un-oiled papa pan. Do not add salt or seasoning and allow to slowly roast for about 2.5 hours or until they start to turn a nice burgundy color. When done, scrape all of the roasted tomatoes into queez along with the above remaining ingredients. Whip in to a chunky-purée. Set aside.

Meanwhile, as tomatoes are roasting, prepare seitan veal.

Seitan Veal
(This is a modification of many a mock-meat, care of Vegan Dad)

-1/3 cup of any kind of cooked bean (kidney, negro friole, navy, butter, etc)
-3 squirts bragg’s (liquid amino)
-1 squirt liquid smoke
-1 tsp Gravy Master
-1 1/2 cup of ital (vital wheat gluten)
-1/8 cup nooch (nutritional yeast)
-2 shakes ground sage
-2 shakes cumindo (ground cumin)
-3 twists of pink Himalayan (or 1 tsp sea salt)
-1 cup pipe punch (h2o) in slow increments

Dredging ingredients:
-1/2 cup APF (all purpose flour)
-2 shakes dried basil
-2 shakes dried oregano
-1 TBS nooch (nutritional yeast)

-1/3 cup of olive oil for braising

-Steaming apparatus
-measuring cup (for dry ingredients)
-large metal mixing bowl
-coo-chah(d) (serving spoon/scraper)
-tin foil
-family-style platter

-deep pot-like apparatus for braising “veal”

Seitan Procedure:

Start boiling water for your steaming apparatus.

With a masher (or fork) whip beans in a large mixing bowl along with wet ingredients (sans water) and make a savory, brown slurry (yum). In measuring cup measure ital, nooch and add seasoning. Whisk.

Add the dry to the wet and fold together with cucchia(d). Slowly add water a few drops at a time. The dough should come together but remain quite wet (this allows it to get all stringy and “vealy” aka tender).

Do not use all of the water if not needed. If too wet, sprinkle in a little bit more ital, but don’t over mix or dry it out.

Separate dough in two and hand roll into equally long tubes (each should be about 6-7″ in length). Try to make the edges somewhat flat like a 2×2″ piece of lumber. Wrap each piece in tin foil and re-flatten each side. Twist the ends of foil tightly to avoid seitan ooze.

Place in steamer and allow to steam for about 40 min. More time than this will make for a dryer, less “vealy” experience.

Dredge procedure:
Mix dry dredge ingredients, by hand, on a large, family-style platter. Set aside.

Meanwhile, lets talk about peppers. You can roast your peppers anywhere, outdoor grill or open flame of a stove top. The traditional method requires a brown paper bag, a bowl of water and lots of swearing in Italian. I will save that for another post. I like to cut off the tops, de-seed, hit with olive oil and then burn every side on high under the broiler. Either way…

The Finishers
-6 or 7 good sized sweet green peppers cubanelles
work too) roasted and chopped into 1/2 pieces
-8 baby Bella mushrooms quartered
-1 glass of red wine (Chianti is nice but so is Carlo Rossi merlot)
-lots of fresh chopped parsley

Have all of the above ready..

In a large pot heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil.

When seitan is done steaming, let cool just long enough so it can be peeled from foil and cut into about 1″ thick cubes. Dredge “veal” cubes in flour mix and braise in hot oil, turning until all sides are browned.
Add wine and cook off alcohol.
Add roasted tomato gravy and stir.
Add peppers. Stir. Check for seasoning. Simmer for as long as you have the time – the longer it goes, the richer it gets.
Add optional mushrooms near the end.
Plate atop some nice polenta or all by itself. Garnish with lotsa chopped parsley.


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