Now to the FOOD
This week marks the beginning of football season and the end of the tennis Grand Slams, so it’s a happy yet bittersweet time. For the final day of a Grand Slam Tournament our household usually prepares a caloric showdown (so we will not be able to actually leave the couch and play one single game of tennis) that is inspired by the host country’s food. So I began my quick internet search for the quintessential cuisine from the states and what emerged was a decadent celebration of spuds to compliment your suds =>Philly Cheese Steaks meet Tater Tots!
Objective #1 The Meetie Element Fake Yumms
1 1/2 cups cold veggie beef broth (I used 2 1/2 TBS vegetarian beef broth powder mixed with water)*
2 cloves garlic minced
3 TBS liquid aminos
1 TBS oil
3 TBS tomato paste
1 3/4 c vital wheat gluten
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c chickpea flour
1 TBS fresh ground pepper
oil and garlic powder as needed for pan frying
1) Combine the veggie beef broth through the tomato paste (preferably in a glass pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring) and in a bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
2) Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the veggie beef broth into the well. Using a rubber spatula combine the wet and the dry until all the broth is absorbed by the flour mixture.
3) Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and then let it rest for 10 minutes.
4) Divide into 4 pieces, shape them (since I wanted to slice it into strips I made the loaves round with a flat top and bottom).
5) Wrap by taking a 12 inch piece of foil and coating it with oil. Lay the wheat gluten loaf in the middle. Fold the opposing sides over the loaf, leaving room for it to expand and finish by folding the other 2 sides of the foil toward each other, again leaving room for expansion.
6) Set up a steamer, and steam for 30 minutes. The seitan should be ready when it is firm to the touch if not continue steaming for another 5 minutes and check again.
7) When it has completed cooking take the foil packets out and let cool to room temperature (leave the seitan in the foil as it cools).
8) Take one loaf and slice into 1/8 inch slices. Add oil (1-2 tsp) to a skillet style pan and heat over medium heat. Add the sliced Yumms and sprinkle with garlic powder. Fry until they start to get a little color (about a minute) and turn over to crisp up other side (for about 30 seconds more). Repeat with all the remaining slices. *important: you don’t want to overcook or the seitan will be less Yumms and more chewy hard pieces.
9) After they have cooled cut into bite size pieces.
Objective #2 The Potato Party
While preparing the veggie team and the cheese sauce, throw these in the oven and bake according to the directions on the package. I like to make sure they are extra crispy since I am going to be drowning them with cheesy goodness.
Objective #3 Liquid Gold Phase
In my search for the ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ cheese steaks sometimes a cheese sauce was involved, sometimes just provolone cheese made an appearance. I wanted to be correct so I decided to include both. I am using a cheese sauce recipe I found from Lucinda Scala Quinn via Martha Stewart but you could probably use cheese whiz. (Maybe at a later date I will attempt a vegan version and call it Geeze Whiz.)
1-12oz can of evaporated milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lb mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1) Heat milk over high heat until bubbly, add mustard and reduce heat (medium low).
2) Add cheese by the handful, whisking until each portion has melted. Continue with the rest of the cheese and keep on low until the veggies are ready.
*This makes WAY more cheese sauce than you will need but I bet you can find plenty of ways to utilize the surplus.
Objective #4 The Veggie Team
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 TBS oil
1) Place oil in a skillet and heat on medium high until hot enough to sizzle when veggies are placed in pan (you can determine by placing a piece of onion or green pepper in the pan).
2) Add veggies to the pan with a pinch of salt and sauté until they begin to color, approx 10 minutes.
3) Turn the heat off and add about 1 cup of the cheese sauce to the veggies and mix.
Objective #5 Assembly
Gather all the ingredients from the previous steps plus:
1 cup grated provolone cheese
1) When the tater tots are done sprinkle them with the grated cheese (used for both delish factor and as a barrier so the tots don’t get too mushy from everything else that is going on).
2) Add the Fake yumms pieces and generously coat the tots with the cheese sauce mixture.
Now you have created a gut busting celebration of American food worthy of your Saturday and Sunday couching through football season.