Since I tend to eat a lot of meat on restaurant or review nights, I try to eat healthier at other times, even vegetarian. Last night, for example, we had a spicy enchilada casserole with seitan (we pronounce it “Satan”), rather than with meat. I know that to some, this is downright blasphemous. Well, yeah, right. It was also delicious.
Here’s another “bad.” Pollo en Salsa Barbacoa, from La Cocina de Nathan, who specializes in “Cuban, Spanish, and Mexican cooking, and more.” If that’s not bad enough for you, try the Ga Kho Gung, or chicken braised in caramel sauce with ginger (Nathan occasionally veers off into other cultures). Oh my gosh. One of the great things about Nathan’s blog is that he includes recipes and photos of the cooking process.
As an afterthought, I would like to suggest that it’s time to stop thinking of things like seitan, tofu, and carob as “substitutes” for meat or chocolate. These food products are fine in and of themselves, and should be used in dishes that would benefit from their characteristic tastes, textures and smells. Take carob (Greek: χαρουπιά haroupia; Arabic: خروب kharrūb; Hebrew: חרוב ḥaruv), for instance. It was once thought to have sustained John the Baptist in the desert. Yet a caption in TLC Cooking announces that “Carob is naturally sweeter than cocoa powder, but it can’t compete with the flavor of chocolate.” Enough with the competing already! It’s not chocolate. I recently bought a container of Chatfield’s Carob Powder, which I put into protein smoothies. The taste is rich, dark, and fruity. It might go well–with a little spicy heat added–in a Mexican dish, or a Mediterranean dish combined with tomato sauce and garlic. Think about it.