Seitanic Majesty

This has been a long term experiment that started back sometime in June. Although the Seitan StewSauerbraten in June was good, it wasn’t great, and I went back to the drawing board. Several of the attempts were positively awful, but at last, this week, I had a batch I was fairly happy with and I ran it past my quality control friends (thanks, Meg & Rachel), who also seemed to approve.
The earliest ve3rsions of this recipe were appropriated from the Post-Punk Kitchen (, which also has a new cookbook out. It took some tweaking to make it my own.


  • 1 cup wheat gluten (available in boxes, but try to get it bulk; it’s cheaper)
  • 3 Tbsps. nutritional (brewers) yeast
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable broth (or fake chicken broth or fake beef broth)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

For the simmering broth: 
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce

Fill a stock pot with the water, broth and soy sauce, cover and bring to a boil.

In the mean time, in a large bowl mix together gluten and yeast.  In a smaller bowl mix together broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Pour the wet into the dry and combine with a wooden spoon until most of the moisture has absorbed and partially clumped up with the dry ingredients. Use your hands and knead for about 3 minutes, until it’s an elastic dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces with a knife and then knead those pieces in your hand just to stretch them out a bit. Let rest until the broth has come to a full boil.

Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the gluten pieces and partially cover pot so that steam can escape. Let simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn the heat off and take the lid off, let sit for 15 minutes.

Remove from broth and place in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. Wrap it in a clean cloth (it will get stained)  and wring out as much of the excess moisture as you can.

Store in refrigerator until needed.

Slice and use as desired.



That’s all folks

French Lentil Soup


I realized that I had not done a proper entree for a while.
I am also coming to realize that the bit of philosophy at the end of my recipes might be the best I produce all week.



  • 1 lb green french lentils (about 2 cups), washed and picked over
  • 2 qts vegetable stock (add more liquid if you like a thinner soup)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs olive oil (olive, canola or peanut)
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 carrots, finely minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium peeled raw sweet potato, chopped or shaved into large bits (it cooks really well if you shave it with a vegetable peeler, but this is time consuming.
  • 1 Tbsp. either fines herbs or Herbes de Provence.
  • Salt to taste

Step1, Low Boil: Put the lentils, stock and bay leaves in a large pot. First, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Let this simmer for an hour or more, like bitter resentment.

Step 2, Low Sauté: We are making a Mirepoix here mirepoix(I like mirepoix; mirepoix are cool). Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot (or pan if you don’t own two pots) over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Stir the mixture until it begins to cook, then turn it to low and let it slowly cook for an hour or so. About 20 minutes before the lentils are ready (or you are), add the sweet potato; about 10 minutes before they are ready, add the garlic.

Step 3, mix it up: Add the lentils to the mirepoix (unless you used a pan, then add the mirepoix to the lentils). This is a good time to fish out the bay leaves.

Step 4, fiddle a little: Add the herbs and more salt to taste, if desired, and cook 15-30 minutes more. Add more things or other things until it seems right.

Step 5, share it with other people around your table: Add some freshly baked bread, maybe some salads, some good cheese, and share it. As always, there may be leftovers for monks, students,

IMG_2025Is this the basis of community? No, not really. It’s not a bad place to start, but this is hospitality. Friendship is when others bring cheese (or wine). Community would involve helping with the fine mincing, or washing & drying the dishes together.

Vegetarian Cottage Pie

Dear Marissa,
How are you? I am fine, as things go. How was the upper mid-west? I hope your Christmas was great, or, at the very least, not terribly stressful.

Cottage PieOur dear Meg has brought it to my attention that you feel I should pass on the recipe for the cottage pie that I baked on that other great holiday, National Talk Like a Pirate Day. This will be difficult, since most stew-type things are largely improvised, left unrecorded, etc., but I will make an attempt. All measurements are estimates.


  • 2 cups TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcester Sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 red wine
  • some olive oil
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • some (to taste, maybe one small) diced potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp imitation beef stock (I have found some really cheap Mexican stuff that doesn’t actually contain beef, but has some good flavor; bullion will work, too)
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 red lentils
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 pastry pie crust or tube of refrigerator biscuits
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I prefer Dubliner or Cabots, both of which are rennet free)
  • 3 cups or so of mashed potatoes
  • hot water as needed

Step 1, Prep the Protein: (nb: this is my standard imitation ground beef recipe. I also use it in chilli, and, with some sage, as the basis for my biscuits and gravy recipe) Mix the TVP, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, Worcester sauce, soy sauce and wine. Add enough boiling water to just cover, stir and set aside to lest the TVP absorb the liquid.

Step 2, frying: in a pot, heat a little oil and add the sliced mushrooms and onion. After they are browned, add the protein mixture and stir fry it a bit. Add the chopped carrots and potatoes.

Step 3, stewing: add water (Wode Toad suggests stout or red wine) to cover, along with the fake beef stock, pearled barley and red lentils. Stir and bring to a bubble, then cover and allow this to simmer for 30 minutes or so, while you prepare the pie shell and mashed potatoes.

Step 4, shelling: of course, you don’t need this. The pie is actually OK without any crust, or, of course, you can actually bake a pastry pie shell. What I did was to buy the extremely flaky tube-biscuits, preheat the oven as directed, butter a pie tin or casserole, and then peal the biscuits as thin as I could and cover (line) the tin, putting them in the oven as directed and baking them until browned.

Step 5, mashing potatoes: my great, great grandmother made mashed potatoes for folks starting the Oregon Trail in Western Pennsylvania. It’s what made this country great.

Stout Vegetable PieStep 6, putting it all together: fill the pie tin with the stew, sprinkle with some sharp cheddar, Top with mashed potatoes, broil the top of the potatoes a bit, and there you go.

I hope this will do, and that it finds you well.
If you think of it, remind our mutual friend that she really could return the dish from the last cottage pie I made her.Dr_-Bear looking left

Your friend,
Dr. Bear