In Between (April Fool’s) Days

Update: I added photos to the concert post. Check them out.

Recap posts, part 2: last week.

Job front is starting to look a little more promising. I suppose that’s all I’ll say about that.

Rachael came into town on Monday evening last week for a short visit. We were going to go out for pizza, but apparently both places that serve serious deep-dish are closed on Mondays, so we hit La Fiesta instead before going to the Brewhaus. We spent Tuesday wandering around downtown, grabbed lunch at Andiamo (whose food is still good, but whose service is slipping a little) and patronized Card*ologist (which yielded awesome magnets, some Onion and sexual euphemism postcards, and the weirdest, funniest book I’ve ever seen) and Prairie Archives (at which I found James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, and a short story collected called Lizard by a woman whose pen name is Banana Yoshimoto. Moroccan mint tea on the side porch was also involved.

I also tried seitan round 2 last week, which turned out fantastic. I tweaked my original recipe (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian), which calls for boiling as the cooking method of choice, and a recipe I found online at Post Punk Kitchen. The Bittman recipe cautions using no more than 1/4 cup of spices in the dough altogether, so instead of using the spices listed in the PPK recipe, I just used a full 1/4 cup of chana masala mix (available at Indo-Pak and some international grocery stores). I changed the PPK recipe’s wet ingredients according to my own tastes and limitations–tamarind concentrate instead of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (which sounded like too much work to make plus extra shopping to get the necessary ingredients, and I thought tamarind would accent the masala. Besides, neither of these are things most people having lying around–I thought balsamic vinegar, especially flavored balsamic, would also work well), tomato puree instead of tomato paste (didn’t have any), regular soy sauce instead of tamari (which is easy to find, but I didn’t have that either). I also added 2/3 tablespoon of chili powder for some extra kick. My seitan is not for the faint of tastebuds.

Anyway, I ended up with a really moist dough, which was completely opposite of the rubbery stuff I got on my first attempt (using just vital gluten flour and water). I was glad to be baking it, or else it would have fallen apart. After baking, I had a beautiful, slice-able log of seitan.

If I slice it thick, I can pan-fry it in a little oil like sausage patties or, like I ended up trying this week, break the slices into bits, fry them, and put them in pasta or crumble them over salad. It was actually almost better pan-fried–crispy and frankly, pretty meaty-tasting. I could probably shape the crumbles and put them in a “meat” sauce or casserole, but I’m still wondering if the baked seitan is going to hold up during stir-frying. Any suggestions or experience would be appreciated.

Still to come this week, probably tomorrow: recap on last weekend. Then I’ll pretty much be up to speed and start talking about this week or something. I still need to do a photo post with a random collection of things from the last few months; we’ll see if I get around to that.

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About Chelsea
I'm currently pursuing my MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My ideal career path involves using writing, publication, and writing education to enact progressive social change.

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