Title: Veganize This!
Author: Jenn Shagrin
248 pages; Softcover $19.00 US/$24.00 CAN
Publisher: DaCapo/Lifelong Books, Cambridge MA, 2010
Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek, March, 2011
Once you understand what "seitan" is, you'll be
all set to Veganize This!
Jenn Shagrin puts it all into
perspective with Veganize This!, her new book. First she
gets us ready by helping organize a pantry with essential
ingredients and alternatives for meatless and animal free
cooking. Once past the pantry stage, she shows us the most
important ingredient to her book. If you don't have a good
recipe for seitan and know how to season and cook it, you won't
have a good end result. So what she says is true. Look at an
example of fish, if it isn't fresh but frozen it won't taste as
good and be satisfying. Yes, the recipe for seitan is very, very
Jenn has done a good job with her faux
meats, or wheat meat as it's sometimes called. She has recipes
and cooking broths for chicken, beef, pork, turkey, ham and veal
seitan. Oh, by the way, seitan is a spongy food product made from
wheat protein, vital wheat gluten. Gluten turns into seitan only
after being cooked in soy sauce or a flavored animal free broth.
It becomes firm during the cooking and even firmer as it
continues to cook. It has a very high nutritional value.
You can make just about anything you like using her recipes.
The cover of the book says from Surf and Turf to Ice Cream Pie
and you'd better believe it! How does Lemon-Artichoke Cavatelli
in a Heirloom Tomato-Cream Vinaigrette with English Peas and
Vegan Prosciutto sound? I just had to try the all-American
favorite: a hamburger. This was totally different from what I
thought it would be, it was called Faux Chicken Coconut-Basil
Burgers with Cilantro-Mint Chutney. The chutney was just like
any chutney in the way it was made with the exception of soy
yougurt; I added the optional Jalapeņo for more heat. For the
burgers, a required batch of Chicken-style Seitan was made. I
cooked and added coconut milk, lime juice, cornstarch, Thai red
curry paste, flax seed eggs ( a separate recipe) wheat germ,
panko breadcrumbs and sea salt to the faux chicken.
I pan fried them, put them on a warm bun with lettuce tomato,
onion and the chutney---wow---what flavor and not bad at all! By
the way, there is a recipe for a traditional faux "beef" burger
Bottom line is that I learned quite a bit about
seitan and how important a good recipe is. Once you have the
recipe you can do just about anything as Jenn shows us in her
book---good job Jenn!
Coconut-Basil Burgers with Cilantro-Mint Chutney
Makes 6 large or 8 small burger patties
1 ( 1 - inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
green onions, white and green parts, chopped into large
1 cup fresh mint
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt
1 jalapeno, stemmed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
First, prepare the chutney: Take your
handy-dandy food processor (or blender if you don't have one),
start the machine running, and drop in the ginger. Once the
ginger is coarsely chopped, turn off the machine and scrape down
the sides. Add the rest of the chutney ingredients and blend
well, scraping down the sides once more for good measure.
Next, make the burgers: Take your chicken-style seitan,
drain it as well as possible, then grind well in a food
processor. Set aside.
Faux Chicken Coconut-Basil Burgers
1 1/2 batches Chicken-Style Seitan (page 5)
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
Zest of 1 lime (see
page 37 for how to zest a lime)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2
tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
cup chopped fresh basil (sweet basil works really well!)
flaxseed eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 2
tablespoons water; see page 29 for how to prepare)
toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup vegan panko-style bread crumbs
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt (let your taste buds do the talking)
6 to 8 Rudi's Organic Bakery White Hamburger Buns
the coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, and the cornstarch
mixture in a 10-inch skillet. Bring to a simmer. Continue
cooking with some occasional stirring until the mixture is
reduced to 2/3 cup. This takes 15 to 20 minutes. Add the red
curry paste to the reduced liquid and stir until well blended.
Transfer the contents of the skillet to a small bowl, and set
aside to cool completely.
If you're using a grill, start
heating it up now.
Once the coconut milk mixture has
cooled to room temperature, combine it in a large bowl with the
chicken, basil, flaxseed eggs, wheat germ, panko, and salt. (You
may need to add a little more wheat germ or flaxseed egg to help
the patties form. It doesn't affect the flavor much, so use your
own discretion.) Form into thin patties, place one sheet of foil
on each side of each patty, and place on the grill top. Cook for
4 to 5 minutes per side until golden brown and warmed through.
You can also cook these under the broiler, flipping once
during cooking, or give a skillet a little grease down and get
those babies golden brown.
Put these bad boys on a bun
with some of that deliciouschutney and whatever else tickles
Basic Burgers: To make just a plain ole
American hamburger, follow the instructions for Vegan Meatballs
on page 11, but instead form the mixture into patties. Cook as
instructed above for the Faux Chicken Coconut-Basil Burgers, or
follow the oven-baking directions for the Vegan Meatballs.