Time: 30 minutes
I’ve got a few non-recipe things to talk about, so if you’re all “Shut up and make with the recipe!” then by all means, skip the next few paragraphs. But if instead you’re like “Hey, Isa, nice to see you! What have you been up to lately, beautiful?” then read on.
Hi. Here’s the deal:
I’m working on the cookbook of my dreams! I have a brand new publisher and we are going all out for Fall 2013. My first hardcover, full-color, filled with photographs, so gorgeous you’re not going to want to cook with it (but OMG you have to) cookbook. The concept for this book is weeknight cooking from scratch… made easy. The title? “Isa Does It!” I am so excited to be working with Little Brown, who have been around for a measly 175 years and publish some of my all-time favorites books — ones you cook from and those novel things that you just read.
And today, by way of recipe, I want to introduce you to the photographer for my book. Maybe you already know her! She’s one of my favorite vegan food photographers and a girl right in my birthplace of Brooklyn, USA: Vanessa Rees. I’ve loved her stuff ever since the first time I laid eyes on one of her sauce-all-over-the-place shots: her photos tell a story, and I want them to tell mine. She’s shot a recipe of mine before, but today I’ll share a brand new one that I think is a great example of a weeknight saute of simple ingredients that come together to create a delicious dinner in a single pan. That’s what Isa Does It is all about.
Thanks for letting me share this happy moment with you and thank you to everyone whose come along on this delicious ride with me. The Post Punk Kitchen’s 10 year anniversary is coming up and I have lots of great celebratory plans to share. It’s pretty overwhelming to think that a decade has passed, and I’ve gone from a girl about to turn 30 and desperately wanting to do nothing in life but talk about vegan food, to a woman about to turn 40 and so grateful that I actually got there. In order to keep these good things, you gotta’ give them away! So on to the recipe.
Photo ©Vanessa Rees
I got turned on to this combination as a burrito filling when I was cooking in a cafe in Brooklyn, and I’ve been hooked every since! I don’t go too crazy with the spices, instead letting the bright and fresh flavors shine through. Mushrooms, cilantro and lime have an affinity for each other, and the fresh corn adds a wonderful summery pop, while the seared seitan, of course, provides meatiness. But no need to serve in a burrito, I love it over rice with a nice big scoop of guacamole. Oh, and make my margarita salted! A green salsa works well here, too, either storebought or homemade. (There’s a salsa verde in…VWAV, I think? I dunno, one of my books.) Here it’s topped with a chunky pico de gallo.
To cut down on prep time, you can often find shucked corn on the cob at the supermarket. It’s a great shortcut that doesn’t compromise on flavor. If you absolutely must, then frozen corn will work. But really try for the fresh, it’s that time of year! The freshness adds a wonderful snap to the dish that just screams summer. Without the sunburn.
~If you do go for the fresh, it’s easy to get those kernels off quickly and neatly. Place the shucked corn stem-side down in a wide bowl. Hold it steady by the tip top, and use your knife to slice from top to bottom, letting the kernels fall into the bowl. Continue on all four sides and voila! Fresh, delicious corn.
~For time management purposes, prep the corn and mushrooms while the seitan is cooking. Everything should come together in a breezy 30 minutes.
~A wonderful gluten free option would be black beans. Use 1 1/2 cups (a 15 oz can, drained and rinsed) and in that case, you can cut back on the oil by a tablespoon or so because you don’t need the seitan to brown.
~If you want to cut back on the oil anyway, simply omit the second tablespoons and use a little olive oil cooking spray as needed when you add the seitan.
~If your farmer’s market is bursting at the seams with awesome mushrooms (like oyster or trumpet), this dish would be a great way to use them instead of the cremini. (Somewhere a button mushroom just shed one tear.)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium red onion, in thinly sliced half moons
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (seeds removed if you want less heat)
8 oz seitan, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears of corn
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat (cast iron, as always, is ideal.) Saute onion and jalapeno in two teaspoons oil and a pinch of salt, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the seitan and corn, and an additional tablespoon of oil and cook for about 5 minutes, until seitan is lightly browned, stirring often.
Add the mushrooms, cilantro, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Push everything to one side of the pan so that you have space to quickly saute the garlic. Put the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and toss in the garlic, stirring as it sizzles, for about 15 seconds. Then mix everything together and add the lime as well.
Taste for salt and seasonings, and serve over rice, with a nice scoop of guac. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.