Whole Foods Market.
During an excursion to Ann Arbor this weekend I had my first Whole Foods Market experience. Oh, my. Ohmyohmyohmy. Fellow Traveler said that I appeared to go into shock upon entrance, and stayed that way most of the visit. I forgot half the things I'd wanted to buy there. The produce...the meat and fish and poultry...the various deli islands...the shelf merchandise...the cheese...the cheese!...
And semi-dittos for the Trader Joe's just down the street. What a fun place to shop...and great prices.
Some days it is so frustrating to be stuck here in the white-bread-and-bologna region of the state -- it's not really about cost of food, by the way, but rather local culture -- where the chances of either a Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's ever locating here are about equal to the chances of unicorns being discovered in the state forest. I keep telling myself that at least I have access to a friendly, fairly comprehensive, reasonably priced food cooperative 45 miles away...but still...
Anyway, I was feeling inspired today after work, so I made myself a vegan supper, courtesy of ingredients from my humble coop -- Tofutti faux sour cream, which is one of the few soy analog foods that I think is just as good as the real thing, and seitan, a traditional Chinese food made from wheat gluten -- if you kneaded flour for a long time under running water until all the bran and starchy stuff sloughed off, you'd wind up with seitan. Seitan, like tofu, is useful in that it's quite bland and absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook with it; unlike tofu it has a pleasant chewiness. And this is what I made, with contact-grilled asparagus (pre-rolled in olive oil and kosher salt) on the side:
4 oz. Tofutti sour cream
1/4 cup water
1 tsp boullion (I used Better Than Boullion mushroom base, a very handy substance to have in the fridge to perk up soups and sauces -- it's a little spendy but lasts forever)
1 TBS flour
a good grind of pepper
Mix all of this together and set aside.
Meanwhile, sautee in a little oil until soft:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 8 oz package seitan, chunked (a few splashes of tamari soy sauce makes it taste a bit more meaty and substantial)
Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft. Add the sour cream sauce to mixture. Simmer for another 5 or 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve over whole wheat noodles.
Now, if you like steak the way I do, you are never going to mistake meatless stroganoff for the original...but this was pretty good. The Codeman, who is a fairly adventurous eater for a dog, would have none of the seitan, but he did lick all the Tofutti sauce off.