Monday, April 9, 2007

Serving Seiten

Last week, a devastating howl was heard across the ranch. It sounded like Chewbacca had tripped into one of the gopher traps. But, no, that wasn't it.
Santa Barbara's Italian Greek Market is closing April 14, to be replaced by a Verizon store. Their gyros are considered an essential fortification for some here at the ranch, inspiring the aspiritual to enter a state of tracelike meditation.
Yes, the man will miss his gyros.
What's a vegetarian ranch cook to do?
I summon on the powers of seiten.
Seiten is cooked wheat gluten. What makes seiten a boon for veg cooks is that it has a meatier consistency than tofu or tempeh, and so it's easily used as a vegetarian meat substitute. And yes, it tastes like chicken...if you do want it to. If you've ever visited Shang Hai and enjoyed their vegetarian sweet and sour "chicken"—I hate those annoying quotes to say "chicken"—or their Mongolian "beef," you've had seiten. It can be seasoned to mimic all sorts of meaty flavors. I've been making some pretty good Italian sausage with seiten lately, a variation of the Post Punk Kitchen's Recipe o' Greatness. Sausages are an easy vegetarianable food, since after all, how much does sausage really taste like meat? It's the spices that make a good sausage good. And really, what's a gyro but a giant sausage, sliced and grilled?
The challenge in making seiten gyros will be that I haven't tasted gyros for over twenty years, so I expect a lot of trial and error in my quest for the perfect seitenic gyro.

Meanwhile, the owners of the Italian Greek Market, who also own the building, will be collecting $35,000 a MONTH in rent from the Verizon store. Does anyone else wonder why a phone company needs a high-rent storefront? $35,000 is a lot of text messages. Remember when phone calls cost a dime and you could still find independent businesses on State Street?


George said...

A seitenic gyro! Call the Exorcist!

Queen Whackamole said...

And tell him to bring some yogurt and cucumber!

George said...

The gyro will bring the pea soup.

Marty said...

I'm just finally glad not to have to look at James Imhofe's name first thing when I click this link ; ). Really, I'm imagining how many times you'll get to channel the church lady while you're cookin'.

Queen Whackamole said...

So true... it's just impossible not to!