I love the Food Network show Chopped. Lately, I’ve been purchasing one ingredient-X food product during my weekly grocery shopping jaunts. I want to play in the kitchen. I don’t want to be reminded that I’m getting dinner on the table every night of the week. So I do things that will incite me into cooking, like pretending that I’m a contestant on Chopped–where contestants are given unfamiliar, difficult , or plain ridiculous ingredients (like smoked oysters and cheese spread ). Chef contestants are under time pressure to cook a “Five-Star-worthy,” exceptionally creative dish.
My most recent “Chopped” play-time-in-the-kitchen was with Seitan. This ingredient-X wasn’t new to me (although I had never eaten it). I usually don’t buy it because it’s made from wheat gluten, and I have a son with autism (many parents of autistic children avoid wheat gluten in their child’s diet). However, our son was asleep and my husband and I were craving a late-night dinner. Something light. I decided it was time to “do a Chopped dinner” (as my husband calls it). Here’s what I did:
I consulted Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and found the entry on seitan, which is made from high-protein wheat flour, water, flavorings, soy sauce, and Kombu, a mineral-rich sea vegetable. I didn’t want a recipe. I wanted a concept.
My “Chopped” Basket
My Chopped-style basket ingredients were seitan, organic lettuce mix, roasted red peppers, and Asian barbeque sauce. Not very intimidating or difficult ingredients, except for the unfamiliar seitan.
The seitan salad turned out to be attractive, I thought, and especially with the addition of toasted sesame seeds.
The salad was pretty delicious. Here are the ingredients if you’d like to replicate this dish: