Friday, August 7, 2015

Cook: Seitan Asada Cheesesteak Burrito

I came to the realization, when I published my version of a Tofu Asada Burrito two weeks ago, that my original goal of recreating the vegan cheesesteak burrito at Cantina Dos Sequndos had been completely bastardized. Gone was the "cheese," replaced by only kind words and good intentions. The steak became tofu, or as I like to call it the meat eater's vegetarian whipping boy, which won't fool anybody because it is a completely different texture and color. And the mushroom ketchup became salsa. I figured a rectification was in store for at least two of the three changes (mushroom ketchup, I can't go there right now, but I did find some Tabasco ketchup that I splattered on top). So I set out to make the burrito again. 

I'm not keen on seitan, especially when it is paired with a glutenous bread, as it completely terrorizes my stomach. But I had great success years ago using it as steak in mustard sauce, so I used it here. I told myself that the steak would be piled much lower than an actual steak burrito so it probably wouldn't do too much harm. I used Post Punk Kitchen's basic seitan recipe to make it. For the vegan cheese, I used my favorite cashew goat cheese recipe that came from an old Vegetarian Times article. I was very pleased with the results. I have enough cheese leftover that I might just give this asada thing a third go round, this time using portobello instead of seitan. Stay tuned.

*PS: I apologize for the picture. I was too hungry and with child to pose the final product in a slightly fancier setting.

Seitan Asada "Cheesesteak" Burrito (inspired by Cantina Dos Segundos)
(printable version)

For the seitan asada:
 -one pound of seitan, thinly sliced
 -juice of three limes
 -1 Tbs. olive oil
 -2 cloves garlic, finely minced
 -1/3 onion, diced
 -1/2 tsp. cumin
 -1/2 tsp. paprika
 -1/2 tsp. oregano
 -1/4 tsp. coriander
 -1 tsp. garlic salt
 -fresh pepper (to taste)

 For the caramelized chipotle onions (adapted from Closet Cooking):
 -1 Tbs. olive oil
 -1 large onion, small dice
 -1 chipotle in adobo sauce
 -1 Tbs. brown sugar
 -1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
 -1/2 cup water  

For the vegan goat cheese (adapted from a Vegetarian Times Recipe):
-3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
-6 Tbs. olive oil
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 Tbs. Tahini
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns

For the burrito:
-yucca fries
-salsa/spicy ketchup

1. Make the marinade by mixing the lime, olive oil and spices together in a sturdy container. Add in the thinly sliced seitan pieces and coat them evenly. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least a day (this time around I marinated for two days).

2. To make the cheese: rinse the cashews under cold water (remember, they should have already been soaked overnight). Place in a food processor along with the olive oil, lemon juice, Tahini, salt and two tablespoons of water. Process for six minutes. Everything should be smooth and creamy. Wrap the cashew mixture in a triple layer of cheesecloth. Tie it tight and allow it to drain (I used a strainer over a bowl) for 12 hours at room temperature. After draining for twelve hours, chill the mixture in the refrigerator.

3. Form the chilled cashew mixture into a log. Rewrap with a cheesecloth and secure the ends by twisting them. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool again. Lay peppercorns onto a plate. Roll the log until sufficiently covered. Chill until you are ready to use it.

4. On the day you plan on making the burritos, start with the onions. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan with a large surface area and lid. Add the onions and the rest of the ingredients into the warm oil. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if necessary. The onions should be nice and caramelized. If they aren't, continue cooking until they are. 

5. While the onions are caramelizing, make the seitan. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high. Once it is hot, add the seitan slices and cook until they are slightly charred on all sides (about ten minutes flipping periodically). A couple notes. The less seitan you put into the pan, the more control you will have over the charring. Also the more marinade that gets into the pan, the longer you will have to cook the seitan for it to brown. I did my seitan in batches and poured just a tiny bit of marinade in with each batch. Set aside when finished.

6. On a warm tortilla, layer a chunk of the cashew cheese, some seitan slices and chipotle onions. Pile the yucca fries, salsa (or ketchup) and lettuce on top. Wrap the burrito, slice it in half and serve. Don't forget to show your toddler the proper way to hold a burrito. Otherwise you'll have a seitan asada covered carpet like we did.