Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I have been doing a little sprouting lately. Yet another activity that is an unknown mystery to many but is in fact is easier than easy. Now, you really must try fresh sprouts. They are nothing like the ones in the store. They are sweet and tasty and more-ish. We do buy greens from the closest place possible over the winter, which is California most of the time, Hotchkiss if we are lucky, but I am still aware that they have been dying for a week before they get to me. And also, if they are from Hotchkiss, they are growing in a heated (read: heated by propane, most likely.. ) greenhouse in Canada in February, which is a bit ridiculous when you think about it. Next year I hope to get some micro greens going in the house over the winter months, but until then.. sprouts. A great way to get really fresh greens, and if you use beans, also a source of protein. I bought a package of Mumm's Spring Salad Sprouting Seed, which is a combination of Broccoli, Radish, Red Clover, and Alfalfa. This is the lazy way, as the package is 2.50 and if I bought the seeds in bulk it would cost pennies. In the end I'm glad I went with the mix though, as the radish sprouts are GOOD. If I had done my own mix it would have been mung beans, chickpeas, and lentils since that's what's in the cupboard.

To grow sprouts, put 3 Tbs. of seeds (more if they are beans, since beans are larger..) in a mason jar, and cover with water. Soak for 5 hours. Place cheese cloth over the opening, and secure with an elastic or a canning lid ring. Drain the water and rinse with new water. Drain again. Put the jar in the cupboard, and let the sprouts do their thing. Rinse once a day, and they will be ready in 2 or 3 days. I ate these with salad dressing, like a leaf salad. We also use them to make pad thai, and they are great in a sandwich with cream cheese.

I also tried my hand at seitan from scratch this week. Previously I have used 100% wheat gluten to make seitan, and found it a bit rubbery. I thought I would try it from scratch to see what the texture difference would be. To make seitan from scratch, you start with 6 cups of flour, make a dough, and immerse it in water. You then knead it under water, rinsing out the starch and only gluten will remain at the end. At least in theory. In reality, you are wrestling with a big blob of goo, and using gallons and gallons of water to rinse off the starch. Also, it takes about an hour of rinsing and kneading. Hmm.

Admittedly, the seitan that resulted was pretty tasty. Although it was almost too soft and broke apart easily. But after sitting in the fridge overnight it had a much better consistency. I made Balsamic-Braised Seitan with Winter Vegetables from Quick-Fix Vegetarian and it was really, really good. I had tried several similar recipes that used liquid smoke or dark beer to get a full flavour but they didn't compare with this one. My conclusion is that I'll work on finding a mix of homemade and pure gluten to get the best texture and to spend my time wisely.


nicole said...

i've been curious about sprouts...i live in california so i do get fresh greens and other goodies year round but i want to try sprouts. i also just got the jam it pickle it book...i want to try my hand at several goodies in there too. stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Yes it's a great book isn't it. Love the photos as well. I just got a belated Christmas present at Chapters.. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Bittman. Squee! A couple hundred new recipes to try.