If you've followed this blog for years, you might remember my past two posts about Bryant Terry's Smoky South American Seitan Stew from his first book, Grub: Ideas for the Urban Organic Kitchen:
But honestly, even if you've been around that long, I doubt you'd remember this spicy stew because I only make it once a year. Every year at Samhain time (Halloween for all you Muggles), I make this stew to enjoy with all my dead friends and family. Sounds morbird, sure. But Halloween is the night when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest. Seems to me like the perfect time to eat yummy food in honor of those who have passed on to the next life.
This year, I actually enjoyed my seitan stew — a hearty mix of homemade seitan, fried plantains, red potatoes, and a spicy chipotle-tomato broth — on Día de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead, November 1st).
Most years, I prepare fresh bread for my stew as a symbol of the Earth's fruitful harvest. But this year, I decided to try a new grain dish as my side — Bryant Terry's Coconut Quinoa, also from Grub:
In his book, Terry suggests serving the seitan stew over this simple quinoa dish made with coconut milk and shredded dried coconut. Though the coconut flavors are somewhat masked by the stew, I did love the way the quinoa really soaked up the broth.
As for the dead, I supposed they enjoyed the stew too. I always light a candle at the table for every dead person/pet I know — Aunt Ruth, my Grandpa Haas, my friends Smoky, David Ray, Xander, and Daniel, and my kitties Patches and Alexius. Thankfully, I didn't have to add any new candles this year!
Speaking of Mexican holidays, I'll be on a bit of a Mexican holiday for the next few days. I'm embarking on a Carnival cruise from New Orleans to Mexico tomorrow night. Since wifi on the ship costs like a million bucks, I won't be mofo-ing while I'm away. But I'm sure I'll have loads of fun cruise food photos when I return. I hear Carnival's pretty accommodating for vegans. Hope so!