For my latest cookbook project, I'm veganizing trendy foods of the 20th century and organizing the recipes by decade. And that means I've been doing a ton of food research. I've run across some fascinating stuff. For example, did you know the Philly cheesesteak was invented in the 1930s?
Pat and Harry Olivieri first started selling steak sandwiches served on long rolls at their Philly hot dog stand in the 30s. The sandwiches took off, and Pat eventually opened Pat's King of Steaks, which is apparently still around.
For my 1930s chapter, I wanted to create a vegan Philly Cheesesteak. Now there are plenty of great cruelty-free cheesesteak recipes out there already, but can the world really have too many cheesy, meaty vegan sandwiches?
I opted to make my "steak" using a homemade steamed seitan, which I'm also including a recipe for in the book. The seitan is rolled into a log shape, wrapped in foil, and steamed. And that makes for a sliceable seitan that resembles deli meat.
But plain, sliced seitan is a little bland for a cheesesteak. So I chopped some mushrooms and fried 'em up with the sliced seitan. Then I made a small amount of thick beefy gravy to pour over the "meat." I let that cook until all the liquid was absorbed and the seitan and mushrooms were nice and brown.
The bread is toasted and buttered (aka Earth Balanced), and the seitan is topped with shredded Daiya cheddar. I'm sure old Pat and Harry wouldn't consider it a "real" cheesesteak. But that's okay. I'm a Memphis girl, so it'll have to do. It sure was delicious though!