Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seitan Saltado and Coconut Tres Leches Cake

My tummy is sooooooo happy right now. And full. Full of delicious, delicious seitan. For dinner, I made two recipes from Viva Vegan. The entree was Seitan Saltado.

For dessert, if you couldn't guess from the oh-so-creative title of this post, we had Coconut Tres Leches Cake.

These things took some preparation, as many dishes from this cookbook do. When I first got the book several months ago, I decided to go all out and make a feast: empanadas, enchiladas, side dishes, salsas, and the tres leches cake.

It all tasted good, from what I remember, but I didn't read the recipes carefully beforehand. So I'd get a to a point in a recipe where it would say, "Next, add the cold broth." I was like "What cold broth? I don't have any cold broth. Now I have to make broth and wait 30 minutes while it cools?" When I was finally done cooking, I was exhausted! And it kinda put me off the book for awhile.

Still, on our last trip to Mexican Radio in Hudson, Tony had a dish called Carne Asada Fries. It was shredded seasoned beef and salsa on a bed of french fries. He liked it, and I sorta wished I'd ordered their vegan version of it. Then I thought, "I bet I can make it at home. Wait, haven't I actually seen a recipe for something like that, somewhere?"

I got out Viva Vegan, and there it was. And today it was time to give it a shot. I had already made some white steamed seitan loaves on my productive Sunday in the kitchen. While the seitan thawed, I made the french fries and the rice that serve as the base layers. Yes, fries AND rice -- carb fiends take note! Then I shredded the seitan and let it marinate for a couple hours.

At dinner time, all I had to do was stir-fry the seitan with some onions and tomatoes. It was freaking awesome, I don't know what else to say.

And then, the tres leches! I baked the cake the night before, to give the sauce time to soak in. I didn't have any rum, so I used Kahlua in the sauce. Tasted fine to me, ha! Today, I just needed to prepare the "whipped cream" topping. It went more smoothly than the first time I made it (I burned the agar and had to start over), but you still need to have good timing. Have your milk/arrowroot mixture ready when you start to heat up the agar flakes and water. It heats and thickens REALLY fast and you'll want to quickly stir it all together and get it off the heat. Oh, and the book says to blend the tofu and coconut cream in a food processor, but it's such a small amount. If you have a regular food processor with a large bowl, like I do, it's not gonna work. I used a hand mixer, and didn't have any issues with graininess.

Austin, Texas, where I lived for three years, is like the capital of tres leches cakes. Every Tex-Mex restaurant in town serves them, every grocery store sells them. I sampled them all in my leche-consuming days. And this baby is as good as any of them. I predict it will be gone very, very soon.

Now I'm already looking through Viva Vegan trying to decide what to make next. Have you ever bought a cookbook that you had a less-than-awesome experience with, or found too complicated, only to return to it later and be glad you did?


  1. OmG it all looks so good! LOL about the "what cold broth?"...that sort of thing happens to me all the time.

  2. Nice! I loved the seitan saltado when I made it..still haven't made the tres leche cake though. Sounds and looks wonderful!