Seitan is Delicious.

A long time ago, I thought I had a gluten intolerance. Celiac or not, some kind of intolerance. Stomach aches, fatigue, you name it. Mostly arising while at culinary school. Deciding it would be best to cut gluten out entirely, I went through a devastating grieving period. DEVASTATING. Let me tell you, I cannot even describe my love of bread. It is profound. I am infamous for eating a bagel every single day throughout middle school, high school, and (between you and me) most of college. The thought of never eating it again really knocked the wind out of me.

After several doctor's appointments and various blood tests, all was clear. No allergy, no Celiac.... Just a sensitive tummy overall. Turns out it just wasn't too happy with the wacky diet that culinary school had provided. And ultimately, I decided that I should just reduce my wheat in-take but not eliminate anything.

Ironically, these days I've been making a lot of seitan. Being straight wheat gluten, it has made me think of my gluten-free days often. But when you find a gigantic bag of vital wheat gluten at Deals and Steals in Northampton for $0.99, you buy it. So seitan it is. And I'm about to share with you one of my favorite recipes to prepare seitan (and a very popular dish with my dinner party guests, as well!). Use it well!

Maple Mustard Seitan.
1/2 c course ground mustard
1/2 c maple syrup
1 T tomato paste
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 T olive oil
1-2 T rice vinegar (to taste)
1 tsp onion powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1package seitan (Or make your own! I like this recipe.)

This is the easiest thing you are EVER going to whip up. Literally just put all of these ingredients (minus the seitan) into a bowl and whisk together well. Then thinly slice the seitan and toss with the sauce. I like to put the sauce and seitan into a big ziplock bag at this point, and let it chill out in the fridge for a few hours (even overnight) so that it can marinate really well.

Then heat your oven to 375 degrees, pour it all into a baking pan, and let it bake for about 20 minutes. You want the sauce to start caramelizing, the seitan to get a little crispy on the edges, etc. You should open the oven once or twice and stir the mixture so the sugars don't burn, however.

You can eat this as a main protein in a "meat and potatoes" kind of meal, as a delicious component on a sandwich, sliced up thin on top of salad.... You name it. But trust me, it won't last long. It is just that lip-smacking!