Grains and Beans and Seitan!... Oh My

It is safe to say that I have completely neglected this blog since I have moved to NYC. I have been spending most of my time trying to become the best chef I can be, and that mostly means that I cook almost everything I eat throughout the week at school, and therefore can not share the recipes with all of you.

By the time I get all of the leftovers home from school where I would have a chance to stage them to take blog worthy pictures, the food has been squished in the bags that I take them home in. Still tasty, but not pretty whatsoever.

Although I may not be able to share recipes with all of you until I come up with a solution to my squished and color faded leftovers, I am going to try to make more of an effort to share my culinary school experiences and NYC secrets!

I can't believe tomorrow I will be starting my 4th week at school! Where has this past month gone?? It has been a whirlwind of amazing culinary lessons and experiences while getting to know some amazing and talented people along the way. I have some of the best classmates and culinary instructors that a future chef could ask for and I couldn't be happier with where life has taken me up to this point!

In the past 3 weeks I have learned to chop, dice, roll cut, julienne, brunoise, mince, supreme, cook any grain you can possibly imagine, make seitan (from scratch, which gives you a great arm workout at the same time), cook and eat way (and I mean way way way) too many beans and so much more!

One thing about "foodies" is that we do not only like to cook food, but also obsessively photograph the food once we have cooked it, which is a bonus for you blog readers. I have taken pictures of every single one of my classmates taking pictures of everything we just slaved over cooking and sometimes when I'm going through the pictures I've taken I have to laugh because of how alike we all really are.

Some of these pictures that I'm including in this post include roasted vegetables, baba ghanoush, seitan being made, seitan skewers, seitan burgers, seitan open faced sandwiches (basically seitan overload), millet croquettes and broiled, baked and pan fried polenta.

By the way, these seitan burgers pictured above were to die for! I'd take one of these over a meat patty any day!

If you're wondering what seitan even is, let me tell you! I now know all about it after my seitan class a few days ago, considering we made it from scratch, which is quite the process. If you are vegan or vegetarian but also gluten free, seitan is NOT the meat substitute for you. It is pure gluten! 

To make seitan you basically take a whole bunch of flour (we used a mix of all purpose, whole wheat and high gluten) and knead it with water for about 20-30 minutes. You then let it rest while submerged in water and then rinse it for about 20 minutes, continually kneading it, until all of the starch has washed away and you're left with a big brain looking ball of pure gluten. Ya it sounds (and looks) gross, I'm not going to lie. You then boil it in some flavored liquid and voila! Seitan is made!

The picture above is a great example of some of my classmates trying to get the best angle for the food photographs that they can. We all lean, reach, bend over, twist our backs and necks, basically do whatever we can to get that Instagram worthy picture of our hard work!

If you want to keep up my school and NYC experiences more often before my next post (whenever that may be) just follow my personal Instagram, amykearns92! I have my blog Instagram, but I've also been neglecting that lately as well. My sincere apologies! 

I am going to try a lot harder to write more blog posts in my free time and I'm thinking my next one may be some restaurant reviews and tips of where to find an amazing meal in NYC. Stay tuned!


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