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Black bean soup, Thai food | Seitan pot roast with roasted vegetables à la Rose

Posted Dec 14 2010 8:04pm

Broccoli and eggplant stir-fry in the wok

I'm continuing to highlight some of the dinners our youngest son has been cooking for us. He's cooked several meals since my last post, and I'm showing just a selection of what he's made, but first I'll share a little bit about his introduction to solid food when he was a baby. When Jordan turned seven months old, our family of five headed to Australia for half a year. He was nursing but not eating solid food, as he had rejected all our attempts to introduce solids into his diet. I decided to wait until we got to Australia to try again. Once in our host country, I met other mothers of babies his age, and all were feeding their babies solid food, so I gave it another try. I mashed up bananas, cooked applesauce, made rice cereal, puréed sweet potatoes — all to no avail. This was my third baby so I was not an inexperienced new mom, randomly flinging food at a bewildered child. I knew he'd eventually eat when he was ready, but I kept offering.



Finally, one day while I was consuming a bowl of miso soup with broccoli, I offered the now 9-month old a taste, and he was interested. He slurped it down like it was the best thing he'd ever tried. I handed him a piece of broccoli from my bowl and he gnawed it happily. So I began feeding him miso soup and broccoli. This was exactly what his older brother had eaten for his first food. I couldn't believe I had two babies like this.

I want to mention one more thing about our stay in Australia. Although it was more than 20 years ago, the availability of healthy-baby care seemed very different from what I was used to. We were living in the state of Victoria, so I can only speak about my experience there, where traveling pediatric nurses made scheduled stops at neighborhood centers, and the local mothers would all show up with their babies for check-ups and inoculations. Although I wasn't even a resident of Australia, it made no difference. My baby got weighed and measured with all the others — for free. There were no questions about whether we had health insurance, or whether we were eligible for care.



Back to our now-grown-up son's cooking. The first meal I'm highlighting is black bean soup and red cabbage salad. I love soup topped with avocado, and this spicy soup was delicious.



With the cabbage salad, he was trying to replicate a dish he'd eaten and enjoyed in Prague. It had rice in it which was kind of weird, but all the other flavors melded so beautifully, I loved it.



The next night, we had Thai food, starting with an excellent coconut curry soup spiked with lemongrass and lime.



To go with the soup we had an eggplant and broccoli stir-fry. I love when our son cooks — I hope there will be more dinners to blog about.

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I cooked, too



Growing up, when my mother made pot roast, I refused to eat it. I couldn't stand the gooey stuff in the beef. Even now, I shudder to think of it. Still, when I saw Rose's seitan pot roast on her Dandelion Vegan Blog , I immediately wanted to make it. You should definitely go look at her photo, which is 100 times better than mine, and I know you'll want to bookmark the recipe. Mine really did look a lot like hers in real life, but the lighting situation here is absolutely driving me a little nuts, and wreaking havoc on my photos. Gah.

I followed Rose's directions but made a few minor additions and substitutions. Instead of vegan Worcestershire, which I didn't have, I doubled the tamari, and instead of ketchup I used tomato paste. My herbs were oregano and arctic thyme, and I added smoked paprika. I also subbed an herbed yeast flake mix that I had made previously, for the nooch. The most interesting addition to the recipe was 1/4 cup of urad flour. The reason I had the urad flour was because I kept reading about it on The Airy Way blog , where Zoa used it to make dumplings with fabulous texture and taste. I added some to the seitan mix to see how the texture would be affected, and I was amazed at the results. The seitan was so tender and soft, like actual pot roast. I've never had seitan with a texture like this before, and I have to do more experimenting with the urad flour in different seitan recipes. To go with the seitan, I roasted carrots, broccoli, potatoes and golden beets.
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