Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip

Today is October 1st. The first day of my favourite month of the entire year. And also the very first day of my very first attempt at VeganMofo participation.

VeganMofo (Vegan Month of Food) was started in 2007 over at the often imitated but never duplicated Post-Punk Kitchen, home of none other than Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The goal is to flood the old interweb with vegan food post after vegan food post, everyday, for an entire month. This year marks the 4th Annual Vegan Mofo and it is taking place for the entire month of October 2011.

Posting every single day of October is a pretty lofty goal for this gal. Paul looked at me as if I was slightly insane when I mentioned that I was considering it and then looked at me like I was totally insane when I said that I'd signed up. Between Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest, friends birthdays and Halloween, October is by far our busiest social month of the year. This should probably be a deterrent to doing this kind of project this particular month, but instead it's got me a bit excited - it means I will have tons of blog about!

A lot of bloggers are doing themed VeganMofo runs for 2011. I've decided that for my first time, in the name of making things a wee bit less intimidating, I'm just going to post about what's going on in my kitchen, regardless of type of food or preparation process. So the theme is all vegan, all the time. It is fall, though, so expect lots of autumn-inspired dishes.

Here we go. First post. And what better recipe to use than one by Isa herself?

The Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip that you see pictured above comes from the one and only Veganomicon. I picked it because it gave me a reason to purchase vegan mayo:

There are lots of vegan mayo options out there in the world. And yet Vegenaise is the only option. In my opinion, anyway. We have bought other brands before. Used a spoonful and then threw the rest of the jar away.

The problem with Vegenaise is that it's pretty much a vegan version of crack cocaine and it is generally not permitted in our house. It leads to entirely too much reckless behaviour. Vegenaise on anything and everything, including just the spoon. I wish, for the love of God, that they would sell it in a smaller jar because we cannot be responsible for ourselves in the presence of such a large quantity.

The other cool thing about this recipe is that it gave me the opportunity to add to my spice drawer! I'd never made anything with Chinese 5-Spice before and I had a bit of a hard time even finding it here in Kitchener. It was right under my nose though - the specialty grocer next to my work had it and lots of other rare spices that I'm glad to have found out about!

Five spice is used as a means of providing balance to meals, as it represents the five major flavours: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty and is typically comprised of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, szechuan pepper, and fennel seeds. In this recipe, it's used to make that delicious dipping broth pictured at the start of this post - and it's the broth that makes this recipe so amazing!

I got a bit lazy and used full seitan cutlets instead of smaller slices. This definitely made it a bit more difficult to eat, but did remind me of the old oven-roasted chicken subs I would get in my pregan days. I think next time I'll follow Isa's advice and slice the seitan really thinly, or even give it the old "shredded" once over by roughly chopping it into tiny pieces. I was hoping to do the cutlets up on the grill out back but the rain set in before I got a chance. Next time!

Veganomicon is a vegan staple so I'm sure lots of you have it on your shelves. In case you don't, this particular recipe is available here on Google Books.


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