I've decided that I skipped several decades of my life, maturing directly from teenage hooligan to little old lady. I write this post from Flagstaff, Arizona, where I'm helping my best friend move into her new digs. Today, to decompress, I took entirely too much joy from unpacking, organizing and cleaning every nook and cranny of her new kitchen. Domestic tasks have become my go-to stress reliever and source of happiness, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm loosing my wild side. I felt the glow of satisfaction that, at my age, should be derived from a hot, steamy hook-up or a night of drunken, spray-painting revelry.
Seeing a smile spread across some one's face when they enjoy my food gets me all hot and bothered in a similar fashion. My little sister has always been the harsh food critic in the family. That's my really eloquent way of saying she was one hell of a picky eater. If it's mushy, sauce-covered or smells funny, she scrunches up her nose in disgust. Did I mention she's 21?
If I can impress her, I know I've cooked up something really special.
As a little girl, her go-to meal was chicken fingers and french fries...but not just any french fries. They had to be fried crispy on the outside, the potato still creamy on the inside. And she wouldn't eat potatoes any other way. She'd eat pasta, but really only cavatelli noodles. She would never eat them with the tomato sauce covering the noodles, but would request a bowl of sauce on the side and dip each individual noodle to the saturation of her liking before consumption.
She didn't always have such restraint, though. I'd say her finickiness set in around the age of 3. I remember one day during her Terrible Twos, she, my mother and I were rooting through the woods looking for color-changed leaves to mail to our cousins in California. All of a sudden, my mother and I hear her cry out "Mmmmm!!! Boo-berries!" , only to turn around and discover she'd devoured several foreign berries off of a shrub that she believed were blueberries. Needless to say, the Youngstown Poison Control center got to know us very well that day.
With age, she's slowly becoming more adventurous. She loved my Seitan Meatballs, which really made my day. I made these Vegan "Chicken" tenders knowing that her palate could discern good from bad, and I think you'll really enjoy them as well.
- 2 lbs Seitan "Chicken" breasts (Recipe Follows)
- 3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
- 3 TBSP Frozen Organic Orange Juice Concentrate, thawed
- 3 TSBP Light Agave Nectar
- 2 tsp Light Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground White Peppercorns
- Salt, to taste
Dijon, OJ concentrate, Agave, Sesame Oil, Salt and White Pepper. Add the "Chicken" Tenders, and toss well to combine. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
If you've got a stove-top grill pan, fantastic! Get it preheating. Of course, you can also preheat an actual grill, skillet or broiler. Lightly oil pan/rack, then remove the chicken
strips from the marinade. I reserved the marinade to use as a dipping sauce, and found it to be quite delicious. Grill or broil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with Sesame Seeds and Enjoy!
Oh. In case photo 1 wasn't enough, here's a little back-side action: