Thursday, August 2, 2007

Amaranth and Harvest Soup

(Text at top, Pictures follow, recipes linked in right side column)

No rice, no beans, no lentils, no problem !

First lets get out some bisquick, instant potatoes, and dry milk. I'm joking, put that stuff back on the shelf. I think you will like what I came up with better. At first I was struggling, I kept wanting to use the forbidden items. Rice noodles, tofu, textured soy protein etc. But then, inspired by ancient brewing practices in the Americas, I decided to use amaranth seeds.

Amaranth seed is an amazing pseudo-grain, providing nearly 100% of the required amino acids per 150 grams. The flavor is very enjoyable, nutty, sweetly similar to malted barely. The texture in my hands is a delicate crunchy shell, encasing a soft chewy interior. In Aztec culture, amaranth was believed to be a magical food that provided superior endurance and strength. Amaranth was food for royalty, and an important part of the native religions in the Americas. The Spanish forbid the cultivation of the plant because of its use in non-Christian religious ceremonies, and the food disappeared for hundred of years.

I'm pairing Amaranth seed with wheat to provide me with a complete protein diet, as high in food value as red meat, fish, or poultry. I've decided to make fake meat on the trail from vital wheat gluten. It's a simple, but hour long, process of mixing some seasonings and water with some gluten powder. I've specifically planned this trip to allow me cooking time.

Today's dish is a simple Amaranth soup with Seitan (wheat meat) and fresh harvest vegetables. I walked out of the store with onions, snap peas, red bell pepper, potatoes, and corn. Your market might have something else in season.

I've also prepared a chimichurri inspired vinaigrette to finish off the flavors of the dish. It's simply a bunch of parsley, garlic, EVOO, champagne vinegar (or lime juice // other acid) , and red wine. Notice that by bringing wine and acid, I will have a drink as well as a dressing.

I started by preparing some Seitan, or wheat meat

It's boiled for about an hour in chicken broth and 10% soy sauce

and then cooled in broth

before being sliced and used like meat

Dice potatoes take the longest to cook

so they go in first, cooked in broth from Seitan preparation

Amaranth is a tiny little seed from a flowering weed

I add it after the potato has had five minutes in the pot, and let it cook 8 minutes

before adding the veggies.

In preparation, it's very beautiful

The fixing for a little Argentinian inspired sauce

Finished sauce, let water separate and take seasoned
acidic oil on the trail.

The final dish as eaten for dinner last night

For the trail, I dehydrated some corn, onion, celery and pepper. Less than 1/4 ounce for great fresh flavors. A huge weight savings, and almost no noticeable change in flavor profile. Much easier to chop and use in the wilderness.

1 comment:

Niska said...

Looks Great, How long does the argintinean sauce stay good in the backcountry?