I sat down with Rachel Klein, vegan chef and owner of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, to talk about veganism, running a restaurant without losing one’s mind, and delicious food!
It was a great chat and she is delightful. You should check it out!
Hear it here!
When I was making and selling Pierogies, I used to sell at the Greensgrow Farm Farmers Market. It was there I became friends with Rachel Klein, owner of Miss Rachel’s Kitchen, a vegan catering company.
For those of you who don’t know: vegan eating means nothing that comes from an animal. Nothing. So, sometimes that can make having special occasions or just even finding some great sandwiches a bit of a challenge.
So! Rachel covers all the bases: You want meals for yourself for the week? Done! You just want some food for a day or two? Done! You want lunch delivered to your work (downtown & university city on wednesdays and downtown on fridays)? Done! Having a big event (weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, communion parties, block parties..!)? Done! Is it a holiday and you want to eat vegan but want to spend time with relatives instead of cooking (for just you or for the whole family?)? Done! Are you vegan and also gluten free? Done! Whew! I am exhausted just typing all that.
The thing about vegan food that I have mostly come across is that a lot of it just is not very good (altho it is coming around, especially in the Philly area). I was a vegetarian for about 6 years and, if you are familiar with this blog and my eating habits at all, I will eat almost anything. So when I met Rachel, I was expecting sawdusty food with the texture of either nasty seaweed or a slightly chewy cinderblock.
Then I had some of her tofu chicken salad. It was so awesome that, if she had forgotten to bring me any during our stints at the market, I would pout like a 6 year old who wasn’t allowed to watch cartoons. Indeed, it was that fantastic.
So fast forward to right about now, and I do a little work on the side helping Rachel do her friday lunch deliveries. I am a huge buffalo chicken nut. I can eat wings all the live long day and anything with the word “buffalo” and “sauce” in it makes me immediately drool. So when she told me one day we were going to make Buffalo Chicken Seitan Sandwiches, I needed a second for drooling (not on the food tho, we are strict with our food safety regulations!). Then when she told me they were to also be on fresh Cacia’s Bakery rolls, that sealed the deal.
First off, you gotta use some good Seitan, and if you are serious, you gotta hit up Michael from Michael’s Savory Seitan. Michael is a great guy: tall and full of energy about Seitan & eating healthy. Lots of places around town sell his Seitan, wether in foods already made or you can get it at Whole Foods, Essene and tons of other places. Hit up his website!
Anywho, the first step in this awesome sandwich is the oven. As in, put that seitan in there. Baste it up with whatever kind of hot sauce you like. It gets the same consistency of chicken without the actual chicken. If you like big chunks, then don’t cut it down. If you like it more shreddy, go ahead, get all OJ and run your knife thru it.
This brings me to sauce. I have a little recipe in my head I like to use. I used it when I made buffalo chicken pierogies and it works beautifully. Feel free to use your own. Some people like to use a thickener, like corn syrup. Then you might want to cut the acidity of a sauce with butter. Your mileage may vary. I like to add ground red pepper and Sriracha sauce to my hot sauce. Hot in, hot out, haha!
Anyway, what works great with a buffalo chicken sandwich? Coleslaw! So hey, let’s get that on there!
Follow it up with nice leafy lettuce for some crunch and what do you end up with?
You end up with this: the tastiest Seitan Buffalo Chicken Sandwich this side of the Pecos.
I could eat this sandwich every night of the week. So good! Just because you are a red blooded meat eater, doesn’t mean that you can’t try this stuff. It’s delicious, and when it comes down to it, that’s really all that matters. In fact, Rachel once told me that most of her Lunch Club people aren’t even vegetarians, they just are interested in something different and delicious. You can’t argue with that.
If you are interested in the Lunch Club, click on the link above. You can order once or weekly, whatever (or if you know someone who loves good food, hit them up with a gift certificate!). Lunch comes with a sandwich, a soup, fruit and some homemade soup. With delivery right to your door, you can’t beat it.