Vegan Gyro (with Homemade Seitan) & Tzatziki Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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vromans front

vromans back

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I have been very excited lately with a bunch of vegan recipes using store-bought vegan meat products.  Despite success with them, I have been intimidated by anything requiring homemade seitan or “nutritional yeast flakes.”  Well, mommy grew a pair this weekend & went to the fucking health food store & bought the Goddamned nutritional yeast & some of this stuff:

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Here is what Bob’s Red Mill has to say about nutritional yeast (which isn’t YEAST):

“Nutritional yeast is grown on enriched purified cane and beet molasses under carefully controlled conditions. T6635, with the addition of vitamin B12, is an ideal vegetarian support formula and has an appealing cheese flavor. It can be sprinkled over popcorn or salads, added to juice, cereal, smoothies, gravies, soups or casseroles, or used to make sandwich spreads.”

Here is what Wellness Today has to say about nutritional yeast:

Why is it so good for you?

Nutritional yeast is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the best non-animal sources of folic acid and vitamin B-12.  The yellow color of the flakes is a result of their large amount of vitamin B – ½ tbsp. fulfills your entire daily vitamin B needs. In addition to B-12, nutritional yeast is high in 15 different minerals and 18 amino acids. Talk about a super food!

The yeast itself is grown on beets and dehydrated, so don’t let the word “yeast” scare you away. Since it is plant derived and dried out, it’s free of the harmful candida that can wreck havoc on your digestive system. Think of it as the kind of yeast your body will love!

Who can benefit from it?

The easy answer is vegans since nutritional yeast is such a good source of the vitamins and minerals usually found in animal meat and dairy products like cheese and milk. If you are as carnivorous as they come, I encourage you to still give nutritional yeast a try. It’s a great way to reap the benefits of meat without having to eat it everyday. Chances are your body and your wallet will thank you!

What can I use it for?

My good friend Shannon, who happens to be my healthy living guru, is notorious for her love of nutritional yeast. So her answer to this question would be – anything and everything! Nutritional yeast actually doesn’t have a really strong flavor, but it is slightly salty and reminiscent of Parmesan cheese. It packs a great punch of umami, meaning it brings all other flavors in the dish together in delicious harmony. My favorite way to use nutritional yeast is sprinkling it on popcorn for a guilt-free snack:

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See those ribs above?  NOT MEAT!  They were made from vital wheat gluten (sans nutritional yeast)!   The recipe is HERE.

Wowed by my own success with those (and with how easy they were), I decided to try a Greek gyro sandwich – typically made with lamb.  The gyro was just as easy if not a total show-stopper.  I mean, those ribs set the bar pretty high – so do not think the gyro was a failure – because it wasn’t.  It was awesome!  And I have lots of leftover “spiced lamb” to experiment with over the next few days.

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So – once you have the vital wheat gluten & nutritional yeast (and the tahini) in hand – the rest of the ingredients are pretty run of the mill.  This will make a little loaf in a loaf pan (4×8?) – that is about an inch thick.  Enough for 5-6 gyros – or for several recipes.  Stay tuned!

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My tzatziki recipe I used can be found HERE and I used some of the toum (garlic paste), too.

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Vegan Gyro

INGREDIENTS

Pita or naan

Tzatziki sauce (optional)

Garlic paste (optional)

Garnish options: lemon or lime wedge, sliced onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and maybe a quinoa tabbouleh salad – as seen above!

for the seitan

1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

4 TBS nutritional yeast

1/4 onion – minced

1 clove garlic – minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp black pepper

2 DROPS (like tears drops – because this shit gets overpowering FAST) liquid smoke (optional)

1 TBS tahini

2 TBS ketchup

3/4 cup water (or more if necessary)

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DIRECTIONS

for the seitan

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, I pulsed the onion, garlic, tahini, ketchup, nutritional yeast flakes, liquid smoke, water & dry spices together but you could do this in a large bowl.

Or – mix all the wet ingredients (onion, garlic, liquid smoke, water, ketchup, tahini) in one bowl & the dry (wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, basil, oregano & pepper) in another & combine them.  It comes together fast & looks like raw hamburger – if hamburger was doughy.

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Grease a loaf pan & press this shit in there, COVER IT WITH FOIL & bake it for about an hour.  Or just kinda shape it on some foil, wrap it up & bake it.

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for the gyro

When you are ready to make the sandwich, slice off some seitan & fry it up until warmed through.

Grab your wrapping device (Pita or naan, silly!  I didn’t say RAPPING device you crazy-eyed MC’s out there!) – and layer the things on it you choose – like garlic paste, seitan, onion, lettuce, tomato & tzatziki.  Squeeze a lemon on there if you are feeling all summer fresh!   Then get your grub on – all vegan-style & shit!

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Beer Drinking Woman! And Seafood Three Ways – Birds, Franklin and Co & Dillon’s – All in Hollywood

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Maybe you should listen to Memphis Slim’s version of BEER DRINKING WOMAN while you read this blog!!!

I like beer.  I like seafood.  I like beer with seafood.  The photograph above is of a tall glass of Stella Artois at La Poubelle.  I didn’t get any seafood that visit – so just look at the pretty beer & lovely atmosphere they serve up in there.

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Just down the street is Birds.  I always thought the “birds” thing was that they are pretty heavy on the chicken options in the menu.  They serve rotisserie chicken several ways with about a dozen options.  I don’t eat chicken – or burgers – so I don’t really go into Birds as often as I might – despite living within a mile or two of it for twenty years now.  My boyfriend is a huge Hitchcock fan & has also written a feature film called All the Birds Have Flown South – which he refers to as Birds.  I dragged him into Birds this past July – completely oblivious to the potential connections.  We walked in & sat at the bar & Miles looked around.  “Oh!  Now I see why you brought me here,” he said, smiling.  I returned his smile with a dull stare.  “You do?”  “Yeah!  This is a Hitchcock bar!”  “It is?…”  I looked around & noticed, for the first time, wall to wall portraits of Hitchcock & images from The Birds.  “Oh my God!” I said, realizing.  “Oh!  You love Hitchcock!!  OH!!  Wow.  OH!  And your new movie is called Birds!”  It was my turn to smile at him & for him to look back confused.  How could I POSSIBLY have not noticed or realized – or whatever – EVER??  Thank God he loves me.  Even at my most obtuse.  See here?  He seems to be thinking, “Yeah.  I love you.  Even though you are stupid.”

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Yeah, but HOW stupid are you – you might ask.  Well – notice the Hitchcock profile tattooed inside Miles’ forearm.  I’m THAT stupid.

At any rate – Birds has a full bar & beer on tap.  And – you can sit outside!

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I ordered a Stella & Miles got a Bud Lite.  He ordered chicken & I got the seared tuna burger.

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Miles declared his chicken was among the best he’d ever had – and backed that up by ordering it every time we returned there in the future.  The tuna burger came on a bun about the size & pliability of a VW Bug & was just that easy to fit in my maw.  So – I removed the bun & the tuna was delightful.  The fries here are good & I like that they have about a dozen dipping sauces – from buffalo to bbq to mayo based things – so you can maximize the caloric impact of the meal.

Speaking of buffalo sauce – just next door is the Franklin & Company Tavern.   I love buffalo sauce but since I do not eat chicken – so I only ever really get to eat it by dipping fries in it or by making buffalo shrimp at home.  But – Franklin & Co has buffalo shrimp on the menu!!!

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Of all the joynts there on Franklin Avenue – the interior of this one is my favorite.  It is a VAST improvement from the Italian place – Prizzi’s – that once resided there.

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I like the menu a lot, too.  Lots of veggie faux meat things – like a gyro!

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Or you can go the raw ahi taco direction!  I recommend all very highly.  One complaint – I find their tap beers just a tad warm, so I usually order a bottled beer.  A friend of mine used to work for Magic Hat – so I usually get this as a silent shout out to him.

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They do beer flights & brunch specials & all kind of fun things.  I like this place a lot.

Our last stop in today’s pub crawl is Dillon’s Irish Pub – down at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.  If you like college girls in teensy weensy kilts & all manner of footwear – from goth platforms to sneakers – this is the place for you!  $3 valet outside is genius as everyone else in the area charges $10.  And – for three dollars – any pint of beer on tap!!! $5 for a large one.  This is kind of a big deal because they have (as my friend says) “one point seventy thousand million” beers there.  See?

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I got some Hawaiian thing – not sure what it was called.  It was good!  And – better still – Dillon’s has $2 oysters!

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I love oysters even though they look like the phlegm of a bronchitis patient.  I order them here all the time – almost exclusively.  Me & my buddy Curtis Armstrong (seen below from our time working on Route 30, Too – available for sale NOW!)

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would often drop into Dillon’s for two cocktails & two dozen oysters.  Despite looking like biohazard – they are delicious!  And none of this vinegar & shallots bullshit!  Cocktail sauce, horseradish, Tabasco & lemon!

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Most recently, as I popped the first oyster in my mouth – I though I heard something small hit the floor.  No, not Miles.  It was my earring.  As I reached up with both hands to check each ear – I heard another clink of a tiny item falling – even before I’d touched my ears.  And yes – sure enough – BOTH of my ears were bare.  I looked on the floor & there were both of my earrings on the floor – under my stool.  What the fuck?  Those oysters were so good – they popped both of my earrings out of my head with nearly the synchronized precision of those Olympic water dancers.  Plink/plink!  Out & on the floor.  That was a first for me.  I was so relieved to have Miles as a witness.  The fact is – we dropped into Dillon’s directly from the Museum of Death – so maybe the stuff they were peddling there had caused me to shiver my earrings nearly out of their nesting places but still.  The experience I had at Dillon’s was – eat an oyster & watch both of your earrings fly out of your head.

By the way – if oysters are your thing – and you also enjoy paying a lot of money for things – the oysters at the Public Kitchen at the gorgeous Roosevelt Hotel are pretty spectacular.

Anyway – I am tempted to go on & cover the classic Frolic Room – just down the street from Dillon’s but the Frolic Room deserves its own blog all to itself.  It is that awesome!

So – until then – CHEERS!

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Vegetarian Gyro at Franklin & Co in Hollywood, California

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http://franklinandcotavern.com/

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Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

This bad boy is pretty tasty!  I have had it twice but it was better the first time – likely because they used more sauce.  Still – I recommend it.  This place is the newbie on the block on Franklin between Tamarind & Bronson & I think it is my favorite of the options there.  Outdoor seating – nice, but the indoor is bright & kinda modern hofbrau haus-y, nice, too.