My husband (Don Draper) works in the golf industry (translation: he works weekends and now I hate the summer). In fact, he is the reason we moved to Hawaii in the first place; to learn the ins and outs of the industry, otherwise known as “how to keep rich men happy in the great outdoors”. The short answer? Give them alcohol, a set of metal clubs and rubber balls, and a motorized vehicle. It’s the simple things. Of course many women (including myself) like to play golf as well, but let’s just say the golf club experience is a little different for us girls. The first problem is the locker room. Unless you have a map of the underground, it’s nearly impossible to find the ladies locker room. “Go down the stairs, turn left, and follow the corridor to the end of the hall, just past the laundry room”. Gee, thanks, I can’t wait to see the view. The ladies locker room is typically saturated in some shade of pink with flowered, pouffy cushions and little bottles of scented creams and plastic hair brushes (because we love pink, soft things like bunnies and puppies and we’re very sensitive to dark colors and loud noises). The men’s locker room? How could you miss it; go straight through the damn entrance and it’s right in front of you with a stuffed deer head above the doorway. What happens inside is a mystery of course because the women aren’t allowed in such places (I’m fairly sure, however, that the men are honing the blades of their swords, suiting up in chainmail, and eating raw meat). After lacing up my tasseled, white golf shoes and popping up my collar (so that you know I went to private school), I emerge from the locker room, and run into a laundry woman. Oops, I’m still downstairs…she gives me directions.
Out on the driving range, men stuffed in pastel polo shirts, shorts with animal prints, and sock-less loafers are demoing the latest clubs and congratulating each other on being masters of the universe. I love the smell of freshly cut grass, the crisp thrusting sound of a club across a tee as it sends a ball into flight, the muddled thump of the ball as it lands on a moist green…and the laughter of old men quoting Caddy Shack and telling racist jokes. What more could a woman ask for?
For a couple of years, Tom and I did the whole “following the season” thing, where you go south for the winter so you can continue to play golf (translation: a never-ending winter of work for Tom). At first, I was excited about this idea because it meant that we were going to spend the entire winter in Florida. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Wrong. As soon as my flip flops touched the warm sand, I realized that Florida is full of semi-retired, retired, or semi-dead people who eat egg salad sandwiches, play bridge, and eat dinner at 5:00pm. Needless to say I had to get creative…
Solution? I Read the entire Twilight series and became so withdrawn from reality that when Tom came home at night, I looked at him with disappointment. “You really wish I was a vampire, don’t you?” he asked. Yes, I replied, I really do…
Speaking of vampires…let’s make some Evil Seitan Stew! This stew is filled with sinful red wine, seitan himself, and tons of naughty vegetables. Seitan (yup, pronounced just like our old buddy, the devil) is a delicious meat alternative made from wheat gluten that’s packed full of rebellious protein. I love making stews, so even though it’s still warm outside, I am channeling my inner autumn princess and forging ahead in the 70 degree weather. I think you should do the same.
Evil Seitan Stew
1 package seitan, rinsed, squeezed & sliced thin (I use The Bridge seitan, which is locally made in Middletown...Hooray for CT!)
2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T Organic Earth Balance butter (Earth Balance will become your new best friend because it tastes like butter, but without the nasty dairy and cholesterol)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 small potatoes (I use yukon gold), quartered
2 cups butternut squash or sweet potato, chopped in small chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups stock (homemade or Imagine No-Chicken Stock)
1/4 cup + a few splashes dry red wine, divided
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup tamari or shoyu
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
3 cups, loosely packed kale, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
2 tsp arrowroot (look in spice section of Whole Foods for this thickener, which isn’t GMO and heavily processed like cornstarch)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Add the potatoes, squash, garlic, wine, bay leaves, and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. While it’s simmering, take out a saute pan, heat the remaining oil and butter over medium-high flame, and add seitan. Cook for 2 minutes, then add a splash or two of wine, and salt & pepper. Use a wooden spoon to gently detach seitan from pan and flip over, cooking for a few more minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool and tell that unicorn to stop sampling the stew! Add the tamari/shoyu, mushrooms, kale, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in arrowroot and cook until stew begins to thicken. Add seitan to reheat, and serve with crusty bread or noodles! Feeds 4 unicorns after a tough round of golf.