As a side, we made the Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onion, Garlic, and Fennel from 500 Vegan Recipes. It's a simple, yet super delicious recipe. We couldn't find any fresh fennel, so we just used seeds and added some broccolini to the mix. This dinner was so, so satisfying. I ate all my leftovers today and am sad it's gone!
On an entirely different note, after we finished stuffing our faces and having a few glasses of wine, we went to a local bar that hosts a free BINGO night. The prizes are a mix of gag type gifts, random household staples, and free drink tickets. We managed to win multiple times each thanks to a little good luck idea we snagged from BINGO loving grannies everywhere. Troll dolls. BUT no troll dolls could be found at Value Village, so we got My Little Ponies instead. Which is obviously infinitely better. My BINGO prowess got me a ceramic snail figurine and Ragtime and Pearl Harbor on VHS. Caitlin got a Tom Jones album, and Becca won a My Fair Lady album. Although it's hard, please try not to be too jealous of our treasures.
So, adding a little word on gravy....I luvs it! And I will own it, as well as all its secrets someday... which in reality is a long way off. Honestly, in the past I've had the hardest, more frustrating time with gravy and had, for a time, resorted to store bought packets. I'm not proud of it, but it happened...The last couple times I've attempted it however, it has worked!! And it tasted good!! And it was nom noms. For the most part, I think what has changed is that I've made it for ladies' nights. The moral support as well as all the fresh, delicious ingredients already on hand have made my gravy much more successful. So, keeping in mind that I didn't follow a recipe and I pretty much threw part of my spice cabinet/cupboard into the pot, I'll give a quick synopsis of how shiitake mushroom gravy came to be.
Shiitake Mushroom Gravy
1/2 white onion minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of dried shiitakes, rehydrated, reserving liquid
3 tbsp olive oil
approx 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4-1/2 c. nooch
approx 2 c. veggiebroth/mushroom broth * (you'll add it to consistency)
1/4-1/2 c. red wine (i used pinot noir, cuz that's what Caitlin brought w/)
Started by heating the olive oil and sauteing the onions til they were a little brown, and translucent on a medium heat, and added the rehyrdrated shiitakes and garlic. Let those cook for about 2 minutes and lightly dusted the whole thing w/ flour. Probably was not the whole 1/4 cup, I just do it til all the ingredients are coated, give them a couple stirs, and when the flour is just going on the pot instead of sticking to the ingredients I stop. I then started slowly adding my broth, stirring constantly. I like to have lots of extra veggie broth on hand b/c I generally make the gravy, have it be at a consistency where I could serve it, and then decide it's not enough and add a little bit more broth to the mix, maybe a little more nooch to help it thicken if it needs it.
After adding almost a cup of broth, I added the rosemary, thyme, a little white pepper (did not list that in the ingredients, oops), and the soy sauce. Stir, added 1/2 nooch, and let simmer for awhile. The gravy could have been done when I decided to add some wine, so again, added that, let simmer, and thicken for awhile. At some point I added the rest of the nooch, and more of the veggie/mshrm broth mixture. Also, about a tsp. of salt at the very end, to taste. The broth I use is amazing, and very flavorful, but in my opinion it needed a little more salt, definitely a preference thing.
*The broth mixture I used was the reserved liquid from the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms (about 2 c.), and then 2 c. veggie broth I made w/ a Rapunzel Bouillion Cube. I've tried a lot of veggie broths and this is by far my favorite. It is kind of salty, although they do carry a no salt added cube, but super flavorful, and tasty enough to where I could just drink it. I've been on no-salt kicks before where I've tried low sodium broths, and for the most part, I just don't even like the flavor. I do keep the little, super convenient, 1-cup portioned packs in my cupboard for emergencies but especially when making gravy.....it makes sense to me to bust out the bouillion cubes!
Anyway, goodluck w/ the recipe! Sorry it was kind of fly by the seat of your pants. This blogging thing definitely gives me a little more motivation to pay attention to/measure what I add to my pot.