firstly, let me state that micheal pollan’s book omnivore’s dilemma changed my life when i read it exactly two years ago. if you have not read it- ask for it for xmas or hanukkah… or just because. this post has nothing to do with the book, other than stealing the title… But it is about yummy food for omnivores.
i am usually happy with simple rice + veggies + beans or tempeh for dinner (in a few different variations that suit this single gal just fine). but sometimes i want to impress my omnivorous friends with some hearty vegan goodness. and now that it is winter (well, y’know… hawaii winter) i want to make cozy foods, and this dinner is one of the coziest i can imagine: grilled smokey herbed seitan and mashed sweet + red potatoes with mushroom gravy, plus some simple farm greens and roasted carrots on the side.
mushroom gravy (from vegan fusion world cuisine by the blossoming lotus. this recipe is actually called avalon’s magic mushroom gravy– and ALL the names for their recipes are goofy like that).
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (i used mostly shallots and just a bit of onion)
¾ cup shitake mushrooms (sliced very thin) (see note: i used ½ cup more mushrooms- 6 medium-sized)
1½ tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 cups water
¼ cup soy sauce
pinch of each nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper
2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
Create a roux by placing spelt flour in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water and whisk into a thick paste; set aside.
Place 1 tbsp of olive oil and a large pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients except the roux and cook for 5 more minutes on low heat; finally, add the roux and cook until gravy has a thick consistency, approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
*a note: though i followed the recipe perfectly, the gravy did not have a thick consistency and the flavor was not what i remembered it to be. i did two things to remedy this issue. firstly, i mixed up some organic cornstarch (about 2 tbsp with 1 tbsp water) and added to the bowl of gravy, then i chopped up a few extra mushrooms, sauteed them in a bit of olive oil until wilted. i added the gravy with cornstarch to the hot pan and let it simmer for about five more minutes. i then blended everything in the food processor the make it even creamier (and i really don’t like mushroom chunks). then it was JUST PERFECT!