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Archive for the ‘Condiments’ Category

Mushroom Gravy

It’s all peaches and gravy at Once More with Veggies!

Mushroom Gravy

Like barbecue sauce, gravy is a condiment I never really warmed up to until after I went vegetarian. I always just preferred a little salt and pepper on my potatoes; and mashed potatoes were always flavored enough with butter and milk that I found gravy unnecessary. Even now it’s rare that I employ gravy. But last week I was making baked portobello caps with mashed potatoes, and figured the meal needed a little gravy to go along with it. And like barbecue sauce, I figured it’d be best to make it myself!

Fortunately I found this recipe for Easy Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy, and the title doesn’t lie – it is very easy, and makes plenty! To start, I chopped up a few white button mushrooms, measuring them in a 3/4 cup before chopping. It may be fun to experiment with other mushrooms, but buttons are great for a simple, earthy flavor that works very well in a gravy.

I then sauteed the mushrooms and chopped onion in a skillet on medium high heat with a whole lot of Earth Balance butter. The recipe calls for a quarter cup of margarine, and this results in a rich and tasty gravy. You could probably cut back if you like, but remember, this recipe makes a lot and unless you like drowning your food in gravy, you’re not going to be swimming in fat with this. Anyhoo, the mushrooms and onion needed to cook for a couple minutes, rendering them nice and soft (and the mushrooms shrink considerably during this step).

According to the recipe, you then reduce the heat to medium and add vegetable broth and soy sauce, and afterward, slowly add some all-purpose flour. Looking back, this is a part of the recipe I may change in the future. The flour tended to clump up when I added it, and while most of it dissolved, a lot of it remained in tiny dumpling form. In the future I may add the flour before I add my liquids, so that it can form somewhat of a roux which will then dissolve and make the gravy thicker. But you can try either way and see for yourself!

Once the flour was incorporated, I added sage, thyme, marjoram (all dry), salt, and pepper; and cooked it for about 10 minutes to thicken it. It never got super duper thick, so I may add some arrowroot powder or corn starch in the future. But the texture was thick enough to make a nice gravy that was good for potatoes. Once I finished cooking, I strained the gravy so as to remove the mushrooms, onions, and especially the little flour clumps that didn’t fully dissolve. I then had about a cup of mushroom gravy, ready to use!

Despite the few changes/concerns I cited above, I really liked this recipe because it allowed me to whip up some gravy quickly and not rely on canned or prepared gravy from the store. It’s also a perfect way to use up those older mushrooms you have sitting in the fridge!

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Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Fire up the grill and slather on the barbecue sauce!

Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce, in an appropriate container

Earlier I discussed how barbecue sauce is a condiment I didn’t really grow to appreciate until I went vegetarian. I think another reason I’ve grown to appreciate it in later years is because I’ve started making it myself. Barbecue sauce is ridiculously easy to prepare at home, and most recipes make a lot! Fortunately barbecue sauce also keeps really well, so you can make yourself a batch that’ll last you for weeks and weeks in the fridge. Everyone wins!

With peaches in season, I decided to give peach barbecue sauce a try. I was watching Paula’s Best Dishes the other week, and lo and behold, Ms. Deen had a recipe for homemade peach bbq sauce on her show. I know, you thought you’d never see a Paula Deen recipe on here, right? Well, she does occasionally put out some nice light recipes that aren’t drowning in butter; and while this sauce was an accompaniment to grilled tilapia, the sauce itself was veg-friendly and looked delicious!

You are about to witness how easy it is to make your own barbecue sauce; and you’ll wonder why you were wasting your time and money buying bottles from the store (specialty sauces are one thing, but just plain ol’ BBQ sauce? Make it – it’s fun!). In a large pot, I combined ketchup, mustard, canola oil, apple cider vinegar, dried minced garlic, salt (I didn’t have the garlic salt the recipe called for, so I used a pinch or two of both garlic and salt), vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular Worcestershire sauce usually has anchovies; I use  The Wizard’s Vegan Worcestershire and it’s a great sub), paprika, lemon juice, black pepper, brown sugar (I reduced the amount to 1 TB because I don’t like incredibly sweet sauces, and was also using sweet bourbon), water, and my own addition, Jack Daniels. I replaced 1/2 a cup of the recipe’s water with Jack Daniels; you can sub more or less depending on how much of a bourbon-y taste you want.

While I heated up the mixture above, I chopped my onion; and added it once the mixture came to a boil. I then simmered the sauce for twenty minutes. In the meantime, I prepared my peaches. The recipe calls for fresh or canned peaches. If you’re not going to use fresh peaches (and I didn’t – I’d already bought a lot of fresh peaches for a crisp and for snacking, so I got frozen peaches for this sauce), I’d recommend using frozen peaches instead of canned, since they’re not covered in gooey sweet syrup and additives. For this recipe, I used a defrosted 16-oz bag of peaches, and blended them in my blender until they were very smooth. You can puree less if you’d like chunkier sauce!

Pureed peach goodness

Once twenty minutes had passed, I stirred in my peaches. I also raised the heat back up to high so the sauce could cook a bit with the peach puree inside of it. Once it got to a boil, I reduced back to a simmer and simmered for just a couple of minutes. After that, it’s done! A quick, simple, summer-y BBQ sauce that’s perfect for a slab of tofu, a seitan cutlet, or even just dipping in crackers (which is what I did to taste-test).

This sauce has a light peach taste and the bourbon isn’t too heavy, so it’s a tasty combo that doesn’t overpower the sauce – or whatever the sauce is on, for that matter. Plus, it makes a lot, so you’ll have plenty to keep around and even give to friends!

Lots of sauce for lots of grills. Can't complain