comfort food · dinner · easy · gravy · Holiday recipes · lunch · mushrooms · potatoes · quick · Sauces · sides · thanksgiving · vegetarian · Yummy

Mushroom Herb Gravy and Car Shopping

Holy fuck you guys. I bought a new car just in the nick of time. It’s a fucking winter wonderland out there, and I am fully prepared with a car that has working heat (and a fully functional engine that doesn’t threaten to stop at any given moment). Hallelujah!

I bought a purple Honda Fit, and promptly named her Vivian (“Viv” for short). She and I are in love and plan to live a long and happy life together.

Car shopping is the literal worst. I went to several used car dealerships (I mean, who the fuck is out there buying new cars, and do they also have a room full of money in which they swim?), some of which were 40+ minutes away (that’s a long drive in a car that may or may not die without warning). There was one I found online that had several cars in my price range and also had good Yelp reviews. Perfect. I’m ready and I know what I fucking want. Let’s do this.

I pull up to these two wooden shacks. There’s a small sign that says the name of the dealership, and I can see a bunch of cars parked in a huge dirt parking lot behind them. So I walk into one of the buildings and see several people working at desks. No one offers to help me. After standing around with a look of bewilderment on my face, I finally interrupt one of them, a young woman with fake nails and purple highlights, to ask if someone could help me find a car. She tells me to just walk out to the parking lot – there are salesmen out there. Fantastic. As I walk towards the cars, the wind picks up, blowing dirt and sand into my face. I power on. Once I reach what looks to be a wasteland of damaged vehicles, I scan the area. There is no one out there that looks anything like a salesman. There are two couples looking at cars, one of which is asking questions of a man in dirty jeans and a hooded sweatshirt that is driving around in a golf cart. Dirty jeans. Hooded sweatshirt. A GOLF CART.

Am I at a house party in the country? What is happening here?

Dirty jeans man is, in fact, an employee. And he’s not alone! He helps direct me to a second dirty jeans man with his very own golf cart as well. Perfect. Drive me around this piece of shit lot and find me a car that isn’t covered in hail damage. K. Thanks.

Dirty jeans man #2 proceeds to tell me (while he takes me for a golf cart ride) that all the cars on the lot are salvaged. Most of them were purchased at auction and are from floods. Wonderful. He also takes me back to the office with rude purple highlights lady and tells me that I have to look through this huge book that lists all the cars on the lot. Once I find one I like, I should then find a dirty jeans man to drive me (in the golf cart) to said car.

I did not buy a car from them.

Since I was in the area, I opted to check out another dealership. This one only had one employee that I could see. He was a gruff old man that was also poorly dressed. When I walked into the lobby, he was in an office off to the side helping someone else. As that costumer left, he yelled, “Come in,” as though I was a misbehaving child being called into the principal’s office. I tentatively sat down and stated that I was looking for a used car. He asked what I was looking for specifically. I confidently stated, “Honda Civic or Fit with under 130,000 miles for less than $5,000.” At this point I already had my eye on Viv, but wanted to shop around. He let out a chuckle and condescendingly stated, “Oh, honey. You’re not gonna find nothin’ like that. Not for that price.”

I stood up and said, “I already have! But great! Thanks!”

It was a 30 second interaction. I’m proud of myself for not murdering anyone.

The whole thing ended with me getting a very fair deal on Craigslist from an older couple that was just fucking lovely. They also wore clean jeans, which is nice.

I made this gravy for Thanksgiving and it was a hit (with me and one other person, but we have good taste). It’s cold as fuck outside, and that means it’s goddamn gravy season. Am I right?! So throw this together in 20 minutes to help warm up your insides.

 

Mushroom Herb Gravy

8 oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter or oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups veggie broth

1 sprig rosemary

1 tablespoon sage (minced fresh or dried)

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic plus salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Make sure the moisture from the mushrooms has completely evaporated. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. While frequently stirring, allow mixture to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Let the flour toast slightly, turning a golden brown. Whisk in the broth, making sure to fully incorporate it with the flour (no lumps!). Throw in the rosemary (whole) and the sage. Stir well and allow to simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until desired consistency. Remove sprig of rosemary.

Pour that shit on everything. I scooped it onto some fried potatoes, wilted Swiss charge, and then topped it with an egg (see below).

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baking · biscuits · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · dinner · easy · eggs · mushrooms · vegetarian

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

 

I’ve never been big on biscuits and gravy. It seems like a lot of carbs in one meal… not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing most of the time. That being said, this weekend was cold and rainy. It seemed like the perfect time to start baking and carb loading, so that’s exactly what I did. I also wasn’t feeling the greatest, so it felt good to bake and lounge.

Last summer I was having a hard time with my anxiety. While most people with anxiety feel safest at home… my home was triggering a lot of it for me. This made it hard to be home alone, which was frustrating because I was newly divorced and living alone. Being the amazing human that she is, Hannah offered to let me stay at her place whenever I was feeling overwhelmed. This happened a good handful of times. Her husband was supportive of this, and would often cook us breakfast in the mornings. He makes bomb biscuits and gravy, which was something I didn’t even think I liked. I remember one instance when I spent the night on a Friday. Hannah had to work in the morning, but I slept in. Her husband made me breakfast anyway. Some people might think that is weird… but fuck those people. I needed to get out of my apartment, and they welcomed me into their home. Not only that, but they treated me like family.

I’m really lucky to have so many good humans in my life.

This version isn’t the same recipe Hannah’s husband uses, but it’s still pretty great. While I’m still learning how to bake biscuits that are light and fluffy, I fucking killed it on this gravy. I’ve been a little mushroom’d out since making that mushroom barley soup a few weeks ago, so I didn’t add as many mushrooms to this as I normally would. Instead, I opted for some veggie sausage. You could easily add more mushrooms and omit the sausage. Or you could omit the mushrooms and add more sausage. This can easily be made vegan (see substitutions in the recipe), or you could add meat. I love when one recipe can be adjusted without much fuss.

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

For the biscuits:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed (or shortening)

1 cup buttermilk (or milk/nut milk)

 

For the gravy:

1/4 cup butter (or oil)

1/2 cup onion, chopped or diced

2 veggie “sausage” patties, chopped

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

2 1/2 cups almond milk

4 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 cup veggie stock

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

For the biscuits:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the cold, cubed butter either with a pastry blender or your hands. I chose hands because I’m not fancy. This just means squishing the butter into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly. There will still be some small chunks of butter remaining. Add the liquid all at once and stir it in quickly (but gently) for about 20 seconds. This didn’t work as well for me, and I ended up needing to add more buttermilk. The dough should be soft… mine was dry/flaky. I did the best I could. Once your dough is ready and the right consistency… scoop it onto a baking sheet. This will make about 12 biscuits. I just used my hands to make medium sized balls of dough. The more I read about making biscuits, the more I think that is a bad idea. I guess they don’t like to be touched that much, and it can cause them to be hard (like mine). Sigh. It’s a learning process for everyone involved. Let me know how you handle it, and how they turn out. Mine were still good, but could have been softer/fluffier. Bake your biscuits for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden brown.

For the gravy:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the onions and saute until they begin to soften (3-4 minutes). Add in mushrooms and cook another few minutes, until soft. Add in the veggie sausage. While the veggies are cooking, place the cornstarch into a small bowl with a little bit of the milk. Whisk together until it becomes a smooth paste, then slowly whisk in the rest of the milk. Once the veggies are cooked, pour in about 1/3 of the milk mixture and stir until it begins to thicken. Slowly stir in the rest of the milk mixture, mixing well. Pour in the broth and seasonings and continue to stir until everything thickens. Gravy will be thick and bubbly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

I like to serve it over a biscuit that’s been cut in half, and then top it with a fried egg. You could totally eat this without an egg, you could add veggies, you could pour it over potatoes instead of a biscuit (Fuck. I’m definitely gonna do that). Whateverthefuckyouwant.

It is an excellent breakfast for dinner situation, too.

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Nom nom nom