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simple mushroom gravy and John Saturnall's Feast WINNERS!

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By Jen White · October 6, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

WE HAVE WINNERS! 3 wonderful winners of the wonderful John Saturnall's Feast! And we have MUSHROOM GRAVY! More on that in a minute!

The winner of the Twitter contest is: AiLien!

The winner of the Facebook contest is: Martha Banks!

The winner of the blog comment contest is: Jennifer Tillman!

Winners, email your name and shipping address to publicity@groveatlantic.com with John Saturnall's Feast/Food Orleans contest in the subject line. Grove Atlantic will ship the signed copy straight to you!

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. Stay tuned for more another exciting book giveaway later this year! (Winners were chosen using random.org, a random number generator.)

And now, a shroom with a view.

Mushroom gravy is one of my favorite things to make, because even though it's gravy, it's so full of mushrooms that it almost counts as another vegetable.  I make this sauce often, when we're eating mashed potatoes, steaks, or pork chops, or sometimes even for burgers or baked potatoes.  It's highly adaptable and suitable for all of your gravying needs--as long as you like mushrooms.

Use any combination of mushrooms you like. I used baby portobello and button, but cremini and shiitake are also especially nice in this.

Saute those babies, then whisk in some flour and let it cook a minute...

then whisk in some stock and let it cook until it thickens...

then, whisk in some half and half. Milk is okay, but only if you're into not being awesome. Heavy cream = bonus awesome points. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Worcestershire and/or Tabasco, and put it on something good.

This gravy is so highly adaptable that you can easily turn it vegan (by using all oil instead of butter, vegetable stock, and no Worcestershire), or amp up the smokiness by adding bacon grease to the oil in the pan.  You can add wine to the stock (either red or white), or use milk instead of cream.  Change the herbs to suit your taste, add some sauteed onions or shallots, spice it up with a little Tabasco...there are too many variations to count.  This gravy has potential! It's going places. It's got opinions. It wants to nestle into your dinner plans.

Don't turn it down.

simple mushroom gravy

  • 1 pound mushrooms (any variety or combination), cleaned and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or use 1/2 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups stock (I used chicken. Use beef for a richer sauce, or vegetable for a lighter version.)
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • optional: Worcestershire, to taste; Tabasco, to taste

  1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil, letting the butter melt.  Add the mushrooms (the pan will be full but they'll shrink in a minutes) and carefully stir.  Saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until the mushrooms start to shrink down a bit.  Season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme.
  2. Add the garlic and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Keep cooking for 6 to 8 more minutes; the mushrooms will get very juicy for a little bit, giving up all their liquid. Keep cooking them until that watery liquid evaporates and you just have a little buttery juice left.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well with a whisk. Cook for one minute, stirring.  Whisk in the stock until smooth, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the gravy has thickened a little.  Whisk in the half-and-half and simmer for another minute.
  4. Taste to adjust seasoning. I like it with about a tablespoon of Worcestershire and a dash of Tabasco.

Serves 3 to 6, depending on use.

nap-time bolognese: feed your inner starving artist

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By Jen White · November 3, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Rainy, gray November days beg for something warm and fortifying, and this is certainly both.  You might not be ready to run a marathon afterward, but you'll be ready for a marathon sleep.  Cheers to that!

Sauce Bolognese is perfect on fettucine, penne, or ladled over gnocchi, with lots of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano (that's the real stuff) grated over the top.  One of its traditional uses is as the sauce component of lasagna, as in Lasagna Bolognese--but you could also turn it into a baked ziti, or a soup, or even a very cheeky chili. It's also highly adaptable, so feel free to add veggies or substitute other meats (or non-meats) as you wish.  In other words, you have permission to get artsy with your food.  Just another perk of living in the best restaurant city in the universe: a great tip from a neighbor about using veal, which was spot-on.

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turn away, tomato: winter white lasagna with italian sausage

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By Jen White · February 4, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Problem:  Winter.  Boredom.  Hunger.

Solution:  Two hours spent puttering in the kitchen, which totally counts as a workout.  A mess of of dirty dishes to wash.  Lasagna in the oven.  Naps.

I love lasagna of any sort, and this one is rich and full of wintery vegetable flavor. Not using tomatoes just seemed right this time, but I've got nothing against them. Basically, I wanted the flavor of kale to be featured, so I gave tomatoes the boot till next time.

I used freshly made Italian sausage from my favorite corner store of all time, Terranova's.  If you don't have any in the house and you're snowed in, though, no big deal.  Lasagna is basically a layering of pasta, some sort of sauce/stew, and cheese.  So for the stew, I can see a melange of onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms--basically any good veggies you have in the fridge, or even in cans.  Use any kind of cheese.  If you don't have lasagna noodles, cook any shape of pasta and use a third of it to make the pasta layer...or use rice, polenta, or bread.  You really can't go wrong.
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