Need a good vegetarian gravy recipe?

Hold on to your brunch biscuit, people.

Recently, I posted this photo of me and a giant breakfast bowl swimming in gravy.img_0040

And I got several comments about the lack of decent vegetarian gravy recipes. This my food friends is the real deal veg gravy. Trust me because I pretty much ate all that AND had the gravy on mashed potatoes the night before. It was a gravy drenched weekend.

So, where did I eat the BEST vegan biscuits and gravy?

My favorite of all veggie restaurants, The Chicago Diner. If you’re ever in Chicago– just go. Seriously. I’ve gushed about this place before and you’ve gotta eat there. Everything on the menu is a vegan/vegetarian dream come true.

Yeah, but it’s brunch time, HERE– I need a veggie gravy recipe now.

Luckily, I’ve bought all their cookbooks and below is the recipe for ultimate gravy goodness. Eat hearty and enjoy every last lick of that plate.

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The Chicago Diner’s White Sage Gravy from The New Chicago Diner Cookbook

Yield: 4 Cups

Vegetarian Gravy Ingredients:

1 cup vegan margarine like Earth Balance

2 cups minced onion

1 cup rice flour

2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1/4 cup soy milk

8 cups water or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons fresh chapped sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon white pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to cook gravy:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the onion and saute until it is  caramelized.
  2. Slowly sift the flour into the saucepan, whisking constantly until it is completely blended. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until a golden brown roux forms.
  3. Slowly add the vegetable stock and water to the saucepan, still whisking constantly.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer the gravy for 8 minutes, until the desired thickness is reached. Remove from the heat and transfer to a gravy boat.

Cooks’ Note: You can easily thicken up a too-thin gravy by slowly adding 1 tablespoon of flour or nutritional yeast flakes, but be sure to whisk vigorously and constantly while adding it to avoid lumps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I (heart) the Chicago Diner- More travel food!

I know I’ve sung the praises of The Chicago Diner before, but every time we go I am reminded about how amazing the food is and how special it is to eat at an established vegetarian/vegan restaurant. I just don’t take that for granted because it’s harder to find than you think.

One of the other things I love about eating there is the inspiration I get for my own cooking. For instance, this time I had the Cornish “beef” hash with an egg sunny side up on top.

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I’ve got to figure out how they make that seitan- it slices perfectly and seems to absorb marinating juices really well. I think they use it in their signature Reuben dish too. The egg on top of this dish was a brilliant touch.

John had the black bean burger.

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Josh had a spicy breaded “chick” sandwich which despite the good waitresses fair warning was not too hot for ol’Josh.

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If I am truly honest with myself I would admit that it isn’t just the amazing, hearty meals that bring us back every time we visit Chicago…it’s that mind-blowing chocolate chip cookie peanut butter vegan shake. I think I’ll let the evidence speak for itself…

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Best meal of the year…so far!

The best meal if the year (so far) took place on Wednesday, April 11th at 8:30 PM in Chicago Illinois at a restaurant we’ve walked by tons of times going to our favorite Chicago Italian restaurant, Volarie. On this particular night Volarie chose to close early and fate dropped us off at Coco Pazzo Cafe’s doorstep. Thank you fate.

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We started with a chopped seven vegetable salad topped with a thin slice of Parmesan. Amazing! Hardly any greens, but plenty of tasty veg. There was so much flavor and so little dressing of any kind.

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John had a spicy spaghetti. We didn’t know the dish was spicy until they sat it in front of John with a chili pepper in the center. It had heat, but wasn’t over the top spicy, which was good for me since I don’t like spicy and I kept eating it off his plate!

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I had this incredible butternut squash stuffed pasta in a rosemary, sage, butter, amaretto sauce. The best thing about this dish was the crispy bread crumbs sprinkled on top of the pasta. They soaked up the sauce and added another level of flavor to the meal. I wanted to coat myself in bread crumbs and roll around in the sauce.

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For dessert we ordered gelato and spumoni. John had lemon while I had two kinds of gelato, chocolate and cinnamon.

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And yes, we did close the restaurant (a first for us), but we left a big tip! Thank you Coco!

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Sunday Dinner: December 19, 2011- Tofu Bless Us, Everyone

John and I took a whirlwind trip to Chicago this weekend (up and back in less than 24 hours!) to see one of our favorite British musician’s (and John’s Doppelganger) Morrissey.

Morrissey is a serious vegetarian, so when we got home on Sunday, I made a tofu dish in his honor. It’s a recipe I use to make with shrimp, but garlic marinated tofu really is just as good ( I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true!)

While the garlic infused tofu was thawing out (I freeze mine to get the texture we like), I let it sit in some zesty Italian salad dressing and do a little extra marinating. When it was ready, I squeezed it a bit, then diced it into chunks. I covered the bottom of my cast iron skillet in olive oil and sautéed it with a heavy sprinkle of oregano and fresh ground pepper.

Next I added a cup of cannelloni beans and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. One of my goals for the new year is to get us eating 3 bean dishes a week. Magical fruit jokes commence.

I have to admit I was avoiding making a salad, why I don’t know, but I just was. So I added 2  1/2 handfuls of spinach and a little extra olive oil to the tofu, white beans, garlic mix. Not only does it add the color green to our plate, it jazzed up the tofu quite a bit! Yes, I just said jazzed.

On the side we had cavatelli pasta in a red sauce made by a company called Middleearth. The pasta sauce is incredible AND it’s also hobbit-y (can’t get much better than that).

...there were bread sticks too.

Right now we’re in serious Christmas TV mode. We own a lot of Holiday TV episodes, specials and movies. I’m not going to lie, the pressure is on to get them watched before the 25th. Dinner on the sofa, anyone?

We watched the Muppet’s Christmas Carol. I’m not going to say which one of us cried and which one of dozed off when during the moving Tiny Tim (aka Robin) death scene…I’m just telling you it happened.