I broke the hot news in my previous post that we’re finally out of the RV and living in a real house – as in, one that sits on a foundation and has a front and back yard. We’re just getting started with the renovations – ripping up the carpets in the bedrooms, updating the bizarro apricot and teal bathroom, and sanding the walls to remove the faux ‘suede’ finish fancied by the previous owners. Does anyone remember this type of paint from the late 80s (or possibly early 90s)? If not, consider yourself lucky. And by the way, if you’ve never attempted it, sanding paint is the dustiest endeavour known to man!
Despite the dishevelled state of the house I’m having no trouble adjusting to life outside of the RV. I finally have a washer and drier at my disposal, so I no longer have to drag my laundry to a public facility like I did at the trailer park – often through the rain or snow, the horror – squirming child in tow. Plus I’ve quit hoarding change like an old lady for the machines. I’m also enjoying being able to shower without fear of the hot water running out before I’ve rinsed the shampoo out of my hair (the hot water tank in the RV only allowed for a 6-7 minute shower), and having a toilet that flushes into the ground and not a stinky tank that needs to me emptied with a pull of a lever. And best of all, little Hunter now has more space to move around and bigger cupboards to hide from me in.
I’ve been so preoccupied with scrubbing the house that I’ve fallen a bit behind on posting recipes here. This gravy has the vast honour of being the very last thing I made for the blog before we moved out of the RV last week. Admittedly, the shiitake mushrooms that went into the gravy were meant for this soup recipe, but somehow they made their way to the back of the fridge, where they remained unnoticed and hence unused. I noticed them back there the next day and after feeling momentarily flabbergasted that I’d left them out of the soup, set about devising a plan to put the evasive fungi to use!
At first I considered simply throwing the shiitakes in a stir-fry, but in the end decided to indulge my obsession with cashew cream yet again and use them to concoct a gravy. Yes, I’ve been talking a lot about cashews lately, possibly too much. My obsession started off savoury here with a roasted red pepper cashew cream sauce, then took a sweet turn here with a vanilla cashew cream. Now that I’ve made this gravy, I’m thinking I should become a professional matchmaker – shiitakes are a wonderfully flavourful mushroom and meld perfectly with cashew cream to form a marvellously rich-tasting gravy. As you can see, I used the gravy to jazz up a simple bowl of steamed vegetables, but you could put it on top of just about anything – mashed potatoes, soba noodles, grilled tofu, you name it. It would also make a fantastic dipping sauce for roasted potato or yam wedges!
Recipe: Shiitake Mushroom Gravy
Makes about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup plain cashews (+ water for soaking)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (I used low sodium broth)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 15 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place cashews in a medium bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 2 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside until needed.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute just until golden brown. Add sliced mushrooms and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are cooked all the way through. Remove from heat.
3. Place cashews and vegetable broth in blender and pulse until completely smooth.
4. Transfer mushrooms from skillet to blender and pulse until ingredients are blender together. (If you prefer a chunkier gravy, blend for less time.) Taste and adjust with salt if necessary.
5. Transfer gravy to back to skillet and warm through over low-medium heat, stirring often.
Serving ideas: Ladle gravy over steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, brown rice – or whatever you like!
You might also like: