Ho boy, you ever have one of those days at work where you put down your cup of coffee at 7 a.m. and the next time you sit down at your desk you realize it's 1 p.m. and your coffee is stone cold? Yeah, one of those days today. I actually prefer that sort of frantic pace to the more common pace of my job-- very, very, very slow-- but it does have a way of taking it out of you.
So when I got home, I had thought I was going to do this fancy dish out of Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen, Smothered Seitan Medallions in Mixed Mushroom Gravy. But I actually only ended up having the stamina to get through making the broth & the gravy and frying the seitan. By the time I got to the frying, I realized I didn't want to do the other five steps in the recipe, so I just did my own thing from there on out. It was still quite the mushroom celebration.
Oh yeah: M is for Mushroom! I don't actually like mushrooms. Do you? I think they're kind of weird. They smell funny (and sometimes, to my nose, very bad) and have a weird texture. I could care less what a food tastes like if it has a good texture or a good smell... but the best tasting thing the world will have a hard time getting down my throat if the texture is weird. Maybe that means I'm still basically a toddler, but that's just how it is.
From left to right, the picture has dried shiitake, golden oysters (similar to tree oysters), and cremini. Tree oysters are actually my go to mushroom most of the time, because I like their texture (though bizarre, it works for me) and they don't smell as bad to me as, say, portobellos. Golden oysters? At least these ones? Smelled like oysters. Like bivalves. Stinky stinky. Too bad, they're very beautiful.
Of course, you couldn't see how lovely and golden they were in the gravy:
That's a picture while cooking. I thought the gravy was totally delicious and I wasn't horribly turned off by the whole mushrooms floating in it (dude, they tasted like gravy!) but it never thickened per the recipe. After about 25 minutes of simmering and whisking it (10 minutes longer than the directions suggested), I added some arrowroot and that did the trick.
Speaking of arrowroot, I DID get as far as frying the seitan pieces (more AVK seitan) covered in arrowroot. That was interesting. The arrowroot gives them an exterior texture that is at once somehow slippery and crunchy. Without the gravy, I didn't like it-- but with the gravy it was just an amazing combination of textures. Really good.
Oh yeah, I made mashed potatoes too. Nothing fancy. Boiled potatoes + some unsweetened rice milk + a little salt + a lot of pepper. And I finally gave in to vegan pressure and made a massaged kale salad. Again, super simple... just olive oil and salt for massaging, and then some balsamic vinegar to give it a little more flavor. To my surprise, I really liked it. I was skeptical of how much rubbing your kale could change it but... okay... you guys, you were right.
So about the mushrooms: I'm still not in love with mushrooms. But this was a pretty good application for them and I'm glad I didn't just chuck the golden oysters into the compost upon smelling them, even though I did think about it.
The Emperor liked the seitan but wouldn't try anything else, not even mashed potatoes. Here he is after dinner, playing Telephone:
Oh yeah, by the way: happy middle of the alphabet day! I'm going to do a quick retrospective post but... not tonight. I'm just too incoherent and ready to crash.