Well, it’s upon us. The big day. The Feast. I’ve been running around like mad testing recipes for a story I’m doing on butterflying high-ticket roasts, interviewing Dorie Greenspan for an article, moving back into our brand new kitchen, throwing impromptu dinner parties to show off said kitchen (and get rid of said high-ticket roasts), and then suddenly out of the blue, someone from OPB calls and asks if I’d like to be on Think Outloud to talk about Thanksgiving in mixed diet households.
Thanksgiving?? I totally spaced that it was coming up next week. Eek! The day is a bit tricky in our house for several reasons. For one, as all you culinarians out there know, expectations for your cooking run very high among your family and friends. You can feel the pressure, can’t you? Lumpy gravy? Coming from a professional’s kitchen? Never! And everything simply must come out of the kitchen steaming hot, seasoned correctly, and Martha Stewart-perfect. Otherwise they’ll all be mumbling during the post-feast car ride home about how you might be loosing it…you know, burnt out, out of ideas, not really all that afterall, a fake.
And then there’s the dietary restrictions of all the orphans I’ve invited to our table. One friend isn’t doing dairy or wheat anymore. And a vegan friend might drop by, “just for a bite.” And then there’s Mr. Tofu, of course. He won’t be partaking in the turkey, the meaty stuffing (I just make a big batch of veggie stuffing, set some aside for him and then put turkey stock and sausage in the larger portion for the rest of us), and he’d rather suck on wet leaves than eat my turkey gravy.
Gravy is tough, because just like the rug in the Big Lebowski, “it really ties the whole room together”. Or meal, in this case. So for years, I’ve been perfecting this very special mushroom gravy for Mr. Tofu, and my other veggie friends. It’s vegetarian (vegan if you use oil), wheat free, and positively bursting with big, deep, bold flavors. Most of the meat eaters at my table love it, too. Who wouldn’t love a rich sauce with velvety mushrooms, good Oregon Pinot Noir, and loads of umami? So here it is, the gravy that might just lead to peace at your dinner table. Make it a few days in advance, reheat it at the last minute, and watch as everyone at the table begs for a spoonful.