January 7, 2013

Penne Pasta with Mushroom Onion Gravy & Marinated Tofu

Sunday was another warm day inside watching it rain.  I managed to create a couple more items for our meals this week.  I am enjoying the place I've gotten to with vegan cooking.  It's as natural to me now to put together a meal by looking around the kitchen at the supplies on hand as it was when we were not vegan. I remember being able to tell someone how to cook a chicken a hundred different ways off the top of my head or create a fun dessert.  But put together a variety of vegan meals for the whole week was not easy at first.  I had no idea how to satisfy the appetite or how to get the right nutrients.  Very nice we have the internet now, I didn't have it in the beginning of this journey.  I've read so much and been able to attend educational functions by wandering around the vegan websites and blogs. I think that may have been how my husband found the first immersion cooking class I took with Chef Al in 2006.

I looked around the kitchen at what we had.  It didn't take long for an idea to emerge. I put together a nice pasta dish with a mushroom and onion sauce.  I started by sautéing a couple sliced Portabello mushrooms just until they were browned on both sides.  I used just a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and didn't add salt until I turned them.  Somewhere I learned that the salt would bring out the moisture too much and they don't brown as well. Better to put the salt on after the browning.  I also had some super firm tofu around so I cubed it, marinated it in a little tamari, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar for about 15 minutes and sautéed those cubes as well.  I removed them from the pan and added a couple tablespoons of filtered water to sauté my onions.  I used two large onions, sliced thinly in half moons.  Added to the onions was four cloves of garlic, minced.  I cooked the onions and garlic until they were nicely caramelized adding water 1 tablespoon at a time to keep them from sticking to the pan.

To the onion mixture I added:

1/4 cup wheat free tamari
2 cups filtered water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
about a quarter teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
a dash of cayenne

I let that simmer for a couple minutes and then added a roux I made with 2 tablespoons spelt flour and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  I added the browned mushrooms and tofu cubes back into the pan and let it all simmer and get thick, about 5 minutes.  I also had some organic peas in the freezer, thought that would be a nice touch so I threw them in too. I mixed all the sauce with a pot of hot penne pasta.  An easy vegan meal with everything I need:  protein, grains, and veggies.

And it's really good warmed up today.

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