Monday, November 15, 2010

Seitan and chickpea flour cutlets with mushroom gravy and twice baked potatoes

Tonight it’s vegan comfort food. Seitan and chickpea cutlets with mushroom gravy, twice baked potatoes made with a roasted garlic and dill cashew cream and a side of spinach in balsamic vinaigrette. It’s total mom food, or maybe something out of a vegan diner circa 1963 (if such a thing actually existed). It’s what a vegan Betty Draper would have cooked between cigarettes and big belts of cocktails. Although, maybe the Betty Draper version would have a side of cashew creamed spinach instead (mmm, make mental note, must make cashew creamed spinach sometime). The cutlets were featured in their own post, so you need to look the recipe up there, but the twice baked potatoes and gravy are featured here.

I specify amontillado in the mushroom gravy. It at all possible, track it down. Amontillado is type of sherry, that’s more full bodied and nuttier than the paler fino sherry. It’s a perfect foil for mushrooms. Amontillado comes medium dry and completely dry. Either will work, although I prefer the drier version for cooking. Sherry is under appreciated – go track down a decent one and give it a try.

1 recipe of seitan and chickpea flour cutlets, sautéed in olive or spray oil until heated through and lightly browned

Mushroom Gravy
1 shallot, finely minced
4 oz. white mushrooms (about 6 large ones), finely minced (like for duxelles)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup white flour
1/3 cup sherry (preferably amontillado, but dry fino will work as well)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon nooch (nutritional yeast)
1 teaspoon white miso
1 1/3 cups of vegetable stock

Sauté the shallots, mushrooms and garlic in the oil. Add the salt to pull the moisture out of the mushrooms and shallots. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and the pan is almost dry. Add the flour and cook for a minute or so stirring constantly. Add the sherry, dried thyme, nooch, miso and stock. Stir to combine. Turn to low heat and cook until it thickens and reserve, keeping warm on low heat. Add water to thin it if it sits a while and thickens up.

Twice baked potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Dill Cashew Cream

4 russet potatoes, baked, cut in half and cooled slightly

Roasted garlic and dill cashew cream
2/3 cup of cashew pieces
2/3 cup water
¼ cup roasted or white wine braised garlic
Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Baked the potatoes and cool. If you’re in a rush, microwave them for 15-18 minutes and then finish them in a 450-500 degree oven (they’ll take about another 15-20 minutes). Microwaves are an invention of the devil, but they’re good for things like this.

Cut the potatoes in half and let them cool slightly. Make the cashew cream while they cool. Combine the cashew cream ingredients in a blender and blend until thick. Scoop the potato flesh out of the potatoes but be careful not to tear the skins. Put the flesh in a bowl and add the cashew cream. Mash thoroughly and taste for salt and pepper (adjust as you see fit). Stuff the potato shells with the mixture and place on a baking sheet. Put into a 400 degree oven and bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.

Blanched spinach with balsamic vinegar

1 bunch of spinach, washed, cleaned, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds, cooled and fnely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoons of olive oil
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar

Cook the shallot and garlic in the oil in a small pan. Let it brown for a few minutes. Add the white wine and continue to cook until reduced by three quarters (trhe shallot should be soft). Add the spinach and heat through. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook 20 seconds. Serve immediately since the vinegar will discolor the spinach if it sits too long.

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