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    hello there good looking,

    I'm Jodi. I'm a natural foods chef and lover of healthy, wholesome, and tasty foods that have the power to make us look good from the inside out.

    « vegan apple pear pie with a maple walnut crunch | Main | roasted baby artichokes with a garlic lemon aioli »
    Friday
    Nov182011

    cauliflower millet mash with a mushroom gravy

    I used to be a terrible cook.  Okay ... terrible may be a strong word.  I was not that good.  

    But my love for food and my desire to be a great cook took me from that not so good place to where I am today. But let's be serious, I was pretty bad.

    When I first started cooking on my own, I was a poor college student cooking with no budget, very little hands on experience, and the cheapest pots and pans money could buy.  But I didn't care.  I loved it.  I wanted to cook all the time. My friends were nice enough to eat my food because a homemade meal was hard to come by, but there were some meals that were downright awful. 

    One of the first meals I ever made was steak and mashed potatoes for my roommate kara and a few of our friends. No big deal ,right? Well, I think it will go down and one of the worst meals I have ever made in my life.

    Let's start with the steaks.  I am sure that I purchased the cheapest steaks I could find, or the best I could afford, however you want to look at it.  Never having cooked a steak, and not having the same kind of google-a-recipe tools that we have today, I placed the steaks on a sheet pan and put them under the broiler for 20-25 minutes.  They were charred, lifeless, well done.  No problem .... nothing a little steak sauce couldn't fix. 

    On to the mashed potatoes. I wanted to be all fancy so I decided to make garlic mashed potatoes.  I thought, this is going to be delicious and awesome.  I am going to load them up with garlic and they're going to taste great. Yesss. 

    So I boiled my potatoes, strained them, and began to mash throwing in about eight whole cloves of raw garlic. EIGHT whole cloves of RAW garlic.  

    Then, I loaded them with god knows what else and continued to mash away.  I took a taste, and was nearly knocked over by the garlic taste.  Success.  Steak and garlic mashed potatoes coming right up!

    I anxiously waited for my friends to taste my meal and give me their feedback. I was so proud. And excited.  I thought I had pretty much nailed it.

     

    I think kara enjoyed every repulsive bite, but the guys, not so much.  One bit down into a giant raw clove of garlic and then threatened to never come over and eat my food again if I cooked with garlic. Fair enough. 

    That did not stop me form cooking or loving the kitchen.  Plus, I learned very quickly that less is definitely much more when it comes to garlic.  

    Now 10 years later, with many successful {and some more unsuccessful} meals under my belt, I'm studying to be a Natural Foods Chef at The Natural Kitchen Cooking School. I am refining my culinary skills and learning loads about the nutritional benefits of a healthy, balanced and meatless diet. 

    I'm also refining my mashed potato skills and rethinking certain recipes.  Last class we made these cauliflower and millet mashed potatoes and they were incredible.  A fabulous and much healthier alternative to the fattened up, traditional mashed potatoes you'll see around this time of year. No butter, no milk, nothing that's bad and everything that's good. 

    And the mushroom gravy. There is no better compliment.  This dish is definitely hearty enough to eat on it's own for Thanksgiving, but we both know that you need a few other things on your plate to make it feel like a true holiday meal ;)

    cauliflower millet mash with a mushroom gravy

    Serves
    About 6 people

    Ingredients

    cauliflower millet mash:
    1 medium sized head cauliflower, broken into florets
    2 cloves of garlic, sliced 
    1 cup millet, rinsed and soaked overnight in water
    3 cups of vegetable broth (or filtered water) 
    salt & pepper 
    1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
    1 tablespoon of olive oil

    mushroom gravy:
    2 large portabella mushrooms
    a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil
    salt & pepper
    1/2 onion, chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon of dried sage
    1/4 cup of dry white wine
    1 1/4 cups of vegetable stock
    1 tablespoon of whole wheat flour (or a flour of your choice)
    1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced
    1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, minced

    optional toppings: toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries

    Directions

    • Pre-heat the oven to 450º
    • Brush both sides of the portabella generously with grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast them for 10 minutes. Remove and set the mushrooms aside in a bowl with the juices that were collected. 
    • Place the cauliflower and garlic in a medium sized pot. Top with the (drained) millet and pour in the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork tender. 
    • While your cauliflower is cooking, start making your gravy. In a sautee pan, heat a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and cook the onion, garlic and sage until they start to brown. Then add the white wine to deglaze, allowing it to reduce by half. Then add the stock (reserving about 1/4 cup for the slurry). 
    • Make the slurry by combining the flour with the reserved stock, stirring until the flour has no lumps and is a buttery consistency. Drizzle the slurry into the pan stirring constantly. Bring it to a bubble. The sauce should start to thicken.  Chop the portabellas and add (with the reserved juices) to the pan. Cook for a few minutes,  and then remove the pan from the heat. Add in the fresh rosemary and thyme. 
    • Using a masher, coarsely mash the cauliflower. Add the parsley and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
    • Serve the cauliflower millet mash warm topped with the warm mushroom gravy and the additional toppings if you chose. 

    (The Cauliflower millet mash was adapted from a recipe made in class at the Natural Kitchen Cooking School. The website and recipe can be found here. The mushroom gravy was also adapted from a recipe we did in class which was sourced from Horizons: the cookbook by Landau, R. & Jacoby, K.)

    Enjoy.

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