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Category: Recipes


Miso shiitake gravy

Earlier this year when Jeff and I were taking a vacation in Seattle, we visited a vegetarian restaurant for lunch called Cafe Flora. There, we had an appetizer of rosemary biscuits topped with the most amazing mushroom miso gravy ever.

Ever since then, I’ve been meaning to recreate the recipe at home but never really got around to it. So when I mentioned that I might want to make a miso shiitake gravy for the dinner party this past weekend, Jeff immediately asked, “Like the one we had in Seattle?!?!” Yes, my love, like the one we had in Seattle….but better!

I started by chopping up a bunch of shiitake mushroom caps. I’m not really sure how many, and they were all different sizes, but I’d say it was around 2 cups or so.

Chopped shiitakes

I even found this really cool “mutant” mushroom in the bunch…

Mutant shiitake

I discarded the stems because while shiitake stems are edible, they’re very woody and unpleasant to eat. I sauteed them in a few spoonfuls of lamb drippings but really you can use any fat, butter would work very well. I also threw in a few of the roasted garlic cloves from the lamb which dissolved nearly immediately, but chopped garlic would be just fine. Also, I didn’t add any extra herbs because the lamb drippings were already so heavily scented with rosemary, but if I didn’t use the drippings I would have added a bit of chopped rosemary instead.

Sautee shiitakes in lamb drippings

Once they were very soft I sprinkled in a little flour to make a mushroom roux. It should come together like a thick paste with the texture of wet sand.

Add flour to make a roux

Then I added in the liquids; vegetable stock, soy sauce, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. I put a big dollop of red miso in and used a small whisk to incorporate it slowly and completely.

Miso shiitake gravy

Then it just needs to reduce a bit to the desired consistency.

Bubbling shiitake gravy

It is absolutely killer at this stage with all of the chunky mushroom bits swimming in the richly flavorful sauce, but I decided to pulse it a few times in a food processor because I wanted a more homogenous texture, as you can see on my plate below. I think next time I would leave it as is though.

My plate of lamb roast

Miso shiitake gravy

A rich vegetarian gravy made with earthy mushrooms and salty red miso.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups chopped shiitake mushroom caps
  • half a quart vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup red miso
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • up to 4 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Cooking Directions

  1. Sautee mushrooms and rosemary in butter over medium heat until soft.
  2. Sprinkle over flour while stirring and keep adding until you have the texture of wet sand.
  3. Add in liquids and lightly whisk in miso to incorporate.
  4. Allow to reduce for 5 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.

If you can’t find shiitakes that’s ok, but I’d make sure to use another flavorful mushroom such as portabellas. Button mushrooms should really be reserved for topping salads and pizzas. And while I truly prefer red miso in this recipe for the way it pairs better with red meats, white will be just fine but can sometimes be a little too salty, so you might even want to omit the soy sauce if you’re using it to cut the extra saltiness.

This miso gravy is a recipe I fully intend to pull out again to impress a guest. Also, every time I make a roux I feel like a real chef. It’s so easy but it just feels so fancy!

Do you roux?


Rosemary roasted lamb

As promised, I wanted to share with you the recipes from yesterday’s post, starting with the most amazing lamb roast ever. This is a Jamie Oliver recipe so I’m not going to completely repost it from his site, but just walk you through the steps to show you how incredibly easy it is.

His recipe calls for a lamb shoulder but I haven’t been able to find that cut anywhere so I ended up going with a portion from the upper leg. If you can’t find lamb, a large cut of beef or pork would work just fine.

Prepping lamb roast

Start by patting the roast dry with some paper towels and trimming most of the excess fat, but leaving a little here and there to keep it moist while it roasts. Cut long deep slices across the meat horizontally and then vertically, making a grid in the flesh. Salt and pepper the crap out of it, making sure to get the seasonings into the grooves you’ve just cut, and then rub it all over with a thin coating of olive oil. Lay over about 8 to 10 whole sprigs of rosemary.

Next up, peel and entire head of garlic. No, for real.

A whole head of garlic

I find it’s easiest to break it into cloves with my hands and then bash each clove with the butt of my knife to loosen them from the peels. They slip out pretty effortlessly if you’ve done a good job of beating them into submission.

Next, tuck the cloves into the slices all over the lamb and just chuck any extras into the roasting pan.

Stuff garlic into sliced lambNestled garlic

At this point, Jamie would instruct you to turn your oven on “full whack,” which I think is a very charming thing to say and which for me means to turn my oven up to 500 degrees.

Cover your roasting dish with a sheet or two of aluminum foil and poke holes all over. When the oven has finished heating up to a fiery inferno, put in the roast and immediately turn the temperature down to 325 degrees. Let him bake for at least 3 hours and up to 4 if your roast is bigger than mine. Your house is going to smell amazing.

When it’s ready to come out, it’ll look like this…

Finished lamb roast

It’ll be swimming in delicious lamb fat and juices and the meat will be pulling away from the bone. Discard the rosemary and get ready to shred it.

Finished lamb with soft garlic

You can either pick out all the cloves of garlic and use them separately, or you can shred them right into the meat. They are so soft that they’re barely holding together at this point. I love roasted garlic with an intense passion so I like to eat them whole as if they were a side dish. :)

Just transfer the roast to a cutting board and, using a fork to hold it still, pull off chunks of meat with a pair of sturdy tongs. It should come off pretty easily though you may have to pick at it a bit around the bone.

This roast is excellent by itself, but it was even more special with the miso shiitake gravy that I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow.

My plate of lamb roast

It’s a real show stopper of a recipe and it really only takes 10 minutes or so to put together before the oven does all the rest. You can even prep it a day ahead of time and stash it in the fridge until it’s time to start cooking.

I hope you try it next time you need to impress a guest!

What is your favorite roasted dish?


Tsukimi nabe

It’s lovely out right now. Drippy, gray, and blustery. Maybe most people hate rainy days but I love em’.

I’m on my fifth cup of tea and listening to the hollow patter of the heavy raindrops hitting the roof and echoing through the attic. The air smells metallic and has a weightiness to it that hangs heavy on my shoulders. I should avoid contact with anything soft such as the couch right now or I might just collapse right into it and never get up.

It’s days like these when I want nothing more than to sip on warm broth. Sometimes I wish I’d catch a cold just so I can watch movies on the couch all day while wrapped up in a giant fuzzy blanket and sipping on a bowl of chicken broth with rice and swirls of cooked egg.

This tsukimi nabe was made to be enjoyed on a day just like this.

Tsukimi nabe

Tsukimi means “moon-viewing” and is a reference to the addition of an egg to the soup right at the end of cooking. The bright yellow yolk symbolizes the full moon. With a rich broth full of tender vegetables, it is a wonderful meal for a dreary day.

I started by placing all my ingredients in the donabe. If you don’t have one it’s no problem; you can make this in any lidded pot, I’ve even made a soup like this in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil and baked in the oven.

Tsukimi nabe ingredients

Layered on a bed of napa cabbage are clusters of shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, carrots, yukon gold potatoes, soft tofu, and a sprinkling of scallions.

The broth is just water flavored with white miso, mirin, fish sauce, soy sauce, and hondashi, which is a dried form of dashi stock.

Tsukimi nabe broth

You pour the broth over everything else and turn the heat up to simmering with the lid on. After about 15 to 20 minutes, check the potatoes and carrots with a small knife, if they’re as soft as you like them then it’s done! The last thing to do is turn off the heat and crack an egg or two over the top, then just clamp on the lid for a few minutes to let the eggs set.

Tsukimi nabe simmering

The eggs in this nabe were still runny in the middle and when broken open they added a creamy richness to the hot broth.

Tsukimi nabe

The great thing about this dish is you can use whatever vegetables you want or have on hand, as long as there’s a soft egg cracked on top it’s still a tsukimi nabe!

Tsukimi nabe

This "moon-viewing" hot pot features golden-yolked eggs cracked over a hot and satisfying soup of vegetables and soft tofu.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 3 to 4 servings


  • 1/4 of a large napa cabbage
  • 4 to 6 shiitake mushroom caps
  • a small bunch of enoki mushrooms
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 to 2 small yukon gold potatoes
  • half a block of soft tofu
  • 3 large scallions
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. white miso
  • 1 tbsp. hondashi
  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • sesame seeds and togarashi to garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Press the extra moisture out of a half block of soft tofu.
  2. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces and arrange over a bed of napa cabbage in the donabe, break off pieces of the tofu and add in as well.
  3. Heat water and miso in the microwave or over the stove until warm, whisk to break up miso completely. Add the other liquid ingredients to the broth.
  4. Pour broth into donabe and cook on medium high heat with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and crack eggs over the top of the soup, put lid on and wait a few minutes for the eggs to set before serving.

After photographing, I topped the soup with some toasted sesame seeds and a sprinkle of spicy togarashi seasoning. I could really just drink that broth straight out of a mug though, which I may just do since there are plenty of leftovers and it’s still drippy out.

What is your go-to comfort food for a rainy night?