French Black Beans and Mushrooms with Gravy Vegan

There's something really satisfying about mushrooms treated in a french preparation. Wine, mustard and thyme are one of those classic combinations that evoke a fine dining experience without the fine dining price tag. 1 pint baby bella mushrooms chopped small 1 can black beans, rinsed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbl tsps soy sauce 2 tbl spicy mustard 2 tsps  prepared, jarred, horseradish (horseradish, vinegar and salt) 1 tbl hot sauce 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 tbls olive oil 2 tsps dry thyme 1 tsp black pepper 2 tsps salt When you cook down mushrooms some kind of molecular magic happens that turns bland, spongy fungi into a delectable culinary powerhouse. Add some wine and a few other components and you've got a deep, dark saucy ragout that will make anything you cover it with irresistible.  It's a simple mixture that yields complex tastes and textures.  It won't take up a lot of your time to make, but you'll have a hard time not eating it all in one sitting.  Start yo

The Salad Deception

You know what always tickles my funny bone just a little bit... people who eat salads. Well, people who eat salads believing them to be healthy and low in fat and calories. Restaurant salads are generally worse for you than anything. Caesar salad is not low fat. It's the dressing. That's the culprit. If you eat dry salad or salad only with vinegar you'll be all right. But the dressings are swimming in fat and calories. People hear or read the word salad and they automatically equate that with a healthy choice. And food purveyors take full advantage of that. Marketing this ersatz health food to unsuspecting diners.

Somewhere along the line people especially got the false idea that Caesar dressing and vinaigrette's are better. Not true at all. Vinaigrette has just as much oil as any other dressing. While its true that 'creamy' dressings may have more fat than oil/vinegar mixes all regular dressings are pretty darn fatty. If it's not lite or fat free beware.

Caesar dressing is especially deceptive because the name doesn't indicate what the ingredient may be or if it's high or low fat. But be assured, if it's salad dressing and lite or low fat are not a part of the name, then it's high in calories and fat. Caesar dressings is basically Italian dressing with Parmesan cheese and anchovies added. Different companies may make it different ways, but basically it's Italian dressing with some cheese. So they've taken a standard oil and vinegar based salad dressing, which is already bad news and added Parmesan cheese. Which tastes good, but only adds additional fat, additional calories and additional salt.

Salad is good, sans dressing. Once you add any dressing that isn't fat free you're in trouble. Fat free dressing has its own problems. Additional sugar and too many chemicals. Salad with plain red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper is a great way to avoid fat laden dressings. I also like to add nutritional yeast to mine. You could also add your own light sprinkle of grated cheese. Just a very light sprinkle will add a lot of flavor, but little in the way of waist expanders. I prefer the yeast. The yeast and vinegar combine to make a nice, tart and tangy super light and extrenely nutritious dressing.