What follows is not a recipe, but a template. Actually two templates. When you understand the basic process, you can improvise according to your desire.
I. I make a roux from a combination of all-purpose flour and chickpea flour (besan), or you can use just flour. Slowly brown the flour in ghee on medium-low heat. The ratio of fat-flour-liquid is 2T fat/2T flour/1 cup of liquid.
Once the flour is no longer raw, it's your choice how dark you want the gravy. For a white gravy, stop when the roux is slightly golden, maybe 5-7 minutes and use milk as part of your liquid. For a darker roux, 10-20 minutes. You MUST continually stir the roux or it will burn in spots.
When the roux is the desired color, turn off the heat, and carefully add HOT water, or veggie stock, or milk (soy milk or almond milk if you avoid dairy). Be sure to add only a little liquid at a time, and stir like mad to incorporate. The steam that will result is intense, so be careful. Add enough liquid to make the gravy thinner than you want that end result to be, because it will thicken up as it cools.
Now you can add the seasonings you want: poultry seasoning, nutritional yeast (a tablespoon adds umami and a pretend-chicken flavor), fresh or dried spices like thyme, parsley, celery seed, etc., and of course, salt & pepper. Simmer the gravy uncovered, stirring constantly, until it's almost the thickness you want, because it will continue to thicken as it cools. Make sure it's hot when you serve it.
II. Another quick gravy is to cook some brown lentils with some carrot and celery in water or stock until everything is soft, then puree the whole thing until it's smooth. Add gravy seasoning as for the above recipe, and it's pretty decent, but not as silky smooth as the flour-based version.
I was just watching a video on the Cooking with Dog channel (great videos) over at Youtube, and at 1:36, they instruct to put a sheet of paper towel (photo attached) over boiling shiitake mushrooms. Can somebody tell me what the purpose of this might be? Is it to keep the 'shrooms submerged? The idea of the chemicals used to process the paper leaching into the cooking water does not appeal to me; I'd probably use a clean handkerchief instead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWLNZz...