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Showing posts from December 13, 2009

Holiday Turkey Gravy

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Another addition to the Holiday cooking guide: Gravy has to be the best part of the Thanksgiving meal. I mean, you can pour it on the meat, the mashed potatoes, the dressing, or sop it up with a roll.

I have never really tried to describe how to make gravy before so I have put a lot of thought into this. Have you heard of a roux before? That is a fancy French cooking term for cooking flour with fat that becomes the binder for gravies and sauces. Basically, to make roux-based gravy, there is a magic ratio of 1 Tablespoon fat (butter, oil, pan drippings) mixed with 1 Tablespoon flour and thinned with 1 cup of liquid (stock, broth, or milk).

You can make sauce using other thickeners like corn starch or egg. But if you are looking for a certain texture, the way to go is probably using a flour roux.

I have read lots of cookbooks and lots of websites and lots more cookbooks. I have been cooking since I was little kid, so gravy was one of the first things I learned. It's really easy, y…

Holiday Turkey Giblet Dressing (or Stuffing)

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Another recipe from the Holiday cooking guide, my mom's recipe for Turkey Dressing has been one of my all-time favorites.

I suppose you could stuff the bird with this, but I don't like squishy stuffing, so we always make it in a separate pan. It gets nice and toasty this way.

I just have to say here that I don't like it when people get all fancy with their dressing/stuffing. Cornbread. Rice. Sausage. Mushrooms. YUCK. Just give me some good turkey giblet dressing. Especially if I can drench it with turkey gravy.

And now I have to admit one more thing. I don't always use ALL the giblets. I have a dog, and she appreciates a little holiday dinner too so I normally use just the neck meat in the dressing, then give Sitka the chopped up heart and gizzards. (I also boil the liver separately so she can have turkey liver sauce for another meal. No, she is not a spoiled dog. Really!) But if you are in love with using the heart and gizzards in your dressing, go for it.

A no…

Almond Kringle

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Kringle! This is a family tradition. My family is a little short on traditions, so the few I can grasp, I hold on tight. My mom's family is Czech, and we have lost many of the Czech traditions. I think this particular recipe is not Czech, per se, but it is in the same family as kolache or rugelach.

Kringle is a type of pastry, like a Danish. The shape is what makes it stand out. You can honestly make any shape you want, wreaths, twists, whatever, but "Kringle" means "knot" from what I remember. Whatever language it is, it's tasty.

Ingredients
For the dough
4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups AP flour

For the filling
1 cup almond paste
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar

For the topping
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
3 T. slivered blanched almonds, divided
extra white sugar for sprinkling

Method
1. Proof your yeast in the warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar for a…

Turkey Stock

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Continuing the Holiday cooking guide, I present Turkey Stock. Useful for making incredible Turkey Gravy and Turkey Dressing (or Stuffing, if you prefer it by another name).

By the way, the recipe below works equally well with chicken parts to make chicken stock.

Ingredients
giblets from one turkey (minus the liver)
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
about 1 quart water
salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Place neck, heart, and gizzard in a 2-quart saucepan. Do not use the liver because it will make your stock cloudy and gritty.



2. Add carrot, onion, and celery to the pot. Cover it all with the water.

3. Bring pot a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer about 1 hour.

4. Remove neck, heart, and gizzard. Reserve for dressing recipe.

5. Strain liquid into a large measuring cup. Discard vegetables.

Holiday Oven-Roasted Turkey

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TURKEY! I love turkey! I mean, I really LOVE turkey!

This is my favorite time of year, food-wise by far. I get to have turkey, and leftovers using turkey, and cranberry sauce, and stuffing...it's all sooooo good.

And I think I may have misled some people of Facebook about my turkey-cooking expertise. I am not a turkey novice. I have cooked many in my time. I have to admit that this year was my first year being in charge of the whole Thanksgiving meal. I am typically the kitchen donor (you know, people come to my place and cook) so the roles were changed this year.

We ventured to the throbbing metropolis that is Winnemucca to spend Thanksgiving with Justin's grandmother. My folks joined in as well. Their original plans to go to Arizona were thwarted by a buzzrd that insisted on committing hara-kiri using my dad's brand new Escalade as his method of death.

This post is the first of my holiday cooking guide. And just for reference, this year was my first time cooking a …