Could you please pass the gravy?

November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Spread

What would Thanksgiving be without gravy? When creating my South Indian Thanksgiving menu, the gravy was the thing that posed the biggest issue in my mind. I needed something that would stand up to the big flavors of the tandoori turkey and spicy mashed potatoes without overwhelming the taste buds. I thought about it for quite a while before I decided upon a Tamarind Gravy.

Tamarind is a fruit pulp that is often used in Indian and Caribbean cooking, as well as many other Asian and African cuisines. It can range from sour to sweet, depending on how ripe the fruit is. It can be bought in a block or a paste (which is easier to deal with) at many ethnic grocery stores.

Out of all the dishes I made for my South Indian Thanksgiving, this was the one I thought might end up in the garbage can. But the resulting flavor was delicious, and my husband and I were reaching for second and third pieces of naan to sop up the gravy on our plate. The great thing about this recipe is it is based on a roux of butter and flour, so you can make it vegetarian by adding vegetable stock instead of a poultry stock if you have vegetarian guests. (more…)

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Thanksgiving Menu Planning: Riesling-Brined Turkey

November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving 2007

As I sit down to start planning Thanksgiving, I start to think about Thanksgivings past, and all of the yummy recipes I’ve discovered. Typically, I pick one recipe I really want to make (whether it’s from the past, or something I’ve just seen) and then I begin to plan the menu around that.

This year, I’m going to pick a recipe I did in 2007 to center on – a riesling-brined turkey from Martha Stewart Living. It was one of the best turkeys I have ever had (deep-fried excluded here, of course). (more…)

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Sunday breakfast

November 7, 2010

Fried Apples

Most Sunday breakfasts are some version of a pork gravy. Biscuits and ham or biscuits and sausage gravy, either way to make it a proper Sunday breakfast you need a little something extra on the side. And that something extra should be fried apples.

They’re similar to the apples you toss into a pie crust, only you cook them on the stove and there is no crust. They come out gooey and candy-like, a perfect treat for your Sunday morning. Or evening — they are also great with pork chops for dinner. (more…)

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Country Ham: A Southern Delicacy

September 5, 2010

Country Ham

Country ham is a staple breakfast food in the South. It is such a staple, that the thought never crossed my mind that it might not be a universal breakfast food. Oh how my world was rocked on my first visit to Kansas City.

Growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee, Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast meant heading to Hardee’s or your local gas station if you were in a hurry and didn’t want to cook. And that meant biscuits – for me, a ham biscuit and a sausage biscuit – hashrounds if we were at Hardee’s, and an orange juice or occasionally a coke, if I could get away with it. The ham biscuit was awesome – salty country ham, oozing it’s grease into the fluffy biscuit, wrapped in a paper wrapper, hot and just waiting to be eaten.

So imagine my surprise the first time I get a ham biscuit at Hardee’s in Kansas City. I bite into it, and… deli ham??!! What the heck was this? Fast forward 14 years, and every time I leave Tennessee to head back to California, there are a few vacuum-sealed ham steaks stuffed in my luggage, no doubt puzzling the TSA when they search it. If you don’t head to the South frequently, you can also purchase these vacuum-sealed packages (or a whole ham) online.

Once I get home, I freeze the steaks, and pull them out on Saturdays or Sundays, when I’m ready for a good, hearty Southern breakfast. (more…)