thanksgiving

Post-funk Thanksgiving

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Spring morning sky. I can be wistful, right?

6:15 am on December 2. It’s still dark outside. I’ve been up since 5:25, and sweat is dripping into my eyes as I type this.

The funk I was in after everyone left for Thanksgiving has largely lifted, and I have a couple of people to thank for helping me out of it. A good friend from college days called and left a message on my phone, letting me know it was okay to get ONE thing done – and this sound advice let me focus on one thing at a time. Getting that one thing done let me feel good enough to get in a workout – which only helped my mood improve.

Another friend sent me a text message later that night, after she had seen the blog post. It’s a nice thing when people reach out – it helps us all realize we are linked in so many ways.

Back to badass!

 

Day after Thanksgiving

It’s 6:24 am and the house is waking up. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, with all the required items – too much food, wonderful family time, much laughter and endless gratitude (even if we never went around the table and said what we were thankful for.)

Everyone’s leaving today. We started this, I suppose – when we travel to Vermont for Thanksgiving, along the overwhelmingly busy northern roads, we make a week of it, coming home the day after Thanksgiving.

Until I was the one being left, I didn’t realize how un-fun that is. The buildup to the holiday takes much time and energy, and it’s only when the food is all eaten and cleaned up can you really relax.

There is some angst in traveling, I know. I just wish my parents and my mother-in-law weren’t headed off today.

I’ll try to focus on being thankful that they were able to be here with us at all.

Happy Thanksgiving, badasses!

GRAVY TRICKS!

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

GRAVY!!! This will work for WHATEVER kind of gravy you are making! Today we’re specifically talking about turkey (because, well, it’s that kind of day, right?) but this is a general primer on making gravy, period.

Special tool? A decent-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid.

 CLASSIC (with a roasted-in-the-oven bird)

  • Start with the roasting pan, all sticky gooey bits still attached. Set it over a LOW burner (or 2, if you can straddle 2 burners) If there is no grease, add ¼ c butter and melt it in the pan, stirring and scraping up bits.
  • IN THAT JAR . . . shake up ¼ c flour (more if you have a big pan and lots of grease, or want more gravy!) and ½ c liquid (stock made from giblets, or already-made homemade stock, canned stock, or water) until smooth. Pour it into the pan, scraping and stirring.
  • Cook until thick – at least 4 minutes. You are cooking the RAW out of the flour.
  • Slowly stir in more liquid, 1 c at a time. USE STOCK OR BROTH HERE. In between additions, let it simmer to thickness. Stir constantly – this keeps the bottom of the pan from burning and keeps scraping up the goodies, making your gravy nice and dark.
  • When the gravy is thick enough, voluminous enough, dark enough, and yummy enough (get a taster, or taste it yourself!) – strain it into a container. (If you don’t have a lot of chunky bits, you can leave this step out.)

 

STARTING FROM SCRATCH (no roasted bird. Maybe you’re smoking the turkey, or deep frying it . . .)

  • ¼-1/2 c butter OR chicken or turkey fat
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • OPTIONAL: chopped mushrooms
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • In a roasting pan or a good-sized skillet, melt fat. Caramelize veggies until they are deep brown and the pan is kind of glazed with goodness.
  • Using that jar . . . shake up ¼ c flour (more if you used more fat) with ½ cup liquid (stock is ideal!)
  • Keep going as if you had a roasted bird to start with.

 

VEGANS can substitute oil for butter, vegetable stock for other liquid, and definitely should add mushrooms to the mix. If you’re making beef gravy, you may even have to pour off some fat to begin with, as the beef will throw off a lot more grease than you can use.