Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here come the Holidays!

     Here it is a week from Thanksgiving, and I am doing exactly what I do every year, and that is waiting until the very last moment to buy the makings for Thanksgiving. You would think that I would be more organized. Not a chance, I have been operating by a organizational shoestring for many years. Someone yesterday, was sharing about how at their home, mixed nuts are set out during the long waiting period, one must endure for the turkey. That jogged a memory, my house had the same mixed nut bowl, with the little shiny nutcrackers. I remember they were my Dad's favorite thing to do during the "Wait". I liked the walnuts and the pecans, those were in my opinion, the best nuts. I avoided at all costs the Brazilian nuts, and the filberts. Little did I know then that a filbert, was in fact, a hazelnut. I had no idea back then.
   I have begun noticing that the fever is starting to rise, the Thanksgiving fever. I was very proud of myself, I actually bought pie crust early. Now, I know that some of you are scratching your heads and asking "why is a chef buying pie crust?" Well, it is easy, there is nothing wrong with it, and it tastes good. Pillsbury is a great company, and they take a lot of headache out of a hugely detailed dinner. The supermarkets are starting to look a little full, and the people a little less patient. Just as I always tell you, supermarkets are a socializing tool. I ran into my sister-in-law, my niece and nephew. It was really nice to see my niece, she is in her first year at UVM in  Burlington, Vermont. I remember these kids  when they were like three years old, now they are driving and living on their own.
     My sister-in-law has hit that "No more cooking wall", that is understandable. She has hosted a lot of parties in the red kitchen. I am not sure, how I will feel when my kids venture out on their own. Kinda scary to think, that I will not have a Thanksgiving mission.  I have a tradition in my house, that on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I roll out the red carpet for breakfast. This is hands down, my most favorite meal period to cook. I secretly loved it every holiday, when I was working in a restaurant. There something so awesome about plating the most visually perfect Eggs Benedict, but I digress..
     Since I favor Southern food (love ya Paula Deen ;) ), I prepare a southern breakfast. Poached eggs, sausage gravy, fresh buttermilk biscuits, bacon, home fries cooked in liquid gold(bacon grease), grits and cinnamon rolls. After a spread like that, nobody is ready for food until about 4 or 5 pm. That is a sure fire way to keep the Turkey Skin Bandit out of your kitchen. Hey, men you know who you are?! I thought I would share my sausage gravy that I make religiously every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is rich, savory and satisfying, just ask my family.

Sausage Gravy

1# Jimmy Dean Country Mild Sausage
1 onion diced finely
3 ozs butter
4 ozs Flour
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups milk
1 tsp butcher grind black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp spicy mustard
few shakes hot sauce
salt to taste

In a saucepan cook the sausage until crumbly, add the diced onion and cook on low heat, until the onion is sweet smelling and translucent. Add the 3 ounces of butter and melt, add the flour and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and milk cook until the gravy is thickened. Season with black pepper, fresh sage, garlic, mustard, hot sauce and salt. Serve over fresh biscuits.

Coexistence: what the farmer does with the turkey-until Thanksgiving.~Mike Connolly


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