Gravy is my everything. While I love it on everything from stuffing to slices of turkey to mashed potatoes, I REALLY love it the day after Thanksgiving. You know, when things have dried up a bit and really need that dreaded word we all hate: moisture. Cranberry sauce helps too and so does mayonnaise, which is actually foreshadowing as to what’s to come next week, but for now, GRAVY!
This gravy is thick and smooth and delicious. It starts by using the drippings from yesterday’s turkey. And I’ll say that the drippings from that turkey and its dry brine are VERY salty drippings. But I added a few things to combat that saltiness so no need to not get on this lil’ gravy train (do you see what I did there?).
Isn’t Thanksgiving the best? Even planning Thanksgiving excites me so very much.
For years and years and years, I dunked a raw bird in a wet brine and called it a day. Last year Josh spiced the brine with persimmons and quince and fall stuff like all-spice and cloves. I loved it. But, I also was curious if this was really even needed. I mean, it was kind of a pain. There was a trash bag involved and there’s something inherently weird about putting food you’re going to eat into a garbage bag, even if it’s clean.
So, I did some research. And turns out a lot of people we’re a million light years ahead of me with their hatred toward the wet brine. And some of the science behind why dry brines are best, made complete sense to me. (Serious Eats’ experimentation is super awesome.)
I decided to give the dry-brine a go this year and I’m so glad I did. This year it’s all ’bout the dry brine. Says who? Just me.
The brine I made consisted of salt, ground coriander, minced herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme, and zest from a lemon and orange. It’s really actually quite simple. The bird is rubbed with it the day before and the entire bird dry-brines for a good 24 hours.
There’s nothing fancy or weird or particularly unusual about this. I mean, it kinda reminds of how I like to roast a chicken. This recipe yielded the crispiest skin I’ve ever had on a turkey, which in my book immediately makes it a complete keeper. I would be completely content if someone served me crispy turkey skin ONLY. Of course, that’d be insane and v Paula Deen of me; not a cute look for me.
For the whole recipe and more pictures and a longer tirade about my love for this recipe and turkey, go to PBS Food!
Twice-baked potatoes are kinda basic, aren’t they? They are in an endearing way, of course. They’re simple and adorable and I kinda have the urge to pat them on the head and tell them they’re cute. But for this Thanksgiving, I wanted a side dish with a bit of class, so I decided that old favorite of ours needed a bit of a makeover.
This is its classier bigger sister; less cheese, less carbs yet still indulgent and delicious. Also, this is definitely the first time where I’m saying less cheese/less carbs and meaning it as a good thing.
It’s not every weekend when I get the opportunity to gather my friends together and host a dinner party, so when I was invited to be a part of the #BertolliGoldLabel Italian Progressive Dinner Party, I said a-ok!
I’m a pretty casual person; this means I like my dinner parties to feel very fuss-free. Here are some guidelines I like to follow:
1. I kinda start to stress out when I see the host get up a million times. I feel like I should help! I don’t want my friends to feel like this so I make sure everything is ready (entree included), on the table, served family-style. This means from the time they arrive everything is very laid back.
2. At least one course is completely store-bought. In this case it was the sauce from Bertolli (more on that later), cheeses, charcuterie, figs and grapes and olives. Easy breezy!
3. Wine matches the food. My friend Whitney helped with this, selecting the perfect, super affordable Italian wines to go with our Italian-inspired dinner.
I grew up eating renditions of this recipe. Every couple of years, as I got older, the recipe’s identity evolved from crazy plain to what you see now. I guess you could say I went from super picky, pain in the ass eater to normal human and this recipe was along for the ride during that entire journey.
When I was a teeny kid, my mother would make picadillo and it’d simply be fried diced potato with ground beef over rice. (I hated raisins, boiled eggs and olives…and tomatoes.)
During my preteen years, I warmed up to boiled eggs so that was added, along with the tomato base that is so well known in picadillo and honestly essential.
In my late teen years, I became ok with the addition of olives. But it wasn’t until my twenties when I fully embraced the raisins, which now I think are crucial.
The version you see is what my adult self LOVES. And it’s probably the closest to the authentic original that is so popular in Cuban restaurants.
Today we’re talking about fall dinner party inspo. I’m exploring the world of plates and linens and flowers and color schemes. This weekend I teamed up with Bertolli to throw a dinner party, as a larger part of their #Bertolli Gold Label Progressive Italian Dinner Party with a few other food bloggers (like Tracy, Beth, Carrian and Kristen).
While the virtual dinner party plays out with fantastic recipes (see menu below), I’m also taking this opportunity to get my friends together in a backyard and eat fancy cheese, stuff our faces with a persimmon galette (recipe coming soon!) and delicious porchini mushroom lasagna featuring a new Bertolli Gold Label sauce. But more on the food next week! When people think of Italy, the first thing they think of is food, but details are in the table setting, too. So today is all about the pretty images I’ve been hoarding on Pinterest as inspiration for a fall table.
I love the idea of having a fall table with absolutely zero orange. I personally adore the color orange, but isn’t it refreshing to see fall tables with other color schemes? For this particular table I wanted the color palette to be a cool blue, baby green and beige. It’s a lil’ bit California meets Italy, a little cozy and a whole lot of cute.
Do you have a food blog? I feel like many of you do. Or at the very least, you like to take photos of your food. We’re all weird, aren’t we?!
Last Friday, when I made this recipe, it was rainy and windy and a little cold. I was excited to cook and have the oven going, but I wasn’t in the mood to set things up, arrange forks on plates, pour a fake beer or style anything, even in a small way. I just wanted to cook and then eat. JUST LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
So, I didn’t. At all. And this is what we get. No plates that match, no perfectly diced avocado, no homemade enchilada sauce and I even…wait for it, bought the cheese pre-shredded. I always, ALWAYS buy the blocks and grate it myself. Not last Friday!
There are days when I miss home. I didn’t grow up with my mom cooking Cuban food, but when you grow up most of your life in South Florida, Cuban food tastes like home, too.
Cuban food was a big part of my eating growing up. If there was a big family get together, we’d often times be eating at a Cuban restaurant. There were days when I’d get out of school and head to little hole in the wall Cuban joint and I’d sit there with my friends, in our Catholic school uniforms, drinking coke and eating chicken palomilla, maduros and my all-time favorite, rope vieja.
I hardly ever get the opportunity to eat Cuban food now (the few Cuban restaurants in Los Angeles are kinda awful) so when this cookbook, The Cuban Table by Ana Sofia Pelaez, arrived at my doorstep, I was V V excited. I began thumbing through it, ooing and ahhing.
I landed on this chicken because it has everything I love about Cuban cooking. It’s inexpensive, it uses my favorite parts of the chicken (dark meat 4evr!) and it has mojo. MOJO IS EVERYTHING!
Mojo is a combination of sour oranges, onions, garlic and spices like ground cumin and oregano. Mojo is the heart and soul of this dish and a popular base for a lot of Cuban dishes.
We’re dealing with a bit of a crazy, scary heatwave that unfortunately is super common in Los Angeles during the month of September. Good ol’ September! All I want to do is bathe in a bath full of ice cubes, drink nothing but cold beer and eat ceviche and fish tacos.
That’s classic hot weather-food. It’s also the food I want to eat when I’m craving something filling and awesome, but also leaves me feeling with a bit of pep in my step.
The food looks glorious – and easy! If you like Stephanie’s blog, i am a food blog (it’s a must-read!), then you’ll love the book. The same design element from her blog is sprinkled throughout the book, the photos are modern, sleek, austere (in a good way!) and the food makes me want to run to my kitchen and make spicy chicken wings.
Also, Stephanie’s sweet and familiar personality comes through in the recipe head notes.