Sunday, November 21, 2010
It’s Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas!
My whole house smells like Christmas Eve!! It’s only 12:30PM here in Virginia and I’ve been cooking since 7:30. I still have my pajamas on and I doubt that I’ll get dressed today. Or out of the kitchen. Mr. Kim has been to Costco twice and Kroger once and is on his way to his mom’s to take her some tables and chairs for Thursday’s overflow guests. But that’s all ok. Because it means the holidays have started for the Shooks.
I’m filling my freezer for our big Christmas Eve bash. We have a huge crowd – approaching 50 some years and they get the whole shebang: turkey, ham, oyster stuffing, gravy, two kinds of potatoes, etc., etc., etc. I grew up going to my Aunt San’s and Pop Denson’s for Christmas Eve and I’ve continued the tradition. Family, friends, assorted Christmas orphans. All welcome.
Last week I made the orange cranberry sauce and my grandmother Bebo’s sweet potatoes. Those potatoes are as sweet as dessert with maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon and marshmallows – with a bourbon sugar syrup to pour over, for those who like that. I do NOT – I grew up thinking that I hated sweet potatoes. Turned out I don’t like bourbon. Yeah, I know – I gotta turn in my G.R.I.T.S. card.
This morning, I’ve made Sour Cream-Cheese potatoes for 50, Brunswick stew for Mr. Kim to take to work for a soup sale to benefit the Food Pantry and started my gravy. My turkey gravy is the only thing that I do that I truly brag about. It is fantastic. I adore gravy and started out my marriage unable to make decent gravy to save my life. Luckily, my MIL, Jo, is a wonderful cook and she gave me some really good pointers and I’ve gotten pretty good at gravy. But my turkey gravy is in another realm. Rich and dark and the essence of turkey.
First I roast turkey wings, carrots and celery – tossing them with Bell’s Seasoning, pepper and a tomato paste/olive oil slurry. All roasted and gorgeous:
Then they get covered with broth in deep stock pot and simmer for a few hours to make stock:
That’s where things stand now. I’ll use the fat to make a good, dark roux, the stock to make the gravy and then – ADD IN the shredded wing meat to heft it up. Momma says it’s more like hash than gravy and she’s right. A big slumpy spoonful over a roll and I don’t need anything else to eat!
In my plans today are still croutons, cornbread and a gingerbread layer cake with orange-cream cheese icing and orange-cranberry filling. The cake is for a cake sale for Mr. Kim’s office. It will generate more Food Panty money – we really can’t do enough for the hungry, especially at this time of year. When I have a day of plenty like this, I can’t help thinking of those who have so little.
And I THINK Mr. Kim and The Child are getting grilled chicken for dinner – I have two breasts and legs thawing, a half a bottle of BBQ sauce in the fridge and I’ve been cooking snaps and a piece of side meat on the back of the stove since early!!