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!!


  1. Oh. My. This is your POST OF ALL TIME. Nothing anybody ever wrote, showed, talked about or bragged on on eG has EVER come up to the level of this G. R. A. V. Y.

    We're about to go out for a very late lunch and a quick run to the toy store, or I'd probably rhapsodize enough to drown in drool.

    I'm gonna MAKE this, as sure as Miss Scarlett was Nevah going to be Hongry again.

    That pale, insipid broth-with-livers is the bane of my Thanksgiving every year, but I make it anyway.

    But this year . . . Oh. My.

    ps I think I was the one who included bourbon in a G.R.I.T.S. Girl's standards, but guess what---I can't STAND the stuff. So I think we're both absolved.

    Now for Heaven's sake, BabyGirl, sit DOWN a minnit!!

  2. Thank you, thank you, my friend! And I DID sit down. The Child came rushing in a couple of hours ago, saying could she have the kitchen to make corn casserole, sweet potato souffle and an APPLE GALLETTE (!!!) to take to her 'Friendsgiving Dinner' TONIGHT! So I've been sitting awhile, getting up to explain how to do something, check the looks of something, etc., etc. since then.

    I got my croutons and cornbread made before she came home with only dinner and a cake to make. Wish I'd given in to my urge to make cream cheese and olive earlier today - I'd smear some on a Ritz and THAT would be supper!

  3. Yesterday, inspired by you and Michael Ruhlman, I made turkey stock from scratch. It is rich and flavorful and seeing it this morning quite gelatinous.

    I also made orange-Grand-Marnier-cranberry relish as well as the base for a cranberry sorbet, which has become a favorite seasonal dish around here.

    I also assembled my dressing. Cooked it enough to make it safe. Now it is curing in the fridge and will be reheated with some drippings added on Thursday.

    Keep inspiring us, Kim!

  4. Rachel, there's no such thing as "disliking bourbon." We just haven't found the right one for you--yet! When you make your way here, I shall inform you palette and find the perfect match for such discriminating tastes. If that strikes some amount of fear in you, don't think I'm above taking liquor across state lines.

  5. Anon – I love it when stock gets like that. Atomic Jello!!! It all sounds delicious and I can’t wait to hear the report!

    BabyBear – You’ve lived with me for almost 27 years now and I STILL don’t like bourbon. I think that Rachel and I are lost causes!

  6. Your gravy DOES sound heavenly! By the way, I am an orphan.

  7. Christa - my turkey gravy and my peanut butter cookies are the only things that I brag about! You are welcome anytime!