Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

Roasting the mushrooms adds a whole new dimension of flavor and texture to this classic turkey gravy. Stirring the gravy will build up your arm muscles.


Makes about 3 cups gravy

Ingredients:

1 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned well

About 2 Tb olive oil to coat mushrooms

1/4 cup dry sherry

several grinds black pepper

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Turkey drippings from Thanksgiving turkey

Salt to taste if not using brined turkey drippings

Directions:

Start the mushrooms the day before Thanksgiving. Scrub mushrooms with a soft brush or wet paper towel and rinse well. Chop the woody ends of the stems. Toss with olive oil until well coasted.

roasted mushrooms.jpg

Place on an oiled pan and roast for 15 minutes until they are nicely browned and soft.

When mushrooms are cool enough to handle, cut into fourths or sixths depending on the size of the mushroom. Store in a container with the liquid.

Boil giblets and neck with  1 cup water, 1/2 onion, a celery stalk, fresh thyme and pepper for an hour. When cool, chop giblets finely if you want to add them to the gravy. Store in a container until turkey is cooked.

When turkey is roasted, pick up the turkey on the rack from the pan and place over the serving platter.

If you roasted your turkey without liquid, stir sherry in the roasting pan and heat while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir in mushroom liquid, turkey stock and  Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup or boxed turkey stock to make 2 3/4 cups.

If using my recipe for Thanksgiving Turkey, use the liquid and roasted vegetables at the bottom of the pan for gravy:

???????????????????????????????Remove large pieces of herbs from the liquid, then pour liquid into a fat separating cup. This is a cup that has a spout connected to the bottom of the cup.  The fat will rise to the top and only the fat-free liquid will pour out. Add reserved turkey broth, sherry and mushroom liquid to make 2 3/4 cups stock.

Measure out 1/2 cup fat left in the cup. If there is not 1/2 cup, then add butter. Pour into a medium saucepan. Whisk in sifted flour over medium heat to make a roux. Cook the roux about 7 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until it begins to darken to the shade of peanut butter.

Heat the stock to a boil in a medium pot. Put the roux in a large mixing bowl. Set beaters on low and slowly pour in the hot turkey broth, beating constantly.  Add minced thyme, rosemary, and several grinds black pepper. Beat the gravy on medium high until it is smooth. Pour the gravy into the pot and heat until it is simmering. Stir gravy fwhile it heats to a boil.

Add the mushrooms, and chopped giblets if desired, and cook 5 minutes stirring constantly. The gravy will thicken, although you may not notice it until it cools down, but it should coat the back of a spoon. Adjust salt to taste if necessary.

Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle food section for their tips on making gravy with roux.

Olive Oil Cornbread

olive oil cornbreadThis light cornbread is super moist from olive oil and applesauce. You can add fresh rosemary for a savory cornbread, or dust with cinnamon-sugar for a sweeter cornbread. I added ground flax seed for its Omega-3 benefits.

Ingredients:

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tb ground flax seed

2 eggs

½ cup applesauce

¼  cup olive oil

1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (about a one-inch sprig)(optional)

1 tsp sugar mixed with ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425’ Add vinegar to milk and let it curdle while you mix the other ingredients. Sift white flour with baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Whisk eggs with milk in a separate bowl, then whisk in applesauce and oil. Add rosemary if desired. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix with a large spoon only until ingredients are combined. Grease an 8 inch square pan with olive oil. Pour in batter. Bake for 20 minutes.  If you like a sweet -tasting cornbread, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon-sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Nice with soups or stews.

Rosemary and olive oil cornbread

 

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon and Italian Herbs

This is quick and easy. The chicken is fragrant and juicy. A good way to use those chicken breasts on sale. Use roasted bones and skin for Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup  ; perfect to make broth for Minestrone Soup on a rainy day.

5 bone-in chicken breasts with skin attached
Olive oil, about 3 Tb
5  garlic cloves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tb fresh thyme, minced
About 1 Tb each dried oregano and thyme
About 1 tsp chili flakes
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves
2 lemons: ½  sliced and 1 ½  juiced and zest grated
 

Preheat oven to 450′

Oil a large roasting pan

Salt underside of breasts. Place breasts in pan, skin side up

Stuff garlic, rosemary, fresh thyme and a lemon slice under each breast skin

Sprinkle dried herbs, chili flakes, salt and pepper over breasts

Sprinkle olive oil over breasts

Roast in 450’ oven for 50 minutes

Squeeze lemon juice over cooked chicken. Garnish with fresh basil and Meyer lemon zest.

Linguine with Prawns

My husband, Jesús, always orders this dish at Italian seafood restaurants. This is an easy Friday night dinner, especially if you use the jarred sun-dried tomatoes. Fill a couple of wine glasses and light some candles. Sip a bit of wine while you’re cooking to get in the mood.

serves 4

1/2   package linguine

1 Tb olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 sprig  or about 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1 Tb dried oregano or 2 Tb fresh oregano

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes reconstituted in oil or water (see below)

1 pound large raw shrimp (26-30 shrimp per pound), (deveined unless you want a lot of work for yourself.)

1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay is nice) (or liquid from reconstituting sun-dried tomatoes)

pinch of salt, to taste

6 cups spinach leaves (1 bunch spinach), stems removed

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

6 leaves fresh basil, torn, about 2 Tb

1 lemon (Meyer is nice) juice and grated peel

You can buy jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil (I got mine at Trader Joe’s) or reconstitute them yourself: Soak 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in a mixture of  ¼ cup warmed white wine and 2 Tb boiling water for 30 minutes until soft and pliable. Cut into strips, reserving soaking liquid.

Heat a large pot  of salted water to cook linguine.

Defrost shrimp in a colander under cold running water for 7 minutes.

While shrimp is defrosting, mince garlic cloves, oregano, and rosemary needles and gather ingredients.

Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup water.

While linguine is cooking, heat 1 Tb olive oil  in wok or large heavy frying pan. Sauté garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and oregano for a minute, then add shrimp and sauté for 3 minutes.

Add salt, stemmed spinach leaves, basil,  sun-dried tomatoes, wine or soaking liquid from sun-dried tomatoes, and reserved water from cooking pasta. Squeeze a lemon and finely grate zest over shrimp. Cover pan and cook one more minute until shrimp turn bright orange and are opaque inside, and spinach is wilted, but still bright green. Toss with pine nuts and drained linguine. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Spicy Salmon Steaks with greens

This easy fish dinner is a bit spicy, moist and colorful. I made it first with spinach and the second time with red Swiss chard. If using chard, add it with the other vegetables. Spinach can be added at the last few minutes, since it only needs to wilt. You could even use both!

1 lb salmon steaks – 2 steaks

2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced

1 tsp fresh rosemary needles

¼ tsp red chili pepper flakes

several grinds of black pepper

several shakes sea salt

½ lime or lemon

1 red bell pepper, chopped

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch Swiss Chard, both stems and leaves, chopped

OR /and one bunch spinach, de-stemmed

1 tsp olive oil


Heat olive oil in heavy skillet. Add rosemary and garlic. Wash salmon and sprinkle both sides with salt and chili and black pepper. Squeeze lime or lemon on both sides. Place in pan on top of herbs on medium flame. Add chopped red bell pepper, mushrooms, and chopped red chard on the sides of the fish. Cook about 8 minutes, until fish browns. Turn fish over. If using spinach, add it to cover fish, and cover pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

I served this with red Quinoa in a heart shape for Valentine’s Day

Thanksgiving Turkey

All summer long I’ve been watching my sage plant grow, looking forward to stuffing my Thanksgiving turkey with it. Now it’s Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving and I’m about to transform my $6.77 Safeway turkey into a moist, tender, fragrant roast. I brine the turkey using fresh herbs, honey and lemons. Before roasting the turkey, I stuff it with fresh herbs and slather it with garlic-infused olive oil instead of butter.

I bought my turkey on Saturday and it has been defrosting for the last three days on a pan in the fridge, and I just made the brine. I adapted the brine recipe years ago from Bon Appétit. Their recipe is for a 19- to 20-pound, bird, but works fine with my almost 16 pound one. I prefer to brine in a bucket, as you never know what chemicals are  in the plastic garbage bags. I went to my local deli (Saul’s) and asked them to give me a 5 gallon white pickle bucket. You can also ask a bakery for a frosting bucket. You can also buy a brining bag. My husband found one for $6. But when we lifted the turkey in the brining bag with the brine inside it broke! So don’t do that! Instead put the sealed brining bag inside a garbage bag for extra strength.
Brine:

brine ingredients

2 cups coarse kosher salt
1 cup honey or maple syrup
A bunch each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
8 large garlic cloves – peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
2 lemons — cut in eighths

Water to cover turkey

Heat a large pot with water, salt, and honey, and stir until they dissolve. Pour into the bucket or brining bag along with enough ice and cold water to fill it about 1/3 or so. Alternatively, heat about 4 cups (1 quart) of water and stir in honey and salt on Monday night before Thanksgiving. Let cool, then store in the refrigerator until Tuesday morning.

Add fresh herbs, lemon quarters, and garlic. Grind the pepper into the water and stir until most of the ice melts. Rinse the turkey inside and out,and reserve the giblets for soup and gravy.

Tear off the large piece of fat near the bottom cavity, wrap in plastic and freeze it. You will later mix this with herbs to rub under the breast skin.

Place turkey in the bucket or brining bag so that both cavities fill with brine and the large cavity end is up. Add enough cold water so that the turkey is submerged. Cover, and place in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours.
brining bagbrine garbage bag

On Wednesday morning, rinse turkey inside and out. Place large cavity-side down into the bucket (or a pot if using a brining bag) and let it drain for two hours in the refrigerator. Flip it so the other cavity can drain and leave it in the fridge for another hour or two. Then pat it dry and set on a rack over the roasting pan. Let it air dry, uncovered in the refrigerator for another 18-24 hours.

Leave a cube of butter out overnight so it will be soft on Thanksgiving Day.

On Thanksgiving morning, preheat oven to 400’. Rinse turkey and transfer to the serving platter and  pat  dry. Clean the roasting pan thoroughly and dry it. Spray both pan and roasting rack with canola oil spray.

Ingredients to stuff and surround turkey:

1 cube softened unsalted butter

8 cloves garlic

6 bay leaves

3 stalks celery

1 large red onion

2 leeks

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch thyme

several large sprigs rosemary, plus more for decoration

several large sprigs sage, plus more for decoration

1 orange

2 lemons

2 carrots

garlic olive oil

black pepper

Cheesecloth and heavy aluminum foil

Chop the frozen fat finely, add 1/2 cup  (1 cube) softened butter, and mix in fresh minced herbs (garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (while singing “Scarborough Fair”) as well as a spoonful of rubbed sage, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and a bit of chopped onion.

Loosen the skin above the breast and stuff the herb-fat mixture into this area.

Push it all the way in so it covers the breast meat under the skin. This will self-baste the turkey. Rub it in the 2 cavities.

Stuff turkey in both cavities with fresh chopped garlic, celery, red onion, leeks, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, orange and lemon wedges.

Place the rack in the pan and fill the spaces under and around it with more herbs, and as many chopped red onions, leeks, celery and carrots as will fit, and fill with water to about an inch below where the turkey will sit. Place the turkey on the rack, breast side up, and oil the breast side of the turkey with garlic olive oil and grind a bit of pepper over it. Turn it so it is breast side down and oil and pepper the back side. No need to add any salt, as the brine has already salted the turkey.

With turkey breast down, roast for 2 ½  hours. Set timer for 30 minutes to  baste with the liquid that is under the rack. Add more water if needed to keep it to an inch below the turkey rack. Rotate the pan 180′ several times during cooking. When skin becomes crisp and brown, cover with a piece of cheesecloth and tent with foil. Baste the skin over the cheesecloth.

After 2 ½ hours, remove turkey from oven and carefully turn it so that it is breast side up. (I just bought a turkey turner for this. If you don’t have one, use oven mitts covered with paper towels to grab the turkey.) Ask someone to help you hold the rack. Tuck the wing tips under the shoulders.

Insert a food thermometer temperature in the meatiest part of the inner thigh.  After the breast browns, cover with cheesecloth and tent with foil. Continue roasting, rotating and basting for another 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the thermometer reads 165 °F. Then insert the thermometer into  the thickest part of the breast to make sure it is also at 165 °F. Larger turkeys will of course take an hour or more time.

Remove turkey from oven and let sit for 20 minutes on the serving dish to allow the juices to set and make carving easier. Now it’s time to make your gravy.

Use the liquid and roasted vegetables at the bottom of the pan for gravy. Remove large pieces of herbs from the liquid then pour liquid into a fat separating cup. Pour defatted liquid into your gravy. Follow directions for Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

Serve with

Roasted Mushroom Turkey Gravy

butternut squash soup 

or Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

Spinach Autumn Fruit Salad,

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes,

Green Beans with Chestnuts

Rosemary-scented cornbread

Light as a feather cream biscuits

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

for dessert: Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie and Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! There is much to be grateful for.

Kale and Bean Soup

Here’s another rainy day soup. I just dreamed it up and made it. Luckily everyone in the family liked it on the first try. The rosemary, thyme and garlic give it a lovely aroma.

I dice the kale, celery, leeks, and red bell pepper in the food processor for faster prep and cooking. Just discard the kale’s thick stems first.

I made this  using dried beans as well. I boiled them in chicken stock for 5 minutes, then transferred them to a crock pot and added the rest of the ingredients. I cooked it on “high” for 3-4 hours until beans and kale are tender. You can also heat the crock pot to high, then let it cook on low while you are at work, or overnight. This way you don’t have to worry about stirring the pot so the cheese won’t stick to the bottom! And homemade beans are so much better than canned ones!

In case there are leftovers, this soup is even better the next day, when flavors have developed even more..

serves 8 bowls

½ gallon (8 cups) homemade chicken or vegetable stock Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup (plus a vegan version) (you can use boxed stock, but it won’t be as good!)

1 rind Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

2 bay leaves

3 cloves garlic, minced, or 3 frozen cubes garlic

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary needles, minced

1 tsp dried thyme plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

several grinds black pepper

1 or 2 bunches kale, finely chopped. I chop the whole thing, leaves and ribs. I’ve used Dinosaur and curly kale.

1 large leek, white and pale green parts only (use dark green parts in making the stock)

3 ribs celery

1 seeded red bell pepper

1 carrot, cooked in making the stock, chopped

1 15-oz can Great Northern beans OR 1 1/2 cups dry Great Northern beans

1 14-oz can artichoke hearts in water

salt to taste (sea salt is nice)

2 Tb Parmesan cheese, freshly grated per bowl

Heat broth to boiling. If using dry beans, rinse in a sieve, then boil in broth for 5 minutes. Let beans soak in the hot broth while you prepare the herbs and vegetables.

Add Parmesan rind, red and black pepper, oregano, bay leaf, garlic and rosemary. Chop kale leaves, leek, onion, celery, and bell pepper in the food processor in batches, or chop finely by hand, and stir into broth.

If using canned beans, rinse and add to pot. Chop artichoke hearts and carrot, stir into soup. Let cook 20 minutes on medium, and salt to taste. Discard Parmesan rinds when serving.