One of America’s Favorites – Gravy

December 2, 2013 at 7:35 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy is a sauce, made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces. The gravy may be further colored and flavored with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and mashed potatoes.




Types of gravy;

Chocolate gravy is a variety of gravy made with fat, flour, cocoa powder and sometimes a small amount of sugar.
* Egg gravy is a breakfast gravy that is served over biscuits. Meat drippings (usually from bacon) and flour are used to make a thick roux. The roux is salted and peppered to taste. Water and milk (even parts) are added, and the liquid is brought back up to a boil. A well-beaten egg is then slowly added while the gravy is stirred or whisked swiftly, cooking the egg immediately and separating it into small fragments in the gravy.
* Giblet gravy has the giblets of turkey or chicken added when it is to be served with those types of poultry, or uses stock made from the giblets.
* Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock or wine. Commonly served with bangers and mash, eggs, chops, or other grilled or fried meat which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
* Red-eye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet/frying pan. The pan is deglazed with coffee. This gravy is a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine and is usually served over ham, grits or biscuits.
* Vegetable gravy or vegetarian gravy is gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables. A quick and flavorful vegetable gravy can be made from any combination of vegetable broth or vegetable stock, flour, and one of either butter, oil, or margarine. One recipe uses vegetarian bouillon cubes with cornstarch (corn flour) as a thickener (cowboy roux), which is whisked into boiling water. Sometimes vegetable juices are added to enrich the flavor, which may give the gravy a dark green color. Wine could be added. Brown vegetarian gravy can also be made with savory yeast extract like Marmite or Vegemite. There are also commercially produced instant gravy granules which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
* White gravy (sawmill gravy in Southern U.S. cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak. It is essentially a Béchamel sauce, with the roux being made of meat drippings and flour. Milk or cream is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are sometimes added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.




In the UK, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is also popular in different parts of the UK, to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish’n’chip shop). It is commonly eaten with pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, Yorkshire pudding, and stuffing.
In British cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand, the word gravy refers only to the meat based sauce (and vegetarian/vegan alternatives) derived from meat juices, stock cubes or gravy granules. Use of the word “gravy” does not include other thickened sauces. One of the most popular forms is onion gravy, which is eaten with sausages, Yorkshire pudding and roast meat. Gravy is very popular in the North of England; often, it is served with chips.




Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

One Southern United States variation is sausage gravy eaten with American biscuits. Another Southern US dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak. Rice and gravy is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine in the southern US state of Louisiana. Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian dish poutine.
In many parts of Asia, particularly India, Malaysia, and Singapore, the word “gravy” is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry may be referred to as gravy.
In the Mediterranean, Maghreb cuisine is dominated with gravy and bread-based dishes. Tajine and most Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) dishes are derivatives of oil, meat and vegetable gravies. The dish is usually served with a loaf of bread. The bread is then dipped into the gravy and then used to gather or scoop the meat and vegetables between the index, middle finger and thumb, and consumed.
In gastronomy of Minorca, it has been used since the British colonisation during the 17th century in typical Minorquian and Catalan dishes, as for example macarrons amb grevi (pasta).




One of America’s Favorites – Hush Puppies

January 21, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Posted in cooking | 1 Comment
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A hushpuppy (or cornbread ball) is a savory, starch-based food made from cornmeal batter that is deep fried or baked in small ball or



sphere shapes, or occasionally oblong shapes. Hushpuppies are frequently served as a side dish, usually at fish restaurants.
Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the New World. Southern Native American culture (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek) is the “cornerstone” of Southern cuisine. From their culture came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy, also called masa, in a Native American technology known as nixtamalization. Corn was used to make all kinds of dishes from the familiar cornbread and grits to liquors such as whiskey and moonshine, which were important trade items. Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms. It could be fashioned into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a fast meal.
To a far greater degree than anyone realizes, several of the most important food dishes that the Southeastern Indians live on today is the “soul food” eaten by both black and white Southerners. Hominy, for example, is still eaten … Sofkee live on as grits … cornbread [is] used by Southern cooks … Indian fritters … variously known as “hoe cake”, … or “Johnny cake.” … Indian boiled cornbread is present in Southern cuisine as “corn meal dumplings”, … and as “hush puppies”, … Southerners cook their beans and field peas by boiling them, as did the Indians … like the Indians they cure their meat and smoke it over hickory coals.
The first recorded reference to the word “hush-puppy” dates to 1899.
Hushpuppies are a food with strong ties to the Southern United States, although they are available in many areas of the United States on the menus of deep fried fish restaurants. The name “hushpuppies” is often attributed to hunters, fishermen or other cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook-outs or fish-fries.
Other hush puppy legends purport to date the etymology of the term “hushpuppies” to the Civil War, in which soldiers are claimed to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs.
Typical hushpuppy ingredients include cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk or buttermilk, and water, and may include

A basket of hushpuppies at a restaurant

A basket of hushpuppies at a restaurant

onion, spring onion (scallion), garlic, whole kernel corn, and peppers. Sometimes pancake batter is used. The batter is mixed well, adjusting ingredients until thick, and dropped a spoonful at a time into hot oil. The small breads are fried until crispy golden brown, and cooled. Hushpuppies are served with seafood or barbecued foods. They are commonly made at home or served in restaurants advertising home-style food.
In Jamaica such fried breads are known as “festivals”, and are prepared with cornmeal, salt, and sugar then fried in the form of a hot dog roll. They are sweeter than the hushpuppies that often contain onion or garlic instead of sugar. They are served with jerked meats such as pork or chicken. Mostly, it is served with fried or escoveitch (see also escabeche and ceviche) fish.
In Puerto Rico, hushpuppies take the form of a short sausage and are called “sorullos” or “sorullitos.” Their sweetness makes them popular among children and adults alike.

Bobby Deen’s new show lightens mom Paula’s recipes

January 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Posted in baking, Food, grilling | Leave a comment
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Paula Deen is known for her no-holds-barred approach to Southern cooking, using sometimes shocking amounts of butter, cream cheese and more.

Now, one of her sons, Bobby, will attempt to create new associations with the family name as he tries to lighten his mother’s recipes on his new show Not My Mama’s Meals.

Though Bobby learned to cook at his mother’s hip, he experienced a lifestyle change about ten years ago as he began lifting weights. He says, “I embraced exercise and it completely changed my relationship with food… I like to eat for the way I want to feel.” To that end, he’s revamping the family recipes in order to drastically reduce the fat and calorie content. His mom’s response? “Good luck to you, sonny boy.”

In one episode, Bobby remakes Paula’s Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding — a recipe that according to Paula is a “one serving per lifetime” recipe. Using whole wheat doughnuts, cutting the portion size and making other substitutions, Bobby transforms takes this gluttonous dessert from 470 calories and 16 grams of fat to one with 230 calories and three grams of fat.

Not My Mama’s Meals tackles recipes such as the family’s gooey butter cake, pimento cheese and chocolate meringue pie. But Bobby’s favorite remake is the fried chicken. His version, the “unfried chicken” uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs coated with unsweetened cornflakes and baked in the oven.

Clips of Paula Deen cooking the original recipes on her own shows flank each recipe remake. Mama herself even appears on the first two episodes to weigh in on the recipes. After tasting a few, she says, “Son, don’t put your Mama out of business now, okay?” and “You’re on to something, darlin’ and I’m very proud of you.”

In fact, Bobby seems surprised that people wonder if Paula takes offense at his attempts to rein in her recipes. He says, “What mother wouldn’t want to see her 40-year-old son healthy?”

Could Paula Deen be converted to Bobby’s cooking style? After a hearty laugh and a pause, Bobby says, “I don’t think so. My mother is comfortable in her own skin. She’s happy with who she is. She doesn’t deprive herself of anything — she has few vices. She’s proud of what I’m doing. But, it might inspire her to do lighter stuff.” In one episode, Paula concedes, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.”

Will any of the revamped recipes show up on the menu at the family’s Savannah-based restaurant, The Lady & Sons? To that, Bobby answers that it isn’t likely and cites the old saying, “Dance with the one that brung ya.”

Not My Mama’s Meals airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the Cooking Channel.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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