The deeply browned and greasy scrapings from the bottom of the roasting pan might not look like much when you first take the turkey out of the oven. But those drippings are Thanksgiving manna. Let's make some gravy.
Thanksgiving is less than one week away! You've got your turkey taken care of, and mashed potatoes practically make themselves. But do you have a recipe for my very favorite holiday condiment: cranberry sauce?
Have you ever made warm, silky, cinnamon-spiked applesauce? It's the simplest thing in the world, and it's a good way to use up windfall apples, or ones with brown spots on the edge of going bad.
If you've never tried this simple cooking DIY, then why not celebrate fall with a little pot of applesauce this week? You only need apples, water, a bit of citrus peel (if you want) and cinnamon (if you're so inclined). You don't need a huge pan or a whole weekend; a small, quick batch of applesauce takes less than half an hour from start to finish, and you don't even have to stir the pot.
A kitchen in the fall conjures up memories of apples and warm spices, pumpkin and squashes. Many folks make their own apple butter at home, but there are actually great store-bought varieties available in most supermarkets around the country.
Every time I walk down the pasta aisle at the grocery store, I am amazed at the sheer number of tomato sauces. Jar after jar of classic marinara, three-cheese blends, sauces spiked with Italian herbs, those without salt, and even ones with a splash of wine. With this kind of variety, is it even worth making our own?
Many great chefs rely on writers and cooks like JJ Goode, one of the handful of behind-the-scenes writers who help chefs translate the wild and woolly ideas in their heads and palates into cookbooks. JJ is a youthful spirit who writes, mostly about food, from his apartment in Brooklyn, and whose most recent collaboration is with the contemporary Mexican chef Roberto Santibañez. The result is Santibañez's new book, Truly Mexican, coauthored by Goode.
I am interested in real working kitchens and so I asked JJ if I could come over and scope out his "office." He invited me for salsa on what ended up being the hottest day of the year so far. We pushed the chiles to the limit, and without air conditioning, we slurped salsa from spoons while we we kicked back and talked about how a regular guy like JJ in a regular apartment (and tiny kitchen) in Brooklyn can make a great Mexican chef's recipes make sense to the rest of us.
A simple jury stick is a great tool for judging when several cups of simmering liquid has reduced to just a few cups of simmering liquid - when we have enough forethought to actually make one. But when I'm just reducing a quick pan sauce by half, I've found that just tilting the pan is much easier.
We've been making pizzas (and rolled sandwiches) like crazy. They're quick, easy, and best of all use up random ingredients in your refrigerator. The hard part? We don't always want to whip up a batch of marinara each time we feel like some pizza pie! That's where the muffin tin comes in.