Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gravys, Sauces, and Rouxs. Oh my!

Mmmmmm, gravy! Who doesn't love gravy? Well there is one person in town here that doesn't apparently, and even claims that we here at the store, we are addicted to gravy. How about that? Addicted to gravy. We offer out a home cooked reheat and eat meal to customers and there will be some gravy on the mashed potatoes. Occasionally, the main dish will be an open faced sandwich which is of course served with gravy. If we are offering a pasta as the dish that night, it could be argued by our Italian friends, that we are indeed serving gravy whether it be spaghetti or alfredo.

OK! Maybe we are addicted to gravy. What's wrong with that? Gravy gives a good down-home, meal made with love, mother's touch, make you feel warm all over finish to a home cooked meal. Thin, thick, lumpy, creamy, it is just good stuff.

What is gravy? Well the most basic form, also known as "God's gravy", is just the juices from whatever you cooked poured over your main dish or side. Or maybe you prefer to just sop it up with some bread off of the plate that the steaks were on.

Second would be a pan reduction gravy. This you make in the pan from cooking by deglazing the pan with a little wine or broth and reduce until it is the thickness that you are looking for.

Then we have your traditional gravy. It is thickened a bit with corn starch, flour or arrowroot. I say traditional because, it is the version that most people know and recognise. So much so that you can find bottled versions of it on the shelf at the grocery store. These will do in a pinch and I usually keep a couple jars on the shelf in case I end up with too little drippings to make gravy from.

Last, but certainly not least would be the roux. Which is more like a reverse process gravy. You start this in a pan with equal parts fat (butter, oil or renderings) and flour. Typically 2 tblspoons of each and one cup of liquid to equal one cup of finished product. Start with just the fat and flour and cook through and mix well for about 5 minutes to help cook off the flour flavor. Now you slowly add in your broth, cream or what have you until the desired consistancy is obtained. This is the best process to avoid a lumpy gravy unless of course you like a lumpy gravy. I don't mind a lump or two here and there with mine.

Alternate thickeners:

Wondra flour as seen here, makes a wonderful thickener regardless of the temperature. This is my preferred thickener.

Instant potato flakes will do in a pinch to thicken gravy, but go very slow with this. Both potato flakes and wondra flour are good "no lump" thickeners.

That is it for now, but I may have to bring this gravy topic up again. After all, I am addicted to it.

Fun Food Facts,

Just a couple. Very busy around here lately and I need to get down to some real blogging.

An apple tree is at its prime when its about 50 years old. The United States produces about 100 million barrels of apples a year. That's a lot of old trees. We are second in production to China

The first cookbook published in the United States was Compleat Housewife, or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion, printed in Williamsburg, VA in 1742. This seems to be true, however the first cookbook actually written BY an American for the american market wasn't published until 1796. The previous mentionged one was just a british cookbook reprinted in the U.S.

When potatoes were first introduced to Europe, people were skeptical and only ate the leaves, which made them sick. They would then throw away the rest, including the actual spud. I could not find anything to support this, and am thinking that it may be false.

The cashew nut in its natural state contains a poisonous oil. Roasting removes the oil and makes the nuts safe to eat. Apparently it has a skin irritant toxin that is the same as poison ivy.

The above comes from mindlesscrap.com and the red comments are mine. Go spend some time there if you have some to kill.