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Celebrity Chefs Spill Their Gravy Secrets

In terms of just food, no holiday is even close to Thanksgiving. It is hands down the best food holiday out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re with the same family members every year, or if you find yourself at a constantly evolving “Friendsgiving” each November, everyone is bringing their A game and preparing their… View Article

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In terms of just food, no holiday is even close to Thanksgiving. It is hands down the best food holiday out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re with the same family members every year, or if you find yourself at a constantly evolving “Friendsgiving” each November, everyone is bringing their A game and preparing their best dish. And sometimes it’s hard to compete!

But there is one item that is frequently ignored and rarely perfect… gravy! I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving feasts I’ve been to where the gravy was just some store-bought junk that left a lot to be desired. So why not be a hero and bring some amazing gravy to your Thanksgiving this year! And who better to tell you the secrets of great gravy that some of the most famous chefs in the world.

GORDON RAMSAY

If we’re talking celebrity chefs, we might as well start with the man himself! But you might be surprised to learn that Ramsay’s gravy recipe is actually pretty basic. Start by simmering fresh tomatoes with stock, dry cider, onions, and bacon. Then, once the gravy has reduced and thickened, Ramsay adds his secret ingredient: chopped walnuts!

It may sound like a strange addition to a sauce, but that extra crunch can be a wonderful contrast to the softness of a good turkey.

INA GARTEN

For those who have been living under a rock for the last decade (or at least don’t really watch Food Network all that much), Ina Garten is the Barefoot Contessa herself. Well… she hosts the show Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. You get it.

Back to gravy… if you’re a big brandy or Cognac drinker, then you’re going to love Garten’s gravy recipe! She starts by soaking onions in a hefty amount of butter, and then adds the chicken stock, flour, salt, and pepper. Then things get really fun. She adds either brandy or Cognac and some white wine! Top it off with a tablespoon (or two) of heavy cream and you’ve got some delicious gravy on your hands that will have your family and friends singing your praise for weeks.

ALTON BROWN

Alton Brown is Food Network royalty. He created and hosts Good Eats, and is also the host of Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America, along with other mini-series on the network. When it comes to gravy, he relies on one special ingredient that might surprise you… red wine! Many people would assume white wine is the more logical choice for gravy made with chicken stock, but Brown believes combining the stock with red wine helps to better pull all that juicy goodness from the turkey in the roasting pan.

But he reminds anyone that may be following his recipe that the grave will thicken over time and as you serve it, so make sure it’s thin and light when still in the pan.

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS

Giana De Laurentiis is another Food Network star thanks to her hit show Giada at Home and has also filled in as an occasional guest co-host on NBC’s Today. As far as gravy goes, Giada is sick and tired of the boring and bland gravy that we’ve all become far too comfortable with. So she’s been encouraging people to not be afraid of a little sophistication and decadence.

How exactly does she suggest bringing sophistication and decadence to gravy? One word: truffle! She covers her crispy truffled turkey with truffle butter, and then the gravy that collects below is treated with some truffle salt to bring out more of a hearty, earthy flavor. Sounds delicious!

TYLER FLORENCE

Surprise, surprise, Tyler Florence is another Food Network star! He has hosted and presented on numerous shows over the years. As for his personal special gravy recipe, he just goes all out on the herbs and garlic. More specifically, the recipe calls for an entire head of garlic and plenty of parsley, thyme, and sage. Along with the classic ingredients of celery, carrots, and onion of course.

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Tabitha Brown and Other Black Personalities Focus On Joy Despite Crisis

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Happiness is an essential aspect of survival. For many Black influencers, promoting positivity among fans and followers, mainly during crises, is a must—that so-called reminder that there is still light at the end of the darkest tunnel.

Amid the ill effects of the present COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing debates regarding equality and racism, numerous Black celebrities and creators are offering the community a chance to laugh, reconnect, and heal. Tabitha Brown delights her audience with cooking expertise; Kerry Washington showcases yoga as a calming and reflective activity, and Rickey Thompson entrances followers with his dancing moves.

Brown and Her Cooking

The vegan actress provides both her Instagram and TikTok fans with motivational clips. She combines her southern cooking with inspirational narratives. She guides her millions of followers as she demonstrates how to cook a variety of dishes as she simultaneously calms her audience with her trademark expressions, including “’cause that’s our business” and “like so, like that.”

After her 2-year battle with chronic fatigue and pain, the actress turned to the web, posting motivational videos for fans. “I want to help people,” Brown shares in a recent interview. “I think my content has a responsibility to bring light every day, whether it’s in laughter, whether it’s in inspiration, whether it’s through food,” she adds.

Thompson and His Dancing Moves

Like Brown, Thompson has millions of followers on social media. He dazzles his fans with various dance clips coupled with relatable rants regarding relevant issues. His videos are bursts of color and gaiety, encouraging everyone to believe that things will soon be okay.

He shares that, after the terrible losses that he and his family encountered, he realized that he could use his voice to influence others. Nowadays, he provides his fans with comic relief through dancing, walking, and self-expression. “As a Black person, our whole journey is trying to keep all our emotions within because we’re supposed to be strong, we’re supposed to be these tough people,” Thompson explains. “But we’re also human… What’s important is letting other people know you’re not in this alone,” he continues.

Staying Positive amid Problems

Despite the current difficulties encountered by various Black and colored communities in the country, it is highly important to remain calm and steady. Laughter helps relieve the accumulated stress and pain brought on by the pandemic and increased racism, while motivational talks provide positive guidance on how to make the best of the situation.

Numerous Black influencers and personalities offer various stress relief options online, encouraging others in the community to hold on to each other, although virtually, as we all await the eventual cure to this present pandemic. “So that even if it’s for one minute, it’s an escape for whatever they have going on in life. They can laugh a little bit or cry if they need to, but they just feel like they have somebody at that moment,” Brown asserts.

Indeed, we may all be grappling with various issues at the moment, but hope must spring eternal as survival can only be possible for those who remain steadfast, strong, and happy.

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How To Determine A Food-Friendly Wine

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The language of wine can be romantic, mystifying, or nonsensical — sometimes all at once. Experts share their experience and research for some wines and winery in answering the question: “What makes a wine food-friendly?”. Some people are dependent on wine names and might seem self-evident, but frequently, they get deceived. 

“Food-friendly” is a common description that should seem obvious, but what does it mean?

Most people would say that wine is meant to be consumed with food. However, we usually drink wines as cocktails, or on their own, without thinking about what we eat to match the wine mood. Sometimes, people also enjoy them as trophies, for the experience of tasting a rare, expensive wine. In these contexts, food doesn’t matter. Wine is the highlight.

The concept of a “food wine” became a derogatory — a wine that didn’t taste good on its own and needed food as a counterbalance for its flaws. That’s not what we mean today by describing a wine as “food-friendly.”

  • Every good wine will be friendly with at least some food. A positively food-friendly wine plays nicely with a broad category of foods, from sweet to savory to spicy, from meat to fish to veggies.

“I’ve had A-plus perfect pairings, where every note in the wine and dish sync and amplify each other, but those are rare experiences, and I don’t think they are the point most of the time,” says Matt Stamp, a master sommelier who used to try to orchestrate such pairings at the French Laundry in Yountville, in Napa Valley.

  • Along with Rosé, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Barbera are wines noted for their acidity and versatility with food. This can result in surprising pairings. Beef braised in Riesling is a traditional German dish, and pinot noir makes an exciting partner to sushi, roast chicken, pork, or grilled salmon. 
  • When in doubt at home or in a restaurant, look for these types of wines for challenging food pairings or find some bubbles, the second characteristic that defines food-friendly wines. Bubbles go with everything. The sparkling wine’s enthusiasm effectively cleanses your mouth and prepares you for the next bite of food or a sip of wine. Sparkling wines also manage to be refreshingly acidic. We do ourselves an offense by relegating champagne and other bubblies drinks, such as Italian prosecco or Spanish cava.

“Champagne can be had throughout a meal, even with the right steak,” says Nadine Brown, former sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak in D.C. “Fried chicken and potato chips with grower champagne is hot right now,” Brown says, pointing to the ultimate combo of extravagant wine and poor vittles.

I usually don’t agree with the “drink the wine you like with the food you like” school of view because it can be lazy. But if you pay attention to the wines you drink and the foods you pair them with, you’ll develop your group of wine styles to draw on when wondering, “What on earth should I drink with this?”

And as Brown advises, “Stay curious.” You might find something unique and surprising.

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Turn Your Extra Rice Into Something More

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Rice is best paired with any of the viands you can think of, whether it’s vegetables or meat. It goes so well with anything. Without rice, sometimes, we feel unsatisfied; thus, we still feel hungry. However, you can turn rice into something you want it to be! Fried rice, for example, yet, it is not the basic ones; you can add something into it to make it more delicious and mouth-watering.

Depending on your position, leftover takeout rice can be the bane of your existence or a blessing. For most of us, it’s the latter. Extras such as these are the foundation for a superb reinvented supper, namely fried rice.

Fried rice is an excellent weeknight feed, whether you want to extemporize with what’s already in your kitchen or have a specific project. Here are some recipes from our archives, which are great as written and easy enough to achieve. They’re so great; you might find yourself ending up ordering more rice just to make them. 

Fried rice with broccoli and mustard greens

A vegetable-loaded version uses a sharp technique that has you cook the ingredients in steps, which is especially helpful if you don’t have a wok or large skillet.

Better than takeout fried rice

Sometimes, there are similarities between what you might get if you ordered fried rice, but we prefer the freshness and crunch of homemade. The ginger and red pepper flakes are making it sound, too.

Sesame fried rice with spring vegetables and egg

Brown rice binds more nourishment into the stir-fry, and fried eggs mean you can mix in a runny yolk for an extra-luxurious texture.

Garlic fried rice (Chahan)

This is for garlic lovers; celebrate because you’ll fry a few cloves for this recipe. It calls for short-grain Japanese rice, so here’s an ideal recipe for making a cut in any sushi rice you may get. 

Vegetable fried rice

This recipe helps you with extra brown rice. Other than that, it will also get you to reinvent those broccoli stems instead of throwing them away or doing the same recipe over and over again. 

Quick ham-fried rice with lavender

This is clearly off the hidden path, but the floral flavor plays well with the pork, ginger, and raisins. 

Spicy basil tofu fried rice

A stir-fry for one that recommends making a baked marinated tofu for extra flavor and thick texture. You can also swap in plain extra-firm tofu. 

African soul fried rice.

Food writer and culinary historian Michael Twitty is the source of this vivid dish that includes traditional or indigenous ingredients to West and Central Africa. 

Those are just some of the recipes you may use for converting your plain rice into something more tasty. Avoid food waste, get what you can consume. If we can’t avoid leftover foods, let’s not leave it. Let’s transform it.

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