Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spreading Love through the Tummy

What do most 3yo's want to dress up as for Halloween? Well, their hero's of course. Who would I dress up as.... the fasted easiest costume I could come up with..... ME!! Throw some sweats (or the infamous footie pjs) on and an apron, there you go, stay at home mom! Mitchell, he was tough. When October hit I asked him what he would like to dress up as and he said RAAAAWR.  For those of you that don't know that's a monster. So i entertained the idea and the next time we were at K-Mart we checked out the monster costume.  As soon as he saw the monster costume he quickly said no and moved on to Buzz, Woody, and Minnie Mouse. Certainly Minnie Mouse was out so I figured we'll do Mickey Mouse. Grab a set of black sweats and a little Fleece in red, white, and yellow, and make him a costume. A week or so after i had decided I was going to do this, his dad was off and hi life revolved around dad and on numerous occasions I was told to GO AWAY by my 3yo.  Not bad, I had a little time to myself and was A-OK with that. As I thought more about it I started to think.... his dad is his hero, why can't he be dad for Halloween. When we were in TX one of Joey's friends gave Mitchell a new hard hat, and a couple pairs of the coveralls they wear.  (She was super tiny, I doubt one would fit around one of my legs, but certainly too big for Mitchell.) So took the patches and reflective off one coverall and searched online for royal blue sweats and finally found some at a random site. When they came I procrastinated in putting it all together, I am pregnant (I think I just like saying that) and soooo tired all the time.  The day before a local shopping center did their trick or treating i got to work and dusted off the sewing machine and put it all together.  With a little help from dad in placement of patches and reflective I got it put together in less than an hour.  This is what my fracin child looked like

I had the choice to dress up myself but wasn't really feeling it, Who REALLY wants to spend as little as $30 , and as much as $100 on something to wear once.  Really, this isn't a wedding or anything really special. So I thought about it and while putting dvd's away I came across Bambi. So who was I you ask..... 

 Why Flower of course. I know I'm an adult.  Why on earth would i dress up in something so silly for Halloween.  Well.  I'll tell you why. My child liked it and we had a blast all day.  It made people smile and made me feel good that I could have fun with my son even though I felt awfully silly.  I had intentions of wearing it to his school and to lunch with a group of moms and their kids, but some how the day got super hectic and I never had the opportunity to get home to shower and change.  So I ended up in this costume ALL day until 8pm.  Yes my face is still burning a little from scrubbing the paint off. 

Another thing about Halloween in NY (our first) is OMG it was freaking C-O-L-D!!  Cold to the point of no matter how much hot cider we got into us it was STILL cold. I caught Mitchell shivering a few times and asked if he was cold. He said NO!  and ran  off .  I guess he thought I was going to make him go home but I just wanted to put a coat on him.  

One thing we REALLY like in this house when it's cold, and when it's not, is Biscuits and Gravy.  No not S.O.S. (shit on shingles, gravy on toast) or Chipped beef Gravy (flavorless chipped beef gravy over what ever bread you have) But good old fashioned Biscuits and Gravy. 

To make you need 

  • 1 cheep fatty chub of hot sausage - Tennessee Pride is our fav but we can't find it here in NY
  • a few tablespoons of flour 
  • whole milk 
  • Biscuits of choice (frozen grands for me) 
  • Salt and Pepper 

A few things before we start If you can only find the name brand sausage, it's OK.  Because it has a lower fat ratio you will have to add butter before making the rue.  If you don't get hot keep in mind you will want to add spices to the gravy.  Hot mixed with all the milk only amounts to great flavor and no heat. You can certainly make your own biscuits but that is one thing I have NEVER been good at, making any sort of bread. I get a big bag of frozen Grands from Sam's cause, well let's face it, we are country, we LOVE our B&G! Salt and pepper is to taste, some people like it more salty and some like it more peppery. Personally, I love it with a little salt and my gravy heavily peppered.  I cook the gravy in a frying pan/saute pan. If you have a non stick pan, like me, pick up a silicone coated whisk. WELL WORTH THE INVESTMENT.  It has saved my pan!  Lets start 

  • Cook your biscuits 

  • Cook up your sausage and drain the fat out.  Put the cooked sausage aside and return the fat back to the pan. I put the sausage into what ever I am serving the Gravy out of.

  •  Let it heat up but not smoke I cook on medium heat. (this is where I add the pepper so that the heat of the fat releases the oils AKA flavor, I generally start with about a tablespoon, i like it peppery)

  • This is the most important part!! Slowly add the flour and Whisk while adding it. You want to have equal parts Fat and flour(I prefer a little more fat than flour so I add butter to the fat and let it melt. I generally have about 1/4 cup fat and 2-3 tablespoons flour. This is called a Rue. You cannot add flour directly to the milk as it will clump and not cook properly and taste like uncooked flour.... YUCK!  Cooking the flour in the fat allows the gluten to activate so it thickens the gravy. When you add the flour it will look clumpy but keep whisking, as the flour cooks it will resemble thick  brown glue. When it gets to this point you are good to go.  If you think you have too much flour add a tablespoon of butter, whisk while it is melting.  If you think you have too much fat at a sprinkle of flour at a time and let it cook. 

  • Add Milk, about a 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until it's combined and continue to add milk 1/2 cup at a time until you have the amount you want. I generally add enough (total) so that when I whisk it doesn't overflow the pan. (although it sometimes happens) When adding the milk, it'll bubble then resemble a less thick brown glue.  When it gets to this point add a little more and repeat the whisking. Each time you add more  it will be a little less thick.  When you have all the milk added you can lay off the whisking a little, but you still need to whisk it often to move the gravy around the pan and make sure it's not burning on the bottom. When you have added the amount of milk you want bring let it come to a boil (while whisking often).  as soon as it comes to a boil remove it from the heat.

  • Taste your gravy when you think it is done, adjust the salt and pepper. This is the point when I add the salt. Sometimes sausage is saltier than you expect.  I like it to have a slight salt taste, but not too salty.  When I bring it for brunch I bring a salt shaker because everyone is different when it comes to salt.  

  • Once it taste like you want it, pour over the sausage or add the sausage back into the pan, I NEVER have room in my pan for the sausage, so I put the sausage into a mixing bowl and pour the gravy over it.  

A few more things, this is not like baking, there is no exact science to it. Some times you could need more fat and sometimes you could need less flour. Making B&G is more so about knowing what the gravy wants and how to give it to it.  It's OK if your gravy burns a little just don't scrape the burned stuff off the bottom of the pan, until your cleaning it. When you are whisking it the bottom of the pan will feel different. When you  perfect the gravy, have people over and share it with them, Send it to work with your hubby, and bring it for church breakfasts.  This is one of those hearty meals that people LOVE when you share with them.  Here in NY I haven't met many people  (really anybody) that can make it like it's made in the south. There are a few people that want to learn how to make it so this tutorial is for them.  But if you still need/want a hands on lesson please feel free to get in touch with me. If you have kids, the play room is next to the kitchen.  I LOVE to cook with other people and to teach people how to cook yummy food for their friends and family. This meal is about spreading love through the tummy.  

Oh it freezes well also so make a super big batch and freeze it in individual servings. 

One more thing is you can leave out the sausage and cook the rue with bacon fat, lard, or butter.  Follow everything else, put a crap ton of pepper in it, and you have peppered gravy for things like country fried steak and country fried gravy.  Some people like peppered gravy over French Fries (not me).  Some people think in the south they put Gravy on EVERYTHING and for the most part they are correct. :-D 

Pics to come tomorrow night or Thursday, depends on how tired I am after making it.  I will be making it for  the hubster's crew, MOPs, and dinner for my lovey guys. So it'll be a crock pot full .... AGAIN!!

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