Knowledge from Grandma

During the holidays I went to eat dinner at my grandmother’s house. She had a huge dinner spread, as usual, with something for everyone. A little history on my grandmother…

My grandmother is the reason I gained an interest in cooking. I was a picky eater and because of that, my mom told me to make my own food. Once I got the hang of it, my grandmother fueled the fire. Grandma’s kitchen always had some of the most interesting ingredients and tools. I always wanted to help in the kitchen, but then I became more involved with the prep of the meal.

Ok, so back to Christmas dinner. My grandma’s menu was:

  • Roasted Quail
  • Standing Rib Roast with Gravy
  • Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes
  • Ribs
  • Collard Greens
  • Lima Beans
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Biscuits and Cornbread

We pulled out the best china and talked about family past, random experiences, and laughed. The food was good and the company was great!

So, when going back home I of course got some leftovers to take with me. Now, I tasted all the food except the lima beans and quail. There was a lot on my plate. At home, I reheated the greens and roast with gravy and stuffing. The collard greens were the best I’d ever had!

I had to call my grandmother and ask her where she got the greens from. She told me a story about a farm she got vegetables and fruits from through the summer season who was too busy towards the end of the season. So she talked to the owner and asked if she could just come at the end of the season when the garden is pretty much empty. The owner agreed and after the first frost my grandma said she went with her machete and my grandfather and got about a bushel of collard greens.

The funny thing about this is, my grandmother is a sick woman with a lot of bone issues and wears braces for her legs and back. So the fact that she wanted these greens bad enough to prepare for the holidays is simply dedication.

The knowledge my grandmother gave me about this endeavor is that when she got the greens from the ground after the frost, they were still somewhat frozen. So when she got home, she cleaned them and froze them properly until she was ready to use them. The frost froze the greens when the season ended and that preserved them, so pretty much made the greens more tender. These greens melted in your mouth. So tender and flavorful. Not bitter or tough.

IMG_3925I learned something new from my grandma (as usual). Go get your greens after the first frost. Much like life, you have to wait for the right time to get something. Just because you want it when it’s ‘in’ it may not be the right time for you. Random lessons from gardening/food has about life.

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The Chew-ish Sausage Biscuits and Gravy

The other week we were watching The Chew and saw a recipe Michael Symon demonstrated that piqued our interest. It was a challenge for me, because I’m not a big gravy person. The Andouille Sausage Gravy with Corn Biscuits recipe was something I wanted to attempt but make my own. On the show, the gravy looked too loose for my taste, so I wanted to make sure I modified the recipe to be what I wanted. I also don’t like corn meal biscuits, so I just bought some pre-made biscuits to just work on the gravy.

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The gravy was pretty simple, but I modified the recipe slightly. I don’t like spicy sausage, so I used a simple mild sausage without the casing. I also cut the amount of chicken stock I used because I knew it would thin the gravy too much for my taste. So, below is my version of this recipe.

 

Sausage Gravy

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion (minced)
1 pound Mild Sausage (casing removed)
2 1/2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of Olive Oil and the Mild Sausage. Cook the Sausage, breaking it up into small bits as it browns. Cook Sausage until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Onion and a pinch of Salt. Cook until the Onions start to break down and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the Flour, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Chicken Stock, and Cream. Simmer for 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes on low heat. The Gravy will thicken and reduce slightly.

To serve, slice the Biscuits in half. Spoon the Gravy over the Biscuits and garnish with Parsley

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I have to say, I don’t like gravy really and making it from scratch has always been somewhat intimidating to me. I’ve seen my great grandmother and grandmother make gravy so easily, but have never really tried it myself. In culinary school, I learned the concept and how to actually put those skills into practice, but I have never tried it fully on my own. This recipe was actually quite tasty and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sausage gravy and biscuits.

If you want to see the whole recipe from the show, including the biscuits, feel free to check it out here: Michael Symon’s Corn Biscuits and Andouille Gravy Recipe