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Sherried Cider Turkey Giblet Gravy

Photo by wikimedia user unknown

The perfect gravy to go with your baked turkey. You haven't had gravy until you've tried this recipe.


Skim fat from turkey pan juices, reserving 1/4 cup of fat. Deglaze turkey pan with sherry over medium-high heat, scraping up brown bits. Stir in cider. Bring mixture to a boil, then remove pan from heat.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together reserved fat and flour to make a roux, cooking over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, for 3 minutes. Add sherry mixture and 2 cups stock in a stream, whisking to prevent lumping. Simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to heated gravy boat.


  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 6-8+ Tbsp. all-purpose flour (or Wondra)
  • 2 cups turkey giblet stock (or chicken broth)

Grandma Beeskau's Baked Turkey

Photo by wikimedia user TheKohser

Turkey isn't just for the holidays, it's great any time of year. While our Thanksgiving turkey has been deep fried for years (once you try it, you'll never go back), there's always a place for a good baked turkey, particularly if you want to make gravy. This recipe from my grandmother comes out perfect every time, and is what I make when it's my turn to make Thanksgiving dinner.


Thaw the turkey 2-3 days in the refrigerator, if frozen.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove neck and giblet bag from turkey cavities (save for gravy.) Wash turkey and pat dry. Rub vegetable oil over the outside of the turkey. Salt and pepper both inside and outside of turkey (plus any optional seasonings, such as Cajun seasoning.) Rub optional butter mixture under skin (pull away from body to get the butter all over the underside.)

Place onion, celery, and carrots into the cavity. Lightly sprinkle outside with flour.

Make a heavy foil tent over the turkey. Bake at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours. Remove foil tent and continue baking 1 1/2 hours to brown, basting occasionally during this last hour and a half.

Remove turkey from oven when thigh temperature reaches 170 degrees. Let sit for 30 minutes, covered in foil, before carving. (Save the pan and juices if you plan to make gravy.)


  • 16-18 lb. organic turkey
  • 1 white onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Vegetable oil
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste (other seasonings optional)
  • Butter with sage, thyme, and rosemary (optional)

Lentils and Rice

Photo by flickr user providerguardian

This traditional Lebanese dish should be a staple in your diet. It's both delicious, and loaded with heart saving folate, protein, and cholesterol lowering fiber. You may see it in restaurants as Mujaderra, Mujadarrah, Mjaddra, M'Judra (which I prefer), or some other variation.


Rinse lentils in cold water. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add lentils, cover and cook for 20 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, saute onions (use white or yellow) in olive oil until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. When lentils are done, add rice and onion, cover and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 15 minutes (this will allow the rice to finish cooking, and for the remaining water to be absorbed.) Stir well, and serve, topped with plain yogurt.


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • plain yogurt to taste

Easy Clam Chowder

Photo By Jon Sullivan, via Wikimedia Commons

When the season starts to change, and there's a cold chill in the air, there's nothing better than a hot bowl of homemade clam chowder. Best part is, making this delicious soup isn't as hard as you might think.


Saute onion and bacon until onion is soft and bacon is cooked. Drain clams, then add clam juice, celery, and potatoes to pan (do not add clams yet.) Add water if the clam juice doesn't cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Boil gently until vegetables are soft and tender. Add clams, milk, soup, and spices. Be sure to dissolve the soup! Let simmer. Use potato flakes to thicken, if necessary. Best served the next day.


  • 1/4 cup bacon, finely cut
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • 3 cans whole baby clams
  • 1 can cream of potato soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • potato flakes (to thicken)
  • pepper to taste
  • thyme leaves to taste
  • 2 cups milk

Bananas Foster

Photo by Wendy Harman, via Wikimedia Commons

Bananas Foster is a New Orleans (and worldwide) favorite. It was created in 1951 by chef Paul Blange of Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans, and named for Richard Foster, a friend of the owner and frequent customer of the restaurant.


Cut the bananas lengthwise, then halved. Melt the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon (plus optional nutmeg, if using) over low heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the banana liqueur, then add the bananas. Cook until bananas soften and begin to brown (about 3 minutes). Carefully add the rum. Cook until the rum is heated, then carefully tilt the pan to ignite the rum. When the flame dies, carefully lift the bananas out of the pan. Place 4 sections on top of each scoop of ice cream, spoon sauce over the top, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Ingredient Note: Below is the classic Brennan's recipe. I like to modify it a bit by adding a pinch of ground nutmeg, lowering the brown sugar to 3/4 cup, and increasing the rum to 1/2 cup.


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Sweet Habanero Ribs

Photo by flickr user ctankcycles

The delicious ribs can be made with either pork baby backs, or beef short ribs. Either way, they're delicious.


Trim any large chunks of fat off the ribs. Place the ribs in a large pot (6-quart would be best) with enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Slowly simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until tender.

To make the sauce, cook the onion and garlic in hot oil until tender. Stir in the ketchup, apricot preserves, vinegar, pepper, steak sauce, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat immediately. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.

Stir together the cumin and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over both sides of the ribs then rub into surface. (It's helpful to completely dry the ribs first. I often boil the ribs the night before, then put in the refidgerator.)

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling (see your grill owners manual, or do a Google search for "indirect grilling"). Never grill ribs over direct heat. Lightly oil the grill over the drip pan, and place ribs on grill above the drip pan, cooking with medium heat. Cover and grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the ribs are tender. During the final 10 minutes, brush the ribs with the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, turn, brush the other side, then finish cooking 5 more minutes.

Heat the remaining sauce, and serve along side the ribs.


  • 3 lb. pork baby back or beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. steak sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Jamaican Rum Punch

Photo by flickr user soursop555

Rum Punch is a staple in Jamaica, and is the perfect summertime drink. Everywhere you go, you'll find rum punch. There are seemingly endless variations on this classic Jamaican drink, but this recipe is the most basic. This is closest to what I had most often in Jamaica, although I also tried more advanced variations, which I'll mention at the end of the recipe.


Mix all ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve over ice.

Rum Notes: Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum is the best selling rum in Jamaica. While not as popular in the US, it's what you'll find in over 90% of all Rum Punch recipes in Jamaica. Be careful, though: it's very strong.

You can find Wray & Nephew at Beverages & More, among other places. If you can't find Wray & Nephew locally, and don't want to order online, you could substitute one of the lighter Jamaican rum's from Appleton Estates. Appleton Estates is the second oldest Rum producer in the world. I'd recommend either the Special Gold, or the VX.


There are many variations on this drink, but I think most of them originated in places other than Jamaica. One popular method is to substitude fruit juice for the water. I've seen people use pineapple juice, orange juice, peach juice, and more. Personally, I think it makes the drink too sweet, but feel free to experiment.

Another optional variation (often done in Jamaica) is to add whole pimiento (allspice), nutmeg, or cloves. You'll want to remove them before serving, so putting them in a tea bag or cheesecloth will help.

Optionally, add slices of fresh fruit.

One last word on ingredients: a traditional Jamaican flavored syrup is Anchor Cherry Syrup, which can be found online. Great if you can find it, but feel free to substitute grenadine or similar.


  • 1 part sour (ex: lime juice)
  • 2 parts sweet (ex: grenadine)
  • 3 parts strong (rum)
  • 4 parts weak (ex: water)

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