Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Survival Tip: Friends With Food!

You know who's really great when you're 9-bizillion-years pregnant and lazy like me? People with food. The minute someone shows up with a cracker they are willing to share they become your BFF for LIFE....or at least as long as the cracker lasts. The only thing I love more than people with food are people with recipes! Give a girl a cracker, feed her for a second. Teach a girl to...well I've never really heard of anyone making crackers from scratch, but you get the idea. Also my poor, malnurished, underfed family who currently sustain themselves off of microwave dinners and "whatever that thing is that daddy made" look forward to the day when I can use all of the recipes I have found online while pregnant to once again fill their tired, burned out little tummies with yummy mommy food....made from actual ingrediants and somehow magically involving that strange heating contraption where she keeps all the pans. (Can you see them in the corner giving you the Oliver Twist look? Oh yeah. They're unloved.)

Anyway, that's why I'm happy to see that DeeDee (and friends) has something cooking! Yummmmm..... look at all the recipes!

Of course, since I am not-so-covertly stealing other peoples reciepes I should leave one on my 'front porch' for others to take. Share and share alike. So now ya'll get my recipe for Southern Cream Gravy!

I myself was born in Georgia, but was transplanted to the Pacific Northwest long before I was granted full-southerner-status. My family, on the other hand, is as southern as...well, cream gravy. They have the accents and everything. It's adorable. And while I may just find myself looking stupid if I tried to copy their accents I really enjoy copying their delicious, artery clogging, fat accumulating recipes. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO FREAKIN' DELICIOUS.

Cream Gravy-for those who have spent their entire lives up nawth-is like the white gravy that you get on chicken fried steak. Only it's not always that pure white color, and it can (according to my southern family) go on "just 'bout near anything". Cornbread, mashed potatoes, meat of all kinds, biscuits of course...nothing is safe. But after eating it you wonder if you can't just eat it by the spoonful, so having a convinient cultural okay to put it on anything you'd like is really just a bonus.

Cream gravy, as far as I know, has been around since at least the depression era so it doesn't take much to cook it-just things you usually have on hand.

Two tablespoons of pan drippings, bacon grease, butter, or vegetable oil
(*On a side note, I have not known anyone since my nana died that keeps pan drippings, and though this is the most authentic (and deadly) option for the "fat" in your gravy, you do have a choice. You only use one of these, and I put them in decending order from most fat to least fat. Pick your poison.)

Two tablespoons of flour

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon of black pepper

Salt (to taste)

Combine "fat" (of your choice) with the flour in a hot skillet and stir continuously. Cook on medium for a couple of minutes until it turns darker. (This is called a roux, or more specifically, a dark roux--you can look it up on wikipedia). Add milk a little at a time, and mix with a whisk or wooden spoon, making sure you get all the lumps out. Then turn your heat to low and continue stirring until mixture is thickened, a couple more minutes. (You can, if you are a cheater-cheater like me, not turn it down and just keep it boiling for about 1-2 minutes. It is not as "good" or as "authentic" but it is "faster" and to me, a lot of times, that's what counts!) Add pepper and salt until it tastes good to you. If you don't like how thick it is, you can add milk (or water, I guess) 1 tablespoon at a time until it gets to the way you like it.

Now, dump that gravy over the food item of your choice. [You may want to unzip your pants now.]