Wednesday, November 25, 2015

photo courtesy of

It is the day before Thanksgiving and I'm soaking up the sun in Mexico.  But, not to worry!  I hear you my kitchen friends and your cries for HELP!

Extra last minute guests, lumpy gravy, frozen turkey...I've been there.  So, be encouraged my friends - below is my Thanksgiving 911.  Your welcome!


  • Lumpy Gravy -  Many cooks have panicked when at the last minute - the gravy turns out lumpy.  No need to worry, lumps can be fixed.  The key to smooth gravy is in the whisking. My Grandmother taught me how to make killer gravy by using flour and pan drippings.  You must whisk your flour into the pan drippings over low to medium heat.  Whisk it in good so that it is all incorporated.  Make sure the mixture is hot before you add your hot broth. Don't miss this point - hot flour/drippings mixture - hot broth.  Continue to whisk (don't get lazy) and let the gravy thicken.  If you did not follow this method and end up with lumps you can add more hot broth and vigorously whisk, let the gravy cook down and thicken.  If this does not work - pour your gravy through a strainer/sieve with medium holes and whisk it through the strainer.  This should catch the lumps.

  • Overcooked Turkey - Everything is on the table and your hungry guests are getting restless - but as you carve the bird you find that it is OVERCOOKED!  Fear sets in and you break into a sweat.  This has a pretty easy fix.  Slice the turkey and serve it on two separate platters, one for the dark meat and one for the breast meat.  Choose deep rimmed platters that will hold a little juice.  Drizzle hot stock or broth over the meat, giving the white meat a little more.  The dark meat is probably not as dry as the breast meat. Serve plenty of gravy and cranberry and don't breathe a word.  Ssshhh!!

  • Soggy Stuffing?  #@$% - The pressure is on!  All your dishes are heading to the table and as Aunt Mable pulls the stuffing from the oven you notice that it is a soggy mess. Probably too much broth.  This too can be fixed.  Cover all your other servings dishes with foil to keep them warm.  Quickly transfer the stuffing to a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out in a thin layer.  Place it back into a 350 degree oven and watch it crisp up.  When it is crip enough place back in the serving dish and call everyone to the table.

More often than not there is always some emergency that plagues a holiday or dinner party.  The trick is to stay calm, don't let them see you sweat and know that most people will never know that you had a crisis in the kitchen.

For more helpful last Thanksgiving emergency fixes - see Sunset Magazine's complete list here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families.

eat. love. live well.

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