Thursday, November 22, 2007

turkey gravy

Turkey, Gravy And Plenty Of Current Events
November 21, 2007
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Digg Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Post Comment Text size: Here is something parents might want to ponder as they celebrate Thanksgiving with their children: A friendly argument around the dinner table could be a good thing ― especially if it involves current events or history.

A new study found that students who come from families that frequently discuss these topics learn more in college than students who come from families that don't.

Nor is this the only aspect of traditional family life that can help make children into better college students.

Last fall, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute surveyed 14,000 randomly selected freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges. Each student was given a 60-question, multiple-choice civic literacy test that focused on American history, government, international relations and economics. Students also were asked about their family experience, including their parents' marital status, the frequency of family conversations about current events and whether English was the primary language spoken at home.

By subtracting average freshman scores from average senior scores and controlling for other variables that affected performance, researchers were able to measure how much civic knowledge, on average, students gained during college as a result of each of the aspects of their family experience surveyed.

The data demonstrated that higher quality family life led to students learning more about U.S. history and institutions. This finding is important for all Americans because the survey also showed that students who learn more about these subjects during college also tend to be better citizens, showing a greater tendency to vote and participate in other civic activities.

The students who did the best on the test were those who came from homes where the parents were both college graduates, were still married and living together, spoke English to their children and frequently talked with them about current events and history. On average, seniors who enjoyed all these advantages scored 6.52 points higher than students who lacked them.

The test also showed, however, that parents need not be perfect to give their son or daughter a significant advantage. In fact, the factors that improved student performance the most turned out to be those that parents can most readily control.

The most significant factor, for example, was frequent family discussion of current events and history. It typically added 2.32 points to a senior's score. Among students who were U.S. citizens, using English as the primary language at home ― something immigrant families can strive to do ― was the second most important factor. It added 1.80 points.

The combined effect of parents staying married, speaking English at home and frequently discussing current events and history added 4.82 points to a senior's test score. That was five times the gain from having a father who graduated from college and six times the gain from having a mother who graduated from college.

The iconic image of an American family sitting down to dinner and a lively conversation has been captured in our popular culture. ISI's survey demonstrates again that there is deep wisdom in this traditional vision of family life.

It also reaffirms another American value: We are a merit-based society. How parents choose to raise their children matters more than where they were born or whether they went to college in determining whether those children become successful students and active participants in civic life.

Now, that's something worth discussing over turkey and stuffing.

Josiah Bunting III is president of the H. Frank Guggenheim Foundation and superintendent emeritus of the Virginia Military Institute and serves as chairman of Intercollegiate Studies Institute's National Civic Literacy Board. This first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or sage leaves (or 11/2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary or sage)

Salt and pepper to taste

Turkey giblets, optional (see note below)

1. After you have removed turkey from roasting pan, pour the pan drippings into a large (8-cup) heat-proof glass bowl or measuring cup.

2. Pour a cup of chicken broth or turkey stock into the roasting pan, and place it over 2 burners. Turn the heat to medium, and bring liquid to a boil, all the while scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wood spoon or spatula. When the bottom of the pan is clean, turn off the heat.

3. By now, the fat should have risen to the top of the drippings in the large bowl. Skim it off. You will need 1/2 cup of fat; add butter if you don't have enough.

4. Add the liquid from the roasting pan to the now-skimmed drippings, and add enough chicken broth or turkey stock to make 6 cups total.

5. Place the turkey fat and flour in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir with a wood spoon until the flour is slightly browned and the mixture begins to smell toasty.

6. Beat fat-flour mixture with a wire whisk while gradually adding the chicken broth. Add herbs and simmer over medium heat, whisking often, until the gravy has thickened and no trace of flour taste remains, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, giblets. Keep the gravy warm until ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.

Note: To make turkey stock, place turkey neck, heart and gizzard in a medium saucepan along with 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped rib of celery, 2 sprigs of parsley, 1 bay leaf, several peppercorns and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer with cover askew, 1 hour, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface. Add the liver during the last 5 minutes. Strain, cool and skim any fat that rises
MANILA, Philippines�Today is Thanksgiving Day for the Americans. While as a people we don't need another excuse to have a family gathering (like Sundays aren't enough), we can sure use a traditional day for giving thanks as a nation.

Chef, food editor and television host Nancy Reyes-Lumen says if we ever have a Filipino Thanksgiving Day, it should be sometime "in May when it's the harvest season."

But what to be thankful for? Hmmm, that's a tough one.

While we're thinking that one out, and since it may take an act of Congress to declare our own Thanksgiving Day, why not, for the meantime, just add a Pinoy twist to the American traditional spread of stuffed roast turkey, baked yam with marshmallow topping, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie?

Here is how some chefs would "Filipinize" the traditional gobble-gobble dinner:

Ed Quimson, JAKA Group corporate executive chef

I will prepare Cream of Kalabasa with Kakang Gata swirl, Rellenong Lechon de Leche with Rellenong Manok stuffing, Fruit Salad Pie with Graham Cracker crust topped with grated buko and Magnolia quickmelt cheese, Baked Camote and Ube with marshmallow."

Christian Werdenberg, Sofitel Hotel executive chef

I would adapt traditional recipes with local flavors and ingredients. An example would be turkey stuffing which I would make adobo-flavored. Traditional dried apricots and prunes could be substituted with dried mangoes. A pineapple relish would replace the traditional cranberry sauce. I will make maple-glazed kamote and pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie flavored with dayap and the traditional Key Lime Pie will be converted to Calamansi Pie. I will include Bibingka, Puto Bumbong, Adobo Pie, Baboy Humba, Embotido Pate en croute and Beef Morcon.

Nancy Reyes-Lumen, Cook Magazine editor and TV host

I will order jumbo chicken from Magnolia, the three-kilogram size or bigger. If not that, a fat duck or bibe. Of course, being the adobo queen, I will adobo this whole then roast just to brown it. My adobo sauce will be the gravy. Instead of cranberry, I will have mango and guava jelly, plus inihaw slices of cassava and kamote, the yellow kind. The gravy will be chopped liver and balunbalunan adobo sauce. The veggies will be new corn harvest, string beans and carrots. Dessert will be candied saba with sampaguita essence and passion fruit nectar. And dayap tea for beverage. Ang sarap!

Adam Mathis, The Peninsula Manila executive chef

My take on this very traditional meal is to introduce a variety of lighter and healthier options using techniques, flavors or ingredients familiar to Filipino palates. We eat more than what is necessary at Thanksgiving anyway, and I don't see why we can't make it a tad more forgiving to one's arteries.

For salad, I would have Charred Hearts of Romaine with Fennel, Ubod (heart of palm) and Orange-Ancho Vinaigrette.

For appetizer, it's going to be Turkey Skin Rolls with Roasted Pineapple. (Simply remove crispy skin from turkey. Trim fat. Cut into small pieces. Shred turkey meat into fine julienne. Mix with sweet soy bean paste. Grill pineapple until nicely brown. Soak sheet of rice wrapper in cold water till soft. Spread on kitchen towel to absorb moisture. Arrange some turkey meat, roasted pineapple, cucumber and bell pepper on rice paper and roll to form a spring roll-shaped parcel. Mix hoisin sauce with water to thin paste. Serve.)

For the main course, it's Pan-seared Turkey Breast, Chanterelles and Baby Leeks with Port Wine-Dayap Jus. It would be nice if one could get an organic turkey.

Dessert will be Caramelized Pineapple Napoleon with Coconut Custard and Vanilla-Tapioca Sauce and Leche Flan (I know it's not very healthy but it is good!)

All the food should be washed down with a Pumpkin Smoothie. It's Thanksgiving, remember. (Pumpkin flesh. Bananas. Orange juice. Ground cinnamon. Combine all ingredients in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve immediately.)

Myrna Segismundo, Restaurant 9501 executive chef

I will apply Filipino cooking recipes and procedures to give the traditional Thanksgiving menu a Filipino flavor. We can make a pumpkin soup topped with chicharon. A roast turkey will have a relleno stuffing of longganisa, bread and ground meat. You can opt to serve the stuffing on the side with the usual liver gravy. Replace cranberry sauce with assorted pickled vegetables like atchara. Cinnamon yams can be minatamis na kamote. For a healthier meal, serve upland red rice or brown rice with dried local fruits, such as mango and pineapple.

For dessert, it has to be Guapple Pie with vanilla ice cream. You can also offer nicely aged Ilocos basi or mango rum.

Carlo Miguel, Mezzaluna executive chef

The turkey is a blank canvas that blends harmoniously with flavors from all corners of the globe. It can be applied to many traditional Filipino preparations, such as longanisa, adobo, kaldereta, afritada or even Bicol express just to name a few.

Giving it a Filipino twist can be as simple as adding Knorr seasoning in the turkey gravy or using candied kamote with vanilla custard for dessert.

At Mezzaluna, we have done a maple and brandy-cured turkey that ensures a very tender and slightly sweet flesh. We have also done a Turkey Leg Ballotine which is cooked sous vide (vacuum packed) style to give the galantine-like filling optimum tenderness and juiciness.

Though food is important in the Filipino lifestyle it is best to remember what Thanksgiving is really about�gathering with friends and family and being thankful for all
become so familiar with our surroundings, that we often take things for granted and fail to see the hidden treasures that lie within our midst. Too often we grumble about the people who try to serve us rather than appreciate them.

Jan Sprout, of Jamieson Center in Monmouth, reminded us during our Thank Offering Service Sunday, that an attitude of "gratitude" reaps great rewards and that "God loves a cheerful giver."

Within the communities of Henderson and Hancock County are precious gems, and some days you just become more aware of them than others.

You see it when a neighbor comes to call on you, or when a youth earns the rank of Eagle Scout.

And you see it when your school collects food for the needy or puts on a Veterans Day program with so much honor for those who serve.

You see the goodwill in people coming together to help businesses with the community open house.

So many times we fail to see the good that others do because of a grumpy attitude.

It is almost like looking at a bowl of turkey gravy and all we see is that the sauce is lumpy, so we complain that we do not want it.

What we failed to see is that the lumps are the tender turkey meat which helps give the gravy its unique and delicious flavor.

If each of us would only take time to come into the kitchen and see what it takes to make a delicious gravy, we would understand what the gravy is made up of.

It is so much like that in our schools, our communities as well. There are unique qualities in individuals if we only take part in being a help instead of a complainer.

Taking part in our homes, our schools, and in our communities can actually be the best thing we can do this Thanksgiving to bring about a positive and joyful Christmas and New Year.

Be grateful for what you have this Thanksgiving and when you see lumps, remember the turkeys in the gravy.


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