Due to social distancing rules, our family’s Easter Dinner came in the form of doggie (?bunny) bags this year. My three sons all live here in Ottawa, but the rules our government has implemented prevents visitors and large gatherings. So, instead of enjoying the meal around our dining table, I packed up three large containers with turkey, ham and all the fixings, plus a selection of desserts, and delivered to their doorsteps.
Oh, and Easter baskets for the kids. Thankfully the Easter bunny wasn’t cancelled like everything else has been.
Do you know how to make rich, dark brown gravy the natural way? Without the store-bought box or package of gravy? No package of seasonings or dyes ever touches my gravy. I learned this trick from my mother years ago. Before you put the turkey in the roasting pan, slice up a small onion and a few cloves of garlic and add them to the bottom of the pan. As the turkey cooks, the onions and garlic will brown up, colouring and flavouring the juices, creating wonderful dark brown gravy.
You can puree the onions and garlic with the gravy if you like your gravy smooth and lump-free, or leave it chunky. This trick works for roast beef or pork as well.
A few other holiday dinner tricks:
Gluten-free brown gravy thickener: reserve (approximately) 1 cup of the water you boiled your potatoes in before you drain them. That water contains lots of potato starch, which is naturally gluten-free. Add the reserved water to your gravy, let it simmer for 10 minutes until the gravy thickens. Works like a charm, without the use of a roux made of wheat flour.
Decorating your dinner table: I like to use whatever is colourful in my garden at the time. In spring it is tulips or other bulbs. In fall I use leaves, ornamental grass spikes, and decorative gourds. Place the collected items in a vase, display on a cake pedestal, or lay them right on the table cloth (leaves work well flat)
Getting the creases out of your table cloth: Do you ever forget to take your table cloth out early enough to remove the folds/crease? Or change your mind on which table cloth you want to use at the last minute, and then cringe at the creases? Remove wrinkles and creases, without the use of an iron, from table cloths or your clothing with a wrinkle remover in a spray bottle. Keep some in your laundry room and bedroom for a quick fix.
I hope these tips come in handy when you are preparing your next holiday meal. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend, so I plan to use them all.
This recipe (if you can call three simple steps and three common ingredients a recipe) for pork tenderloin in the slow cooker is the easiest ever…
I thought I was heading out of town this morning, so decided to make my family’s favourite pork tenderloin in my slow cooker, to be ready when I returned at dinner time. The weather changed my travel plans, but I still have the same dinner plans.
All you need is a pork tenderloin, one-half cup (approximately) of maple syrup, and one cup (again, approximately, I never measure) of frozen blueberries.
Put the tenderloin in the slow cooker, pour the maple syrup over it, and then the blueberries over the syrup. Set the slow cooker to low and let the pork cook for 8 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and let it cool (10 minutes) before slicing. Pour the juice, as is, over top after slicing.
If you prefer a thicker, gravy-like sauce, stir one tablespoon of flour into a bit of cold water, then add to the juice in the pot. Turn the setting up to high and cook until the sauce thickens.
Serve with potatoes or rice and another vegetable (broccoli is our favourite) for a healthy family dinner…