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Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Rich, flavorful, lump-free gravy is at the top of the agenda for everyone cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Am I right?

“Debi, how do you make your gravy?” is a question I get from my cooking class students and friends every year.  In talking with people about gravy making, I’ve learned its a huge source of stress for many.  Please don’t give up and buy that pre-made stuff in a jar. Good gravy is 100% important on Thanksgiving.  You can totally do it, and I will show you how.

My trick? I actually have a few tricks:

  1. I don’t make gravy on Thanksgiving day.   I make the gravy ahead of time by roasting turkey legs and wings. I make a spatchcocked turkey that roasts on a bed of stuffing, so all of those delicious turkey drippings aren’t available for gravy making. They are busy melting  into the stuffing and creating those crispy little edges that are so good.
  2. I toast the flour before making the gravy (instructions follow). Toasting the flour adds a warm flavor to the gravy.
  3. Add the stock slowly, and keep whisking to keep it smooth. Don’t walk away from your gravy pan until it is finished. 

    Follow my Make Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe and you will be a star in your kitchen (not to mention a little less stressed).



Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Serves: 6 cups
  • 1 pound turkey wings, legs or neck pieces, cut into small pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 5 fresh sprigs thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, toasted***
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the turkey pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the roasted turkey pieces to a platter; reserving drippings in a small bowl.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to pan; saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown (about 8 minutes).
  4. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaves, and roasted turkey pieces. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes to enrich the stock with roasted-turkey flavor. Strain the stock into a heat-safe bowl, and keep warm.
  5. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, and whisk until the mixture is smooth, toasted and golden in color. Slowly pour in the warm broth, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a simmer. Continue to cook, still whisking, until the gravy is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the gravy cool to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag, label and date, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
  7. To serve, reheat the frozen gravy in a saucepan or a microwave. Be sure to whisk vigorously as the gravy heats up to keep lumps from forming. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  8. **The gravy can be served right away instead of frozen. Or refrigerate it in an airtight
  9. container for up to 2 days.
  10. ***To toast flour, place in a dry saute pan over low heat; stirring frequently until flour turns light brown.





Chilled Asparagus and Leek Soup with Truffle Whipped Marscapone Cream

    •  In recognition of the longest day of the year, Mother Nature decided to turn up the thermostat here in Virginia on the first day of summer, and she hasn’t looked back. I wish I could call it a heatwave(which would mean at some point that wave would crest and return to normal), but heat and humidity go hand in hand when you are talking about summertime in the south, so with the warm weather here to stay, it looks like it is time to crank up the a/c and make some chilled soup…and just in time for this month’s 5 Star Makeover Event:

 Hosted by Lazaro Cooks! and 5 Star Foodie


  • I think chilled soups are a really nice addition to summer menus; offering a refreshing break from the day’s heat, and  the chance to showcase summer flavors with a different approach to presentation.
  • Another bonus is that the soup will be made ahead and chilled, which means it is ready for a quick bite on the go, or may be added to a complete menu.
  • For this soup, asparagus is quickly roasted to warm up the flavor, then whirled together with sauteed leeks & chicken broth to create the base. Buttermilk and lemon juice brighten the soup, and add a bit of tang. You could stop here and enjoy it just the way it is, but I like to garnish with something like crispy prosciutto or in this case,  truffle whipped marscapone cheese. Either way, this soup will cool you off, and keep you looking pretty good in your bikini!
  • Chilled Asparagus and Leek Soup with Truffle Whipped Marscapone Cream
  • 1 pound  asparagus, trimmed
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup buttermilk


For the garnish:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the asparagus with salt, pepper, two tablespoons olive oil, and one tablespoon lemon juice. Place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for five minutes, or until the asparagus are tender  and still bright green.

Sauté the leek in remaining olive oil over medium heat for four to five minutes, or until tender. Put the asparagus, leek, and chicken stock in a blender, working in batches if necessary, and purée the vegetables. Pour into a large bowl and add the buttermilk and remaining lemon juice. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least one hour. The soup may be made and refrigerated for up to one day in advance.

Whisk the cheese and cream. Fold in the truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put a dollop on top of each serving of soup. Sprinkle with fresh chives.

4-6 servings


Ciao Fiore! Virtual Italian Cucina

Ciao Fiore Restaurant
Un Ristorante Alfresco Virtuale

***Press Release

Scheduled opening May 28, 2012 of Ciao Fiore! An enchanting outdoor ristorante on the Mediterranean Coast featuring alfresco dining in an ambrosial flower garden. Chefs Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!, Debi from Table Talk, and Lori Lynn from Taste With The Eyes will meet in the virtual Italian cucina to create a captivating five-star three-course meal enhanced with edible flowers and herbs dal giardino. Reservations are not required.

Ciao Fiore Ristorante
Ciao Fiore!

Ciao Fiore! is a Virtual Restaurant
participating in
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group “Restaurant Wars” Competition