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Off Topic: Robot Turtles Board Game Kickstarter

I don't often get really excited about a Kickstarter campaign especially since a couple projects that I've backed haven't turned out as well as I had hoped (although there are others that have been quite successful). This one unites my love of programming and playing games into one board game for young children. My Emma is too young (she's only two months old) to play this game, but I plan on sharing it with her in a couple years. During the last few weeks, they've developed rules for grown ups so Robot Turtles: The Board Game for Little Programmers isn't just for kids anymore. The campaign only runs until this Friday (Sept. 27, 2013), so if you are interested, I encourage you to pledge sooner rather than later.

Dining Out: Pakta (Barcelona, Spain)

One of my most memorable meals during my recent trip to Spain was at Albert Adrià's Pakta, so that's the one that I really have to write about. My husband and I were so lucky that we scored reservations during the few days in May that we were in Barcelona, but I think that was partly due to the fact that the restaurant only opened in April so the buzz hadn't gotten out of control yet. When we went for dinner (at 7:30, which is an absurdly early time for most Spaniards), our waitress Sussie told us that the restaurant was in its seventh week. Therefore, we got to be some lucky guinea pigs for some of the menu items that Adrià wanted to try out.

Giblet Gravy

This is an updated version of my old (ancient) post about how to make Turkey Gravy, which I posted back in the dark ages of 2007. And in internet years, let me tell you—that was a very, very long time ago! This is essentially the exact same method, only the photos are new and therefore much less grody, as many of my food photos were back in the dark ages of 2007, and hopefully, the instructions are even more clear. But feel free to hop between the two posts if it helps.

Gravy is everything. Absolutely everything. You can have a perfect turkey and luscious mashed potatoes, but if you don’t have a dark, decadent gravy to spoon over the top, what’s the point of even living?

Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic.

But the good news is this: Making good gravy isn’t difficult! It just takes patience, perseverance, and the sheer will to make gravy so good, even your picky and opinionated Uncle Festus will come back for seconds.

Here’s how to do it!

Turkey GravyFirst of all (speaking of grody), you need to boil the neck and giblets, also known as the bizarre stuff you find in the bag inside the raw turkey. I always take them out of the turkey and rinse them, then store them in a ziploc bag in the fridge overnight (because I’m brining the turkey overnight, and I remove the interior bag first.)

Turkey GravySo while the turkey is roasting the next day, place the neck and giblets into a medium saucepan, cover it with water by about 2 inches, and bring it to a boil. After it boils, reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook them for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is totally cooked through.

Turkey GravyRemove the neck and giblets from the water (but keep the water on standby; you’ll need it later!) and when they’re cool enough to handle…

Turkey GravyUse your fingers to pick off as much of the neck meat as you can, trying very hard not to think about the phrase “neck meat” while you’re doing this.

Turkey GravyThis is good stuff! And it’s luscious in the gravy, baby.

Turkey GravyYou also need to chop up the giblets, which are my favorite part of the gravy.

Turkey GravyI like them diced pretty finely, though, as the flavor is pretty durn strong.

Now just set all the neck and giblet meat aside while you make the gravy!

Turkey GravyNow, after you remove the turkey from the oven and remove the turkey from the roasting pan, carefully (don’t burn yourself!) pour all the drippings from the pan into a large heatproof pitcher. (Set the roasting pan aside, but don’t wash it!) Let the liquid sit undisturbed for a bit, long enough for the fat to separate from the drippings.

The separation will be obvious: The fat rises to the top, and it’s a thick, greasy liquid. The drippings stay at the bottom, and they’re more of a cloudy liquid filled with little bits.

Turkey GravyAfter the two are totally separated, use a ladle to carefully skim off the fat and transfer it to a separate bowl. Just lower the ladle straight down and slowly allow the fat to spill over the sides and into the well. (You can also use a fancy fat separator…I just don’t have one of those.)

Turkey GravyNow, when you’re ready to make the gravy, set the roasting pan over the stove (I usually straddle it over two burners) and turn on the heat to medium. Pour in some of the fat (how much you add depends on how much gravy you want to make.)

Turkey GravyWhen the fat is heated, sprinkle in some flour. Again, how much you add depends on how much gravy you want to make!

Turkey GravyWhisk it all together and check the consistency: Basically, you want to make a nice paste. If it seems overly greasy, whisk in a little more flour until it looks right. If it seems too thick and it’s hard to stir, drizzle in a little more fat.

Turkey GravyWhen the consistency is right, you then need to take the time to cook the roux so it gets nice and brown! Just whisk it constantly as it cooks, and when the color looks nice and deep golden brown…

Turkey GravyPour in a good amount of low-sodium broth: You can use chicken, turkey, or vegetable—whatever makes your skirt fly up. After that, pour in half the reserved turkey drippings (you can always add the rest later if the gravy needs it.)

Turkey GravyWhisk in the broth and cook it for long enough for the gravy to get nice and thick; this can take from 5 to 10 minutes (or more, depending on how much volume you’re talking about) so just be patient and keep on whiskin’!

Turkey GravyIf the gravy isn’t thick enough, keep cooking it until it thickens. If it gets too thick, you can always thin it with some of the giblet broth.

So while I’m at it, let me give you the breakdown so we have it straight:

Fat = the grease that separates from the drippings. This is combined with flour in the roasting pan to make the roux.
Drippings = the cloudy, messy liquid that separates from the fat. This is added to the roux along with the broth to make the gravy more flavorful.
Broth = I usually use storebought, either turkey, chicken, or vegetable. This is added to the roux to make the gravy. Always use low-sodium (or, even better, no-sodium broth) to control the saltiness of the gravy.
Giblet broth = the liquid left in the saucepan after you boil the neck and giblets. This is used to thin the broth if it gets too thick.

Turkey GravyThe very last thing to do is to add the shredded/chopped neck/giblets to the gravy…

Turkey GravyAlong with (after you taste it) salt and pepper. Note that if you brined the turkey, you likely won’t need much salt at all! So always, always, always taste the gravy before adding any salt.

Mmmm. GRAVY!

Sorry to shout. I just can’t control myself.

Turkey GravyAhh. There’s nothing better in the world.

Turkey GravyEnjoy every single bite!

The printable below, but in a nutshell:

1. Boil the neck and giblets in a saucepan of water.
2. Chop the giblets and pull the meat off the neck.
3. Reserve the giblet water.
4. Roast the turkey, then pour all the pan drippings into a pitcher or bowl.
5. Allow the drippings to separate from the fat.
6. Skim off the fat and put in a separate bowl.
7. Add fat back to the roasting pan over medium heat.
8. Whisk in flour, cook the roux until brown.
9. Add storebought broth (or homemade if you have it!)
10. Add the separated drippings (start with half, work your way up.)
11. Stir until thick, add more broth or giblet broth if needed.
12. Add giblets and neck meat.
13. Add salt and pepper (taste first!)
14. Serve hot and bubbly!



Giblet Gravy

Prep Time:
5 Minutes
Cook Time:
20 Minutes


  • Giblets And Neck, Saved From The Uncooked Turkey
  • Drippings From Roasted Turkey
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (more If Needed)
  • 4 cups No-sodium Chicken, Turkey, Or Vegetable Broth, More If Needed
  • Salt And Pepper (gravy Won’t Need Much Salt)

Preparation Instructions

First, take the giblets and neck from the raw turkey and cover them with water by 2 inches in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer it for 1 hour to both to cook the meat and to make a giblet broth for the gravy.

Remove the giblets and neck from the water (don’t worry; they’re supposed to look really grody) and set them aside. Keep the giblet broth in the saucepan for later.

When you’re ready to make the gravy, pour all the drippings from the turkey roasting pan into a bowl. Set the pan back onto the stove.

Let the drippings sit and separate naturally, then use a ladle to carefully separate the fat from the liquid drippings (the fat will be on top, while the drippings will settle at the bottom).

Turn the heat to medium and add about 1 cup of the fat back into the roasting pan. Sprinkle the flour all over the fat and immediately begin whisking it around to make a paste. Add more flour or fat as needed to create the right consistency: You want the mixture to be a stirrable paste and not overly greasy. If it looks a little greasy, whisk in a little more flour.

Once the paste/roux is the right consistency, whisk it slowly for a few minutes, allowing it to cook to a deep golden brown color. A nice brown roux is the secret to good gravy, baby!

Once the roux is ready, pour in 1 cup of the drippings (the stuff that separated from the fat earlier) and the chicken or turkey broth, whisking constantly. Then just let the gravy cook and thicken, whisking constantly for 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, use your fingers to remove as much of the neck meat as you can and chop up the giblets into fine pieces. Add as much of the meat to the gravy as you’d like: Add it all if you like a really chunky giblet gravy, add a little less if you like the gravy more smooth.

If the gravy seems too thick, add more broth and/or a little of the reserved giblet broth (the water used to cook the giblets.)

Finally, season the gravy with a little bit of salt and plenty of black pepper! (Be sure to taste it and make sure the seasoning is perfect.)

Serve the gravy piping hot at the table.

** Note: You should be prepared to add more broth, so have extra on hand!

Posted by Ree on November 25 2013

Memories of Leftovers

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a really nice Thanksgiving celebration yesterday at my cousin’s house.  There was lots of family, lots of laughing, and lots of delicious food.  All the leftovers we made off with went to work with Phil this morning so there’s no cold pumpkin pie for breakfast and no turkey sandwiches for me today, something that’s a little unusual.  But I had my fill of turkey and all the trimmings yesterday and I’m feeling okay about bucking tradition and just eating a light lunch today.  I am, however, sitting here enjoying some memories of what Thanksgiving was like when I was younger and rather than feeling melancholy about loved ones lost, I’m feeling pretty lucky to have so many wonderful holiday celebrations to look back on.(…)
Continue reading Memories of Leftovers

© Pinch My Salt, 2013. |
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Another Great Week: Tacos, Colbert, Zombies and More

Hello, Saturday. Time for another list of the stories, shows and other good stuff that made me happy this week:

1. Grilled Chicken Tacos. I’ve been grilling some boneless, skinless chicken breasts on Sundays and Wednesdays and using them for all kinds of things, including soft tacos (shown above). Warm your tortillas, add a few slices of chicken, and then pile on the lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, cheese, salsa, jalapeño, whatever you like. Keep the ingredients ready to go in your fridge, and you can make lunch or dinner in about five minutes flat.

2. The Colbert Report‘s segment on Johnny Cummings, the openly gay mayor of Vicco, Ky. Vicco is one of the smallest towns in the U.S. (pop. 334), but it’s also one of the first to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The part with the cop might be my favorite:

3. Zombies, Run! 5K Training. You know those “Couch-to-5K”-style training apps that guide you from walking to jogging and then running a 5K in about eight weeks? This one does the same, but it also puts you right in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse as Runner 5, a volunteer being trained to gather supplies, avoid zombies and protect a town. So much more fun. Plus, you can connect it your favorite iTunes playlist and work out to your own music. And it’s free! Can’t wait to graduate from it to Zombies, Run! 2.

4. “Keep Yo Business Off of Facebook.” Let’s take it to church, y’all:

5. “10 Awesome Videos on Idea Execution and the Creative Process,” featuring Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Ira Glass, John Kelly and more. (You can find “10 (More) Amazing Videos” here.)

6. The TARDIS on Google Maps. Doctor Who fans can find the famous blue time machine (disguised as a police telephone box) by clicking here. (Take a look inside by clicking the words “Police Telephone Box” on the map and selecting “more info.”)

7. Haim’s video for “The Wire.” Apparently, guys don’t take it well when they’re dumped by the Haim sisters. Watch out for Jorma Taccone (The Lonely Island). His post-breakup faces are epic:

8. Jennifer Dewalt. She’s teaching herself how to code by building one website a day for 180 days. As of today, she’s on No. 115. This woman is killing it.

9. The Baby Panda video. If you’re not into cute animals, you don’t even want to deal with this baby panda being cuddled by her mom for the first time.

10. Rainbow eyes. People who know how to apply makeup can do amazing things.


© 2013 Rebecca Crump. All rights reserved.

Wilton 570-1121 Easy Flex 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set, Blue

Perfect for all your baking needs. This 3 piece silicone set includes the popular spoon, small and medium spatulas.

Product Features

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  • Translucent blue-tinted, crystal-like plastic handles with holes for hanging
  • Heat-resistant up to 500 degrees F
  • Stain and odor resistant; dishwasher safe

Stainless Steel Pineapple Easy Slicer, Corer

Stainless Steel Pineapple Easy Slicer, Corer

NEW, 8-Inch Long Stainless Steel Skewers, Barbecue Skewers, BBQ Skewers, Shish Kebab Kabob Skewers, Ring-Tip Handle, 1-Dozen

From kabobs to marshmallows…you can skewer your favorite foods with ease on these durable stainless steel skewers. They feature a slightly flattened blade to allow for easy turning (without the food spinning around)


Length – 8 Inches

Diameter (ring) – 3/4 Inches

Product Features

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NEW, 10-Inch Long Stainless Steel Skewers, Barbecue Skewers, BBQ Skewers, Shish Kebab Kabob Skewers, Ring-Tip Handle, 1-Dozen

From kabobs to marshmallows…you can skewer your favorite foods with ease on these durable stainless steel skewers. They feature a slightly flattened blade to allow for easy turning (without the food spinning around)


Length – 10 Inches

Diameter (ring) – 3/4 Inches

Product Features

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  • DIMENSIONS: Length – 10 Inches, Diameter (ring) – 3/4 Inches

Cuisinart DFP-14BCN 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel

The Cuisinart DFP-14 Custom Food Processor has an extra-large feed tube that holds whole fruits and vegetables. Features a 14-cup work bowl, 4mm stainless steel medium slicing disc, stainless steel shredding disc, chopping/mixing blade and dough blade. Includes a spatula, how-to DVD and recipe book.A perfect gift for new homemakers, the food processor has become an integral part of modern cooking, speeding up a multitude of processes, including kneading dough; slicing; chopping; shredding cheese, vegetables, and meat; mincing garlic and parsley; mixing batters; and emulsifying mayonnaise. Cuisinart’s Custom food processor comes with a 14-cup work bowl; five basic attachments for slicing, shredding, chopping, mixing, and kneading; and also features two feed-tube options, one big enough to handle a whole potato. This processor comes with a compact cover for use when the feed tube isn’t needed and a pulse control that allows the desired degree of fineness when chopping and puréeing. Remove the detachable stem for compact storage of discs. All the parts are dishwasher-safe and the motor base wipes clean. In addition, a custom-contoured spatula, a recipe booklet, and a 30-minute video designed to familiarize the new owner with the care and use of the food processor are included. –Victoria Jenkins

Product Features

  • 720-watt large-capacity food processor with intuitive “on” and “off/pulse” buttons
  • 14-cup Lexan work bowl; extra-large feed tube; small and large pushers
  • Stainless-steel slicing disc, shredding disc, chopping blade, and dough blade
  • Spatula, instruction/recipe booklet, and video included; dishwasher-safe parts
  • Product Built to North American Electrical Standards