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 touch 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 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 cooked 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?
This product from Melaleuca is amazing. Called Revive, it does just that, removes wrinkles and creases, without the use of an iron, reviving table cloths or clothing. Keep some in your laundry room and bedroom for a quick fix. It comes in several fragrances; this one has a tropical scent. I sprayed it on my table cloth right on my table today. The spray is a fine mist, so will not damage your table. I always have a protective cover between my (antique) wooden table and table cloth anyway.
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.