Maple Bacon-Wrapped Pork Cutlets:
3-4 pork loin cutlets (thick-cut)
6-8 slices of bacon
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tb unsalted butter
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Start a separate pot of boiling water for the egg noodles; cook as directed for al dente and set aside. Melt butter in iron skillet over medium heat. Dry pork cutlets with paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Wrap bacon around cutlets (about 2 pieces each); place in hot skillet. Turn heat down to medium-low and drizzle with half the maple syrup. Brown first side (~10 minutes). Flip cutlets; pour additional syrup over browned side and cook for an additional 10 minutes (or until done).
* If you get down with the super thick cutlets like me (dang!), you may need to prop them up on the side of the pan, or create a “snuggle fest” by stacking those chops upright in the center of the pan (until all edges are browned). See photo below, if I sound like a crazy person…and yes, I said “snuggle fest! Just look at those cute lil’ cutlets all huddle together in a pool of sweet maple fat!
As soon as those porkies are done, set aside and wrap in foil to keep warm. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat-butter from the pan and get ready to make the gravy!
Spiced Holiday Gravy
3-4 Tb all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tb apple cider vinegar
2 dashes paprika
1 dash ginger
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash cardamom
1 dash clove
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Over medium-low heat, whisk flour into skillet oil to create a thick roux. Pour in milk gradually while whisking until all milk is combined and mixture is lump-free. Add more milk if gravy is too thick. Add all spices; salt and pepper generously. Simmer over medium-low until gravy thickens and is smooth. Add apple cider vinegar and pre-cooked egg noodles; simmer over low-heat for 3-4 minutes.
Side Dish Inspiration:
Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts
1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
2 Tb reserved bacon fat
3 Tb balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Trim brussels sprout stems; remove any damaged leaves. Cut in half and slice thinly into shreddings. Throw into hot skillet with 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat; cook until tender (~5 minutes). Add balsamic vinegar; turn heat on high and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper!
Put it all on a big plate, unbutton your jeans, pour a glass of sparkling apple cider, and slide right into the Holidays!
Happy Holidays to all you darling people out there!
Before we dive into the wildness below, let’s open your holiday card!
Aww, you’re welcome!
I hope your days are filled with mountains of mashed potatoes, buckets of Bûche de Noël, garbage pails of gravyliciousness, and truck beds of holiday turkey-ham! I’m certain there’s more than enough people out there to fill a gravy barge who relate to me and my love for the smothering sauce – and this is why I feel so comfortable expressing some of my deepest secrets here. Wait, did you say gravy barge, Ivy? Does that even exist?!!! Why yes I did – and yes it does! And here is one to prove it!
Ok, so maybe I didn’t fool all you seasoned Photoshop gurus out there, but I bet I had some of ya for a second!
Today marks year two-in-a-row for spending my holidays away from my hometown and family, so I’ve been on quite the reminiscing roll lately. San Francisco is a marvelous place to spread your holiday cheer around, (you can smear it across the entire 7-mile city in just under an hour – which means more time to ride the gravy barge). However, nothing beats going back home to my folks in Florida, where both brown and white gravy resides at pretty much any restaurant, coffee shop, truck stop, parking lot – you name it! Ah, there’s such a carousel of fine memories to share, but since it’s Gravy Friday I think I’ll stick to the ones that just happened upon the table cloth…
When grandma’s gravy boat hit that tablecloth during the Holidays, the true fun unfolded. My mind would explode like confetti, full of exciting questions and analytical break-downs such as:
- If I pass the turkey tray over the gravy boat with my left hand, will it cast a dark enough shadow to hide my right hand while it grabs the gravy before anyone else?
- If I don’t get to that gravy boat first, what are the chances there will be any gravy skin left for me?
- If the gravy skin is gone, how long must the gravy sit untouched before the magical skin reappears?
- How much longer are we going to say grace?
- Why is there only one gravy boat for 20 people?
- Will granddaddy sling extra servings of gravy in his eyebrows again and claim he’s saving it for later?
- Look at how the candlelight shimmers off the tiny bubbles of gravy oil, like city lights on a brown velvet hill…
I wish I could say that these thoughts only existed during my childhood, but they actually followed me well into my late teens – and some still linger today (especially the gravy skin question). However, this is rather normal brainwork for a gravy enthusiast! It’s not like I’m conjuring up schematics to a gravy bomb on my napkin. I’m just pondering the daily concerns of a woman’s life in a gravy world. Just in case you will be wondering, I have many more of these ponderings to share with you in the near future. But for now…
Alas! The mental scrapbooks are going back into the closet, and it’s time unleash a special Holiday Gravy Friday Recipe for all you good boys and girls (and naughty ones too)! Now that I think of it, this recipe is very naughty…
These past two Thanksgivings I’ve received the utmost honor to join some wonderful friends out in the lovely North Central Valley of California. In a place known as “Zinfandel Capital of the World”, robust excitement is guaranteed to go down. Participating in this local family’s tradition is incredibly special to me, since all my family members reside in the Southern US. With airlines demanding $800 a seat, I often become the California orphan during the holidays; but thanks to these friends, Little Orphan Ivy is no more! I wish everyone could’ve been there with me yesterday, so I’m gonna share my favorite memories.
Last year’s selection of deliciously prepared food, rare games like bocci ball and cornhole, endless views of grape vines spilling into the horizon, abundant wine flowing like water, and abdominal-piercing humor at the talent show had me seriously glowing for weeks. This year was just as fun: one-hand croquet (the other hand was for your wine glass), a game of pool in the barn, an improv jam session with lyric books provided, and healthy homemade food followed by heart-melting desserts. These unique Thanksgiving events bring everyone together, as it’s not only members from one family that attend, it’s also open to those who have wandered outside of their own traditional family gatherings. It’s sort of a rebel Thanksgiving, if you will – exploding with a vibrant cornucopia of charm, laughter, and togetherness. It’s a place where you find yourself effortlessly dropping your inhibitions and formalities at the door; a place to find freedom, happiness, and let your inner child come out and say, “Hey mom! I’m no longer gonna sit at the kid’s table, but I’m still gonna act-a-fool!”
This year was extra special, given that the SF Giants just won the World Series and the thrill of it all still remains as fresh as the San Francisco fog. A Giants-themed Thanksgiving was inevitable. Appropriately coined of course as “Fear the Bird“, yesterday’s party was a Giants fan free-for-all, some new and some well-seasoned, but all came full with the spirit of the Giants.
As we gathered around with our delicious butternut squash soups, fresh turkey, apple cider gravy, mounds of cranberry relish, and sherry mushroom risotto, everyone shared detailed and colorful stories of their personal fulfillment and nearly-blinding joy that took place the exact moment the Giants claimed the World Series title. Although my own Giants moment was a delayed joyous reaction, beginning as a realization that I lived in the ghetto when my neighbors starting shooting real guns outside; however, the drama subsided quick and the joy did set in. I didn’t share my moment at the table yesterday for fear of throwing off the topic, so I’m borrowing the textual real estate here since you’re still reading. Thanks for letting me have my moment. 😀
The black-and-orange-filled home was adorned with Giants gear, special effects, personalized name cards, Giants figurines jiggling their heads while I got seconds on gravy, orange pom-poms, lapel pins, black beards, and yes, even an orange thong (which has a special cameo in the video below)! Basically, not a single inch was left un-Giantized.
Aside from the mind-blowing array of specialty cheeses from Point Reyes and France scattered across the piano (which offered mouth-watering medleys to blend on crisps and crackers), we all still managed to out-cheese the cheese itself! This very special, once-in-a-lifetime SF Giants Thanksgiving was not about to end without some way to forever document the hilariousness and raw spirit of it all! What better way to do that than to grab the talented cameraman in the family and assign him the job?!
When the creative chaos unrolled, I found myself somehow wearing a panda mask that the Obama cardboard cut-out was sporting earlier in the evening. I was then shuffled into the kitchen nook to stand on my X and await my cue. We were given lyric sheets to Ashkon’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, a couple minutes to brainstorm our parts to match the lyrics, and one practice. It all went down in a matter of minutes and was over before we even realized what happened. There was one continuous shot that captured it all. It was honestly the closest I’ve felt to reliving my childhood and being a sports fan all at the same time!
Fear the Bird! An SF Giants Thanksgiving
[Filmed by Clayton W. / Original music by: Ashkon – Don’t Stop Believing (Official Giants 2010 Anthem)]
A special thanks to the Worfolk family and everyone attending for the great memories and wild times.
Yesterday seemed to last much longer than an average Thursday. With an evening that creeped in as slow as a little piglet after feeding time, it’s no question as to why Gravy Friday was caught cheating last night – Friday was just too far away! Now I’m not justifying this unfaithful act here just because Thursday was extra lengthy, but I will stand forth and admit that I had everything to do with it. “What is the definition of a gravy cheating”, you might wonder? Well it sure isn’t as simple as eating gravy on days other than Friday – because obviously that’s encouraged!
I am a firm believer of gravy worship any day of the week. I sometimes bask in gravy 3 times a day. So what’s the big deal? How does one cheat on Gravy Friday and how does Gravy Friday cheat in general? It’s simple. Take a walk by Tommy’s Joynt in San Francisco on any other night besides Friday and see if you don’t dive into the door like they are about to serve the last meal on earth. The thought alone of Tommy’s gravy had me drooling down my own chest before I even arrived there last night. And that was just the beginning…
As I passed by Tommy’s Joynt, my dear I knew it was all over. An early Gravy Friday it would be! I walked in and ordered a BBQ beef plate, a side of stuffing, and I watched the carver create the masterpiece of future liquid infidelity right before me. First he poured on the thick, creamy brown stuffing gravy, then drenched the entire plate au jus style. Finally, he smothered it all in BBQ gravy while I nearly banged my forehead on the safety glass shelf pictured below.
So how is this cheating? I was just eating gravy like I do any other day of the week, right? Incorrect!
Waltzing into Tommy’s Joynt on a Thursday is cheating on Gravy Friday because:
- It calls for 100% premeditated intense gravy celebrating that is far too good for just any day of the week.
- You are subjecting yourself to THREE different types of gravy, all swirled together (aka “gravy threesome”), which should be reserved for Gravy Friday only (but mistakes happen).
- Devouring this luscious threesome gravy pool glistening before you on a non-Friday also subjects you to admit to a “Gravy Friday cheating” for the following reason:
- A gravy cheating is nobodies business unless there are three or more gravies involved. – Ivy Something
So now that you understand why I have admitted to this disloyalty so willingly, (it’s kind of embarrassing to break your own rules in public), I’d like to say I have not a single hard feeling about it, other than the fact that I did not invite you. Oh and also, it was awesome.
If you could have been there, I’m sure you would understand. I was speechless. Just look at this plate and tell me to my face that you wouldn’t cheat. (If you’re too embarrassed, you may also tell me here.) I apologize to all the vegans and vegetarians out there who are on the verge of throwing up their bowels right now, but please consider cutting me some slack. I was a label-reading hardcore vegan for 5 years and a vegetarian for 2 more – and it was a tray of bacon that did me in. But I did put in my time and now I am on a gravy train journey to the land of meat sauce and other wild things. Warning: extremely seductive beef and gravy photo below.
I would like to send a special thanks to Manz0r for treating me to this unforgettable gravy cheating.
Why not stop by yourself? Let me know what you think!
1101 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94109-6815
Open Daily 10am-1:30am