This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Thanksgiving Tips 'N' Tricks

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, the Houston food bloggers have shared some recipes that could take your big meal from basic to breathtaking. We'll also look at a few reviews of hot new eateries that you definitely need to know about.

Gravy is a Southern staple, so we trust Garden & Gun's Daily Shot blog to tell us all about the secrets to excellent gravy. Jed Portman shared a Gravy 101 post to help you get through this simple but extremely important Thanksgiving accoutrement. Just leave the powdered version in the pantry and take a deep breath – good gravy needs patience, which can be hard to come by in a frenzied holiday kitchen.

The Urban Swank girls were more than excited to sample the wares at Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts, 601 Heights, a new offering from the F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group. Lee's, housed in a former Church's Chicken, uses top-notch chickens that are brined, soaked in buttermilk and fried to perfection, say the girls. They also loved the particularly moist blueberry doughnut, which lacks the cotton mouth effect that some cake doughnuts fall victim to.

Canned cranberry sauce is a strange, can-shaped holiday classic, but Andie Mitchell wants you to branch out into the homemade version. She says her recipe for cranberry orange relish is very simple, and she's not wrong – simply chop oranges and cranberries with a food processor, stir in some sugar and put it in the fridge. She also has some ideas for how to use all that awkward, leftover cranberry sauce, such as in parfaits or to accompany a cheese board.

Dalida of Brunch & Conversation tried The Tuck Room, part of the River Oaks District's new iPic Theaters, a dine-in cinema at 4444 Westheimer. She tried several dishes created by three-time James Beard Award winner Sherry Yard, and her favorite was pulled pork sliders with gouda cheese and pickled peppers on Texas toast. The best drink of the evening, according to Dalida, was the passion fruit margarita crafted by Master Mixologist Adam Seger.

If you're bored with Thanksgiving pies, you may want to try this recipe for cheesecake-stuffed apples from Alyssa at Sugar & Cloth. The cinnamon graham cracker crumbles and caramel drizzle make this dessert easy on the eyes, and they're fairly easy to make. Scooping the insides out of apples will be a challenge, but it's one that we gladly accept for these apple-cinnamon goodies. 

Finally, if you need a good snack for an outdoorsy family gathering – and there's a big football weekend coming up – you should consider some cracklins, a.k.a. pork rinds or chicharróns. Daniel Vaughn of the Texas Monthly BBQ blog recently went to a Louisiana hog-butchering party, and he got the lowdown on the best way to make these crunchy, salty snacks. All you need is some delicious pork fat, hot oil and some delicious seasonings to toss them in. 

That's it for this week's food blog round-up! If you have any suggestions about a blog that you'd like to see here, leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know.
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Alexandra Doyle