Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Although most of us like to have our moment, or time to shine, to be special, in general we all want to fit in with others, to be part of a family, of a group, of our community.

To be different is often considered to be a trial or hardship given the almost universal desire to blend. When I was growing up my parents encourage us to be different. Maybe that was their way of dealing with having a large family when the suburban norm of the time was 2.5 children, not 8. The reason doesn't really matter and most of the time I'm grateful to them for encouraging us to be ourselves, to find our own path and not try to be like the latest flavor or fad. The only downside is that most of the time one also feels just a beat out of step with the rest. I did that when I tried jazzercise and ended up turning the wrong way and bumping into the other dancers. Maybe that's one reason why slow weight training appeals to me. The only one I'm being different than is myself if I'm able to do better than last time.

Today is all about being different. Those who were born or married or died on a February 29th Leap day won't have a repeat for four years instead of the usual one year...imagine how that feels!

To celebrate the oddness of the day, I created an odd recipe. Part cornbread, part spoonbread, part fish loaf this one is tasty but might not get repeated for four years, either.

A piece of leftover grilled salmon caught my eye yesterday at lunchtime. We had enjoyed the salmon the previous night for dinner and the leftover piece was fairly small. For some reason I thought that it would go well with corn and spinach and first considered an omelet but then decided to go with cornbread. I usually keep a box of cornbread mix in the pantry that makes just 6 muffins, so it is basically half a batch. You mix the contents of the box with one egg and one third cup of milk or water and bake it at 400 degrees F.

The enhanced variation of cornbread came together quickly. I increased the egg to two and the milk to 3/4 cup which increased the moisture...a bit too much as it turned out, at least for a loaf pan. I baked it at a lower temperature and in a loaf pan. Once the mixture had baked for fifteen minutes I checked the interior...still a I dug in with a large spoon and turned the top toward the sides to let the interior cook more quickly. Perhaps I should have just let it bake at 400...I'll try that next time.

It made a delicious savory lunch.

The corn muffin part was moist and flavorful and a bit like a spoonbread, the salmon pieces warm and delicious. The spinach was just barely cooked and still bright green. Very enjoyable and there was enough left over at lunch to serve two of us a nice portion at dinner last night. Good thing I enjoy salmon and never tire of it. Sweetie added some barbeque sauce to his dinner portion and liked the result.

For those of you who are interested in what is going on here at the farm, Sweetie finished burying the last of the conduit with the fence wire. I went to the doctor and was told that I might have a virus as well as the hay fever and to avoid fresh grass, so no helping Sweetie.

The seedlings of zucchini, chard and tomato are getting bigger in the sunspace. The daffodils are blooming and tulips will be soon.

Sweetie made great progress yesterday in PT, being able to push his shoulder back and open up his diaphragm for better breathing. His overhead reach has improved, too. Better results at racquetball today, too.

Salmon and Spinach Cornbread
Serves 3-4

1 package corn muffin or bread mix for 6 corn muffins
Note: If you only have corn bread or muffin mix for 12 muffins, make half the mix into muffins and use half for this recipe.
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground if possible
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, chopped
1 cup flaked cooked salmon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the corn muffin mix, eggs, milk and pepper. Stir just until dry ingredients are mixed wet. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle half the spinach and half the salmon over the mixture in the pan.

Pour in another 1/3 of the muffin mixture and repeat layering with the remainder of the spinach and salmon.

Pour remaining muffin mixture over the spinach and salmon and poke down any spinach or salmon floating to the top. Smooth the top and place pan into preheated oven.

Set timer for 15 minutes. At that time check interior. If middle is still batter, scoop the top off, using a large spoon, and set it damp side up to the side of the loaf pan, exposing the batter in the middle.

Continue cooking for 5 -10 minutes more until the batter towards the center holds its shape. Place the top pieces down to re-establish the loaf shape. Let cool 3-4 minutes on a rack.

Serve warm. Best served by scooping from the pan with a large spoon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

One Good Dark Banana

It's been a long time since I've made muffins, which is sort of surprising since I used to have a muffing business when we lived in Berkeley. They are a super easy quick bread and if you only fill the muffin tin cups half way, they are not so huge that you need a wheelbarrow to carry them to the table.

Since Sweetie likes his bananas on the green side and I like mine when they are at least freckled if not brown sometimes I have to set one aside to let it ripen.

Monday I finally had one that was a good dark brown and smelled delightfully of true banana fragrance. That is the perfect kind of banana to put into a banana muffin. I used the tried and true recipe from Joy of Cooking subbing out some of the flour for whole wheat flour and with some additional vanilla added, and whipped the batch up in record time, then put them in a hot oven to bake while I made coffee and dished out the cut up melon Sweetie had mixed together and chilled the night before.

I think the aroma of muffins if one of their stellar qualities. Right before they are done they give off such a delicious fragrance and this time the banana outmatched the butter aroma. We didn't even need to butter these because they are a delight just as they come out of the oven, all golden and crusty and moist inside.

As you might imagine, this recipe can be endlessly varied. The banana can be replaced by applesauce...with some cinnamon and all spice added to the dry ingredients, or you can include diced dried apricots or prunes or some dried cranberries. If you add chopped nuts these are a luxurious item... a 1/2 cup of your favorite nut is all you need.

We have been at work on the trenching to bury the conduit with the electronic fence wire that is needed before we get a dog. After digging and burying about 22 feet by hand on Valentine's Day, this week we opted to finish out the remaining few hundred feet with a powered trencher which had tracks instead of regular wheels. It only took about 45 minutes to do the whole two lengths needed and by hand it would have taken us days. Yay for mechanization! We still have about half of the conduit to lay but it should be done by the end of the weekend. Then we need to replace the dog door and begin the process of looking for our rescue dog. I hope we find one that barks at deer. They are already starting to munch on my rose bushes! I know that deer look so lovely and graceful, but half of my rose bushes are gone and I'd like to save the few that are left.

I've also been enjoying the beginning of the daffodil season...first bloom of full sized ones was today.

The squash and tomato seedlings are sprouting in the sunspace and I have new seeds to germinate which I just bought today.

Starting to feel a little like spring with all the joy and hopefullness that comes with the season.

Banana Muffins
makes 12

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
1 large banana, very ripe if possible
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin, knocking out any loose flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside

In another large bowl whisk the eggs briefly, just until the whites combine with the yolks. Whisk in the butter and the milk.

Mash the banana in a small bowl, then add it to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon with quick strokes as briefly as possible, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. If using chopped nuts, fold them in along with the wet ingredients.

Scoop the batter quickly into the prepared muffin tin(s), filling 1/2 full. Batter should be evenly distributed among the 12 cups. If necessary take a bit of batter from the fuller ones and put into the less full cups.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown. When baked you can push down on the center of a muffin, release the pressure, and the muffin will spring back up.

Cool in the pan 2 minutes, then turn out on a clean surface. Serve at once because they are best when warm. If any are left over, you can put them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Have a Heart

This is a super late Valentine's post (due to a trip to Monterey this past weekend), but you could use this idea for St. Patrick's Day by making three braids, coiling each into a circle, placing on the baking pan in a clover shape, and using a bit of dough cut off one end to make a stem for the clover. It would also make a fine triple braid loaf (well actually two triple braid loaves) if you are not into holiday celebration craftiness.

I made the Valentine's heart bread for Grandma L since she invited us for dinner on Valentine's day and she is more of a savory person than someone who likes sweets. She loved it and we ate about half of it with dinner.

I like that it is an easy dough to work with and that it has seeds throughout. There is also the goodness of oatmeal and whole wheat flour plus the happy use of sourdough starter for the leavening. Makes great toast, too. I was making the savory biscotti dough at the same time as this dough, so I put the seeded dough into the fridge for a day and a half which deepened the sourdough flavor and meant that I could bake it up fresh for the dinner party.

Yesterday I made the same dough again, but didn't retard it as long as Grandma's loaf. I also make enough for three loaves, each about a pound and a half. Two became long braids and one a braid coiled to fit a 9" cake pan.

As you can see, this is all about fun with delicious bread as the product.

I'm sending this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting event. This is a wonderful weekly roundup of great yeast based recipes, and a few things made using bread. Do jump over there and check it out.

Sourdough Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup water
1 cup bread flour
1/3 cup water
all of the Poolish

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mixed seeds (I used King Arthur Ancient Grains which also includes some rolled grains) like sunflower, flax, poppy, sesame, pumpkin
all of the Second mixture
1/2 cup milk (I used 2% but any milk will do, even canned evaporated)
1/2 cup water

about 1/4 cup additional bread flour

Olive oil to oil rising container and plastic wrap

1 egg
1 teaspoon water

In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour. Stir in the water until it is combined and fairly smooth. Stir in the sourdough starter and combine well. Let sit at room temperature about two hours. Tiny bubbles will form in the mixture.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the rolled oats and 1/3 cup water. Microwave on high one minute. Stir. Return to microwave and cook and additional two minutes. Set aside to cool.
When oatmeal is cool, break it up with a spoon. Take the Poolish mixture and stir in the flour, water and cooled oatmeal. Let sit on the counter 2 hours.

In a large bowl or measuring cup combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt and seeds.
Place the Second mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk and water and beat on low speed with the paddle attachment to combine.

Switch to the bread hook and add the flour/seed mixture, about a 1/2 cup at a time, letting the dough form and climb the hook. As the dough becomes supple it will mostly clean the sides of the bowl. Use the additional flour, if needed, adding it about 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep the dough from slumping off the hook and into the bottom of the bowl. Knead 6 - 8 minutes or until dough is soft and supple.

Use olive oil to prepare a large bowl or container for letting the dough rise. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Divide into two or three equal portions.

Each portion can be shaped as you wish, put in a pan if desired or put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat mat. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Glaze the loaves with a wash made of one egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-35 minutes (depending on shape) until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the back. Let cool a bit before slicing into bread.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bread Baking Babes Go Sicilian

Happy 4th Anniversary to us, the bodacious, brazen,wine and whiskey drinking, bread-centric Bread Baking Babes! As the Bread Baking Babes gather around the kitchen table of Lien of Notitie Van Lien blog, our kitchen of the month, we are exploring another type of bread, appropriately spicy in celebration of 4 years of bread baking fun.

Although I have not had the pleasure of being a Babe the whole time, I can tell you that this group of sassy women are good to each other, opinionated in the best of all ways, always up for a bread baking challenge and intensely individual. About the only rule is the one to e-mail the kitchen of the month hostess if you want to be a Buddy. I just wish all groups were this much fun.

This month we are baking Biscotti Picanti (Sicilian Spicy Rusks), a specialty of Castelvetrano in Sicily. The recipe is from Savory baking from the Mediterranean - by Anissa Helou.

Crunchy and just a bit crumbly is a good description for these savory biscotti. Up to now I've only had sweet biscotti cookies, twice baked and dry and none of them has had any yeast in them. This savory version does have yeast. It also has seeds; both the sesame seeds called for in the recipe and a seed mix from King Arthur flour that I used instead of the anise seed since I'm not a fan of that flavor. I also substituted a couple of tablespoons of Meyer Lemon olive oil for some of the olive oil so these have a nicely citrus, seedy flavor, given just a hint of heat from the freshly cracked black pepper.

These are delicious with wine. I served them with the wine I used to make them, a Kenwood Pinot Grigio. Although these keep well because they are dry, I suspect you'll find that they are too delicious to last long but don't worry...they are easy to make, too. I loved the feel of the dough...very easy to knead with all of that olive oil in it.

The smaller biscotti from the ends of the logs were just a bit crisper than the others, which is something that Sweetie loves.

I'm sending these over to Susan at Wild Yeast this week. Do check it out. Yeastspotting, the weekly forum she provides, is a fantastic collection of yeast based recipes for bread, both sweet and savory. Also, do check out the post of these delicious biscotti a the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' sites. Links can be found at the right.

Last, but not least, be a Buddy by baking these, and then sending a photo and description of your baking experience via E-MAIL to Lien at notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com by February 29th to be included in the round-up. Looking forward to seeing your take on this delicious snack.

Biscotti Picanti (Sicilian Spicy Rusks)
(makes about 36 rusks)

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package = 7 grams)
60 ml warm water
1 ⅔ (± 225 g) cups AP-flour (+ extra for kneading and shaping)
1 ⅔ (240 g) cups semolina flour
¼ cups (25 g) aniseed
3 TBsp (28 g) white sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup + 2 TBsp (150 ml/130 g) extra-virgin olive oil (+ extra for greasing the bowl)
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
115 ml water

1. Dissolve the yeast in ( ¼ cup/60 ml) warm water and stir until creamy.

2. Combine flours, aniseed, sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the olive oil in the well and rub into the flour with your fingertips until well incorporated.

3. Add yeast, wine and (½ cup (115 ml)) warm water en knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough. Knead this for another 3-5 minutes or so. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for another 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered with greased plastic, for 1 hour in a warm place (or until doubled).

4. Divide the dough in 3 equal pieces and shape each piece into a loaf about 12”( 30 cm) long.
Transfer the logs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and leaving at least 2 inches/5 cm between them so they can expand. Take a dough cutter (or sharp knife) and cut the loaves into 1 inch/2,5 cm thick slices (or if you prefer them thinner in 1"/1 cm slices). Cover with greased plastic and let the rise for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.

5. Bake the sliced loaves for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 175ºF/80ºC.
Separate the slices and turn so that they lie flat on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, or until golden brown and completely hardened (if not totally hardened, return to the turned off oven to let them dry more).Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

(source: “Savory baking from the Mediterranean” - Anissa Helou)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Personal Party Cake

A few years ago the Daring Bakers made Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake, a wonderful lemon flavored confection with raspberry jam and lemon buttercream. A few days ago I was wondering what kind of cake to make for my birthday. Since I love to bake and have few occasions when I can bake cakes these days, naturally I wanted to make my own cake for the occasion.

My usual cake obsession is with chocolate cake but this year for some reason I was drawn to lemon as a flavor. I thought I'd make a repeat of that Perfect Party Cake, but instead I took another Dorie recipe called Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake and turned it into the lemon cake of my dreams. In true Dorie fashion I rubbed the lemon zest from a whole lemon into the sugar before adding it to the creamed butter. To increase the lemon factor without using lemon extract, I also added the juice of that same lemon to the sour cream before adding it to the batter. Since I took out the cocoa powder that would have made it chocolate, I replaced it with all-purpose flour and added a couple extra tablespoons to offset the additional liquid of the lemon juice.

As you can see this became another cake altogether, a personal party cake. I did split it into three layers and raspberry jam, slightly thinned and then warmed, was spread on the two cut layers. Instead of ganache or chocolate buttercream, I used whipped cream to frost the loaf and placed row upon row of fresh, enormous raspberries on the top. Sorry I forgot to take a photo of the candle (at my age one candle is plenty to represent all the other years) but I can tell you that it was a wonderful cake. The cake itself was firm with a nice tight texture, just as a pound cake type cake should be. The lemon flavor had just the right amount of assertiveness. The whipped cream was a nice textural contrast with the cake because it was creamy and soft. A bite which had some cake, some whipped cream and one of those glorious red, fully flavored raspberries was a bite of heaven! Happy Birthday to me.

A key tip for making this cake is to be sure to be patient and beat the ingredients for a long time if the recipe calls for short cuts or you'll be sorry. Everything should be at room temperature. I did end up tenting the cake with foil for the last 15 minutes, so do check it at that point. Make sure your berries are dry and that you whip the cream enough for it to hold its shape, but not so long it turns to butter. Just keep a close watch on it as it whips and you'll be fine.

Lemon and Raspberry Personal Party Cake
inspired by a cake in Dorie Greenspan's Baking, From My Home to Yours

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, colored part only
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup best-quality raspberry am
1 teaspoon water
8 oz. heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 teaspoon sugar
6 oz. fresh raspberries, washed and dried gently

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven space.
Butter a 9 1/2 x 5-inch loaf pan, dust with flour, and tap out the extra flour. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl. While the butter is creaming, rub the lemon zest into the sugar in another bowl. Add the sugar to the butter and continue beating at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition for about a minute. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the sour cream and the lemon juice. Mix for a minute to fully combine. With the mixer still on low speed, add the dry ingredients and continue mixing only until most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the batter. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and beater and to finish blending any remaining dry ingredients into the batter. Use the spatula to put the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.

Bake for about 60 minutes, checking at 45 minutes to see if the top is getting too brown. If it is, tent with foil loosely. When cake is done a knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan onto the rack. Cool to room temperature.

Heat the jam and water over low heat or in the microwave just until boiling, stirring to combine. Let cool.

Slice the cake into three layers. Place the bottom layer on a rectangular cake or board and spread half the jam mixture over the layer (1/4 cup). Top with the next layer and repeat with the rest of the jam. Top with the final layer. Chill in the 'fridge while whipping the cream.

Whip the cream at high speed in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, adding the sugar after the cream has started to thicken (I drape a tea towel over the mixer at the beginning to stop spattering, then remove it when the cream starts to thicken). When the cream is thick enough to hold its shape use an offset spatula to frost the sides and then the top of the cake, swirling if you like. Take the prepared raspberries and decorate the top of the cake. Chill finished cake for at least an hour to firm everything up.

To serve, cut with serrated knife. Makes 12 servings.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings Today

I was looking through a book that has been languishing on my cookbook shelf for a while, James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking (from 1977). My impression is that Mr. Beard was a teacher and I must admit that his introduction to the Boiling chapter was as comprehensive a discussion of what happens in cooking when heat is applied to a liquid as you can imagine. Poaching, Steaming, making of Stock, Soups, Pasta and more are illustrated as you go through the chapter with wonderful recipes for each category included.

When I reached Dumplings and Gnocchi and saw Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings I realized that I already had a great recipe from my Mom for that. Sure enough, when I checked out the recipe it was for simmered chicken topped with dumplings that become cooked and light via steam...from boiling liquid. It is old fashioned comfort food, warm and savory. Just the thing for a chilly winter night. It is also apparently part of a renewed interest in Southern cooking. Nothin' wrong with that. It photographs as sort of plain, not an uncommon problem with some poached foods, but don't let that put you off. Give it a try!

My mother's version is only a bit different from Mr. Beard's. My updated version of my Mom's recipe includes using boneless, skinless chicken pieces, not because they are superior to whole chickens but because that's what I had on hand. Again, they don't look too pretty but this dish has FAR less fat than fried chicken, another newly popular Southern food (which does, indeed, look better).

I think a fuller chicken flavor would have been possible if the chicken had at least had bones. I also removed the chicken from the broth once it was just cooked. The bowl with the chicken stayed warm in the closed microwave, with a layer of foil over the dish since I wasn't actually going to microwave it. While the chicken stayed warm I reduced the broth by about 1/3 which helped strengthen the chicken flavor without toughening the chicken itself. Perhaps if I had started with a whole chicken I would have been comfortable keeping the chicken in the boiling stock. Might have to try that next time.

When it came time to cook the dumplings, I just put them right into the simmering stock, closed the pot lid tightly and let them steam 15 minutes. Once the dumplings were cooked I removed them to the bowl with the chicken, then thickened the stock with a flour/water paste. At last all the elements could be mingled with the dumplings being placed around the edge of the pan and the chicken in the middle. I spooned some of the sauce over the chicken and served it up. Green peas added some green to the dish.

Although the chicken itself, napped with sauce, was delicious, I must admit I enjoyed the dumplings. They were as I remembered them from childhood; the underside was moist and succulent from the broth, the top was dry but tender and the center was light and tender, too. The parsley added color and just a bit of herby flavor. It's amazing that I've not made this dish in ages. It does take a little time since you simmer the chicken, then have to steam the dumplings, but it isn't difficult and it's pretty healthy and low fat since I use non-fat milk for the dumplings and skinless chicken, too.

The vegetables can be varied and you could add some white wine, too, for additional flavor, but the one thing you must have is a pot with a tight fitting lid so that the steam stays trapped for cooking the dumplings. Otherwise you might have lumps more like bricks than clouds and that would be a shame.

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 4-6

2 lbs cut up chicken (I used boneless, skinless...if using chicken with bones, plan on additional simmering time)
2 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 carrot cut in half and sliced
1 stalk celery, cut in three pieces
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
for Dumplings:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk

Clean the chicken with cold water and put into the refrigerator until ready to cook. Using a pot with a tight lid that will hold the chicken and about the same volume of other ingredients, cover the bottom with the herbs, mushrooms, carrot, celery and onion, distributing the ingredients throughout the pot.

Place the chicken pieces over the herbs and vegetables and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Barely cover the chicken with cold water. Cover tightly and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender, 1 - 2 hours. Check at 1 hour to see how close to being done the chicken is.

When chicken is tender, remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl or pan, cover with foil and keep warm. (I put the bowl into the microwave but didn't use the microwave at all while the chicken sat). Remove the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and celery pieces and discard.

Increase the heat and, with pot uncovered, boil the broth to reduce by 1/3. While broth is still at boiling point, add dumplings (recipe below), cover tightly, reduce heat to simmer, and steam dumplings for 15 minutes.Keep the lid on the whole peeking!

After dumplings are cooked, remove them to the bowl with the chicken, again using a slotted spoon. Thicken the broth with a flour/water paste (the amount will depend on the amount of broth...usually 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour mixed with slightly more water than that) and simmer until thickened.

Return the chicken and dumplings to the pot, basting the chicken with the thickened sauce. Cover and keep over low heat for 1 minute to return everything to a hot temperature. Serve at once with a green vegetable or salad, being sure to include at least one dumpling and some sauce with each serving.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Slept Through the 31st

What a way to end the month of posts...I slept through most of the 31st. Took a flu shot but seems like I got some sort of flu anyway...fever, painful joints, super sleepy, no appetite, get the idea.

So this will have to count as yesterday's post...and all it is going to be is a photo of Get Well Soup. To get the recipe go HERE.

It was a blast doing the daily posts but I think February will be more like most months last year. Do check in on the 16th for the Bread Baking Babe post.

Well, back to bed. Hope you, dear reader, are feeling tip top and healthy. I'll get there soon, too.

XO Elle