Sunday, June 8, 2008

Should Vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Well friends it's been a pretty good weekend and I have the bags under my eyes to show for it. Friday night was spent at my dear friend's home discovering the flavours, textures and 101 things that can be done to make raw vegetables beautiful and delicious to eat. Not to mention the health benefits. Truly eye opening. This is not an easy adjustment to make and a lot of work to prepare but this meal was spectacular and super yummy. It opened my eyes and made me think about that whole meat thing. You will notice all the wine on the table. Hey, grapes are raw food. Lots of great food and so much good conversation with some of my favourite gals. The night ended with drunken WiiFit and Mario Cart. Wii=FUN.

Saturday night was spent with my BFF from when I was 13 years old. We don't get the chance to see each other as much as we used to but every time we get together it's like no time has passed. We wandered a couple of blocks down the street to see Superman's band and sat and drank a few beers with some good folks in the neighbourhood. The boys rocked the house and a good time was had by all. It turned into a late night after all with an early morning for some reason. That called for a wake up call of lots of strong coffee eggs, hash browns and farmer sausage. Yum.

I spent the rest of the day puttering around and being on call for work. Eventually it started to feel like dinner and I was feeling pretty homey. Did I mention that I live above a gourmet grocery store? I know. Did I mention I live right next door to a liquor store? Did I mention I live half a block from my work. Yes, I have a charmed life but I planned it that way dammit!

When I start feeling all homey it's almost always Chicken Stew and Dumplings. I am famous for my Chicken Stew and Dumplings, for real. I picked up some free range boneless, skinless chicken thighs carrots, onion, celery (the leafy parts have the most flavour). I cheated a bit and bought a can of sweet corn and a can of sliced mushrooms. These ingredients vary a lot when I make this dish. Today I was feeling pretty lazy so this is the easy-peasy version.

I cut the chicken into just bigger than bit size pieces, dredged them in seasoned flour and got them browning in the frying pan. Then I add the onions, carrot, celery and some garlic and let it all start working together. Within a couple of minutes our home smells amazing.

Once things get good and friendly in the pan I de-glaze with chicken stock or water or in this case the water from the can of sweet corn, add the shrooms and those fabulous baby red potatoes that have been showing up in the store the last couple of weeks. I added a little more water and put the lid on until it boiled over and made a mess on the stove top. You can skip that step if you want. Don't forget to season after every new ingredient is added and taste it from time to time to make sure it is just right. I usually use just sea salt and fresh ground pepper, you can add any herbs you like but to be honest I don't think it needs anything fancy. I have used white wine, rosemary, sage etc. but I really don't think it's necessary. The most important part is the onion, carrot celery combo, that's where the aroma and flavour come in the most.

Usually I mix my dumplings up and throw them on top but I used too shallow of a pan, no room for dumplings so I made biscuits.
I'm going to give you my dumpling recipe anyway. Okay, not MINE but the one I use.
DON"T LIFT THE LID FOR 15 MINUTES! I can't stress this enough , people.

I decided on biscuits and as soon as I got into making them I realized I only had 1 cup of flour and I needed 2. I searched high and low and decided to try substituting pancake mix for flour. I looked pretty floury. The dough came together pretty well and baked up well and I have to say...fluffiest biscuits ever! Not the prettiest but very yummy and fluffy for days. What a relief.

I thickened the gravy up a bit with a little milk and flour and here is the result.

Here's Superman diggin' in. I think he may have shed a tear. Leftovers for tomorrow. Yay!

That's it folks, good friends, good food, good night.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday night and don't forget to tell me...

What's your favourite comfort food?


Blonde Goddess said...

My favorite comfort food is probably a loaf of fresh hot bread out of the oven....beef, cooked to perfection..with rich gravy and mashed potatoes...maybe some garden fresh peas, slightly crunchy and sweet and a slice of apple pie, topped with cheddar cheese.

That was one meal I can remember eating a lot at my great-grandmother's house and it's always comforting...

Chrissandra said...

well I have tried your homemade chicken and dumplings Ms. Barbara Jane and they are shpectacular!

great photos of your cookin too! YUM!!!!!

Chuckles said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Barbie's Chicken and dumplings! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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