"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Chicken and Dumplings

    Absolutely perfect weather. For pneumonia… Cool to cold, bit of damp, and just enough sunshine / warmth to make think you can tough it out with a light jacket. (GUESS WHAT? You can’t, you will get that most miserable of all things, a spring cold.)

    Time to fight back a bit, time for soup, chicken soup, and If I am going to take the time to do that, I’ll go Full Valhalla, and make dumplings as well.

    I always have chicken stock in the fridge, (unless one of the lair denizens have drank it straight. Yes, they do that. 3/4 cup of Stock, bit of pepper, a mushroom sliced, and into the microwave for 60 sec. A fast meal)

    From Wikipedia:

    Chicken and dumplings is a dish which consists of a chicken cooked in water, with the resulting chicken broth being used to cook the dumplings by boiling. A dumpling in this context is a biscuit dough, which is a mixture of flour, shortening, and liquid (water, milk, buttermilk, or chicken stock). The dumplings are either rolled out flat, dropped or formed into a ball.

    It is a popular comfort food dish, commonly found in the Southern and Midwestern United States, that is also attributed to being a French Canadian meal that originated during the Great Depression. Chicken and dumplings as a dish is prepared with a combination of boiled chicken meat, broth produced by boiling the chicken, multiple dumplings, and salt and pepper for seasoning. In some areas, this meal is known as chicken and sliders.

  • Cajun Fricasse

    fricasse

    It is a funny half hot / half cold day, where in the morning you want a hefty jacket, in the afternoon you want a t-shirt, and by early evening you are back in the bomber jacket…

    My tastes are that way as well, I wanted a heavy breakfast, a light lunch and a meal with staying power for dinner.

    I remember a wonderful dish I had at a local french restaurant, it was a chicken, broken down and browned then simmered in a broth along with Spicy Sausage, “Cajun Trinity”, sinful spices, meaty mushrooms and fresh vegetables to make a really wonder full sauce. Think similar to a beef stew with really big chunks of meat and veggies… The gravy was so thick and wonderful I was soping it up with the french bread on the table. (Yes, I know it sounds soo uncivilized, sooo unsheik, but it seems everyone else at the table was doing the same thing….)

    Do note: Do not try this with boneless chicken breast, it just does not work well…

    Wikipedia says:

    Fricassee or Fricassée is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat (like veal, rabbit, or Cornish game hen) can be substituted. It is cut into pieces and then stewed in gravy, which is then thickened with butter and cream or milk). It often includes other ingredients and vegetables.

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  • Cream of Butternut Squash

    It is lab night and I need a good and fast meal, looking about the kitchen I find a butternut squash, a marvelous source of food value, and it has such wonderful rich and round tastes. The real issue is getting to all that flavor, it being so tightly locked into the husk. One way to do this is a long slow simmer into a wonderful thick, rich soup.

    Bisque is a thick, creamy, highly-seasoned soup of French origin, classically made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from vegetables instead of seafood are sometimes called bisques. Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.

    Julia Child even remarked, “Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don’t want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain.” Bisque are often thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed upon the final stages.

    Bisque is also sometimes used to refer to cream-based soups that do not contain seafood, in which the ingredients are pureed or processed in a food processor or a food mill. Common varieties include tomato, mushroom, and squash bisque

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  • Spicy Dahl

    dahl

    Ok, it’s windy, chilly, nasty, threatening snow. Almost what you see in all the mountain movies about the Himalayas. Soo, hmm, Himalayas, gurka’s, Dal and rice…. But a soup, with Asian chicken stock, one can forgo the chicken stock and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian twist. But as always, we’ll look at some dried red peppers, or maybe serve with a hot pepper / vinegar finishing sauce on the side…

    Background

    Dahl bhat is a traditional South / Central Asian and staple dish which is essentially rice (bhat) and lentil soup (dal). This is a very common food in South Asian countries specially Nepal. In general eaten twice a day with another (usually spicy, maybe hot /sour) dish called tarkari which can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian..

    The recipes vary by locality, ethnic group, family, as well as the season. Dal generally contains lentils (different types are used according to taste), tomatoes, onion, chili and ginger along with herbs and spices such as coriander, garam-masala and turmeric.

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  • Pho for Snow

    OK, so “Winter Storm A-Hole” is bearing down on us and the entire “Winter Storm” thing is getting over bearing. Wind, Rain, Snow, Sleet, in general an absolutely miserable event. This is going to call for some serious hearty food. Beef, in a rich broth, with veggies, and noodles, and more beef and more veggies, and spices, and peppers, and even more peppers. Ja, that’s the ticket, a STEAMING HOT super beef broth, full of gelatin, and lots of Asian Trinity, (Ginger, Garlic and Chili’s), all kinds of rich meatiness from the beef and from mushrooms, maybe some bok choy.

    Take some rice noodles cooked on the side, and put them in a bowl, add our hot broth and veggies, and add garnishes, say red pepper strips, bean sprouts, scallions, chili’s, and some basil. We have a beef and noodle soup similar to Pho.

    Phở is served in a bowl with white rice noodles in beef broth, with thin cuts of beef. In this case I’ll use chuck steak, and I’ll pressure cook the beef, with veggies to extract the gelatin, and generate my stock, which I will cook with additional veggies for my soup. I’ll save the cooked meat and add back into the soup at the table.

    These dishes are typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables and various other accompaniments such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, Sriracha, and flavor enhancements such as a squeeze of lime or lemon. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil. fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts, and cilantro.

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  • Slow Cooker Black Beans

    bbsoup

    I do not do cold or wet very well and for the last several days of misery, I’ve been craving some hot, hearty, black bean soup. I love thick black bean soup, just about a stew, something that will stick to you and shield you from the icy talons of wind.

    Soups like this are mostly improvisations. The basic ingredients are the black beans, the smoked ham, the aromatics, and the spices. From there one can add or remove ingredients to meet your tastes or culinary requirements. (The ham / pork component can be replaced with dark meat chicken and liquid smoke, or the meat component can be dropped entirely and replaced with a heavy mirepoix or other aromatics.

    I know I’ve done a few bean posts over the last month, but they are easy to cook, fairly healthy, and very cost effective, one slow cooker of beans will feed the lair for several days, as opposed to a slow cooker of stew that will be consumed in less than a day.

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