There aren’t many things in life that I can really just zen out an enjoy. Reading is one of them, gaming is yet another of them. Cooking however is the main one. I could cook all day – and I have! Two years ago I tackled Thanksgiving Dinner, no turkey – but I did make a giant beast of a ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, honeyed carrots, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and that’s all my now hungry brain can remember. It was an entire days worth of work, but it was one of the best cooking memories I have!
This past week it was ridiculously hot in New York, especially at my house where we live in the dark ages of no Air Conditioning and no Central Air. I have a small tower fan and two windows, and a very energy usage conscious mother. Turning on a TV in my room makes it feel like a Sauna, so I can tell you it was not a fun place to be at 90 degrees. This did give me the opportunity to spend lots of time downstairs however to cook! Currently my oven is out of commission due to a Natural Gas Leak as well as a since fixed rodent issue with the insulation between the range and the oven. As in, they took it all away. Nice little pests we have. it would make sense I’ve never wanted to make cookies as much as I have since pretty much the second they shut the gas to my oven off.
But let’s talk of happier things! And Peppers! This recipe is good Hot or Cold in my opinion, uses a lot of salt though so prepare your taste buds and your body for a little water retention. Or you can experiment with different spices to add flavor boosts as you will. I found this recipe over at the Pioneer Woman and had to adjust it to fit what I had in my pantry and fridge. The substitutes I used worked perfectly though! It is important to know I doubled this recipe so I’d have lunch this week at work!
Whether it’s snuggling in a comforter, wearing your favorite sweater and worn in pair of jeans, or just eating a bowl of warm homemade food everybody at some point craves comfort. Lately here in Upstate New York, the weather has been cold, damp and miserable. Don’t get me wrong, for a couple hours every other day there’s been some sun but since the beginning of May it’s been grey and rainy just about every day.
Now, I’m pretty lucky – I have a giant beast of a dog who loves nothing more than curling up next to me on my bed and creating a nice heating pad. However some days, even my Sydney is not enough to keep the chill out of my bones. This past week I’ve experimented with a couple recipes that are perfect for those days when you just want to feel warm and cozy.
First Up: Chicken and Dumplings from the Pioneer Woman who adapted this amazing recipe from Gourmet Magazine. I altered two things with this recipe. I didn’t use a whole chopped chicken – though if doubling the recipe I might just to save money – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon – it gives it a new depth of flavor. I adore tarragon and chicken. My dumplings didn’t come out so much like big round dumplings but little bits here and there – which I actually prefer. I also added a whole cup of Heavy Cream so my outcome was much thicker. This dish served over mashed potatoes or even just by itself is delicious and I cannot recommend it enough!
Second Dish: Chicken Pot Pie Biscuits These are amazing little pockets of deliciousness. I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out but I can’t wait to make these again! I eyeballed the amount of pearl onions and again added tarragon. The biscuits I used were the flakey kind, I might try buttermilk biscuits next time and see if there’s any big difference. I ended up with way more filling after only using one package of 8 biscuits so I might suggest trying two for a total of 16 and just going a little easy on the filling.
Today I’ll be making two batches of Wookiee Cookies for an upcoming trip to Boston, MA next week. I’m trying one batch using Crisco Baking sticks – butter flavor and one batch using unsalted butter. Hopefully I don’t eat too many of those after they come out of the oven! I found the recipe in a Star Wars Cookbook but it can be found online here. They are almost like a combination of a snickerdoodle and a chocolate chip cookie with two different types of chips.
Last week we had almost 5 straight days of constant rain, so it’s amazing out now that we finally get some sun. All the trees and fields are this deep shade of green and the air smells fresh and crisp. While it’s a little annoying to have to deal with the April Showers as late as May it’s nice to finally wash away the stale air of winter.