homemade chicken and dumpling soup

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Perfect for a chilly fall day when you’re feeling under the weather. There are lots of versions of this recipe out there, mine is a combination of some I read as well as my own.

Ingredients:
1 box chicken stock
1 12-oz can chicken breast (you can cook a whole or pieced chicken, I just added this)
3-4 stalks celery
1 medium yellow or white onion
4 medium sized carrots
Rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic powder, salt & pepper – all to taste
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Extra virgin olive oil

Dumplings:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp melted butter
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
Salt, pepper, rosemary

In a small amount of olive oil and water, begin to cook the chopped vegetables until slightly tender. Then add the chicken stock, canned chicken and spices. Stir in cornstarch to thicken the soup, which should be on medium heat.

Next prepare the dumplings. In a bowl combine all ingredients until you make a sticky dough. Use a tablespoon to measure out even sized amounts of dough, then drop into the pot of soup one at a time. They should be imperfect. Turn heat down to low and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then it’s ready to serve. Enjoy!

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books for the bathtub: Sex and Bacon


I had written a blog post for my other, more salacious blog, entitled “Sex with a side of bacon.” I googled “sex and bacon” and voila. As soon as I read amazon.com’s description of the book and a few of the user reviews, I was sold. Sarah Katherine Lewis is a former sex worker (who wrote a book about that, too – Indecent: How I Make it and Fake it as a Girl for Hire), and like me, a bacon-lover. Oh, bacon. Salty, crispy, fatty, delicious! It’s good on everything and by itself, and I want it all the time. I instantly fell in love with Sarah Katherine’s unapologetic appetite for food and sex. A girl after my own heart!

This book could turn you on, gross you out, or make you hungry – or if you’re like me, all three, sometimes simultaneously. SKL is a great writer; her casual style appeals to me. The book is part recipes, part memoir. She skips around a bit and while the book is divided into four distinct parts (Desire, Flesh, Sweet, Pain) the individual chapters have a cobbled-together patchwork feel. Some may not enjoy that if they are looking for complete chronology and/or consistency, for me it kept me interested. SKL is a puzzle of a woman – she exudes warmth and heat and carnal desire from the words she wrote. She ate whale meat and bone marrow but cheese makes her vomit.

I enjoyed the brief peek into SKL’s brain. She’s a Britney Spears admirer – not for her music but for what she embodies and who she is. “Britney is female appetite. Britney wants. She wants food and sex and love and trashy, no-account boys.” I savored the Britney chapter, nodding to myself, the undeniable truth of it all. I was a Britney fan when I was 16, but since I watched with the rest of the world as she publicly crumbled more than once, I wrote her off. It’s all a matter of perspective. I enjoyed the way SKL describes a desirable woman’s body – “sleek” doesn’t mean thin, and it’s all about curves. She writes about how she actually lost weight eating what she really wanted. I’ve heard of such things and I’m all for it. Not cholesterol parties or tucking into a bucket of lard every day, but the sense of non-deprivation, and sometimes outright indulgence – the sense of always having enough. Being satisfied. Why shouldn’t we be?

Something about this book felt a little taboo to me – I kept it flipped over on my desk at work and didn’t share it with my mom like I normally do when I’m reading a new book. I mentioned it to a coworker and her response was “that’s weird.” Sex and Bacon won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure. But if you love reading sultry food porn and just plain good, sexy, honest writing? Yeah, you’ll love this book. I can think of at least a handful of my friends that would devour this.

Sidenote, I wish Sarah Katherine had more of a web presence. No website, no blog, no Facebook for me to like? I’m obsessed with this lady – I need more!

vegetarian recipe: Chickpea Curry

Indian spices I love going out for Indian food and have been craving it, but it’s so expensive here so I’m attempting some simpler dishes on my own. My love affair with curry flavor began at a young age when my mom used it as her “secret ingredient” in the housewife favorite tuna casserole. I made this chickpea curry dish tonight and it was delicious; I should have photographed but at the end of a workday I’m starving so I ate it in a hurry. I looked at other recipes for inspiration, but this is what I came up with. You can play with it and add or subtract ingredients based on what you have on hand at home. (Many chickpea curry recipes include onion and cooked potatoes, which would go nicely.)

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/2 cup water
1 bouillon cube*
pat of butter
extra virgin olive oil (organic)
1 ripe tomato, diced
curry powder
ground cumin
red pepper flakes
tiny spoonful minced garlic (I use jarred)
pinch cornstarch
2 heaping tbsp sour cream

In a small saucepan add water, olive oil, chickpeas, bouillon and butter (I suppose butter is optional, but I wanted the flavor; Indian cooking requires ghee, which is similar to butter except it doesn’t burn at a high heat). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to blend the bouillon flavor. Then I added the red pepper flakes and garlic, followed by the diced tomato. Keep stirring. I waited for the “stock” to boil down a bit (you don’t want it watery). I added cornstarch as a thickening agent and stirred thoroughly. I added a dash of cumin and a generous pinch of curry powder. By this point the tomatoes should be soft and lovely and you should have a rather thick sauce. Lastly I added the sour cream to make the sauce nice and creamy, just like what you would be served at an Indian restaurant. (The smell cooking this was divine, by the way.) Stir, stir, stir and serve hot over a bed of rice (I used Near East rice pilaf, which was tasty but too salty, next time I’ll try jasmine or plain white rice).

*Next time I plan on using chicken or vegetable stock because bouillon is much too high in salt.

bacon broccoli salad

This is something I’ve wanted to start doing for awhile now…food blogging! I’ve gotten pretty into cooking in the past year or so and just very recently began contemplating sharing my creations. There are so many fabulous food blogs out there. Poor Girl Eats Well is my biggest inspiration: Her whole deal is creating gourmet, healthy meals on a budget. So smart, right? Anyway, I’m passionate about food–especially trying out vegetarian (sometimes vegan…although I like to add cheese to everything) dishes. This dish, however, is not at all vegetarian, and contains one of my favorite indulgences: Bacon! It was for a work potluck with a “Memorial Day foods” theme. This was picnic-like, still vegetable based but with cheese and bacon so everyone should enjoy it. (After my avocado chickpea salad, there’s expectation to fulfill!) So without further ado.

Ingredients:
2 large broccoli crowns
1/8 (approx) red onion
1 medium tomato
sprinkling of freshly grated carrot (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (your choice; I used some Mexican blend I had in the fridge)
1/4 cup mayonnaise* (I prefer Kraft olive oil mayo)
1 cup light sour cream*
1 packet dry ranch dip mix
5-10 strips bacon

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. I bake my bacon; it’s far the easiest and neatest way. I line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and raise the sides to contain the grease. I bake each batch for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on it. For this dish you want the bacon to be crispy and crumbly.

Chop up the broccoli into small florets. You can chop the stems too if you want. Dice the onion and tomato. Add all the veggies, including the carrot (if you like) to a large bowl or container.

For the dressing, combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Mix together until smooth and blended. Add powdered dip mix and stir together. By this time, your bacon should be done. Using tongs, remove from baking sheet onto a plate with paper towels; blot. (Tip: Drain the bacon grease into an empty tin can. Bacon grease once cooled can clog drains, and when it’s hot it will melt your garbage bags, so be careful.) Crumble and break the bacon into small pieces over the veggie mixture. Now spoon the dressing on top, stir thoroughly to combine and coat. Cover, refrigerate, then serve!

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