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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Moving On

We started our second year in Portland this September. It is also likely to be our final year in the city. While we have enjoyed some wonderful things that the city provides- craft gluten free beers, $3 second run movies in richly decorated old theaters, writing jobs, and Powell's Books- this year has been more of a transition than we originally anticipated.

This is the city that I was born in and lived my first 6 years. And until last year, I thought that it was where I belonged. But it turns out, the city overwhelms me. Walking down the street, there is too much noise, too many people, too many details to take in. Just too much.

So this fall will be spent filling out college applications and settling into our quiet new apartment where we will spend our last few months in Portland.

Here are a few glimpses at the new place. It's my grandmother's home that she recently moved out of and is renting to us. It's been a fun challenge to work with all her things she left behind and create a space that feels like our own.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

gluten free chicken and dumplings

It's finally soup weather and we're going to get some more mileage out of that biscuit recipe. We're doing something a little different with it this time (very little). It's exactly the same ingredients and prep, we just cook it in a big old pot of soup instead of the oven.This is easily the best way I've found to utilize the sad biscuits. Steaming them lends a necessary moisture they seem to lack when baked. They're kind of perfect. See for yourself.

Chicken and Dumplings

The dumpling recipe is just our Gluten Free Biscuits.

The Soup

5 cups chicken stock (our homemade recipe here)
3 carrots (sliced)
3 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3 celery stalks (sliced)
1 onion (chopped)
1 tsp dried sage (rubbed)
1 tsp dried thyme (massaged)
1 tsp black pepper (optional)
2 cups roasted chicken (roughly shredded)
2 tbs oil (or butter)

Put a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Pour in the two tablespoons oil. Drop in all your vegetables and sprinkle in your herbs. Saute for a few minutes to release the flavors. Now pour in your stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about thirty minutes or until your carrots and potatoes are tender.

bird's the word

While your soup is simmering away, bust out your pastry cutter. This is the perfect time to make your dumpling dough.

Now for a tricky part: when you're done with your dough and you estimate your veggies are tender enough, drop in your shredded chicken, and reduce the heat to the lowest possible simmer. I've heard this low simmer referred to as "a smile across the top" (I don't know if you find that helpful [for me it conjures eerie images of anthropomorphic soup grinning up out of the open pot], but I hear it often enough it must mean something to someone). Now drop rough hewn hunks of dumpling dough* carefully down (lest you turn that smile to a frown [oh, dear!]) and arrange them in a kind of lumpy layer across the top of the soup (they should float). Pop a lid on and don't lift it again for about fifteen minutes.

The dumplings are ready when they look a little dry across the top. I suggest taking one out and cutting it in half to check. When your certain they're cooked through, spoon out a dumpling or two, some veggies, ladle a little soup over the whole mess, and GO! wait for a few minutes. This stuff will be piping hot. Add salt to taste and dig in.

*I would be tempted to call these somewhere between tennis and softball sized. I don't know. I'm terrible at approximating the volume of amorphous blobs. How does one cultivate such skill?