Snow Bound Cooking

With the 22 inches of snow we got this weekend, there was nothing of interest socially going on that involved other people. We had quite a fun time playing in the yard - the kiddo particularly enjoyed running about in snow up to his waist. We also ended up totally lucking out on the clearing out process as our neighbor's brother came by with his 4x4 and snow blower to do the neighbor's drive and said he'd do ours for $30. That was a no brainer - so cash changed hands and we went back inside where it was warm.

Consequently, since my muscles weren't rebelling in horror after all the physical labor, I spent quite a bit of time playing around in the kitchen.

First up was chicken and dumplings. This is something I make now and again in the winter - it makes tons so you don't have to make it a lot if you freeze the left overs. It's from a Mennonite cookbook my mom gave me several years ago and it's hands down the best c&d I've had. Probably because you start with a whole chicken, water, salt, pepper, star anise (I think this is really the key), carrots, potatoes, and celery. Everything's from scratch. Yum!

Then, as I've been watching and enjoying Chef Academy on Bravo (it's mindless and thus makes good exercise TV), I decided to give choux pastry a try. I made the pastry cream (for filling) first - and honestly I think I'll make it after the pastry next time - it will probably pipe a bit easier still warm. The choux turned out so-so, but not fabulous. I think I over mixed it. In addition, looking at the recipe I used and another recipe from a source I usually find reliable, there were a few differences that probably will help do the trick. So, I will probably give it another try sometime this week and, if it turns out, we will have eclairs (or maybe cream puffs) for dessert at Christmas along with the apple strudel I've promised.

Today I tried my hand at pralines. They turned out ok - I think I overcooked the sugar, they're a bit grainy. So, I'll probably try them again sometime soon as well...because even grainy, they're quite tasty.

Beyond that, there was quiche. (This is somewhat of a staple around here though, so hardly worth mentioning as it wasn't experimentation of any variety.)

Tomorrow after I take some food down to a friend who just had twins, I think I may give gingerbread a try. Or cookies of some sort. We'll see what the pantry holds.

And now, I think I need to probably increase the amount of exercise I'm doing because when you cook, you must taste!


Eric Siegmund said...

Ummm...we hasn't got no chikndumples oursels here. An its almos Chrismus. Hint.

[I can't help it; the thought of homemade chicken-and-dumplings (which my wife refuses to eat, much less cook), causes me to revert to Cracker Barrelese. I hope you understand.]

beth said...

I understand completely. Though mine is better than theirs :)

If I thought I could make it survive the trip, I'd send some your way. As it is, I will dedicate lunch to you.

Eric Siegmund said...

Though mine is better than theirs

I have no doubt, but beggars can't be choosers. I hope you enjoyed it.