Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

I love our local farmers’ milk and buy a gallon every week. Non-homogenized, lightly pasteurized, sweet and creamy. I don’t actually drink milk much myself, but I appreciate the difference when I do– it is just delicious. I feel very good about supporting these local, real grass farmers and very, very good about pouring that milk over my kiddos’ homemade granola. Particularly on the days that they refuse to eat anything else.

I have tried to support those same farmers by buying their cream, butter and half and half too, but I find the high fat products get a ‘cowy’ flavor after a mere 4 days in the fridge that I simply cannot appreciate. Which is sad, because I burn through a lot of half and half in the course of my coffee addiction. The butter gets especially strong flavored. I can’t tell if it’s “culturing” our just plain going rancid. It starts out sweet and delicious but doesn’t even last out the week, which is really not acceptable behavior for butter.

Has anyone else had this problem? Am I just being too much of a weak American, afraid of a little flavor? I don’t know, but after a few pounds of not good tasting butter I gave up and went back to Organic Valley’s Pastured butter. This is not the worst compromise I make in my daily life, OV rates by far the best of the national brands with the independent organic watchdog Cornucopia Institute. Nevertheless the butter issue kept bugging me.

I suspected that part of the problem with the local butter was that they just weren’t getting enough of the buttermilk out. Residual liquid makes butter go bad much faster, and their butter did seem unusually wet– little drops spring out when you cut a piece off. The solution didn’t surface in my brain until I went on my cancer-inspired health kick a few months ago. I reread Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods and was reminded why I have such high standards for oils and fats, and why I need to get back on the wagon.

I am no expert, and I don’t want to get to involved in the incredibly complex and contradictory world of nutrition. I feel that Pitchford’s very strong and lengthy opinion on oils is well worth a read and I highly recommend his book if you are interested. But the part that’s most simple to understand, what convinced me, is smoking oil. You know when you turn your pan on too high and it takes you longer to cut the onions than you thought it would and the oil smokes? Ahem. Well, maybe that doesn’t happen to you. Anyway, it’s not hard to imagine that smoking oil is bad. It smells bad and it tastes bad. Every oil has a different smoke point (here’s a chart on Wikipedia) and getting anywhere close to that temperature is highly destructive to the structure of the fat chains and turns otherwise healthy fats into evil free radicals which attack the very basis of health, including a direct correlation with cancer. Pitchford does hinge an awful lot on oil quality and appropriate use and makes an unusually big deal about it, but the idea that over-heated oils are unhealthy is perfectly standard modern nutrition.

At any rate, Pitchford’s recommended oils for moderately high heat use (like sauteing onions and other general skillet frying) are raw unrefined sesame oil (not the more commonly available toasted kind), coconut oil and ghee.

Finally the cogs met in my brain, and I made my first ever batch of ghee– the Indian name for clarified butter. Ghee is pure milk fat, with all the residual liquid boiled off and the milk solids strained out. Because it is pure fat it lasts much, much longer than plain butter and is probably the only way to keep butter at all without refrigeration in equatorial regions like India. Plain butter burns at a pretty low temperature, but ghee can get quite hot before it smokes. You still can’t leave the pan on high while you cut up the onion, but making pancakes is a dramatically less smoky experience.

In addition to being sanctioned by both traditional and modern nutritional knowledge, butter can be sourced locally in most places, making ghee a very sustainable way to fry.

Now, what if you are put off by the same thing that put me off for so many years– fear of waste? One pound of butter yields about 3/4 of a pound of ghee, it’s true. As you cook the butter, you skim off the foam that rises and then eventually pour the finished ghee off of the bottom layer of sediment. But as soon as I made my first batch I realized the implicit answer to the waste question. Just don’t toss the foam and weird milk solid sediment! Stir it into a pot of mashed potatoes, soup or bread dough. No problem.

So, are you ready? Making ghee is very easy. Start by melting a pound of your farmer’s market butter over low heat.

Once it’s all melted, turn the heat up to medium-low. The butter should bubble actively, but not ferociously. The foam will start to rise right away, but you only need skim it off once every 10 minutes or so. Maybe even less, I’m still experimenting. Keep a jar next to the pot for the skimmed foam.

You can leave it pretty unattended between skims, but when it starts to look like this (below) you’ll need to stay in the room or you might overdo it like I did the first time and make “browned butter” ghee. This is not the worst way to screw up, but it doesn’t last as long, so I recommend paying close attention towards the end. **CAUTION: Occasionally when you stir the cooking butter it will spit hot fat at you. Keep the kids back from the stove while you are tending your ghee, and be careful with your stirs.

When the bubbling changes from a boiling sort of sound to a frying sort of sound, your ghee is done. If you want it to last a really long time (months) pour it through a paper towel into two half pint jars. If you only need it to last a few weeks, you can just pour it straight in so long as you are careful to keep the solids in the pot. I recommend using the more perishable foam and solids up right away for dinner rather than putting them into a jar that might get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten.

As your ghee cools it will solidify, more or less depending on room temperature, at 70-80 F my ghee stays pretty soft. I put one jar in the fridge and keep the other by the stove next to my cast iron skillet brush (a one-inch wide natural bristle paint brush from the hardware store). Then I can just brush ghee into my pan when I need it. A spoon would work better if your house is cooler.

Now it will be easy to fry local!


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There are some things that are just too handy not to keep in small portions in your freezer, no matter how Betty Crocker it makes you feel. Two such things are chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. I make my own stock and put it into pint size or bigger jars for the freezer, but there are many times when you just want a little stock, like for cooking collards or adding into a sauce. I also always buy the 28 oz cans of chopped tomatoes, but often don’t need the whole thing. So I put the rest in the freezer for soups, rice, or again, collards. I do love me some greens stewed with fried onions, tomatoes and a splash of good chicken stock.


Ice cube trays are the classic container for small frozen portions, but they’re much too small for my purposes. I used to use a collection of plastic containers– yogurt tubs and tupperware– and just half fill them. But then one day, oh fraptuous joy, I happened to buy this silicone muffin pan at a garage sale, in a box with several other silicone baking items. I don’t like actually baking in silicone, I bought the pack to use as soap molds. But this muffin pan has turned out to be one of my better spent $2 solely for the purpose of freezing small portions.

Once frozen, the little half cup portions just pop right out of that wiggly silicone and I put them into a big quart sized zip lock. I keep both the stock and tomatoes in the same bag, it’s easy enough to see which is which.

You can throw the frozen hunk right into whatever you are cooking, it melts pretty quick.

Also good candidates for small freezer portions are pesto and pureed beets for pink pancakes.

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Apron Stringz is two years old! Over that time, the content has grown like a nursing baby with knee dimples. While much of what I write is just day-to-day flotsam, I do sometimes crank out a useful and, I feel, enduring post. And I hate that blogs (at least, free ones like mine) don’t support any decent kind of index for these posts. Blogs are ephemeral, meant to be enjoyed hot off the presses, I guess. But it bugs me to no end that our hard work, one week after publishing is more or less lost to the world.

So here is a directory of posts on the wide subject of food. These are all posts with a more practical edge, those that you might reference. There’s an equal number of my more journal-style posts which I have left out, particularly on the subject of gardening. They make an interesting read if you like that sort of thing (and if you read this blog, you probably do) but seemed less in need of reference-able indexing. If you’re going for the journal aspect, try the archives. A few brave souls have apparently read start to finish.

How to Make Home Cooking Work:

Kitchen Efficiency

Real Life Kitchens: Part One

Part Two: The Sink

Part Three: Work Zones

Part Four: Microzones

Cooking Efficiency

Not Menu Planners — solace for the rest of us

Dinner in Real Life

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen — summer cooking


Cast Iron Cookery

Rescuing and Seasoning Cast Iron

Cast Iron for the Rest of Us — taking care of your pans

What and How to Cook in Cast Iron


Caution: Martyr in the Kitchen

Sourcing Good Groceries:

Responsible Consumerism: How to Make it Work

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Part One

Part Two

Fair Trade is Fair

A Trip to the Grocery Store — peeping Tom my cart!

Whole Wheat Pasta Rises from the Grave

Punk Housewife Tip: Oil and Wine

Home Food Production:


Gardening for the Table

Harvest First, Cook Second

Planning an Efficient Garden — it’s all about follow-through

Self Irrigating Planters Made Easy


Just Wing It — build a half-assed coop and get by, if you need to

DIY Chicken Waterers

Egg Shells to Egg Shells

Preserving Local Bounties:

Bringing Home the Basil — how to make, store and use pesto

Monastery Marmalade — scavenged fruit and citrus pectin

Marmalade Redooo — note to self: it is entirely possible to make too much marmalade

Truly No-Nonsense Tomato Sauce

Ghee: Frying Local



Bread Evangelizing — the perfect cherry-popper bread recipe

Bread Every Day, Part One: Ingredients

Part Two: Techniques

Sprouted Wheat Bread: an exploration

Mastering Sprouted Wheat Bread!

Perfect Whole Grain Biscuits


Homemade Grape-Nuts — they’re just caramelized bread crumbs!

Grrr-nola: Make Your Own Breakfast Cereal and Stick it to Kellog Corp (from the old blog)

34 Times Round and a Recipe for German Pancakes

Bouquet of Choice: A Recipe for Swiss Chard Muffins

Anything But the Kitchen Sink — leftover granola muffins

Slow Cooker Leftover Granola Bread

If You Can’t Beet ‘Em — pink pancakes win major mama points

Leftover Easter Eggs to Savory Breakfast Pockets!

Food to Go (a well packed snack bag = less emergency food purchases)

Chewy Granola Bars

Surprising Kid Snacks — no recipe, just a plug for seaweed

A Problem of Sandwiches


Stop Buying Salad Dressing NOW

It’s What’s Fer Dinner — favorite quick meals

Baking Bonanza — home cooking in the real world, plus a recipe for easy lasagne

Good News For Half Beer Lovers — meat and/or mushroom carbonade

Green Tomato and Turkey Enchiladas

Swiss Chard Ravioli

Dinner Deconstructed: Ground Meat Patties, Brown Rice and Glazed Carrots — thorough instructions for beginner cooks

What to Feed Kids When You Really Need Them to Eat — at our house it’s macaroni and cheese’n’fish’n’peas

Sunday Dinner Any Day of the Week — pot roast your local grass fed carbon-neutral meat to melt-in-your-mouth perfection

Value Menu: Whole Chicken — get the most out of your $4/lb farmer’s market bird

Chicken an’ Bisket — my favorite roast chicken and what to do with the leftovers

Of Stock and Bullion (from the old blog)

Making Your Own “Canned” Soups (also the old blog)

Leftover Queen — savory vegetable pie

Empanadas: A Confession

Dinner Every Night: Pasta with Lentils

Not So Goaty Enchiladas

Dessert (which is to say mostly chocolate)

Chocolate: Cures What Ails Ya — the easiest way to stretch $9+/lb fair trade chocolate chips

The Best F***ing Brownies Ever

HOT Hot Chocolate — turn your thermostat down 5 degrees and whip up a batch!

Holiday Baking Party — German Christmas bread and super easy truffles

Food Recycling: Lickety Split Leftover Apple Pie — with the easiest ever pie crust

Flaky Whole Wheat Pie Crust — not the easiest, but so good


Do let me know if you find this index useful, it will help motivate me to keep it updated!

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As I’ve said before, I love eggplant. That’s why I planted six plants in my garden. What the fuck was I thinking?

I love eggplant, but my family? Not so much. Is this a female thing? My latest bloglove, The Girls Guide to Guns and Butter has the selfsame issue. She posted a wonderful looking recipe for easy moussaka recently, which I haven’t yet tried. I’m still busy trying to hide my eggplant, and subsequently force my family to eat it.

Because even though two of the plants didn’t make it, the remaining four are an endless waterfall of purple fruit. I go to my garden once a week lately (to my surprise, I’ve found that the thick leaf mulch on my garden, combined with the well established plants means I don’t need to water. At all. I haven’t watered in months. I barely have to weed because of my initial kick ass soil preparation and again, the mulch.) All I do is pop over to harvest. Every week a heaving bag full of eggplant and red marconi peppers. Neither of which anyone but me likes to eat.

Fortunately, although cohesive pieces of eggplant are entirely disagreeable to those who don’t like it, I’m finding it is easy to hide. It has little flavor of it’s own, and melts right into other foods if you cook it long enough. Last night I made a tomato (and red pepper) sauce with some roast chicken thrown in, and a heap of leftover grilled eggplant, which completely disappeared into the sauce. Even I couldn’t tell it was there. I served the sauce over gnocchi (which sounds fancy, but is actually the world’s easiest homemade pasta and it uses up leftover potatoes!)

Several weeks ago I blended up some fresh eggplant and added it into a batch of meatballs. I used the food processor to finely chop it and thoroughly squeezed the resulting mince over a fine mesh strainer to drain off the copious amount of juice (! Who knew those dry spongey seeming things had so much water?)

it turned brown almost immediately, but for adding it to meatballs, who cares?

Then I added it to my usual meatball recipe. I used 2 full cups of it to a mere pound and a half of meat (meaning the “meat”balls were 1/3 eggplant), along with the usual egg and breadcrumbs.

No one noticed.

For myself, I made Paula Wolffert’s fabulous pate. The recipe calls it a ‘dip,’ but I remember from the book that she scooped it into a (flexible) container and chilled it, after which you can un-mold it and slice it, just like real pate. What a treat!

Eggplant’s also good for quicky mama lunches like this one.

Don’t forget that eggplant lasagna! That was a winner I I will surely make again. Also on my list (most definitely for myself) is caponata.

What are your favorite things to do with eggplant? Do you serve it front and center, or do you have to hide it too?

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Most modern people think cooking dinner starts with deciding what they feel like eating. Some of us more pragmatic cooks think first about what’s in the fridge, then about what we could do with it. But there is yet another level, which I often find myself on, where the question of dinner is secondary altogether to the pressing concern of using up the food I’ve procured. Have you ever felt that way? I almost find it difficult to leave for the weekend because, like a pet that needs daily care, my food store is a Jenga-like construction of meals on their way. I can’t go camping this weekend, there’s a big pile of red peppers in there waiting to be roasted! I have meat thawed for a roast. The leftover garlic yogurt sauce needs falafel. What would happen without me?

Having a garden really brings the use-it-up struggle to a fine fervor. I don’t buy very many vegetables, and since my crops are heavily seasonal and furthermore a mix of pass and fail, I often only have two or three options at a time. Right now I have peppers and eggplant. Every meal is a question of how I can use up some more peppers and eggplant (made especially difficult since no one else in my family really likes either…)

spaghetti sauce made entirely from pureed red peppers tastes surprisingly tomatoey.

Back home in Alaska, we only had one growing season– summer– and it only accommodated what here in New Orleans are “winter crops.” Kale, carrots, cabbage, kale, peas, chard, leeks, more kale. Every meal, how to use some kale. But also, more importantly even, the wild foods. Salmon, deer, black bear. Nettles, blueberries, cranberries, salmonberries. How to use them up. I spent a lot of years learning the answers, and really my whole way of cooking was based on those ingredients. Not that I didn’t have a whole pantry full of “regular” stuff like pasta, beans and oats. But the point was always to use as much wild and garden food as possible. Those were my focal points.

When I first discovered my love of Mediterranean Arabic food (one night at a Moroccan restaurant in Portland changed my life) it seemed so exotic. Such a far stray from my local food ways. I used to cook these enormous 8-course Moroccan meals for my birthday, spending $150-200 on ingredients. Whole cardamom, pomegranate molasses, orange blossom water. Pistachio oil to drizzle on a pate of roasted eggplant and ground walnuts. Mmmm, I swoon just naming them. All resolutely un-Alaskan ingredients, not pantry cooking.

I’m not sure when it happened but at some point I realized that I was just adventuring in someone else’s use-it-up food culture. Pomegranate molasses is the outcome of a shit ton of pomegranates. Roasted eggplant pate is what you make when you’ve got more eggplant than you know what to do with. And then I had the real epiphany. I consistently substituted wild game for beef or chicken in these recipes, thinking I was perverting them. But then I realized that the original recipes were often for wild game, and then converted to commercially available meat for American households. Even recipes for “lamb” were probably originally mutton (full grown sheep) and much closer to wild meat than beef.

The realization snowballed when I inter-library loaned Paula Wolfert’s Mediterranean Grains and Greens this spring. I adore her work, and this is an almost archival book that I hope to someday own (it’s got a cultish following, so it’s pretty pricey). As implied by the title, it’s half about greens. All kinds of greens, and all kinds of traditional recipes for them. She gives modern world substitutions (chard, endive, beet greens, etc) but the original recipes are based on mostly wild greens. Which are apparently the traditional greens of the Mediterranean. Nettles figure big. Also purslane, dandelion, and lots of green herbs. It struck me as funny realizing that when my friends and I made ‘nettle-kopita’ back in Alaska, we were quite a lot more on target than we could have imagined.

The subject of traditional cultures, what foods they harvested and how they cooked them is endlessly fascinating to me. Back at 17, when I was considering whether to go to college, ethnobotany and culinary anthropology were top on my list of ‘fields.’ In the end I decided to save my money, and I’m glad I did. I spent a lot of time traveling the world instead of studying textbooks, divining my own ethnobotanical cooking methods instead of taking tests. For myself anyway, a much better education.

Lately I’ve been running the subject through my fingers again as I consider this new culinary climate. In some ways it’s like starting over, but really, the principles of cooking with what you’ve got are universal. Stay loose, think creatively, abolish taboos.

Yesterday, with a big bag of eggplant weighing on my mind, I approached the subject of dinner. I looked online to see if I could find Paula Wolfert’s recipe for the roasted eggplant and walnut pate that so blew my mind years ago. Amazingly I did find it, pirated out of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever seen. I scribbled out the recipe, and then sighed, wondering how I could possibly call eggplant pate ‘dinner’ to my particular audience. The ricotta in the recipe must have been the key to my brilliance. Suddenly I realized its similarity to pureed eggplant, abandoned the pate and jumped straight to… lasagna!

Could I mash up the eggplant and use it in place of ricotta? Could I possibly get away with such heresy? The quick answer is yes.

It worked beautifully. I cut the eggplants into small chunks and sautéed slowly in plenty of olive oil. I mean plenty, you know how eggplant can suck it up. More fat the better, I always say. Especially when you’re trying to disguise a vegetable as a cheese! When the eggplant was about half done, I threw some onion in there, and a little green pepper. Once completely soft, I let it cool a bit, then pureed roughly. I was going to just mash it with a fork, but the peels were still too prominent, so out came the stick blender I bought just for soap making and now wouldn’t want to live without. To the puree I added a little heavy cream, not much, a few tablespoons maybe, an egg, plenty of salt (cheese is salty) and 1/4 cup of leftover yogurt-garlic-mint sauce. Surprised yet?

Lastly I mixed in some thawed collards (squeezed and chopped fine), and layered it with mozzarella, lasagna noodles and tomato sauce. Divine! And need I say, it went over much better at the dinner table than the aforementioned pate would have.

As I said in that last garden post, my harvests are mostly over till November, at the earliest. But, whether you base your meals on a constant garden supply, what’s in season at the farmer’s market, or just whatever is cheapest at the grocery store, the principles of cooking with what you’ve got are the same. Don’t start dinner by wondering what you feel like eating, start by looking around to see what needs using.

You are just the conduit through which the foods of your world are transformed into the meals for your family. First start lookin’ and then start cookin!

Need more ideas for over-exuberant garden goods? Try How to Hide, Err, Eat Eggplant all of which I think would work equally well with that dreaded August zucchini glut.

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Here’s a double dip tip:

Buying Olive Oil in Bulk

If you use a lot of olive oil you might want to buy it in the big square cans, it’s considerably cheaper than the small bottles. But you’ll still want to keep a small bottle near your stove, which presents the problem of pouring from that big can, which inevitably goes glugluglug and slops oil all over everything.

To solve this annoying problem, just punch a small hole on the opposite side of the top to the pouring spout. This lets the air in and makes for a nice smooth pour. This might work with those big plastic jugs from Costco too, once the oil level goes down a bit.

Storing Leftover Wine for Cooking

We used to have a lot of dinner parties, resulting frequently in leftover odds and ends of wine bottles. I’m not a big drinker– if I have wine one night, I don’t feel like more the next. I love to cook with wine, but again, not very often. I left a lot of wine sitting around souring, waiting to get used, before it finally occurred to me that I could just freeze the leftover wine! Freezing wine works beautifully. Because of the alcohol content it stays loose, like a slushy. All you have to do is scoop out however much you want and dump it straight into the pan!

Now, with our dinner party days seemingly over, I buy a bottle of wine every now and then expressly to stick in the freezer (pour it into a wide mouth jar first!) I keep a jar of red and a jar of white. Since I only use a 1/2 cup or so at a time, one bottle of wine lasts me for ages.

When cooking with wine, you need to boil it hard for a few minutes if you want to cook off all the alcohol. My routine– sauté onions, brown meat or whatever, then throw the wine in and let it roil on high to ‘deglaze’ all the caramelized goodness off the bottom of the pan. Yummie.

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I don’t remember how it got started, but we have one of those private family jokes about a crusty old timer going on and on about “chicken an’ biskit, chicken an’ biskit.” From some old Monty Python, or maybe Kids in the Hall? Don’t know. Anyway, it’s a solid in our household now.

I buy pastured chicken from the farmer’s market, and in case any sad soul out there is eating supermarket chicken and thinking, as I used to, ‘Am I just imagining things or did chicken used to taste like something? Like… chicken?’ Local family farms are still producing that old-fashioned chicken flavor, in chickens no less. No test tubes involved.

Of course, ethically raised meat is expensive. It should be. $4 a pound for a whole chicken (half of which is bones) might seem expensive if you’re used to supermarket prices, but when I think of all the work that goes into just plucking and dressing a chicken I can hardly believe they sell them for that cheap. It’s all a matter of perspective.

We eat meat at most meals. Locally raised goat and chicken or grass-fed beef from Whole Foods. At least once a week, I cook a chicken or roast and allow us a bit of a gorge, then eek the leftovers out in the next meal (or meals). A few nights ago we had two guests for dinner. I cooked a 4 pound chicken. We ate up most of it, but after a thorough picking over I was able to glean enough bits and pieces to make chicken an’ biskit the next night.

I usually make dumplings actually, which are just a biscuit recipe plus an egg. Is there any more satisfying food than dumplings? But yesterday I had leftover actual biscuits, and thought, what the hell? Time for some real chicken an’ biskit.

I’m not at all sure how the crusty old-timer in whatever original piece of comedy ate theirs, but I made a quick chicken stew with carrots, onions and peas and then topped each bowl with a split biscuit, so that the bottom sides got all soggy with chicken juices. So yum, so fast.

Here’s the journal of a single bird in my kitchen:

Unbelievably Easy Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Fill a baking dish with cut potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Quarter your chicken, if you don’t know how check out my photo heavy tutorial from last year. Quartering a chicken might not exactly be “easy” but it’s almost the only work involved in the recipe. Place the whole breast in the middle of the baking dish, on top of the taters, with a thigh/leg on each side. Put the back bone in the fridge for stock later. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces, and add any spices or herbs you like.

Bake at 375 for an hour to an hour and a half. To test for doneness poke around in the thick parts with a fork, the juices should be clear, not pink. Quartering makes the breast and thigh cook more evenly than whole roasting, and all the pieces get a beautifully burnished skin. Also, all the fat runs down into the potatoes and oh my dear god! Those are some spuds worth eating! Every bit as good as mashed potatoes and gravy, and a fraction of the work.

After the hurricane of dinner has abated, carefully pick every last bit of meat off of the bones, including the ones left on your kids’ plates. They’ll get cooked again, fear not the germs, my friend. Put the bones into a pot with the reserved back bone and make a good strong stock. Leave one pint of broth in the fridge with the meat, and freeze the rest.

Chicken an’ Biskit, Two Ways

Pour the reserved stock into a pot and add a good bunch of chopped carrots and onions, celery if you have it. Aim to fill your pot no more than half full, veggies should be barely covered by stock. Bring to a simmer. While it’s cooking, make your favorite recipe of biscuit dough (what? You don’t have a favorite? Remedy, coming soon!), substituting an egg for 1/4 cup of the milk. When the carrots are just tender, add the chicken pieces and frozen peas, salt and pepper to taste and bring back to a boil. No need to thicken this stew, the dumplings will do that as they cook in the broth. Scoop spoonfuls of dough over the top of the boiling stew. Turn the burner down to low, lay a tea towel on top of the pot rim (careful of the flame under there!!!!!), set the lid atop that, then fold the corners of the towel up over the lid to keep them out of harm’s way. Cook 5-10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.

If you have leftover biscuits, which are never very good plain, this is an awesome way to use them up. Make the stew as above, but thicken just a bit at the end with a roux. Lay the split biscuits on top right after adding the frozen peas, then just turn the heat off and let it sit for ten minutes. The heat will equalize and the biscuits are good as fresh again.

Make sure to yowl, “Chicken an’ biskit! Chicken an’ bisket! Chicken an’ bisket!” in a crusty voice as you rally everyone to the table.

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