First of all: how cute are our napkin holders? I was slightly lukewarm about not getting pewter napkin rings (the Martha Stewart in me, I suppose), but fell in love with these animal ones the moment I opened the box.  They’re the size of my fist, a nice weight, and make any tablescape (yes, I said tablescape) look instantly quirky and playful.

Thanksgiving is coming up and Jimmy and I have decided to save the money and stick around Michigan for it, instead of flying back to the East Coast to be with family. However, what was initially a practical decision has turned into an exciting one – it’ll be our first holiday spent together, as a family unit, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. We may even host a post-Thanksgiving dinner of our own (T-Day is already going to be hosted by a friend), so that we can break out our wedding china, and have friends over around our table for a harvest feast. While I hadn’t expected to make family unit decisions so early in our relationship, particularly since being one of the youngest siblings in my family means I usually just go with my older sister’s decisions, I am excited to be doing something so grown up.

So for today, I’m posting a twist to the chicken noodle (or chicken and dumpling) classic I posted a week earlier: chicken dumpling soup, French style, adapted from Rachel Khoo’s recipe.

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To make the chicken dumplings:

– 200 grams of boneless chicken (I used thighs, but breasts are fine, too)
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– five slices of white bread, with the crusts removed
– 1/2 cup of milk, plus two tbsp of whipping cream
-one egg and one egg yolk

To make the soup
– eight cups of home made chicken stock
– three diced carrots
– three diced spring onions
– one cup of chopped mushrooms
– two black cardomoms
– one star anise

 

Put all the soup ingredients to a  pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, stick all the chicken dumpling ingredients in a blender and whirr until it turns into a paste. Using two teaspoons, rocket a teaspoon of the paste between the two spoons until it turns into a golfball shape (the video I linked above shows this well), then drop it into the soup. The dumplings are ready in three minutes, when they’ve risen to the surface. Serve hot.

 

 

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I’m posting this quickly from my dinner last night, though I recognize I could have done a better job with plating and making it look like something you’d want to try yourself. This was incredible, easy, and healthy, so I’ll definitely be repeating this.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp hoysin sauce

one diced potato
one diced bell pepper
one chopped cauliflower
one diced onions

2 lbs of chicken thighs
5 tbsp honey

1. To make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.Mix half of the dressing with all the vegetables, then put dressed vegetables in a baking pan and heat in the oven for 50 minutes.

2. Marinate the chicken in the rest of the dressing, mixed with honey for one hour, then put in a baking tray COVERED IN FOIL. Add it to the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Et voila.

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The more videos of Rachel Khoo’s My Little Paris Kitchen I watch, the more I wish she had more than just a couple of seasons worth of episodes. Jimmy and I are a big fan of eggs, but I was getting tired of the same old fried egg, baked beans, and toast charade so I was happy to find this delightful twist to our breakfast. What results is a muffin/ toast cradling ham (or in my case, turkey) deli, egg and a light cheese sauce.

Full recipe found here.

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Vegetarian shepherds pie

Posted: October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

From cuisine alone, I sometimes think I should have been born Irish. I freaking love potatoes, all potatoes, any way cooked. Jimmy, on the other hand, who is half Irish by blood, stares down potatoes as though he’s disgraced by them. We couldn’t have had a more flavorful vegetable as our staple? I look at potatoes and I think, that was the Irish staple because the British starved the Irish.

Well, whatever your opinion on potatoes, I love them mashed most, so shepherd’s pie is an automatic comfort food to me. This version is vegetarian since I can’t stomach beef (yet – my New Year’s resolution is to introduce beef back into my diet before the year’s over), and I think it tastes just as amazing as the real thing.

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Boil three large potatoes in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, then mash with three tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of milk and 1 cup of parmesan or cheddar cheese. The cheese is optional, but I’d only opt out if you’re lactose intolerant or don’t believe in flavor.

Then, saute one diced onion, three diced carrots, three minced garlic cloves and two diced celery stalks in a dutch oven on medium heat for ten minutes. Add 250 grams of lentils, one quart (four cups) of chicken stock, 1/2 cup of red wine, and two tbsp of tomato paste, and cook on a simmer for 30 minutes. When the lentils are soft, pour into a 10 by 10 pan, then top with the mashed potatoes.

Put the pan in an oven heated at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then serve hot!

I’m a little bit obsessed by British cooking shows, which is strange because I don’t necessarily like British cooking. There’s something so precious about the aesthetic of British cooking shows: like, they’re welcoming you into their kitchen, so that you can sit down to a cup of tea in their fine china. Even “rushed” cooking by Nigella feels more like a warm hug. I prefer the actual food of American cooking shows, but sometimes I feel like I’m being hurried through the steps, as though the chefs are worried that if they don’t talk fast enough they’ll lose my attention, which feels insecure, tiresome. I was thus inspired to attempt this Southern classic after watching the British (or perhaps French?) version on Rachel Khoo’s youtube channel, “My little Paris kitchen.” She finished the meal, and I went searching for the American version of the recipe and voila, found chicken and dumplings. Jimmy found out I was cooking and threw in a few star anise, black cardamom and cinnamon sticks, then asked that we add egg noodles even with the dumplings, and we ended up with this gorgeous recipe.

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Broth:

– one whole chicken (or 5 pounds of boned chicken)
– two chopped onions
– four chopped carrots
– five chopped celery
– four black cardamom
– five garlic cloves
– one piece of ginger
– one cinnamon stick
– two star anise

Dumpling
– two cups of flour
– 1/4 stick of butter, cut into tiny pieces
– 3/4 cup of milk
– 1 tbsp of baking powder
– 1 tsp of salt

Make the broth: On high heat, swirl oil and then put the chopped vegetables. Wait for the onions to sweat for five minutes, then add the whole chicken, and fill the pot with water until the chicken is submerged. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 50 minutes.

Make the dumplings: Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings.

Remove the chicken, and shred the chicken meat, then return it to the pot. Bring the broth back up to a boil. Add egg noodles and the dumplings, for ten minutes, then serve hot!

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Image  —  Posted: October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

 

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Two sweet potatoes
one can of black beans
one cup of sliced mushrooms
one cup of carrots
two chopped yellow onions
one tsp salt
one tsp oregano
one tsp cayenne pepper
one cup chopped cilantro
six flour tortillas

Boil the sweet potatoes in a sauce pan of hot water for 25 minutes. The skin should then easily peel off, so that you can mash it or (for the lazy) whiz it through a large food processor.
While the sweet potatoes are boiling, saute the onions, salt and oregano in a pan for 10 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together, minus the flour tortilla.

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the burritos on a greased cookie sheet, cover with foil, and put it in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.