Southern Chicken and Dumplings for #tbtfood

chick and dumplings1crop

I have been absent from my corner of the Hinternets for awhile. It has been only a week, but it feels much longer than that.

On Saturday, The Beloved and I attended a dear friend’s older brother’s memorial service. Rich was one of a kind. His family requested that his favorite song, The Wheel by The Grateful Dead, be played at his service. The Episcopalian priest who officiated told them that he could lose his job if he did, but he used the text of the song for his homily, referencing Voyage of the Dawn Treader to boot.

Everyone who knew Rich had a favorite Rich Story. This one is mine. One day as Rich was working in his yard, some Jehovah Witnesses approached him. Rich never shied away from conversation, so he engaged them. They stood talking on his lawn for about 45 minutes. At one point, Rich had them bend down to grab a handful of dark, moist earth, telling them that this was what it was all about. I wonder if those Jehovah’s Witnesses still talk about their encounter with Rich.

He sounds like a great guy. Tell me more, and then let’s get to the chicken and dumplings.

Double the Legacy Baked Macaroni and Cheese for #tbtfood and the Cabot Cheese Farmer’s Legacy Recipe Contest

mac3crop

I entered a recipe contest, you guys. The contest, which I heard about at the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando a couple of months ago, was sponsored by Cabot Cheese to help publicize their Farmer’s Legacy Cheddar Cheeses. The Beloved and I had had one of the Farmer’s Legacy cheeses, White Oak Cheddar, long before I even heard about this contest. I even used the White Oak Cheddar in the Envy Apple Salad I posted a few months ago, although I didn’t name it then since it was a sponsored post for the fine New Zealand fruit folks. And now you know.

The contest challenged entrants to use at least 2 ounces of one of Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar Cheeses in an update to a family recipe, and I chose to update my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese.

I’m a huge macaroni & cheese fan. Show me yours!

Vegan Curried Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream for Ice Cream Tuesday (One Day Late)

vegan curried peanut butter fudge ice cream

So sorry the ice cream is late this week, guys. Yesterday was the inaugural posting of the new #BreadBakers group, so I made naan. Yay! And honestly, I wasn’t inspired, ice cream-wise.

It is transition time here, both in season and in weather. I know lots of folks are jumping on the pumpkin wagon already, but it’s still hot here, and I just can’t bring myself to post pumpkiny harvest Items when it’s still summer. I do have some roasted pumpkin puree in my fridge that a thawed last week, and I need to do something with it. Pumpkin ice cream will be happening, but just not yet.

Out of no inspiration, I started to get an Idea. Here’s what happened:

Peanut butter…!
Vegan. We need another vegan ice cream.
So coconut and peanut butter.
Can I make a vegan chocolate swirl? (research, research)
Yes.
What can I put in there that will be lovely with these flavors?
Maybe curry…?
Consult The Flavor Bible
Yes.

Curry in ice cream? Have you lost your mind?! Okay, show me.

How to Make Kashmiri Naan for #BreadBakers

Kashmiri Naan

I have made a few forays into Indian cooking over the years. I make plenty of “Indian inspired” food, but sometimes, I pull out all the stops and try to be as authentic as I can. Remember that time I made Lamb Biryani and about killed myself what with all the steeping and toasting and frying and layering and entombing? Even while performing all those cooking verbs, it didn’t occur to me to make naan, perhaps one of my very favorite breads of ever.

But when Renee and Stacy decided to start Bread Bakers and asked me to join up, I thought, “This is my chance!” What better way to stretch myself than in a group that posts monthly, right?

Bring on the naan!

What Makes a Chef a Chef?

what makes a chef a chef

The Beloved and I went to see Chef a couple of weeks ago. Several scenes really struck me, in that they really spoke to me about who and what a chef is as well as reminding me of scenes in other “foodie” movies. Since then, I’ve been giving the common threads some serious thought, and now I’d like your input as well.

I would like you guys to watch these video clips. I’ve embedded four, and I’ve linked to the one that is not embeddable. Whether you have worked in or work in the food industry or not, ask yourself a couple of questions while you watch.

How is the way in which the food is prepared in these clips different from the way you prepare food at home? Or is it any different?
Does the attention paid to the cooking process make the final dish taste any better than it would or could otherwise?
What do you think it is that makes a chef a chef?

Okay, I’ll play along, but I want to watch the videos first!

Toblerone Gelato for Ice Cream Tuesday

toblerone gelato

Heading into the long weekend, I had no idea what sort of ice cream I’d be making for today. And then I walked down the candy aisle. The dark chocolate Toblerone bars were staring me in the face, and I could not look away.

For straight up eating, I adore the milk chocolate Toblerone, but I was afraid that the milk chocolate would be too sweet and not chocolatey enough for the gelato I had in mind. Besides, I was adding a lot of milk to the chocolate anyway.

For those of you who have never had a Toblerone bar, they contain lovely wee bits of honey nougat and pieces of almond. They are delicious. I underscored the honey by adding just a touch to the base, and a little bit of Amaretto helped to bring out the almond. This gelato is dangerously rich and delicious. It has three bars of Toblerone melted into the base and another one chopped into tiny pieces and mixed in after churning.

I’m calling this Toblerone Gelato because the base is made from whole milk. When I use dairy that’s higher in butterfat, then I call it ice cream. And now you know.

MMmmmmm….Gelato….!

Tahini Swirl Challah for Rosh Hashanah and #tbtfood

tahini swirl challah

tahini swirl challahThe last time my friend Nadine and I collaborated to make the Communion bread for her church, the passages were about sowing seeds and eating rich foods. At first we discussed making brioche, but then I realized that challah would be much more appropriate. After all, Jesus was Jewish, and even though he and his disciples ate unleavened bread at the last supper, they certainly would have enjoyed an enriched bread for other holiday celebrations. And that means challah. The seeds were easy enough to work in. Sesame challah is an actual Thing, so not only did I sprinkle the tops of the loaves liberally with sesame seeds, I also added tahini, or sesame paste, to the dough itself. Nadine’s congregation enjoyed a wonderful communion celebration and happily ate the leftovers after church. And that’s how we like it.

The tahini swirl challah I’m sharing today is based on that communion bread, hence the Throwback Thursday. I also incorporated another element from a recent post. The lovely, lightly sweet Sukkar bi Tahin or Beirut Tahini Swirls I made for Cookbooks&Calphalon a few weeks ago are swirled with a simple 1:1 mixture of tahini and sugar that bakes up smooth and creamy and delicious. After checking with a Jewish friend to see if it’s okay to add a swirl to a challah (she said yes), I married the tahini swirl element with my tahini challah, and Tahini Swirl Challah was born!

Huzzah! it’s sounds fantastic! Tell me how to make it.

Lavender Créme Fraîche Ice Cream with Lemon Blueberry Curd for Ice Cream Tuesday

lavender creme fraiche ice cream

I am an Autumn person. I am happiest when the sun is warm but the air is crisp and cool. Watching the leaves change colors is like a miracle, and I never tire of experiencing it.

But endings are sad, and summer is coming to an end. So while I look forward to the autumn and sweater weather, I can be a bit wistful about summer’s end. So I turned it into ice cream.

What? I did.

Lavender Créme Fraîche Ice Cream.

That sounds delicious. How do I make it?

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho (Greek Style) for Progressive Eats

grilled vegetable gazpacho

I am so excited that it’s #ProgressiveEats time again! Last month’s theme, chosen by the fantastic Lana of Never Enough Thyme’s Summer in the South Extravaganza was truly spectacular. This month, Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake chose the theme Summer Barbecue, and it will be every bit as delicious as last month’s! With everything from shrimp as an appetizer to two glorious desserts and everthing from salad to bread to spritzers in between this will be one barbecue you will be so glad you attended!

I promise to bring desserts to some of the Progressive Eats parties, but I wanted to use this monthly dinner to stretch myself and get out of the dessert box just a bit.

I just love #ProgressiveEats! Bring on the virtual feast (and the gazpacho)!

Toasted Almond Cookie Dumplings | Dumplings All Day Wong by Lee Anne Wong|Cookbook Giveaway

toasted almond cookie dumplings

I am not a patient person. That’s why I don’t make a lot of cookies. There’s all that scooping and baking sheet after sheet. And God forbid I have to decorate a cookie. Every cookie. One at a time. Until I want to stab myself. Many folks find repetitive activities–knit one, purl two; cutting out cookies; rolling truffle–to be calming and soothing. They say it takes them to a place where they no longer even have to think about what they’re doing, freeing their minds for deep thought or contemplation. For me, it just makes me feel stabby.

Because I have this aversion to repetitive motion–maybe it comes from having to make a billion cheese biscuits every day at the restaurant–I was a little hesitant about reviewing Dumplings All Day Wong. Because I knew I’d have to actually make dumplings. Including the dough. And rolling it all out into wee circles.

Then I remembered how much I adore the few types of Chinese dumplings I’ve had before. Steamed or fried, and usually filled with some sort of pork mixture, I really can’t get enough of the texture or the flavors. The chewiness, the juiciness. Oh! And then I remembered that because I don’t usually enjoy repetitive tasks, I have never given anyone a sweater I’ve knitted, because I’ve never knitted a sweater. We don’t enjoy decorated cookies on holidays, because I don’t make decorated cookies. And the last truffles I made were for the restaurant.

So I said yes.

I love dumplings. I really want to win this book!