recipes


Since I’ve been a bit glum around here lately, I thought I’d post something other than a little raincloud over my head:

PostSecret: My friends Chris & Sabrina have a book on their coffee table called PostSecret, and I love looking at it when we’re at their house. It has some thought-provoking things (a Baptist minister’s wife who doesn’t believe in God), some really sad things, and also some that are really funny. Like the person who switched parking tickets with the car next to them, or the babysitter who poked holes in condoms to assure herself future work. There is a website, too. Which led me to…

Passive-Aggressive Notes. Just great. On the right-hand side are links to Most Popular and Greatest Hits; there are some real treasures there.

Me Talk Pretty One Day: I found this in a used (English) bookstore when we were in France and remembered one of my friends had listed it as one of his favorites on Facebook. Having been pleased with previous book recommendations by this friend, I purchased the book and am so, so glad I did. Unbeknownst to me, the second half of the book is about Sedaris’s experiences living in France. The first half of the book was funny but once I made it to the parts about France…I lost it. Like falling-out-of-my-chair-laughing-so-hard-I-couldn’t-breathe lost it. I really want to read it again but it’s in our storage unit…somewhere.

Dominion: I had never heard of this game until my brother and sister gave it to Jake for his birthday. We pretty much instantly fell in love with it; we have been playing it quite frequently with Jeremy and Sarah (our gracious hosts during Our Time of Need). It’s really fun! (Seth – when y’all are back in the States you should pick one up to take to game night!)

Brown Mountain Cake – my favorite cake. My birthday may have been over 2 months ago but my birthday cake didn’t put in an appearance until very recently. I THINK this is the recipe my mom uses but I’m not sure.It is SO GOOD.

The other thing brightening my days is a little boy with whom I have an awful lot of fun. He has a brilliant smile and is learning to do so many cool things. Sometimes I look at him and my heart does that thing like the Grinch.

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For several months now I have been pining for chicken pot pie – the last 3 years in the fall I have had a freezer full of the little individual ones, and I would go home for my hour lunch break, eat a pot pie, and watch a movie or something. Very cozy during the chilly autumn and winter months. The problem is that chicken pot pie is quite American so there are no frozen ones to be had in France, and the even bigger problem is that making chicken pot pie is extremely labor intensive, and I am extremely labor adverse. But Friday my need for soul-nourishing overcame my laziness and I embarked on a culinary adventure. My husband praised the result highly and insisted I post recipes here for all to share. So, here they are.

I used this recipe at allrecipes.com for the crust and doubled it to have enough for the bottom and the top. I will go ahead and type it here – already doubled – so if you are interested and have a lot of time on your hands you can just print out this post for a delicious dinner.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball (you would actually want 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Roll larger dough ball out to fit a 9 inch pie plate – bottom and sides. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  3. Roll smaller dough ball out to be just slightly larger than the pie plate. Set aside.

I didn’t chill it as long as the recipe says and it worked fine. I am actually not sure what chilling does for you so it might be ok without chilling but don’t blame me if it doesn’t work. Also, in case you have not made pie crust before, the ice water part 1) literally means ice water – put ice and water in a cup or bowl and use that and 2) is approximate – go by when everything sticks together rather than the actual amount.
This recipe is great if you live in an area without shortening because it is dependent on butter instead. Also, it is DELICIOUS when filled with a pot pie.

OK, now for the filling. This is my adaptation of another allrecipes.com recipe.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 cups (or so) frozen mixed vegetables (I found a bag of potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, poireaux (leeks), and green beans which was GREAT because there were no peas in it, and also potatoes are delicious)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
salt to taste
pepper to taste
herbes de provence (a tasty blend of rosemary, savory, oregano, thyme, and basil) to taste
chicken bouillon cube

  1. Preheat oven to 425 (around 220 Celsius)
  2. Put chicken and vegetables in big pot and cover with water. Throw in a chicken bouillon cube for extra flavor. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain (SAVE 2 CUPS FOR THE NEXT STEP), and set aside. (Actually you can save all of it for a tasty and nutritious broth if you want but at least don’t dump all of it down the drain.)
  3. In separate pot, melt butter (the original recipe said to saute onions here but mine were mixed in with the frozen stuff so I skipped that part but if you are into that sort of thing this is where you would do it) and gradually stir in flour. Slowly stir in milk, cream, and chicken broth and add seasonings. Cook until thick and lovely, then remove from heat.
  4. Put your chicken/veggie blend in the crust and then pour the filling part over. Cover with the top crust and seal the edges. Make a few slits in the top crust for steam to escape.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a perfect golden brown and irresistible-looking. Let it cool for a bit and then dish it up.

So, I forgot the second cup of broth so my filling wasn’t as copious as I normally like but it was pleasingly thick. Next time I would make every effort to put the full amount of broth in. Also I picked out a lot of the celery from the frozen mix because the chunks were ENORMOUS – like bigger than a normal bite – and I was not interested in celery pot pie. I would put in more pepper – I used 1/2 teaspoon, I think – and the only other thing I would do differently would be to use a bit more butter when starting the sauce part because that amount of flour seemed like too much if mixing with just the melted butter. And as we all know, you can never use too much butter for home cooking.