Tuesday, October 25, 2011

pollo y dumplings

 (a.k.a. "the one dish i can make without a recipe in front of me")

i love chickens. even raised them once upon a time. but the name the english bestowed upon them is just wrong. say it....CHiCKen. it's all hard edges and staccato.
then you look at what the spanish language writers did. they clearly understood the grace and beauty of this humble bird...pollo. round and soft and smooth. as is this dish.

it's a combination of my favorite parts of two or three recipes...and if you happen to make a batch yourself...it just might be the best thing to hit your stomach in a long time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

our skinny home

the friend of one of our kiddos was asked by his mother to describe the house we had recently moved into...."it's kind of underweight" was what he said. i get it. our house seems bare in spots (like on the walls). plus, this child was likely comparing it to our previous home, the one full of the stuff that comes with having ten people occupy the same space for years and years. 
so when we moved to this new/old place 3 years ago, we purged.  i guess i like to think that the less crowded a space is with "things"....

....the more room there is for this:

and this:

even the seemingly malnourished front room...

is occasionally well fed:

may your home too eat well and often.

simple changes

we moved into a turn-of-the-century house whose only kitchen counter space was the drain board on either side of the metal 1950's sink unit. and that's just the beginning of what wasn't working for us in this new space. i could write paragraphs about the inspiration, planning and resources involved in our shoestring kitchen re-do project - but how 'bout i show you a few pictures instead?



now the whole family can be in here cooking, laughing, tasting and breathing together.

Friday, October 21, 2011

sweet potato maple bacon fried goodness...

maple-glazed sweet potato doughnuts with bacon crumbs

you really must try these - well, not these these as they have already been consumed - but you should definitely whip up a batch of your own very soon.   it takes only 30 minutes to mix the dough (the night before works best) and then you can fry them up in the morning while the coffee brews, more or less. 

these are so good, i've made them twice in the past week. and that's a lot considering i usually take my breakfast in bed and wait for the house to be emptied of all inhabitants before venturing out from beneath the covers. i am not a morning person. but the thought of having these warm, puffy, bacon-encrusted morsels in as little as 45 minutes has changed all that. 

here's a picture of the dough (looks like any other dough, i know) and if you look carefully, you'll see my fancy doughnut cutter (both pieces) in the background....

...a wine glass and the cap to an over-sized bottle of olive oil.

glaze (check), bacon crumbles (check).....time to fire up the fryer

after you fry, drain, dip, drip, roll and cool...they will look like this:

fry: 360 degree fat (shortening, vegetable oil or lard)
drain: on brown paper for 3-4 minutes
dip: in maple glaze (recipe below)
drip: on a wire rack so the glaze spreads out a bit
roll: the tops in bacon crumbs (i use an old coffee grinder to chop some a bit finer)