Spicing up the New Year 01/10/2011
The new herb garden takes over!
I've been quiet on here the past couple weeks- but trust me I haven't abandoned this project. Unfortunately the first meal out for the new year I got glutened- and pretty bad. Actually, worse than I have in a long time. We went out to a big chain restaurant, yes I know a big "no-no"- but we frequent this place about once a week, and usually they are great about following directions...Apparently not for lunch that day. Then it seemed once I was down- I was down and wasn't coming back up to healthy. A small sinus bug has since turned into a sinus infection and bronchitis- so while I had some time in the kitchen in the last couple weeks, I didn't feel like coming to the computer afterward.
The problem with not feeling well, besides the obvious- means that I tend to want to cook, bake or create things in the kitchen. This isn't to say I want to eat it - I just want to be able to bake the cookies, feel the warmth and enjoy being in the kitchen. It has always been a comfort for me, and old co-workers liked when I was feeling blah- because I'd bring the goodies into the office for them to enjoy.
But my energy level wasn't there this time around- someone drained it all away. So with the little bursts of energy this weekend I instead went to the grocery store(s). I think I had idea in my head that our cupboards were empty (I'm a secret food hoarder when I'm ill!) and proceeded to do what I felt would be needed to fill them. I'm happy to report, our cupboards are over full now, our fridge is stuffed, our freezer is full and although there is some space in our deep freeze I'm ok with that. While I was out shopping I thought it was time to start an herb garden again. I had one a couple year back and used it for months- until an unfortunate incident with some bleach and a fly killed what was left in the little pots. I miss the fresh herbs, being able to grab them and use them in dishes. I have dried herbs and spices by the dozens, taking over the fridge and part of a cupboard- but sometimes nothing beats fresh. So a couple of new pots, and some freshly planted ones- by next month I will have parsley again! :)
Garlic Caper Chicken
One of the few meals I did end up making last week was one that has become a regular in our house - Garlic Caper Chicken. A couple years back (maybe a few now) when I asked my boyfriend what he'd want for dinner the next day he answered "something with chicken, garlic and cheese". None of my recipes had that combination of ingredients - I did a Google search for recipes and still came up empty. I went down to the local grocery store and walked around a bit and stumbled upon capers. It had been a long time since I had had capers, years probably- but their vinegary bite and touch of salt intrigued me. I purchased the capers and some stock and went home and got creative. I didn't solve the need for cheese with the recipe- instead that came into the meal with homemade mac and cheese. This simple recipe has become a weekly staple at our house, one requested by friends and family and a great comfort meal when we're not feeling good.
Chicken and Dumplings
Being sick wasn't a complete waste in the kitchen though- I did experiment with one new recipe- Chicken and Dumplings. It's one of those "warm you up from the inside" type meals and sounded great with this cold weather and being sick. This recipe is still being tweaked- I used a base recipe for German potato dumplings- they worked but aren't exactly what I was looking for. And the recipe didn't translate the best. So it's a work in progress. I have to say the base soup I made for it was fabulous- savory and warm all at once. Look for this recipe coming soon!
I'm starting to feel back up to speed- and once all pistons are firing again I will be back in the kitchen working on new items and recipes. I believe homemade pasta is next on the agenda.
The Garlic Caper Chicken Recipe can be found in the Entree section.
Chicken and Dumplings... well it will be posted when it's finialized.