Saturday, October 23, 2010

Laura's Chicken Pot Pie

You need a 9" deep dish pie plate for this.
Makes 6 servings - Filling is also very good over biscuits.

32 oz. chicken stock
3 lbs. meaty chicken parts (I used to use a pick-of-the-Chix)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced into 1" chunks
2 ribs celery, sliced in 1" chunks, reserve leafy tops
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas & carrots
1 c. fat-free half & half or whole milk
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten in a small bowl

Double Crust (Food Processor method) - from ATK - very easy to roll out.

2½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
½ c. Crisco shortening, cut into ½" pieces & chilled (easier to use sticks Crisco for this)
1½ sticks butter, cut into ¼" cubes, frozen until very firm
6+ T. ice water (start with 6, add up to 2 more if needed)

In a Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil, adding rinsed chicken parts, onion, carrot & celery chunks, along with celery tops. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for one hour.

Meanwhile, make the crust: In a food processor), combine flour, sugar & salt; process until combined. Add chilled Crisco; process 10 seconds. Add butter cubes and pulse 10 times, until it resembles coarse crumbs; transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle 6 T. ice water over mixture all at once. Stir & press dough together using a rubber spatula, and pressing it against the bowl, until the dough sticks together. If it doesn't come together, add up to 2 more tablespoons of ice water, one at a time, pressing after each.

Divide into two even pieces. Shape each piece into a 4" disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour. Before rolling dough out, let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. Lay dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll from the center outward, into a 12" circle, about 1/8" thick. Between every few rolls, give the dough a quarter turn, tossing a little flour under it as needed. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin, and gently unroll over a deep-dish pie plate. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill while doing the next step .

Cool chicken in the cooking liquid if time allows. Strain and reserve broth, discarding vegetables. Return broth to heat. Meanwhile, remove chicken from the bone, discarding skin and bones. Cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl. Cook peas and carrots in simmering broth, according to pkg directions. When cooked, remove from broth and add them to the chicken meat. Preheat oven to 375°. Bring broth to a boil; reduce to 3 cups liquid. Add half and half. Make a roux by kneading together 6 T. butter & 6 T. flour in a small bowl, using your fingers, and working quickly. Drop roux into simmering broth, stirring slowly until thickened. Add chicken, peas & carrots, season to taste, and pour into the chilled crust (or a 2-qt casserole, if serving over biscuits). Top with rolled out 12" diameter top crust. Trim both crusts together so that they extend 1/2" past edge of pie plate. Press the edges together and tuck under, toward the pie plate. Crimp edges. Cut vent holes with a paring knife. Brush with beaten egg, and bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.

Housewarming Artwork

I was recently asked to recreate a picture of a new house - not quite finished - in paper in the form of a card. The result is not in card form, but rather a frame-able piece of custom artwork in 3D (which is hard to see in this 2D picture). 
The design work took about 8 hours, and construction was another 15 or so - not an inexpensive little housewarming gift, but hopefully a keepsake for many years to come. And, yes, I did sign it! You betcha!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Babyface Favor Box

In my shameless, burning desire for more grandbabies, I have designed yet another baby-related shower accessory: a baby-faced favor box. 

The box is a 1½ inch cube - just the right size for a good handful of pastel butter mints or pink or blue M&M's. It is sized for cutting on a Baby Bug, but could be enlarged for a larger cutter/larger gift - maybe even to wrap the mom-to-be's gift in. I used a pale peach paper for the face, which is glued to the top flaps of the box. I also made a face stencil so that you could marker-in the areas under the facial cutouts. I used rosy chalk to give the baby's cheeks, chin & ears a blush. The face & curl can be cut from whatever color matches the new mommy & daddy's complexions/hair color.

The svgs for the box and it's components, along with the face stencil and a picture of the finished box, and a sheet of tips is included in the price of $5.00 US. Upon notification from Paypal of funds received, I will email you the appropriate files, including the scut2 files for cutting on a Cricut. Please use the "Donate" button to order, and leave a note telling me which file it is that you want. Thanks for your interest! I appreciate your business so much! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aunt Essie's Plum Cobbler

We went to dinner with some old friends the other night, and I invited them back to the house for some cards and conversation afterward, so I wanted to make a dessert that would please them. I wanted something that would make them feel special, but would still be homey. Once again I turned to my trusty recipe for Aunt Essie's Plum Cobbler. For years this wonderful dessert has completed a meal with friends and family, with everyone feeling satisfied at the end. 

*Note: I don't recall where I found this originally, and the only changes I've made to it were according to the type of plums available, the method of preparation (I use my food processor, but you can mix it up by hand if you like),  and the addition of a little more cinnamon than the original called for. It's goes together in a snap, and tastes like Grammie's been baking (actually, she has!) I hope you give this a try - it's great any time of year, but is a wonderful finish to a fall or winter meal.

Aunt Essie's Plum Cobbler    
For a 9-10" quiche/tart baking dish 

(I doubled the recipe for my Pampered Chef stoneware baking dish, and since I  couldn't get small black plums, which are sweeter than the red ones, I used 5 gigantic red ones, quartered, then each slice cut in half width-wise. I sprinkled 2-4 T. of granulated sugar over the top of the plums before adding the topping, since they are more sour than their black counterparts.                                                          

1/4 cup light brown sugar
5-6 small black plums
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 t. Kosher salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream to serve

Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly distribute the brown sugar over the bottom of the baking dish.Quarter (see *note above) & pit the plums, and place them cut sides up over the brown sugar. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt & cinnamon. Add the egg and pulse 5-10 times to make a shaggy dough. Pile the dough over the plums and smooth out evenly. Melt the butter in the microwave (usually 1 minute on high), and pour over the flour mixture. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (you'll thank me later), and bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Let cool 10 minutes before serving with good vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God is Good!

I don't know about you, but I have been glued to the TV since I got up this morning, watching the miracle take place of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners, trapped over 2,000 feet below the surface of the Earth. Think of that! With my dislike of enclosed spaces, it gives me the willies. And without fail, with every one that is brought to the surface, 19 so far, I am overcome with joy, the tears well-up, and I am once again reminded of how great our God is, how He listens to our prayers and answers them, how He's given us the abilities necessary to invent the machinery used, the knowledge of how to employ them, and the safety He's granted to the whole operation so far. Praise Him, all ye peoples!


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