Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's for dinner?

So, a few days ago, Sara and I realized with a start that I had never gotten around to teaching her how to cook or mend or iron or really just about anything except how to tell a funny story and laugh at the craziness of the world. Those skills have gotten her through the last 22 years pretty well, but she's going to have to feed herself once she gets to her posting in Macedonia.

So, we decided that two decades of procrastination in learning the womanly arts was enough and this week she has been cooking and baking. We are trying to find easy meals that she likes and can make from ingredients rather than a box and we'll put them together in a recipe book before she leaves.

Last night she made chicken and dumplings. Chicken and dumplings are a true favorite for everyone in our family and she discovered that it was surprisingly easy. She boiled some chicken pieces with onion, garlic, salt and pepper and then when it was tender she mixed up the dumplings.

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. soft butter cut into the flour mixture
1 cup milk
The dumplings were dropped into the boiling chicken stock and rose back up to the surface moist and fluffy.

Tonight, she made a pizza from scratch--not a box or a vacuum sealed pouch to be found.

Pizza Crust
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Knead the dough and let rise for an hour in a well-oiled covered bowl, punch the dough down, roll out and top to your taste. She used a very small amount of tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. She cooked it for 15 minutes at 425 and we all enjoyed it.

Tomorrow night, it will be homemade macaroni and cheese.

While keeping an eye on her pizza crust creation, I was busy canning tomatoes from the garden. These will be nice to open for a soup or a stew over the winter.

Tomorrow, along with the macaroni and cheese we will tackle hemming pants and sewing on buttons. Wish us luck!


Anonymous said...

You're making me hungry, especially the chicken and dumplings.

Ruth said...

It is amazing how quickly you can learn with the right motivation. I started my recipe blog for my daughters who left home. It is the blog of mine they read ;-)

SJ said...

Looks like Sara is making some amazing food. The tomatoes look like they turned out good, how did you can them exactly?

Beth said...

Carey, you don't get much more down-home than chicken and dumplings--I think she'll make those when she's homesick.

Ruth, I'm going to give her the link to your recipe blog--she will probably use it!

SJ, thanks for the idea. I put them in jars and processed in the hot water bath for 35 minutes. They all sealed up just fine. You would have to do it longer for quarts but pints are just right for us with our impending empty nest.

rach :) said...

Those womanly arts are valuable for all humans... especially when we're about to have to take care of them ourselves.

Beth said...

Rach, you are correct--somehow my sons learned to cook, my daughters didn't. I think it had to do with the chronic hunger that strikes boys in adolescence. If they were hungry, they cooked themselves something. So, somehow I sent sons into the world who can cook a meal and daughters who haven't a clue. Oops.

beckie said...

You and Sara must be having a wonderful time. You teaching-she learning. And in the process storing up enough memories to last for 2 years. I wish you both well.

The Texican said...

You are such a good mother, where did you every learn that? Pappy