Doldrums

Dinner:  November 29, 2007

I’m trying to stay upbeat about the fact that winter is staring me square in the face, really I am, but it’s getting mighty difficult. First off is the fact that Mike and I both seem to be fighting colds, our second colds of this young season. My head is stuffy, my sense of taste is dulled, and gosh it’s hard to get excited about putting together a meal that we will likely neither smell nor taste fully. I’ve got a case of the blahs, and is it just me or did I cook nothing but a week of brown-ish dinners? Yeah. Blah.

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Dinner last night was neither colorful nor particularly inspired; in fact, it was a result of pulling a bag of this and a container of that and another container of some such out of our fridge and freezer, adding a boatload of veggies and tossing it all together. Those veggies came first, a combination of chopped leek, a few multicolored carrots and a parsnip, all cut into about 1/2 inch chunks. I sautéed them in a bit of butter, seasoned them with salt, and then covered them with a quart of our most recent batch of homemade chicken stock. We had some shredded cooked chicken in the freezer which I had thawed earlier, and I added that to the pot as well, then I lidded up the pot and let it come to a boil.

I wanted to thicken the stock a bit, but I didn’t want to go with something as rich as cream, so I decided to make a slurry of one part flour to about one and a half parts buttermilk, which I shook up in an old jam jar and then whisked into the boiling liquid. At this point I could have added some rice or pasta or beans to the pot, but I had decided I wanted dumplings, and rather than make a fresh batch, I thought I’d try using something we already had on hand: ricotta gnudi left over from the batch I made for Valentine’s Day, which had been individually frozen on a cookie sheet and stashed in a freezer bag (and which I had pulled out to thaw the night before along with the aforementioned chicken). I added the gnudi to the still-boiling broth, turning them gently with a spoon as they cooked. After a few minutes, I ladled some of the chicken and creamy broth into our bowls, then carefully nestled a couple of dumplings in the center of each.

I hate to even call this a recipe, because honestly, all I really did here was remix some odds and ends, but you know, it worked. I’d even go so far as to say it was quite good, satisfying our craving for something comforting without being super rich or heavy, and I really do believe that a good dumpling can chase the doldrums right away.

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10 thoughts on “Doldrums

  1. Hey! Those look tasty and fantastic! Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately…busy week and still recovering from Thanksgiving 🙂 I’m back though!

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hey Hillary! Yeah, this time of year things get so busy – it’s hard to keep up with the internet and such. 🙂 The new design of Chew on That looks great, by the way – nice work!

  3. I’m all about soup right now–and your gnudi look delicious! I recently had kale dumplings with sage and butter at a restaurant in New York that looked just like the gnudi. I’ll have to try your version.

    Since I’ve finally broken out of my lurker status, let me just say, too, that I really enjoy reading your blog. I’ve marked a lot of your more vegetarian entries on my RSS feed, and I hope to try some of the recipes over the holidays (when I have more time).

  4. what a wonderful dinner, jennifer. i’m a total buttermilk fanatic. i use it in my oatmeal regularly. and dumplings… i never make them and i love them. i gotta go check out your recipe. it was before my time. inspiring once again.

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