Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Tasty Treat at Bedouin Tent

Friends have been really curious to learn about any new cravings or eating habits since I have been pregnant. Up until recently, I would respond that I didn't really have any cravings, but aversions to foods I traditionally enjoyed. I am a long-time coffee lover/addict, but once I became pregnant the smell of coffee was revolting. I've had trouble eating spinach, and several other things.

I am entering a new phase, not just food aversions anymore, but food cravings too. The first thing was Orangina. I could drink Orangina all day (but I don't). I have started making my own by combing a bit of orange juice and seltzer water. Then came the French toast, and tomato sauce (lasagna, pasta, etc). I normally like to eat new and different things each day, but now I definitely seem to lock in on a few tried and true dishes and want to eat them over and over. Very interesting to see how your body changes.

The latest craving is anything with chickpeas - humus, falafel, salad with chickpeas, etc. So when we were out and about the other day, I was on the lookout for a falafel sandwich for lunch. I was very pleased when we stumbled across Bedouin Tent, Mideastern Stuffed Pita. We peeked through the window to see someone making pita bread to order, and I was sold.

Inside the front door, the restaurant looks just like a take-out place, but if you walk past the kitchen you discover a charming dining room decorated to feel like a Bedouin tent. I guess they also have a charming outdoor dining section during good weather, but right now it is under a large pile of snow.

I ordered the falafel plate which came with humus (mostly outside the photo), a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and green peppers lightly dressed in olive oil and vinegar, and freshly made pita. It hit the spot.

My husband ordered Lambajin which is described in the menu as a Mideastern Pitza with lamb, onion, tomato, parsley and spices. I was expecting pieces of lamb and vegetables, but was pleased with the savory ground mixture too. The crust was similar to an extra thick pita bread. The topping had a selection of spices we couldn't identify. It was a new flavor palette for us, and it took a bit of getting used to, but it was really tasty.

All in all we were pleased with our meal. It satisfied my craving for chickpeas, and it was really affordable. I think we will be back again. My husband says that he would recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings for a Snow Day

Today we woke up to find a winter wonderland. We got a total of 19 inches of snow which was enough for the Department of Education to call a snow day. I think a snow day is the perfect day to spend inside cooking and enjoying a nice hot bowl of comfort food.

The view out our kitchen window.

Commuters trudging down a nearby side street.

While I was sick, I made a couple of batches of homemade chicken soup. By the time my husband came down with the cold, he couldn't be convinced that he needed some chicken soup too. I did convince him that some chicken and dumplings could be satisfying. The thick, hearty texture is much more his style.

Prepare a chicken stew.

Cook the dumplings in batches to prevent over crowding.

A great hearty meal for a snow day or a day inside with a cold.

Chicken and Dumplings
inspired by Tyler Florence and good memories of my grandfather's chicken and dumplings

Chicken stock

3 lb chicken
2-3 bay leaves
1 t thyme
4 cloves of garlic
2 T apple cider vinegar
3 small carrots, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 3 inch pieces

Chicken Stew

2 T butter
2 T coconut oil
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 C flour
6 C chicken stock
1 C frozen peas


2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs
3/4 - 1 C milk

Place all of the ingredients for the chicken stock into a stock pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours. Remove the chicken. Let cool enough to be comfortable to touch. Remove the meat, and return the carcass to the water. Cook for another 1-2 hours. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer to remove all the bits. Chill and remove excess fat.

Melt butter and coconut oil, and add the carrots, celery, garlic and onions. Cook until the onions begin to soften. Slowly add flour while stirring. Cook until the flour is integrated and turns golden (about 2-3 minutes). Slowly add the chicken stock, and cook until the stew begins to thicken (about 15 minutes). Add the peas and bring to a gentle boil.

While the stew is cooking, prepare the dumpling batter. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a measuring cup, beat eggs and add milk. Add to the dry ingredients, and gently stir to combine. Use two tablespoons, to drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot stew. Leave some space between the dumplings. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the cooked dumplings with a slotted spoon to a platter. Continue cooking the batter in batches until all of the dumplings are prepared.

Serve the chicken stew with a few dumplings on top.

This post is part of SoupaPalooza. Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored byKitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Onion Soup

I came down with a terrible cold and cough a couple of weeks ago. My weakened pregnant immune system has taken a long time to get back to 100%. I tried every home remedy in the book including inhaling steam, hot water with lemon and honey, the wet sock treatment and more. My mom suggested making some onion soup. She swears by it for helping loosen up the congestion. I wouldn't say it was a miraculous cure, but I think it helped. The best thing is that it is easy to make which is perfect for when you are feeling under the weather.

Heat a dutch over or heavy bottomed pot, and add butter and oil. Once melted add the sliced onions.

Cook the onions until tender, and add beef broth, thyme and bay leaf.

Simmer the soup until it reaches the desired texture. Serve with buttered toast points.

Onion Soup
2 T butter
2 T coconut oil
2 lbs. onions, sliced
4 C beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. of thyme

Heat up a cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottom pot and add the butter and oil. Once melted, add the onions and cook until soft (about 15 minutes). Add the broth, bay leaf and thyme and simmer until the soup reaches the desired consistency (about 30-60 minutes). Serve with buttered toast points.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday and SoupaPaloozaCome join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored byKitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

Sunday, January 23, 2011

News to Share

I haven't written a post in several months. I had the best of intentions, but I just couldn't do it. You see my husband and I learned right after we got back from our trip to England that we were going to have a baby. By the beginning of November, I had "morning sickness" around the clock and couldn't bring myself to smell food cooking, prepare food, read about food and definitely couldn't blog about any food.

I have to confess that I have been known previously to be judgmental of pregnant women I have seen eating x, y or z. I have thought to myself, "How can they feed that to their baby?" I told myself that I would eat only grass-fed meat, local vegetables and every other honorable, nourishing food for myself and the baby, but despite my best intentions I could only manage to keep ginger ale and saltine crackers down for weeks on end. I know this is the first of many expectations that will have to be adjusted. You know how people without children see children in public misbehaving and tell themselves that their children will never behave like that... I'm trying to start preparing myself now for the temper tantrums in the grocery store line.

We missed the boat on a winter CSA for both meat and vegetables, so upcoming posts will feature our efforts to eat nourishing seasonal meals that feature local foods. My energy is not up to pre-pregnancy levels yet, so I'm aiming to post two to three times per week.
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