Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cream of Chicken

1. Onions sauteed in butter.

2. 2 T whole wheat flour; mixed to a paste with the buttery onions.

3. Added milk slowly, heating and stirring constantly.

5. Salt.

5. Added half a can of Swanson's chicken broth.

6. Can of cubed chicken, including the juice.

7. Pureed a can of potatoes and juice; added to the becoming-soup.

8. Pepper.

9. Stirred; heated.

Soup's on!

Dreaming in Color

Last night I dreamed in bright colors! I dreamed horses of roan and palomino, bay, white and black, buckskin. There were five white horses and a girl with long, blonde hair was riding one. I remember viewing her from the sky and wanting one of the white horses to ride for myself. So beautiful.

Then I dreamed chickens, so many chickens! They kept breeding, producing more chickens, itty bittys and regular chickens, all stuffed together, and I was scrambling to clean out more pens with more feeders and more waterers to make room for all the chickens. They were colored, too; gold and speckled with black, russet and white and yellow and dove gray. Most beautiful were a number of true blue chickens with black collars and black-tipped tails. Although the birds bred freely throughout the flock, I always had ten to a dozen of these chickens, blue as forget-me-nots. I remember simply looking and looking, enjoying their intense color in my dream.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Plans for Soup

Inspired by the turning leaves and colder weather, I'm planning soup for supper. I've had a butternut squash in the crisper for a couple weeks now, waiting for this particular idea to pop into my head. Originally, I planned to bake and mash the squash like potatoes, which is great, too, but today soup seems even better!

Recipe for--um, what shall I call this?--Butternut Cheese Soup!

I already cut the butternut into fourths and deseeded it, turned the open sides down in a glass, baking dish and added about a 1/2 in. of salted water. It's baking right now at 375F. Takes about an hour to be soft enough to mash, which is what I want.

With that done, I have to make the cheese sauce, a simple roux to which I will add shredded cheese, sharp cheddar, because that's what I like.

Here's how I make the sauce (this is mostly for Kami):

1. Begin with a melted fat/oil like margarine, butter, bacon drippings, depending on what flavor and how many heavy calories you want.

2. In equal amount to the hot/warm oil, add a helping of flour. So if you used a tablespoon of margarine, use a tablespoon of flour. This stirs up into a paste.

3. Now add a liquid; water (if you don't want flavor) milk, cream, beef, chicken or vegetable broth. You add only a few tablespoons at this time. Let it sit in the pan to warm before you try stirring it in. I don't know why, but I like to use a wooden spoon. The first "stir-in" is the most important. If you can make it creamy at this point, then you don't have to worry so much about how fast or how much liquid you add after that. Continue to add the liquid until you've gotten to the volume you want as your sauce or gravy.

4. Important: Taste and salt and season. I like pepper in gravy, for example. For stroganoff, I add paprika, etc.

5. You want to let this heat for a while so the flour cooks (uncooked flour tastes pasty) and the sauce thickens. O, and you can't stop stirring at this point. It's stir and serve.

If you use only butter, flour, salt and milk/cream, then you have what my mom called white sauce. She made it for nearly every meal. Now if I add shredded cheese to melt, then I've got cheese sauce.

AND, if I puree butternut squash and incorporate that, I'll have soup!

Heart for Quail

Every year Al purchases quail from a farm for dog training. This year I threw a fit and wouldn't take care of them for him, so he's doing the feeding/watering/cleaning himself. However much I've removed myself from their care, the quail are still sitting there next to the pen for my banties. Every morning and often during the day, I can hear the quail cooing--more of a tiny "pi-pii"--wooing me. They know my weakness, that I would save them from their inevitable and senseless death, make plans to house and husband them, breed and raise their generations!--if only they could win my heart with their charming calls.