Monday, February 23, 2009

The math doesn't work

It started fairly early on Sunday morning, when I somehow ended up with the poppy seed dressing that ate New York - half a gallon of dressing, 2 quarts, when I was aiming for somewheres between 3 cups and 1 quart.

It continued into the afternoon, while I was making vegetarian shepherd's pie for Sunday Supper, based on this Bon Appetit recipe - I had intended to make it gluten-free, thickened with cornstarch rather than flour, but that was more a crisis of memory than math. It's a given that often when you are multiplying recipes, some of the ingredients just don't add up the way you think they might - for instance, if you're making a sauce with green peppers, and a single batch uses one pepper, you do not necessarily need 4 peppers to quadruple it - usually one or at the most two peppers is still enough. This recipe called for 6 cups of liquid to make enough pie for 10 - I thought I would double it, but after measuring 12 cups of veggie broth and water, I ended up taking out 4 and using them in the chicken pot pie - recipe follows.

And even though I dropped one of the vegetarian pies, in full view of the assembled guests, and in between one diner and his bottle of wine, there was still plenty, even with the decreased sauce amount.

Go figure. Unfortunately, the math problems continued into Monday, when the appraisal report for my mortgage refinance came in, revealing that the house, in the apprasier's estimation, is currently worth about 15K less than I paid for it, and almost 20K less than what the city is requring me to pay taxes on ... and I have to wait till the 2009 assesments come out to start fighting with the city. I am sure I'll have lots of company in that battle.

Chicken pot pie, based on Marion Cunningham's rewrite of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook
6 TBLS butter
6 TBLS flour
2 1/2 cups chicken or other broth, heated
1/2 cup cream or half & half
about 4 cups of cooked boneless chicken in large chunks
1/2 cup cooked pearl onions
1 1/2 cups cooked peas & carrots (I used froz peas & fresh carrots)
1/2 cup celery, cooked (I boiled it)

Melt the butter in a large pot, and stir in the flour. Cook the roux for a few minutes, and then slowly pour in the broth, stirring. When it's thickened, stir in the cream or half & half. Cook until thickened, and then season with salt and white pepper.

Place the chicken in deep pie plate or 13 x 9 x 2 casserole. Scatter the onions, peas & carrots, and celery over. Pour the sauce over, and stir a little to make sure it's all combined.

Make biscuits: cut 1/2 cup shortening (I used the Earth Balance vegan stuff - I have entirely gone off Crisco in favor of this shortening, even though everyone on my mom's side of the family worked for P&G) into 2 cups of flour mixed with 1 TBLS sugar, 1 TBLS baking power and 1/2 teaspoon salt. When it's mealy, stir in 2/3 cup milk with a fork. Roll the dough out and cut it into 12 rounds. Lay these over the pot pie. Bake at 375 degrees until browned and bubbling. Watch out for boil-overs.

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