Apr 28, 2011

cracker barrel's - chicken'n dumplins

Cracker Barrel is the place that dots America's highway landscape, featuring tons of rocking chairs on their front porch...and practically nothing that a vegan can eat on their menu - even their vegetables sided are cooked with meat.

I worked at Cracker Barrel for about a whole week in the early 90's. The place was nothing to write home about - my parents lived a thousand miles away - and so probably never knew about my forage into the land of the Country Store. After all, what more could you want after filling up on Hashbrown Casserole and some Homemade Fried Chicken Livers than to mosey on out to the Country Store to pick you up some Kenny Rogers CD and some Black Licorice Bites. So good.

How do we go from rocking chairs to Chicken n' Dumplins? Kate asked for it. Not necessarily Cracker Barrel's version, but you need to mix up your repertoire of recipes once in a while.

Cracker Barrel's dumplings are a little different from mine. I mix the batter into a loose consistency and drop them onto the simmering broth. They end up light and fluffy. Cracker Barrel's is a rolled dough that is cut into small (1/2 inch) rectangles and then dropped into the broth. They are stirred while they cook. Theirs is more of a European dumpling rather than the American-Bisquik-mix-dumpling.

While Cracker Barrel does have a great Chicken n' Dumplin recipe, I prefer my chicken with less chicken , so I used  Tender Seitan. Also, we like more vegetables in our dish - C.B. has little - like carrots, celery and onion. So, by all means, make this dish since it is very tasty, but feel free to add some veggies into the mix.

Cost Breakdown

dough: $1
seitan: $3
broth: $1
spices: $.25
onion, garlic: $.75
Total to make 5 servings:

VEG-Aside: My heart goes out to the victims of the tornadoes that ripped across the South recently. However, my heart is not limited to the human victims, but extends to the victims of the factory farms who were just as hurt by the storms themselves, but more directly, by their confinement.

 While the people were caught in homes of their own, the thousands of chickens that are still trapped by homes not of their own making is different. When you are trapped, not just during the tornadoes, but afterwards, bound by man-made-walls, where food, but more importantly, lack of water, is concerned, life and death seem closer than the suffering that is all too close.

The government is actively seeking to help the human victims of this crisis, but the victims hidden by our labels of 'food' are ignored and not even acknowledged as the living, feeling beings that  they are ... currently without food and water. Right now. Without water. Try that - no water for two days...three days...five days...a week....

Little we can do about the current conditions right now; but, right now we can ...
Let the truth be know...Leaflet for the Future.

Apr 25, 2011

meat pies

Our family's most favorite musical is "Sweeney Todd" with Johnny Depp and Helena-Bonham Carter. Although Kate, 11, hasn't seen it, yet, we all love listening to the CD in the car and at home. For those unfamiliar with this classic (having been a musical on stage for decades), it is about a barber who is after vengeance against the man who destroyed his family, to put it mildly. Having gone a bit mental, he begins to kill his customers and baking them into meat pies. Yum. The song, 'Try the Priest,' is magical.

Every time I make pocket pies with veggie-meat, it reminds me of Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies and I want to burst out it dance and song whilst baking.

The recipe uses the Flaky Biscuit dough for the crust, with added parsley (very easy), and a wonderful mixture of Boca burgers, minced, and broccoli in a thick, creamy gravy. If you use burgers, please remember to saute them before you use them - otherwise they gets a little mushy. The broccoli needs to be minced fine, as well, so you don't have huge chunks sticking out at all angles.

I've made these many times, and while not a low-fat food because of the Earth Balance in the dough, it sure is flaky, crispy and tasty!

Cost Breakdown

flour, Earth Balance, milk: $3
Boca, broccoli: $5
onion, garlic, mustard: $1
spices: $1
Total to make 14 pies: