WRITTEN ON March 4th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Chicken, Dinner, Uncategorized, Vegetables

I wax poetic (maybe that’s a stretch) about New York City a lot on this blog.  It truly is a dynamic and interesting place to live.  But there are several things that I’ll not miss when we leave.  Given that I’m feeling a little conflicted about the move to the ‘burbs, I figured I’d start making a list of some of the  drawbacks of city life.  I think it will help me be even more excited about the upcoming change. Here goes:

1) I called our garage this morning to get my car.  The rule is that you have to call an hour ahead of time, except if you want it between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., which is their busy time.  For this you have to call the night before.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Except that every mother-loving time I call, they hassle me and tell me (in broken English, which is very hard to decipher over the phone) that I’m not giving them enough time.  Now, let it be known that I am generally a rule follower.  It becomes difficult to follow the rules, however, when they keep changing on you. This morning I needed it at 10:00 a.m., exactly one hour after their rush. They yelled at me and told me I should have called the night before, and that they couldn’t get it for me on such short notice (I called at 8:00, two hours before I needed the car).  Which is basically code for some garage worker is driving it to Queens to visit his mother and will return it with half a tank gone and all the stations changed to Spanish language (this actually did happen to an extended family member once.  She saw her car driving south on Lex, about thirty blocks from her garage.  She high tailed it up to the garage and demanded they produce the car and they couldn’t.  She waited for about an hour and when the car came cruising in, she got in and drove it off, never to return).

2) I’m a light sleeper.  Always have been.  It drives my husband mad, because it means that I’m Oscar the grouch in the morning and usually dead to the world from about 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. when he is Chief Peppy Morningstar.  Last night at 11:45 p.m., just twenty short minutes after we had gotten into bed (hubby of course already snoring peacefully), I was curled up in fetal, willing myself to fall asleep when I heard a huge “CLANK!” followed by an equally loud “BOOM!”  It didn’t stop there.  Voices hollering to each other about the couch and the table floated up through our window, sounding like they were inside my ear.  I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.  Some jerk in the brownstone across the street decided that midnight was the best possible time to move, and there were four movers and a huge truck parked directly below my window yelling and hauling like the sun was still high in the sky.  Really?  It went on for several hours.  The hubster didn’t move a muscle.  I was extra pleasant this morning.

All this leaves me craving some serious down home suburban comfort.  The kind you can only get at home . No delivery guys on bikes, no Thai Mexican fusion.  I mean simple food from simpler times and places.  I mean chicken and dumplings (a great weeknight cheat is to use meat from a grocery store rotisserie chicken).  It screams family time, slow food, and quiet evenings.  Remember quiet?  I don’t.

Let me be clear. I’m not naive enough to believe that the suburbs of Long Island will come without annoyances. Christ, the accent alone is enough to make me head for the hills, so I fully anticipate an adjustment period.  That said, I’m coming to realize that city life is also far from perfect, and while there will definitely be aspects of it that I miss, I’m willing to bet I’ll get along just fine.  Besides, my car will love me for it.  She’ll have her very own garage where she’s not held hostage by twelve angry men

Quiet Night In

Chicken and Dumplings (serves 4)
2 cups shredded chicken (from a store-bought rotisserie, or leftover roasted chicken)
3 medium sized carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme, picked
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp tumeric
In a large dutch oven, melt the butter.  Add flour, whisking to combine. Cook about 1 minute.  Pour the stock slowing into roux, whisking throughly to prevent lumps.  This is called a veloute. Bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer. Add chicken and vegetables, herbs and tumeric.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until the liquid coats the back of a spoon, then add dumplings, below.
For the Dumplings:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Mix together wet ingredients plus herbs and pepper. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture, stir together with a fork until just combined.  Using two spoons, drop dumplings into simmering chicken “soup.” Dough should float to the top and cover the surface of the soup but still allow some steam out.  Cover and cook about 10 minutes, then uncover and cook 10 minutes more, until dumplings are steamed through.  Spoon into bowls, serve.

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