"Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes." "You can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails." The end of 2013 brought changes. Whether or not they were positive or negative depends on your half full/half empty outlook on life. As always, I chose half full. I can't say every day maintained such optimism. You see, Mark is awaiting a heart transplant.
The fact that he's here and we're waiting is a great BIG positive! We've had our ups, we've had our downs. We've learned not to take anything for granted when all you hold dear seems so transient. And so we learn to bend with the breeze and enjoy whatever fleeting moments of sunshine we encounter.
What does this all have to do with cooking, eating and recipes? Adjusting sails and bending are a major part of cooking, you know. Not literally of course, because I do as little bending as possible when cooking! (Okay...any other time, too.) Substitutions and adjustments in recipes are a day-to-day occurrence. With all that's been going on around the Dinner Plan-it house, planned meals were few and far between, we learned to catch as catch can when it came to cooking. Experience in flexibility certainly has come in handy recently!
|Home...and Thanksgiving dinner...is where the heart is.|
We believed from the beginning of this journey that Mark would be home for Thanksgiving and that holiday came and went. Thanksgiving dinner? We packed it up and took it to the hospital, put out a nice tablecloth on top of a few bedside tables strung end-to-end and had a lovely traditional family dinner together complete with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and lots of laughs and love. We shared our meal with nurses, doctors and staff - whomever was working the holiday and was hungry (and didn't think hospital cafeteria food cut it on Thanksgiving!). It was good. (Christmas dinner with Mark is waiting until he can actually enjoy it...we're adaptable. Christmas dinner doesn't have to be on December 25th!)
One of the things I always do with turkey leftovers is to make a gigunda pot of soup...that was the plan this year, too. Plans change. I at least made the stock and had the foresight to freeze it! A couple of weeks went by and time to make soup opened up...but there was no leftover turkey in the house. Sail adjustment! I bought a rotisserie chicken and used the meat from that...and had a convenient take-home dinner while I was at it.
Thus our Turkey Pot Pie Soup was adaptable...turkey stock, chicken meat. No biggie...these are the small things in life. Our soup was just as good as what was planned from the start, just a little different than our first thoughts. And so is life. Plans are just that...blueprints. Blueprints and plans change, adapt to new thoughts, ideas and needs. And we make them work!
Here's to a New Year of beautiful plans and even more wonderful realities. I can hardly wait for new changes and adventures...sweet new moments of joy. May there be many of them. Welcome 2014!
Turkey - Or Chicken - Pot Pie Soup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, large ones, peeled, fine dice
- 3 stalks celery, ends cut off, cut across into 1" pieces
- 3 large carrots, peeled, cut across into 1/2" pieces - I used 2 bright orange and 1 pretty yellow one
- 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, small ones, cut in half
- 1/4 pound green beans, fresh, cut into 1 1/2" pieces - I like the small ones the French call haricots verte...mmmmm
- 1 zucchini, about an 8" one, ends cut off, cut in half lengthwise, then cut across into 1/2" slices
- 2 cups turkey, leftover, in big pieces
- 1/4 cup flour, I used Jules gluten-free all-purpose flour to make this GF
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules, I use Better Than Boullion brand chicken base - SO much better than boullion...the name doesn't lie!
- 1 gallon chicken stock, homemade or bought - use a GOOD low salt version if you buy it
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 pie crust (9 inch), Roll it out onto a Silpat, bake as directed, remove from oven and cool. Break or cut into 8 pieces to top each bowl of soup with. OR bake your own favorite crust and bake on a Silpat. I made a GF crust using the classic Crisco recipe using GF flour.
In a large stockpot, melt the butter and add all the veggies. Stir and cook until they start to get tender. Add the turkey (or chicken!) and stir. Sprinkle the flour (GF to make this GF!) and poultry seasoning over the top and stir into the veggie/turkey mixture well.
Add stock slowly, stirring until well incorporated; add the chicken base, stir well again. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir up from the bottom making sure the bottom isn't sticking, then cover and let cook until the veggies are completely tender. Remove from heat.
While the soup is cooking, make the crust. I use the classic Crisco recipe using Jules GF flour. Here's the recipe, use regular flour if you don't have the gluten issue to deal with!
- 1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour blend OR regular flour if gluten isn't an issue
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 stick well-chilled Crisco
- 1/4 cup well-chilled unsalted butter
- 3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
Pulse flour and salt in the bowl of your food processor.
Add Crisco and butter to processor bowl and pulse until there are pea-sized pieces in the bowl.
Sprinkle half the water into the bowl and pulse. If it starts to come together into a ball, sprinkle another tablespoon over the top and continue until the ball forms - DON'T over process! If you still need more water, add just enough until the ball forms.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove dough from the fridge, center it onto a Silpat or parchment paper covered baking sheet and roll it out thinly into a circle - use flour (GF if you're making a gluten-free crust) on the rolling pin to help keep the dough from sticking. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. (The gluten-free crust may not brown well, so you may want to make an egg wash and brush it on the crust ti help brown it.) Remove from oven, let cool and break or cut into large pieces to garnish the soup and make it pot pie-ish!)
Just before serving, stir the frozen peas into the soup just to warm them through. That way you have fresh tasting, bright green peas that pop instead of being mushy.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with pieces of pie crust and serve!
Happy New Year to one and all! May 2014 be our BEST year ever!!!!!!
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