Tuesday Tasting – Photo Inspiration

I love watching culinary competitions. They are both exciting and nerve-wrecking for me at the same time. Especially the sugar and chocolate ones where the competitors/chefs have to move their pieces. Maybe one day I’ll compete in one.

Meanwhile, here is a gorgeous piece from a photo of a dish at the IKA Culinary Olympics in 2009.

Culinary Olympics - Savory

Character Sheets

Do you fill out the character background sheets for your characters?

If so…

Do you do it diligently? Every time you start a new story/manuscript? Before you start writing? Do you fill it out in it’s entirety? Or skip around?

If not…

Why not?

If you’re wondering why I’m asking, we discussed characters and archtypes last night in my writing/goal group.

And I don’t fill one out beforehand. I fill it out if I get frustrated or stuck. And usually I know my characters beforehand. But I don’t use the standard sheets. I made up my own (I’ll put them up later if you want to see it). Things that I want/need to know about my characters. Things that if I do get stuck helps me learn more about the characters.

Previous Character Posts –

Character Types – Part I & Part II

And I’m still going to do that post on archetypes one day soon.

Tuesday Tasting – Chicken & Dumplings

Last night I made Chicken and Dumplings. It’s one of my fave comfort dishes. It’s also one of the first things I learned how to make.

I started by cutting up my veggies – celery, carrots, onions, leeks & 2 garlic cloves (smashed). I add about a box and a half of stock and 2 cups of water and the veggies to my pot. Then I poached 1 chicken I had cut into 8 pieces.

Boil and then simmer for about 35-40 minutes.  The chicken should be practically falling off the bone. Reserve the chicken and allow to cool slightly, so it is cool enough to handle and then chop into small pieces or shred.

I added chopped parsley, thyme and black peppercorns, salt and 3 bay leaves to the pot for flavor. You can add them in a bouquet garni or lose. I did my loosely and just strained them out when I strained the stock/broth.

I made up the dumplings while I waited for the chicken to cool so I could shred it.

Dumpling recipe – 2 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 egg, 1 tbsp oil, 1 cup either broth/stock from pot or milk (your preference). I used the stock. I also added some chopped parsley and ground black pepper to the dumplings. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix egg and oil together. Add egg mix to dry ingredients, mix til crumbly. Add broth 2 tbsp at a time til dough is sticky. Knead dough on floured surface and let rest about 15 minutes. Roll dough out to your desired thickness about 1/8 of an inch or so. Cut with either a pizza cutter or sharp knife into about 1 inch squares. You can then either leave the squares as is or cut them into triangles.

Before you add the dumplings to the pot, after you add the shredded chicken and any veggies you want to back in, stir in 1 can of cream of chicken or cream of celery soup. If you want the soup to be thicker then add a slurry before you add the dumplings in. Mix 1 T flour or cornstarch with a bit of the broth and whisk together til smooth and then whisk into the soup. Add dumplings 1 at a time. They will float when they’re done.

I garnished the bowl with a bit of left over chopped herbs. You can see the chicken, dumplings, carrots rather nicely in the last picture.