Life seems to have sped up significantly over the past couple of weeks. With wedding prep switching into high gear (invitations MUST go out next week), workdays stretching to a 10-plus hour average recently, me attending a 3 day client conference in Arizona last week, and JT and I simultaneously suffering from terrible head colds, I’m totally worn out.
Metaphorically speaking, cooking (and blogging) have moved to the backburner….well, actually, its moved off the burners completely and my brand new Calphalon Contemporaries (thank you Sarah & Somer) are resting quietly in the cupboards while I exercise my right to order an endless stream of Chinese takeout.
In the last two weeks, I’ve cooked three times. Once I made pizza using Smitten Kitchen’s easy dough recipe (visit her site for the dough download and top your pies as you please). The second pizza turned out fantastically and this dough is really quite simple and makes a crispy, delicious crust. BUT…if you’re planning to transfer the pizza to a pizza stone to bake, be sure to cover your pizza peel or cookie sheet with a TON of cornmeal. My first one stuck and I couldn’t get the darn thing into the oven. I ended up with a sticky, doughy, cheesy topping pile in the middle of the pizza stone. The second one turned out perfectly though. Its worth the risk!
Beyond the grand pizza experiment, the only other thing I’ve made is matzo ball soup. The perfect remedy for a cold, we’ve had this twice in one week. I use store-bought matzo ball soup mix (you can find the mix in the ethnic section of most grocery stores, near other Kosher foods), adding my own easy-to-make soup broth.
Matzo balls have an interesting flavor and texture that I now prefer over chicken noodle. Of course, you could add noodles or cooked rice to the soup if you wanted to. For me, this and a glass of orange juice is the only way to fight off winter illness.
And you can put this together in less than an hour on a weeknight. That can even cure the takeout blues…occasionally. Yum.
Super Easy Matzo Ball Soup
1 box matzo ball mix
1 small onion, cut into several chunks
1 rib of celery, cut into several chunks
2 small carrots, cut into several chunks
1 Tbs olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into small pieces
1 box of chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
Prepare matzo balls as directed on the box and put in the refriderator to cool. Place vegetables in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are evenly, finely diced (or do so by hand). Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle olive oil. Add veggies and sautee until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken breast and continue cooking, stirring frequently until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
As soon as the chicken starts to brown on the bottom of the pan, add a splash of chicken broth and scrape up any of the browned bits. Add the rest of the broth, cover and simmer mixture for about 10 minutes. Bring broth up to a rolling boil.
Using your hands, roll matzo mixture into walnut-sized balls and drop into the boiling broth. Once all matzo balls are added, cover and cook for about 20 minutes (or as mazto package directs), until matzo balls are doubled in size and sponge-like. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve steaming hot.
As a final note, I want to thank all of you for bearing with me lately, as my posts have become spotty and my visits to your own blogs has become even spottier. I really do appreciate your comments and good wishes and look forward to reconnecting with everyone more thoroughly in the Spring. Wedding is 51 days off!!