Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pure Comfort

"Beany found....that no male found I Surrender perfume any more alluring than the spicy smell of cinnamon rolls right out of the oven."--The Beany Malone Cookbook

Crayons has been fighting yet another cold-and-cough, and the Squirrels are feeling (literally) under the dreary weather. Time for a comfort food dinner: Beef in Onion Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, and Orange Dumplings.

Crockpot Beef in Onion Gravy

I clipped this from the April/May 2002 Taste of Home magazine; it was sent in by Denise Albers in Illinois. And look at that: it's online already. Denise is right: it is very good, and it is very simple. But I was puzzled by "2 tablespoons beef broth"; did she mean bouillon powder, or wet broth? If she meant wet broth, it seems pretty pointless since you're slow-cooking beef cubes all day and they make lots of broth. But I put in a spoonful of beef bouillon powder just to be on the safe side.

Also, I mixed some of the hot gravy with a spoonful of flour at the end and then cooked it on high for a few minutes, because it seemed too thin. We got more than the suggested three servings out of it, even if you don't count Crayons not really eating anything. More like four plus some leftovers.

Orange Dumplings

Mark this as an occasion: an original Treehouse recipe! Actually it's a combination of two other recipes: the much-Googled Butterscotch Dumplings (Twenty-Minute Dessert) from Food That Really Schmecks, and the sauce from Baked Orange Pudding in The Harrowsmith Cookbook Volume Three. I have made that Orange Pudding before, but I just couldn't be bothered tonight washing the extra sauce pot and heating the oven, so I decided to do it all as one. Ta da...(and they were very good too).

Sauce: 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. butter, juice & rind of 1 or more oranges (I used one orange and then topped it up a bit with orange juice from the fridge), 2 cups of boiling water. Combine the sugar and flour in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid; add the boiling water and the remaining ingredients. Let it come to a boil and then simmer while you mix the dumplings.

Dumplings: 1/3 cup sugar, ½ tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. butter, 1½ cups flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, about ½ cup milk. Cream the sugar, salt and butter; add flour mixed with baking powder alternately with enough milk to make a stiff batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into the boiling sauce (my grandma's method is to drop dumplings only in spots where it's bubbling); cover and let boil gently (do NOT take the lid off) for about 15 minutes.

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