beautiful chaos

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These last few days have been an adventure in tone. Without a kitchen of my own I feel slightly unanchored, and am aching to create. I can’t wait to press my palms into bread dough and to roll grains of salt between my fingers.

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Instead, I am writing.

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A Better Analogy

A large team of people has spent inordinate amounts of time choreographing an elaborate fireworks display. The sizes and the colours of the fireworks are lined up in pre-determined orders and directions to complement a pre-selected piece of music.

The engineer runs around checking the angles are just right and the electronics are functioning. The sound technician tests the speakers, and keys up the track. The artistic director settles back into his lawn chair to watch the show.

The piano begins softly, and the financiers smile to each other, ready for a beautiful, predictable show. Smatterings of white starlight at first, and, as the music builds, crackling blues and greens.

Then, miles away, lightning strikes. The power surges, and the reds explode.

The oranges and reds and yellows and golds take over the sky, while the blues and greens slowly build to keep up.

It doesn’t match the music; it doesn’t follow the plan.

It is beautiful.

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I will be back in the kitchen soon.

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Chicken Pot Pie (gluten-free)

Ingredients

Biscuits

four eggs, separated
half cup coconut flour
half teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon salt
half teaspoon cream of tartar
quarter cup butter, cold, cut into pats

Filling

two chicken breasts
one and a half cups diced carrots
one and a half cups diced celery
two tablespoons oil
one and a half cups sweet onion, chopped
three tablespoons cornstarch
one teaspoon salt
half teaspoon black pepper
half teaspoon dried thyme
one and three quarters cups chicken broth
three quarters cup milk
three quarters cup frozen green peas

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle some olive oil over a chicken breast and dust with some salt and pepper. Bake it until it’s cooked through (this will depend on the size).
While it’s baking, chop your carrots, celery and onion. Keep the onion separate for now (or don’t – I forgot and mixed mine all together and they turned out fine).
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium and sauté the onions until they go translucent. Add the carrots and celery and keep cooking. Add the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and thyme and stir. Then add your chicken broth and milk – keep stirring and try to get the cornstarch lumps out. Add in the peas. Shred your chicken with a fork (or dice it, but that’s not nearly as fun) and stir that in too.
Bring to a simmer and keep stirring occasionally until it has thickened.

In the meantime, prepare the biscuits. Combine the coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Cut in the butter with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your hands until the largest pieces left are about pea-sized. Put this back in the fridge.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are very frothy and about doubled in size. Then whisk in the yolks. Fold in the butter and flour mixture, and stir well. There’s no gluten so there’s no risk of over-mixing. Keep stirring and don’t panic – coconut flour absorbs a ton of liquid, but it takes time. Don’t add extra flour!

Lightly grease a casserole dish (I used the same one I baked my chicken in) – and some ramekins, depending on the size of your dish. Pour the filling into whatever you’re using. Scoop out chunks of batter and press into biscuit shapes, and place them on top of your filling.

Bake until the biscuits are completely cooked through (check that a toothpick comes out clean, but make sure you’re not poking all the way through and getting wetness from the filling). Mine took about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately – but you can also store extras in the fridge; this dish reheats well in the oven.

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