Last week it was hot.
Today it is hot.
Imagine it will be hot yet again next week.
Last Tuesday, I took the boys and a friend to the driving range to hit buckets of balls. We went early in the morning to avoid most of the heat. That part of the plan worked, but the catch to the plan was the getting up early part...for them. Turns out, waking boys up early (read 8 a.m.) when they have been in the habit of not going to bed until the wee hours of the morning and not waking up until mid-afternoon, triggers all sorts of goofiness in them. That's what they said, but I reserve the right to disagree...they were already goofy.
PGA Tour watch out! (no seriously WATCH OUT!!! they may hit you with a ball or three)
Near the end of their buckets, the civilized sport declined to a state of ridiculousness with one hitting balls like playing baseball and the other stacking 5 or 6 balls into a mound and whacking.
And just because it is hotter than the face of the sun, my sons requested Chicken and Dumplings for dinner that night. Wow...the perfect hot weather meal...steaming broth over generous chunks of chicken and fat gorgeous dumplings...yes, I'm being sarcastic and YES, that is what Mama fixed when the baby birds said pleeeeeaaaasssse. It was declared that the world would be a better place if said recipe was shared. So, here it is, but I do suggest you wait until it is a teensy bit cooler.
Dina' Chicken and Dumplings
In a large stock pot, pour 3 to 4 quarts of water over a 3# to 4# cut up chicken. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (may need more, but this is a start), a small super fine diced onion (my kids wig out over the appearance of onions in their food, don't know who they get that from-HA), 2 stalks of super fine diced celery (same problem as onion) 1 or 2 diced garlic cloves, 4 to 6 whole fresh parsley leaves, 2 teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper. Bring this all to a boil and let it boil for at least 20 or 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to a simmer, put a lid on, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Pull the chicken pieces out and pull off the bones. Set it aside. Meanwhile, crank the heat back up to medium under the broth and add a slurry of 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup flour...stirring constantly. Once thickened, turn back to simmer and start the dumplings. Sometimes I like rolled ones and sometimes drop dumplings. This recipe works either way. In a mixing bowl add 2 cups self rising flour, 1/3 cup shortening...cut the shortening into the flour. Stir in anywhere from 1/3 to 3/4 cup milk. Mix together really well. Bring the thickened stock back up to a medium bubble, put the pulled chicken back in and then drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough into the stock. Once all the dumpling dough is dropped in, cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes. I usually wind up adding more salt and pepper, the boys don't. My theory is you can always add it, but it can't be taken out!
Now if that isn't some fine summertime food, I don't know what is! Except maybe some lovely chicken salad on a croissant, or watermelon salad, or tuna salad, or pretty much any kind of COLD salad. But, hey...when your babies ask sweetly, what else is a Mama to do?