Cake Bribe

If I was any kind of good mother I would think nothing of baking 5 separate cakes and combining them into a multi-layer fever dream of a cake for my teenager.  If you aren't that kind of mother either, or you just want to have an awesome sandwich you can get them both at the Parkway Deli.  It's one of those little places you could stumble upon in some innocuous strip mall and then spend the rest of your life congratulating yourself for the "find," doling out the address to people you want to impress.  I sat next to a couple of women, and if I closed my eyes I could have been sitting next to my grandmother with her Long Island accent.  She powered through a giant chopped brisket sandwich and said to her middle-aged companion (her daughter?) "I am having a good time."  They talked about her upcoming trip back to Florida, planning hairdresser and podiatry appointments.  I ate my roast beef/bacon (in a Jewish deli!)/cheddar sandwich wishing I had  somebody on the other side of the table. I could have gotten a lot more mileage out of the complimentary pickle bar with a willing partner.  On the way out,  I picked up the cake and poppy seed hamantaschen that was so full of poppy seeds I was glad I had done my drug screen for work prior to lunch.  Sophie was deliriously happy with the cake.  I was successful in bribing her to do an 8K race Sunday morning with the promise of stopping at Parkway for breakfast on the way home.

Work starts Monday.  Less time for cooking and blogging.  Glad I have the pressure cooker.  This meal took about 30 minutes to make and was a huge hit with everyone.  You can use whatever greens you forgot about in your "crisper" drawer that are wilted but not slimy.

Chicken and Dumplings

1 package (~1.5 lb.) boneless/skinless chicken thighs--don't use breasts, too dry

1 large bag of prewashed spinach

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup tomato puree (from a can)

1 tsp herbs de Provence

1/4 cup dry sherry or wine

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks

salt/pepper

flour

olive oil

My pressure cooker is electric and has a "brown" and "saute" setting. I cooked spinach prior to adding to pressure cooker to decrease the volume--saute with olive oil/minced garlic cloves in a separate pan, drain excess juice and cut up spinach with scissors--you will add to pressure cooker later.  Dust chicken thighs with a mixture of flour/salt/pepper.  Heat oil in cooker over "brown" setting.  Cook chicken in batches ~3-4 min per side until lightly browned.  Add onions, herbs de provence and saute until translucent.  Add stock/sherry/tomato/carrots/chicken and any juices from chicken to pressure cooker.  Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, then release pressure.

While chicken is cooking, make dumplings:

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 tsp herbs de provence

1/2  tsp salt

1 TBS baking powder

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt

Combine all dry ingredients, then cut butter into dry mix with a pastry cutter. Mix yogurt and egg together in separate bowl, then add to dry mixture mixing gently.  Form ball of dough and flatten into a circle ~1 " thick. Cut into 8 wedges.

After pressure lock releases, remove lid of cooker carefully and turn to the saute setting.  When the liquid is bubbling, add the dumplings and set lid on top but don't lock it.  Steam/cook for 15 minutes until dumplings are cooked through.  Serves 4-6 people depending on how much room they are saving for dessert.