I have noticed that if you have a facebook profile, you never need to look out the window or go outside to know what the weather's like. If it's raining, you'll read in your newsfeed all about how your friends need new rain gear, got soaked on the way to class, can't believe how hard it's pouring, or are afraid to get onto one of the packed busses. To say it was raining today doesn't  express how it was raining today. It was raining hard, with strong winds that drove the rain in your face and tried to rip umbrellas out of unwary hands. Puddles formed like flashfloods on the bike paths, and the crowded bus I rode to class this morning turned out to have a leaky roof. I felt pretty smug about remembering to pack a spare pair of socks to change into, because my first pair didn't stand a chance.

    Rainy days like this one call for comfort food. And chicken and dumplings is one of the most comfortable foods I know. It's like eating little pillows, albeit delicious pillows soaked in gravy. This recipe is similar to the one my mom uses, which I believe she found in her Betty Crocker cookbook.

*serves 2
3 chicken breast tenders, cut into 3 pieces each
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
chopped parsley to garnish

For the dumplings:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
about 5 tbsp milk

    Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan until it melts and begins to turn brown. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms, and cook them until they have begun to brown and created a sticky, caramelized surface on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and vegetable oil. Brown the chicken on all sides, then add the flour and stir it into the vegetables and chicken. Add half of the chicken stock and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the caramelized fond from the vegetables. Add the rest of the stock and the water, and turn the heat to high to bring the stew to a boil. Mix the ingredients for  the dumplings in a small bowl. The consistency should be like thick pancake batter. Drop the batter 1 teaspoon at a time into the stew pot, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium low. Steam the dumplings, covered, for about 15 minutes, until they have puffed up and the chicken is fully cooked. Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley.