Chicken soup for the ... whatever
Chicken soup: When was the last time you made a big pot full? It's one of those simple things to make, but because it's so simple, I just keep putting it off. “Ah, I can make chicken soup anytime.”
Like Ocean Point. It’s so close I can go there anytime. So I go, like, once every two years. Stupid.
Yesterday was a chilly day, and I started thinking about chicken soup. Then I started craving it. Think about it. Take a big virtual spoonful of hot, scrumptious chicken soup.
I just happened to have all of the necessary ingredients in the fridge, so I got out a big pot and started throwing them in. A half hour later I had a pot full of delicious healthy hot chicken soup – enough to last a couple weeks. (Don't worry Sarah Morley – if I don't polish it off in a week I'll throw the rest in the freezer.)
It's not something you need a recipe for, but sometimes we just need a nudge.
Besides being delicious, when you have a bowl of chicken soup for lunch you can have a piece of chocolate cake for dessert and you won't feel (too) guilty.
I made another chocolate zucchini cake last week, and as I was mixing it up it occurred to me I should have made half the recipe. Lord knows I didn't want to eat the whole thing. I thought about freezing some of it. I've never attempted to freeze cake. But brides freeze the tops of their wedding cakes, right?
Of course I Googled the tradition. A Washington Post story popped up with this headline: “Wedding cake, thawed for your anniversary: Should this tradition die?” Apparently the custom dates back to “when wedding cakes were liqueur-soaked fruitcakes, saved to celebrate the first child’s christening.”
It goes on to say that unless wrapped properly and stored in an airtight container, the cake won't taste like it did on the wedding day.
I froze the top of my wedding cake, but I ate it, by myself, a week later. I have no willpower when it comes to cake.
Anyway, I ate a third of the chocolate zucchini cake and froze the other 2/3, cut into pieces and tucked into an airtight container. I’ve been taking a piece now and then, letting it thaw, and warming it in the microwave before slathering on some of that dark chocolate shiny frosting. It’s just like new!
Then I go for a three-mile walk.
Oh my god there I go again. From good healthy chicken soup to chocolate cake with frosting.
Which reminds me – I was getting ready to go to Red’s celebration in Wiscasset yesterday. People were encouraged to wear red, so I got out a pair of red jeans that were a nice, comfortable fit a year ago. I couldn’t even pull them all the way up, never mind ZIPPING up. Ugh.
CHICKEN SOUP, SUZI. FOCUS!
I'm going to tell you how I make chicken soup. You can obviously do it any way you darn well please but this is a good basic recipe: First, please don’t start with a chicken carcass. I used to do that, and really, it’s just plain gross. Throwing an old dead chicken carcass into a pot of boiling water? Where do you think the term “witch’s brew” came from. It’s like boiling lobster shells, eyeballs and all, for a fish stock. Who wants to eat juice with the essence of lobster eyeballs in it? Not me, thanks.
So anyway. I start by cooking chicken breasts in some good chicken stock or broth. Let it simmer for a good hour to make the chicken tender. Take the chicken out, let it cool, then tear it up into pieces, and dump the stock into a bowl.
Sautee some onions (big chunks) and crushed garlic in olive oil. Then the veggies — whatever you have in the fridge. Yesterday I had carrots, cauliflower and rutabaga (which used to be turnip :-). And I had a bag of baby peas in the freezer. I had some ziti in the cupboard too.
So throw all the fresh veggies in the pot, stir it around for a few minutes to start cooking, making the end result a little sweeter. Boil the pasta in a separate pot. Then throw everythin together. Of course you can add more broth if you want soupier soup. Duh.
While it’s still hot throw in some frozen peas. They should stay a little crunchy and bright green. And there you have it: A pot full of chicken soup!
I just remembered Sue Mello sent me a link about a drink: “Death by manhattan.” I need to read that one.
Meanwhile, it’s 5:00.
See ya next week.