A blazing sun shines brigtly through the curtains, neighbors greet each other as they put their finishing touches on their Christmas lights, children race to their homes to catch a glimpse of their Christmas presents...a beautiful vision, stifled by my non-stop sneezing and sniffling. A miserable Christmas day ensued for me, that I was sure of. After 4 hopeless days of lying on the couch with my husband I craved homemade soup. Unfortunately, due to our contagious colds my husband and I were quarantined in the house, completely out of touch with anyone who could bring us homemade comfort food. We suffered with take out food...ok suffered is a bit dramatic...settled is more like it...oh who I am kidding! We relished each bit of sushi, pizza, gyros, burgers...that is until the fourth day...by the fourth day I was done. I wanted...I DEMANDED homemade food. I nudged my husband and looked as pitiful as possible...useless I thought...he does not know how to make comfort food...So we sat on the couch and continued to pig out on the last bits and bites of pizza and found comfort only in Afrin.
By the fifth day of laying on the couch, I had somehow gotten some energy back and decided that my body needed soup...chicken soup cures all sniffles. I needed chicken soup...chicken soup with a kick. All ethnicity have their version of a chicken soup, I am personally a huge fan of this one. It's simple and has a great kick that will blow through any sniffles. Two bowls of soup and one box of tissues later, I felt renewed. I walked away from my stove feeling a lot better and a little bit prouder...sniffle, sniffle, sniffle.
Caldo de Pollo...My Way
1.5 Pounds of Chicken Drum Sticks 5 Carrots, Sliced into Half-Moons 1/2 Large Onion, Diced 3 Stalks Celery, Sliced 5 Garlic Cloves, Minced 1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Diced 3 Large Red Potatoes, Diced 1 Bunch of Cilantro, Roughly Chopped 4 Knorr's Caldo de Pollo Cubes *This is the secret to this soup. Every Mexican woman who I had worked with, told me that every good Mexican housewife keeps this in the back of her cupboard as her secret weapon. Be careful it they are high in sodium so make sure to taste the soup to ensure that it's not getting too salty* 1 Tsp Better Than Bouillion 1 Tsp Turmeric *This is MY secret weapon...it gives the soup a healthy yellow color without much flavor. People will think your soup was cooking for days after they see the gorgeous golden color.* 4 Whole Wheat Tortillas Olive Oil for Brushing or A Misto Spray 8 cups Water
1. Place chicken into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower to a slow simmer. Skim off all the skum off the top.
2. Once the soup is clear, add in all the vegetables and flavorings; everything except the cilantro, that comes into play later. Turn the soup down to a medium low and let it simmer, very, very gently. Taste the soup for proper flavor as it cooks and adjust as see fit. Simmer, for about 45 minutes or until desired flavor is achieved. 3. Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. 4. Place the tortilla rounds on a sheet pan. With a pastry brush, rub some olive oil onto them. 5. Place in the oven until golden brown and crispy.
6. Garnish soup with chopped cilantro. Serve soup with tortilla toasts, avocado, limes and diced fresh onion. Slurp. Enjoy. Repeat.
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black