chicken soup from scratch(ish)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In my family (during the super fun vegan years), it was not uncommon to hear things like, "Did you eat a cold?" Instead of referring to a cold as a thing you'd "catch", it was attributed to toxins in the food you ate. Nowadays it's common knowledge that your diet has a huge bearing on your health but imagine being asked that as a 13-year-old with the sniffles in the late 80s. My brothers and I would roll our eyes at each other and then secretly I'd recount my last several meals and wonder what specific morsel did me in.  

The psycho thing was that eating "vegan" in our household included things like (my hand to God) frequenting the McDonald's drive-thru as a family and ordering a Big Mac without the meat or cheese. (That was a real treat, hearing your parents order that from the back seat and dying a little bit when they had to repeat themselves to the poor pimply teenager manning the window.)

And for us kids who were squeamish about most vegetables, being vegan in our house meant consuming staggering amounts of carbs. The tator-tots, the pasta, the toast! We had one nanny early on, Dora, who made us french fries from scratch. Every. Single. Day. And we ate them with buckets of ketchup. It's a wonder we're not obese.

It's no wonder, though, that we ate ourselves some colds.

If you can eat yourself a cold, then I think you can eat yourself out of one too. I swear this is true: pre-Thanksgiving, I came down with the sneaky beginnings of a post-nasal drip, immediately ate a big bowlful of this soup, slept nine hours, and the mother-effer was kicked to the curb! [knocking serious wood]

So if you reach into your purse looking for a pen and instead pull out a dusty, stray Sour Patch Kid*, maybe eat some of this soup for good measure.

*this may or may not have happened to me.

Chicken Soup From Scratch(ish)
yields about 4 quarts

There are definitely quicker methods to making a basic chicken soup but this is the best way I've found to create awesome depth of flavor without starting from total scratch. Plus you're getting a slew of nutrients from those root vegetables.

3 quarts Doctored Broth, recipe follows (this takes about an hour but is key to this soup's success!)
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 t thyme leaves
The meat from 1 cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded with fingers
1 smallish bunch kale, de-ribbed and chopped into large pieces
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper

Saute onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper for about 7 minutes, til soft. Add the Doctored Broth and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked, shredded chicken and kale and simmer for 10 minutes, until the kale is cooked. Add the parsley and check for seasoning.

Doctored Broth

1 cooked rotisserie chicken (ideally salt free)
2 quarts store-bought chicken stock (ideally low sodium & organic)
1 quart water
1 onion, quartered (leave the skin on)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 turnip, quartered
1 head garlic, cut across width-wise (leave the skin on)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf

Remove the meat from the cooked chicken, pull it apart with your fingers and set aside and refrigerate until ready to make the soup. Throw away all the creepy bits and place the bones and skin in a large stockpot. Add the chicken stock, water and all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour and then strain and discard the solids, saving the broth. At this point you can freeze it, refrigerate it up to 2 days or use immediately.

Happy Tuesday:)

roasted sweet potato fries

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

A handful of awesome things I'm thankful for this week:

1. Seeing people singing along, tapping their feet and quietly rocking out to "Man in the Mirror" at The grocery store. Hearing a doughy, glasses-wearing, middle-aged man in the condiment aisle mutter "Sha-mon" under his breath along with MJ? It doesn't get any better.

2. Witnessing a six-foot-tall black man with blonde pigtails, short jorts and moonboots strut his stuff on Sunset Boulevard. Okay, so maybe he was a strung-out hooker but he still had a cheerful spring in his step, God bless him (her?).

3. Taking part in this oddly fantastic interaction when a new Doctor's office called me to confirm an appointment:

Receptionist: "Hello, am I speaking to Miss Holly?"

Me: "Um...I'm sorry, who?"

Receptionist: "Miss Holly?"

Me: "Oh.  No.  This is Jolie."

Receptionist: "Miss Jolie?"

[long pause]

Me: "Yup. Miss Jolie."

4. Most importantly I'm so grateful for you lovely readers. I know most of you are good friends or family (Hi, Mom!), some of you are acquaintances and a few of you I've never even met. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this experience with me. I'm truly so appreciative. Life is whooshing by faster than ever and for you to spend some time in your busy day here warms my little heart.

Miss Jolie

P.S. Who says you can't have sweet potato fries for Thanksgiving?! Think about it. Dipping these puppies into some kind of gravy/cranberry situation? YUM. I'm all over it.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
serves 2

1 sweet potato
1t olive oil
1 1/2 t toasted spice rub* (see bottom of this post for the recipe and all the reasons you'll love it)

Preheat oven to 425. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into shard-sticks. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with the spice rub plus a bit extra salt. Toss with your hands to evenly distribute oil and seasoning. Make sure they are in a single layer (otherwise they'll steam and not get toasty and brown) and bake for 15 minutes without moving. This is key. After 15 minutes, flip/toss and roast another 5 minutes. Test for salt and then serve immediately while hot.

*if you want to make these sans spice rub, sprinkle them with salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (to taste) before roasting instead.

Other tasty Joeycake side ideas for Thanksgiving:


more RC craziness: P-Push it Real Good

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good Monday Morning, Delicious Readers!

For your viewing pleasure, #12!------------------------------------------->P-Push it Real Good



P.S.  Episodes 1-11 are linked on the right side of this page over there---------------------->

scenes from a bulletin board

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear "Breeder",

How about you take the $600 from this "sale" and invest in some punctuation and flyer layout/design classes?


spicy carrot soup

Friday, November 18, 2011

Last night for dinner DP and I were slurping this soup while the following conversation unfolded:

Me: "I don't know how the hell I'm gonna photograph this tomorrow. Soup's hard."

DP: [sucking air through closed teeth] "Yeah...[slow wicked chuckle].....good luck with that."

Me: "Thanks for nothing."

DP: "Well? It's probably just gonna look like an orange puddle."

Me: [showing him my soup with the greek yogurt mixed in] "How does this look?" 

DP: "Gross. There's like yogurty white spots throughout. I think you need to do some kind of fancy spiral deal like in restaurants."

Me: "You mean restaurants in the 80s? Hey, the 80s just called--they want their swirly soup garnish back."

DP: "Easy."

Me: "Well, that's what they say on Top Chef!"

DP: "How about a clean dollop?"

Me: "I tried that this afternoon and it just sank. My dollop was more like a blob than a dollop."

DP: "Hmm."

[long beat]

DP: "Will you hand me the remote?"

After that underwhelming interaction I turned to Google, Knower Of All Things. 

[Side note: I spent a full 90 seconds today in utter awe consciously grasping the fact that pretty much everything we want to know about anything is available to us at any hour in only a few seconds. And we kinda take it for granted. Crazy, right? What did we do before this?!] 

10 seconds and 2 clicks later I was reading a guy's blog on food photography. Specifically, how to light and photograph different types of soup--broth-y, creamy, chunky, smooth. It was there that I found this delicious quote:

"Soup that doesn't have much in the way of protrusions, is tough to make interesting."  (I left the uncomfortable and unnecessary comma in there just like he had it.)

Personally, I don't want anything protruding out of my soup. Ever. 

But that's, just me.*

*see what I did there? 

Since this soup is fresh out of protrusions, here's how I made its photo interesting:  I made sure I appeared upside-down in the spoon, yo!

It's not as exciting as a protrusion, but it'll do.

Spicy Carrot Soup
adapted from Epicurious

1/2 stick butter
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into approx. 1/2" dice
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1T toasted spice rub, recipe follows
juice from 1/2 lemon
2T honey (eyeball it)
1/2 cup greek yogurt for serving
salt to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 7 minutes.  Add the carrots and saute another 5 minutes. Stir in the spice rub, allow it to warm through and then add the stock and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Remove from heat. Carefully blend with an immersion blender thoroughly or transfer to a real blender and puree [we just got this one and it is amazing for soups!]. Stir in the lemon juice and honey and taste before adding additional salt. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.

Toasted Spice Rub
recipe from Michael Chiarello

I know what you're thinking: Crap, I have to make my own SPICE RUB!? I'm telling you, though--it is so easy and SO worth it. This stuff is like autumnal crack. Seriously. It is SO good in soups and on roasted meat or vegetables. Sometimes I just halve the recipe because it makes a lot. Here's the recipe-in-full:

1/4 cup fennel seeds
1T coriander seeds
1T peppercorns
1 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chili powder
2T kosher salt
2T ground cinnamon

Toast the fennel seeds, coriander and peppercorns in a saute pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes and toss constantly, under the fan, for 30 seconds. Immediately turn the spices out onto a plate to cool. Blend in a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) until evenly ground and then mix with the chili powder, salt and cinnamon.

If this sounds too ambitious, you can buy it here.

P.S. Here's another use for this spice mix! YUM! Totally making those today.

Happy Friday!

cool stuff vol. 6

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good morning, Lovelies!

Thanks for all the Runyon Canyon love. I'm so grateful. It gives me So Much Joy to make people laugh. So thanks for getting a giggle and passing them on:)

Here are some funny/cool/awesomely disturbing things from around the web:

make the coolest rope bracelet out of a J. Crew bag handle.

A Shakespearean Insult Kit.

Make two different kinds of pie in one dish!

And then learn these cool decorative piecrust edges!

Women laughing alone with salad.

An entire Thanksgiving dinner in just one gaggy slice.

25 ways to wear a scarf!

I'm gonna have nightmares from this.

Hope you have the best Wednesday!

more RC craziness: Up in Arms

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Monday!

For your viewing pleasure, #11!-------------------------------------------> Up in Arms

#s 1-10 are linked on the right side of the blog, over there-------------------------->

Hope you have a fantastic day:)

fully expressed

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Among all the green that remains year round in Southern California, there's one fiery tree at the end of my street and I look forward to its colors all year. I think it was at its perfect peak right when I snapped this shot tonight and for the first time it occurred to me:

It is so fully being its fiery tree self, without boasting and without apology. And also not wasting any time being something it's not. It just fully expresses and then lets go without attachment.

We should all be so inclined.


granola goodness

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Several years ago, on a trip across Spain with DP and family, we consumed so much cured jamon, manchego and tempranillo that halfway through the vacation, our tongues became achy and raw. That didn't stop me. I just  curled the inflamed tip down behind my bottom teeth and forced the rich, salty food and booze to the back of my maw where my taste buds were less traumatized.  

My tongue has that same Spanish feeling lately. And (curses!) I can't blame it on a European vacation, the best (and most universally recognized) reason for overeating.  

This time of year rolls around and I have such a hard time knowing when to say when. Actually, scratch that. I know when to say when, I just don't want to say when. Especially when it begins to get dark at 3 o'clock. I just want to get cozy on the couch with a glass of wine. So it starts there, somewhat innocently (Just a glass of wine!) But as Everyone's been telling us for years, drinking just dulls our judgement and lures us into eating. My personal gateway-drug is cheese (Wouldn't a nice aged Gouda be perfect with this Syrah?!)  

Here is my continuing inner monologue:

What do you know! How fortuitous that this red anjou pear that's been ripening all week on my counter has reached its delicious and juicy prime! It's the perfect gouda accompaniment! And slurping a few of these salami slices will only balance my blood sugar with the added protein! Awesome! I wish I had an extra hand to carry all this to the couch in one trip!

About this time there is most certainly some variety of rationalization involving the season (Autumn!) including maybe a New-Age-y vernal equinox notion of turning inward and becoming more reflective as daylight contracts. What, I ask you, doesn't make one more self-reflective if not drinking alone? And then adding cheese and meat to that libation? See? These extra calories are only assissting me in leaning into the season, learning about my deep self, giving over to the encroaching vernal equinox for God's sake.

2.5 glasses of wine and a sore tonuge later, DP comes home and then we officially eat. I thereby proceed (damn you, dulled judgement!) to go toe-to-toe with him, consuming a man's portion that most likely includes some carbohydrate that we vowed 12 hours ago was dead to us.


This needs to stop.  

I'm turning over a new leaf with healthy granola.

Ok, ok, I know it has tons of fat and calories what with the nuts and coconut, etc.. but it's time to turn inward! Vernal equinox!

Go with it.

And actually, if you eat it with probiotic-rich yogurt it's healthy, healthy, healthy! And don't those same people who tell us drinking leads to weak scruples also tell us eating a decent breakfast will pave the way for smart food choices all day?  

Go with it.

Seriously, though, this granola recipe is one of my most favorite and trusty recipes. It's toasty and maple-y and nutty and cinnamon-y and it smells SO GOOD while it's cooking. It makes the most satisfying and yummy breakfast ever.

Or try it with a glass of Syrah. And maybe a nice aged Gouda.

Jolie's Granola
makes about 7 cups

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup raw pecan pieces
2/3 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 t cinnamon
2 T canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 to 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you'd rather)

Preheat oven to 275.  In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, coconut and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, syrup and honey and warm until liquified and combined.  Pour the warm mixture over the oats and nuts and mix thoroughly.  Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60-75 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes or so, until the granola is a toasty golden brown.  After it's cooled completely, add the cranberries and stir.

Happy Weekend:)

scenes from Aaron Brothers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear Aaron Brothers,


Maybe stick to framing.


CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan