While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???Continue reading
On the first Friday of each month, I blog Ina Garten recipes with a fine group of writer-cooks. Scroll down to the bottom for links to the other posts and come back the next two months for November desserts and December appetizers.
I’m thrilled to eat Chicken Noodle Soup nearly anytime. Ask Dave. I’ll eat it even if he makes it and Dave doesn’t usually make soup. How about you? Is there anything better when you’re hungry or don’t feel well? It’s a whole meal in a bowl and I often add extra vegetables to add taste, nutrition, and fiber. I don’t mind eating it a couple days in a row or for lunches for several. I’m ecstatic if I look in the freezer and see a container waiting for me when I’m wondering what’s for dinner. Does chicken soup really increase health? I don’t know for sure, but I know I’m happier and feel better when I’ve had a big bowl.
The 12th-century Jewish physician, Maimonides, started the chicken soup-as-medicine trend when, in his book, On the Cause of Symptoms, he recommended the broth of hens and other fowl to “neutralize body constitution.” According to Maimonides, boiled chicken soup also played a role in curing leprosy and asthma, and–as a Jewish grandmother might put it–“putting some meat on your bones.”
In Jewish Food: The World at Table, Matthew Goodman reports on a 1978 study conducted at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach that confirmed at least part of Maimonides’ prescription: “chicken soup proved more effective than simple hot or cold water in clearing congested nasal passages.”
courtesy My Jewish Learning
I made this big pot of goodness when our kids and grandkids were coming down to visit earlier this week after the sudden loss of our sweet golden retriever, Miss Gab. (Click for the sad tale.) This comforting potion was justly the first real meal cooked in our new kitchen, which is almost done now. (Phewee –I include a few more photos interspersed throughout the post.) Continue reading
I have no idea what you’d do without carrots. I think I just couldn’t cook without them.
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, “Oh, I love carrots,” but there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t buy them. I can’t imagine my crisper without carrots. But I don’t think I ever thought much about them before.
Two carrot stories come to mind…after this gorgeous salad:
|Moroccan Carrot Salad|
We were camping in Texas once where we spent long days tubing on the Guadalupe River. (Folks floated by with six-packs tied to their inner tubes.) It was so hot the ice was a constant puddle in the coolers and we worried about our food. (Why didn’t I sell ice in south Texas? Once again I had chosen the wrong profession.) Insert bad language; there were six of us to feed three times a day for a week. One poor woman stopped to say only one thing to me, “Even my carrots rotted today.” I knew how she felt; I was down to cabbage, potatoes, and onions, though I always have cans in the back of the van. If your carrots betray you, you’re in trouble. She was heartbroken and I understood why.
And the other story….
Once, when I’d been on Weight Watchers forever, Dave said,
I liked you a lot better when carrots were no points.
You see, carrots, along with all the other vegetables in the world, were FREE–point-wise, that is. Until one year, somebody smartened up and figured out they had a little sugar. Wowee-zowee; they were then 1 point. Broke my heart. (Since then, a WW friend reports carrots are once more free. I’m breathing a bit easier though I simply use myfitnesspal.com to track my weight and exercise now. Love that site and there’s an app for it.)
|Took this at Pike Place Market. Gorgeous sentiment, “Carrots on-the-loose.”|
Carrots make nearly everything taste better. Without them, how could you make soup? If you skip them and just add the onions and celery to flavor the broth, it’s just not the same. What about stew? Roast chicken with vegetables? Salad? Veggie tray? Pot Roast? Carrot cake?
|I make carrot cake cupcakes at Easter; recipe here. It’s for the sheetcake, but works just the same.|
|Alyce’s Egg Salad?|
|Split Pea Soup for One?|
|Pasta out of the Frig and Pantry??|
|Could you bring potato salad?|
|Make your own Chicken Noodle Soup from scratch?
Chicken Noodle Soup in Under an Hour (above) has morphed into a soup with a 30 minute finishing time for cookbook I’m working on…It works. Just wait and see how.
Unless you have spent a lot of time thinking about it, you’ve just realized the cooking world
would be a very different place without carrots. (One note: if you like them in spaghetti sauce or marinara, be careful; too many and you’ve ruined it. I sometimes like just a bit of carrot in my marinara.) Naturally, they’re good for you. Didn’t your mother tell you to eat your carrots so you could see better? A deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness, according to several sources, but it doesn’t appear carrots truly help you see better.
Did I mention they keep a good long while? How long?
2-3 weeks fresh in the refrigerator
12-18 months blanched and stored well-wrapped in the freezer
Read a poem about a pea who wants to be a carrot here.
National Carrot Day? February 3, naturally.
38 Power Foods is a group effort! Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available.
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Anabanana – adobodownunder.blogspot.com
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved. If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
|Our eastern view the morning after the big rain storm. Roads washed out and a bridge collapsed.|
|My temp office to write the book. I love being alone to write. We moved out the bedroom furniture to give me space.|
|One of two soups I worked on this week: Alyce’s Spicy Cucumber-Feta photographed in my tiny herb garden.|
|How quickly can you say Chicken and Noodles?|
|Male downy woodpecker eats fast. The female eats here, too. Not at the same time.|
|Birds were smart. They went from the tree to the feeder and back. Period.|
|Temp furniture bought for a song. Ours will arrive in two months after the snow melts. Argh.|
In a 3-4 qt heavy saucepan or small stockpot, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat and add chicken that you’ve salted and peppered well. Add vegetables, herbs, and spices. Let brown well 5-7 minutes; turn, stir, and let brown another 5 minutes.
Add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat about 30 minutes.
Meantime, follow package directions and cook 6 oz frozen egg noodles in a separate pot for 20 minutes, adding frozen peas last 3 minutes.
Strain noodles and peas; add to chicken mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot. For a more chicken and dumplings feel, add 1/2 cup milk to the pot when you add the noodles and peas.
I’m reading… Books on Minnesota (duh), The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles, Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler. I just bought Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Rikki Carroll and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon but I haven’t started them. I’ve promised my Colorado Springs book club I’d read THE CURIOUS INCIDENT…by next Wed. Time to get going. By the way, Sara Miles book is life-changing and GOAT SONG is one of the most lovingly-written books of the decade. Where did he learn to write like that?
On Minnesota Public Radio this morning: We would need $21 million to feed the hungry in Minnesota; that would be for 8 billion meals.
Sing a new song,