Since making soup is one of my very favorite activities, I invited my junior chefs Josiah and Alaena (8 and 6, respectively), over to make one of the newer soups on the blog, EASY CHICKEN- BLACK BEAN SOUP, featured here last March. While some soups and stews are made from scratch ingredients, there are just as many made with a few goodies found ready to go or leftover in your kitchen.
When it comes to Cinco de Mayo cooking, I’ve got these things going for me:
- I lived in way southern Texas (San Antonio) for four years. Hot is my only comment.
- Southern Colorado has been our home for most of twenty-two years.
- I’ve studied cooking more than a few times at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
- My late dear friend and brother-in-law, Alfred Barrionuevo, was from Mexico and began his professional career as a chef. If you were in the kitchen with him, he was the teacher, and he had extraordinary passion for his cooking. Not only that, his much-loved mother–fondly called “Abelita”–passed on her simplest and best “Mexican” rice recipe to my sister, who then gave it me –nothing written down, you know. My version is in this post.
I know. Chicken-Corn Chowder — the salty-cheesy kind with bacon and lots of soft potatoes– is what you’re thinking. I love that, too, and can remember the very first time I ate it in the kitchen of Woodlawn Planation. But this is a tad different and works to do that sad? but stupendous thing folks sometimes find so difficult–
use up the leftovers.
I don’t make Chicken-Tortilla Soup; I don’t know why. People like it; my husband likes it. Well, I think I did once make it now that I’m thinking of it. A favorite gloppy, flaccid and nondescript overly-seasoned offering in many inexpensive restaurants, I’ve never gotten my mind around it because you can’t tart up a poorly-made cheap soup with freshly made tortilla chips and a half-cup of Cheddar for gods’ sake. I know, I’m just being snarky and nit-picky. Squinting my eyes, pulling my mouth to one side, and making a nasty guttural noise here. So when I hit the pantry looking for something to round out a little “leftover” (an unfortunate adjective if there ever was one) rotisserie chicken for dinner, I made the soup you see above and immediately thought of it as:
Easy Chicken-Black Bean Soup.
There are times you only want some chicken and vegetables. Ask Ina Garten. This is for that day. Mid-December and a few too many goodies coming up next weekend, right? There are lots of things that are faster to cook than a whole roast chicken, but few that are tastier and more satisfying.
Now you and I know that there might not actually have been something called Basil-Bacon Salsa, but there is now. It could be mis-named, but it seems to work for gilding the lily of this tender, crisp, juicy simple grilled chicken. I occasionally do a sort of Italian salsa (generally called Raw Tomato Sauce) with just tomatoes, basil, and garlic or onion for a quick topping of meat, grilled bread, or pasta; this time I had bacon cooked and thought, “Why not?” Chicken and bacon are certainly compatible–and now “Basil-Bacon Salsa” is a thing around here.
Watch for upcoming kids’ recipes!
Earlier in the spring, my Facebook friend, cooking student, and More Time supporter/follower Emily Nolan and I talked a little about a summertime cooking class for her daughter Addie (below), who’s a girl very interested in food, nutrition, caring hospitality, and the cooking process itself.
In fact, Addie had attended one of my Healthy Living Cooking Classes at First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs, last year–something I hadn’t remembered! (By the way: Emily’s a an Online Health and Fitness Coach should you need one– pic below.)
I grew up eating fried chicken. My dad may have made the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Perhaps it wasn’t the best fried chicken on earth, but it’s best I’ve ever had and it was made in the largest, deepest cast iron skillet in the kitchen. (Someone in my family must have that pan?) So you know how we strain fat and refrigerate it (if we deep fry very often, which I don’t) for safety reasons? That never happened at my house. That fat went back into a (then) metal Crisco can and into the cupboard. Don’t try this now; Crisco cans are made of cardboard. Even bacon fat sat out. Mayonnaise, too. No joke. I don’t think we were ever ill either. Witness what Dave calls Alyce’s cast-iron stomach.