Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicken Soup

I am certain all of us know that chicken soup absolutely does have some therapeutic merit, and for many it is the "go-to" meal when fighting a cold or cough. I can honestly say that since having children I probably make this favorite thing of mine, my husbands and theirs rain or shine, cold or cough, day or night.

For me the soup is so much more then a cold remedy. Chicken soup takes me to a place of comfort, makes me think of my grandmother whom I adore and basically relaxes me, and all those whom I make it for.

Over the years I have perfected my version of this warm soothing and very easy to make comfort food, and my husband has called me "the queen of chicken soup" several times. This is a very big compliment and honor but I highly doubt I am the queen. Princess maybe, but definitely not a queen. I'd like to leave all chicken soup related praise to grandmothers through out the world.

I am making some now since my four year old has a cough, and although I am sad that she's coughing the smell of the soup seems to be lifting all our spirits. The pleasant aroma has now filled my entire kitchen and living room and I cannot wait until my husband comes home and smells it. His face will light up since its the perfect meal at the end of a long day.

So chicken soup. Sounds simple right? What could be so special about it. Well for me there are several things that need to be perfect with the chicken soup I eat or make. The broth needs to be clear and perfectly golden, the chicken (preferably 2 breasts bone in, 1 leg and 2 wings-this makes the best broth EVER) needs to be cooked through, juicy, and falling off the bones. The onion must be pulled out before serving, and lastly tons of fresh dill is a must when the soup has finished cooking. Also, I leave the cooked celery for my hubby who loves to eat that part of the soup as well. I think if he could he'd eat the plate and spoon too. Personally cannot skip the dill and have converted many over the years to eat their soup with this eastern European twist as well.

Sounds simple yes? But the simplicity is what makes it so delicious. The clear broth is so full of unpretentious yet complex flavors layered with memories of comfort and ease. The juiciness of the chicken, sweetness of the carrots combined with the mild tanginess of the dill is simply perfect. Smelling it now and can't wait to eat it and see my kids relax as they eat it as well. Or could it just be that they've had a long day and are now sleepy and tired? NEH, I think its the soup.

My Soup
Alina's chicken soup-"BULLION" as Russians call it ;)
2 chicken breasts, bone-in, 1 large chicken leg with thigh attached, 2 chicken wings, 1 large onion with lightest brown layer of skin left on, 2-3 large whole carrots, 3 celery stalks with leaves attached cut to fit into pot, kosher salt, fresh dill roughly chopped, LOVE

In a large pot cover the chicken pieces, onion, carrots, celery with ice cold water to the top.
Bring to a boil, skim off any impurities that rise to the top.Drop the heat to a simmer with lid partially open, salt to taste. Leave at a very low, slow, simmer for a minimum of 2 hrs, longer if possible until the meat is so tender its falling off the bones when touched with a fork. Pull out the onion and add lot's of fresh dill. Enjoy!

Dill is a must!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Sunday

Its Oscar Sunday....and although I am excited to see the 2011 red carpet celebrity fashions, I am WAY more excited about the after parties particularly what they will be eating!
Now that our favorite celebrities can eat (since the golden statues have been handed out the need to deprive in preparation for the big day is no longer) what are they going to scarf down?

Let's talk about the governors ball. One of the biggest Oscar After parities. Last night I dreamt (I can only dream of such a thing) that I was invited. Oh boy, what I would do to go...and its not that I have some star stricken desire to mingle with Hollywood celebrities, that is not it at all. I want to see what they eat! I want to see what is worthy of being served at these parties.
Year after year chef Wolfgang Puck is the "chosen one" for this HUGE event, 17 years in a row to be exact.

I hear hand passed hour devours and reception stations will consist of everything from sushi, sashimi and shellfish to mini Kobe beef cheeseburgers with remoulade and aged cheddar and OMG black truffle pizza with ricotta and thyme...and drum rolllllll crispy rice with Hamachi. Do you see why I dreamt I was invited? I wanted to be in the same room as the Hamachi, the young Japanese yellowtail used primarily for sushi and sashimi and at times grilled for a shioyaki (a "salt grilled" method of cooking poultry or fish over very hot coals). OK hot coals, perfectly tender grilled hamachi, why are we not eating this right now?

Moving on from the appetizers, although its hard for me to move past anything that contains truffle and ricotta especially in one concoction, I have no choice as I am salivating for the main course of course.

I hear a trio of Mr. Puck's signature salads will be served ...OK I see..we're opening up the palate a little, but I am ready for the big stuff. I can however wait a little longer as I hear the salads are colorful, tangy, sweet, savory, perfectly balanced beautiful little works of art!

I am too hungry at this point to go into great detail, but I will say that amongst some of the ingredients in the "Wolfgang salad trio" are heirloom beets with goat cheese and citrus shallot vinaigrette, and asparagus with black truffle aioli (AGAIN-ITS KILLING ME) and mizuna leaves...I can only imagine the combination of these flavors with mizuna's slightly spicy and mildly peppery unique flavor! OK , palate is ready for entree!

I get to choose between pan roasted Dover sole with fennel, olives, haricot vertes, tomatoes, lemon, sherry and olive oil OR a vegetarian paella with saffron, white whine, chili and parsley! I will take both please!

Ouch, so here is the part I wake up and realize I did not go to the Governors ball 2011 Oscar after party, Hamachi and I did not spend the entire appetizer course together, nor did my ricotta and truffle pizza melt perfectly in my mouth bite after delicious bite.

However I am pleased I know what will be served, and am now free to plan my next dinner out with my wonderful husband as a salivate and slowly recover from my Oscar dream. I may just have to scope out this truffle ricotta pizza deal or I may opt for the hamachi, OR BOTH! For now I am off to watch the oscars as the red carpet arrivals are under way. My husband is stepping out to pick up something yummy for us, as I refuse to cook tonight and am on strike for not going to the governor's ball! Yes, he's going to get pick up as we are not in a "delivery mood" on Oscar Sunday, pick up is fancier!

First "official" Post

OUCH I haven't written since 2009, but I am back and ready to share! This post is the start of something new. Stay tuned for my thoughts, passions, adventures and stories about ALL that is food and my excursions IN and THROUGH food .
Since my first and only post about sushi I have been quietly eating, living, cooking, raising my 2 beautiful kids, and experiencing life with my husband.
I started my blog to share my passions with all of you and am now more then ever I am ready and determined to do so.
Obviously I love food. I love all that is food, its colors, tastes, smells, and all that it means. For I live through food. Food for me represents new territories, adventures, pleasantly familiar and excitingly unfamiliar things. I longe to share with others ANYTIME I experience something wonderful through food and that is why I started this blog.
I hope you follow my passions and adventures, starting today. We will travel, explore, investigate and ofcourse EAT!