March 6, 2009

guest blogger: chicken soup with lovely lula

it's a first for papermoon! a guest blogger: miss becca mae of lovely lula.

becca and i met as art buddies during my long lost college years (ha) and have enjoyed brunching our way through our mutual unemployment ever since.

topic of the day? chicken soup! here's becca!

Well I'm thrilled that we're doing our first official "guest blogging" piece.

A few nights prior I'd tossed together a little homemade chicken soup for one at home, using egg noodles, and some pan fried chicken. It wasn't just right; the chicken was a little too chewy, but I could tell this hearty meal had a lot of potential. When Sarah and I got together that week for dinner, we gave this homemade chicken noodle soup another go, this time with two chefs in the kitchen.

This lovely dinner happened back in March before Lent began,
so I won't lie to you and say those lovely sparkling beverages are just tonic water.

Sarah worked on the chicken, since I wasn't too pleased with my first try. I don't consider protein to be my specialty. And Sarah made the most incredible, soft, tender, lemony, herbalicious chicken I've ever tasted. It was perfect for soup. It was perfection all by itself! SO delicious.

* a side note from me: my chicken tactics
  1. cut your chicken up into soup-able pieces, salt and pepper them and add plenty of herbs de provence. (i add a lot of extra rosemary to mine whenever i have it around). i also added a bit of sage to this particular chicken. i am an herboholic.
  2. make a country dijon vinaigrette--for the acid, use one part white wine vinegar and one part lemon juice
  3. put that chicken in the dressing and let it hang out.
  4. when it comes time to pan cook chicken, i am all about medium heat. i object highly to putting down those little pieces and then flipping them over. i let them all sit until they are all basically visually cooked-looking, then turn over for the other side. dried out chicken is disgusting. medium heat! just cut the biggest piece down the middle to check for any pink before you turn off the stove and proceed.
back to becca!

I got busy chopping up the vegetables:
Yellow Pepper
(I'm not big on portions, numbers, that sort of thing... I usually just sort of judge by how much seems to be proportional to the meal size. But I believe we used... two cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1 pepper, a handful of baby carrots, and a handful of parsley, if you were curious.)

They looked so pretty in Sarah's tiffin box containers. How convenient to have such a pretty, stacking set!

Cooking was pretty easy, but I just can't bring myself to pretend I'm a "food" blogger.
If you want a good food blog, check Lottie + Doof or Smitten Kitchen!

But anyway.... olive oil in the pan, medium heat, heat oil, add garlic until its just about to brown, toss in onions and carrots. Thank heavens Sarah suggested the carrots to cool the garlic, because I was about to burn it. If you've ever accidentally over browned your garlic, its not a disaster, but when you are enjoying your soup, you might bite down on something chewy and be confused about when you added peanuts to your soup, and why they taste like burned garlic. What I'm saying is, they get crunchy. Not good. Anyway, thanks to some cold, crispy carrots, no garlic was burnt!

Next, broth. We used vegetable broth--no need for any extra chicken-ness with our delicious recipe.

Toss in the peppers, add the chicken, and I add even more herbs, because... its hard to go wrong with fresh ground herbs, and a good pinch or two of pepper.

Now this is important... Egg noodles are delicious, but NOT if they are over cooked... they get pasty, and fall apart, and then you'd have Chicken Mush Soup, which is a texture disaster - never okay with me.
We tossed the parsley and the noodles in to boil for about 5 minutes, and it was perfection!

A peppery bowl of soup, some paintings, and a few Audrey Tautou movies later, and we were ready for dessert.

I got the recipe for the mango, ricotta and lime parfaits from Food Everyday by Martha Stewart.
Its lime juice, lime zest, mango, and sugar combined together and poured over ricotta cheese.
We may have been a little overzealous with the bourbon-enhanced whipped cream on top, which I could eat alone as a meal it's so good.

All in all, it was a lovely evening and an incredible meal, and in the end we learned a very important lesson, blue paint tastes the best.

what can i say... former art majors can't resist tasting the watercolors every once in a while.


1 comment:

Stuart Dummit said...

oh yes! Chicken Soup for the artistically unemployed. Since I will be facing the unemployed part soon, I'm returning to my artistic roots full time. The chicken soup will, no doubt, help me along the way. Cheers!