A potion to stave off the wolf

Or, a chicken soup recipe for when you have a cold. 

At the request of my good friend Nate. This recipe uses the “entire chicken,” and there is something about the restorative powers of using this whole of the bird to bring yourself back. 

I’ve attempted this recipe a few times, sometimes when I shouldn’t have, for example, when I had wrapped myself in a blanket while cooking, and nearly lit my sleeve, and therefore myself, in flames—so, yeah, don’t wrap yourself in a blanket while you do this. 

Stock ingredients:

  • Whole chicken, preferably as natural and free of a life as possible. Definitely no injected bullshit in there. 
  • 2 “normal sized” carrots, peeled and chopped into a few large pieces. 
  • A big onion, cut into quarters or eighths. (Leave brown skin on, just cut away the ‘gross part’). 
  • A leak or 2 celery stalks, or some fennel, really whatever you got, or none is fine too, roughly chopped (make sure you clean that leak though, google it to figure it out). 
  • Black pepper corns.
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed, skin on. 
  • 2 bay leaves. 
  • 1 table-spoon tomato paste. 
  • 10 Thyme sprigs.
  • Big handful parsley. 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (and more to taste). 

Finishing The Soup:

  • 1 Carrot, peeled, finely chopped. (these will be in the soup, so cut ‘em up pretty). 
  • Pasta, macaroni or shells, or whatever you have laying around. Broken up spaghetti if you want. 
  • The reserved chicken from the stock, roughly chopped, 

Put the whole chicken in your large stock pot. Fill it so taht there is about 2 inches of water over the bird. Put it on high heat, and wait till it just become a boil. Put it on low simmer, for about 45 minutes.

Skim the broth! The lower the simmer, the less agitation, and therefore the less amount of skummy junk floats to the top. But literally the whole time, you should be skimming off the fat, and the weird bubbly junk. Get rid of it!

At the 45 minute mark, pull out the bird. And turn off the heat. Now is a great time to get rid of all that fat that is floating around, since there is nothing else left. Skim it off with a ladle, and don’t freak out if you get rid of a little broth here and there. 

With a set of kitchen tongs, you should be able to peel off the skin. if the chicken is too hot, let it chill (literally—zing!) for a few minutes. Toss the skin or save it for some crazy peasant recipe (it’s pretty gnarly at this point, have no shame in tossing it). The pull off the breast meat, as best you can. Pull off the thigh and drumstick meat as well. It should come off pretty easily with the tongs. Reserve all the meat. Anything that has a lot of gristle or gunk, toss it back in the broth, this is the good stuff!

Toss the bones and carcass remnants back into the broth. Bring it back up to just before the boil, then put it on a low simmer, and let it cook for 4-5 hours. Every so often stir and skim. Replenish the water from time to time, keep about a 2 inch buffer. The longer it cooks, the more gelatin will dissolve into the broth. Aka, the mightier the strength of the potion. 

If you really want the most potent of potions, start this whole process around 5PM or so, so that around 10 PM, you turn off the broth and let it sit overnight, and then finish it in the morning. If you don’t have time for that, it’s fine, it’ll still kick the shit out of any store bought crap you can find. 

If you’ve let it sit overnight, bring it to a boil and then immediately back to the low simmer. (Or at the 4 hour mark, if you don’t let it sit over night), add all the veg and spices. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Any longer, and the veggies will start robbing the broth of it’s flavor. 

Strain the whole thing through a sieve, at least 3 or 4 times. At this point you have the stock. You can correct the seasoning to your taste, but you may want to wait until you finish the whole soup. You can stick this in the fridge for a few days, or just go ahead an finish. 

To finish, bring back to a simmer, pop in the chopped carrots, pasta, reserved chicken meat, or anything else you like in your soup. You will probably want to go easy on the meat, maybe save some for a sandwich or something. Let it simmer about 10-15 mins till the pasta is tender, and serve. I added a little freshly chopped chives to the bowls.

A short list of Don’ts for Food Shows

Partially inspired by Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Things you should always avoid:

  • Close ups of man-lips eating anything. 
  • Close ups of fingers touching greasy food (ie. Fried chicken). 
  • Saying the word “crunch” more than once per food experience. 
  • Overdoing the description of the moment of bliss. Tell me about the food, get me there, fine, say the word “crunch,” add in a little bit of, “moist,” “perfect,” make your food orgasm face, insert some B roll of the place and dish you are talking about, and get the Fuck out. If, in your description, you’ve already “taken a bite,” you’ve gone too far. 

Tags: food network

Gah—Foodnerd Moment

This morning, my birthday present from my parents arrived in the mail. It was a Japanese Coffee Syphon [sic]. I realize I’ve reached some high rank of food-dick when I now have TWO ways to make coffee in my home, and neither of them involve putting the coffee and water in the machine and pushing the on button. 

The basic idea behind this one is actually really simple, despite the home-meth-lab look to the device. You put ground coffee in the top part, and water in the bottom part (which I will refer to as the “glass bulb,” over and over again). You then put this totally awesome butane burner underneath the bottom glass bulb, which boils the water. The water goes up the glass tube into the top part and mixes with the coffee. You then mix the coffee and water gently with the very Japanese bamboo paddle, and remove the heat. Within about 20-30 seconds the glass bulb cools, creating a vacuum, and pulls the brewed coffee back into the glass bulb through the filter. The grounds up on top are left nearly dry. And you have really poncy bourgeois coffee in your glass blub, ready to be poured into your morning cup. It’s so god-damn cool!

And now, my favorite moment in while: The one thing my siphon did not arrive with was butane, so I left my house at about 8AM, in search of it from the local hardware store. The first place I tried, was reasonably busy, full of customers. When I asked the guy if they had butane, he goes, “nah. Propane.” I go, “Okay.” He goes, “What do you need it for.” I hesitate for a moment and say something like, “a kitchen burner,” and pantomime my little busnon burner style burner. Then I do what I shouldn’t have. I say, “Do you know anywhere in the neighborhood that might have it?” Because this prompts the other customers to get involved. They start saying something like, “propane is fine, its met-gas [not sure if that’s what he really said], it’s all the same.” And he goes, “naw, he needs if for a cream brulay thing.” And he looks at me, and goes, “like for a cream brulay thing, right?” And I really wanted to be like, “NO!” Because, ahem, this is for a coffee siphon, NOT a bourgeois boring, creme brule desert that’s, um, so, old, GOD! But, really, my only choice was to say, “Yeah, kind of.” 

They had it at the next place I tried, and they didn’t ask my what I needed it for. 

The coffee was fantastic. 

made me laugh IRL

made me laugh IRL

(via jeffscherer)

Microwave Dinner Party

Microwave sponge cake.

With me, I realize, food comes in trends. I find a new obsession, which I’ll consume and inevitably burn out on. (And if it really was a worthy pursuit, it’ll slowly return). I’ve recently been busier than ever(look ma, we’re in the NYTimes!), and as a result have been obsessed with efficiency of cooking. It goes without saying that takeout everyday is bad for the wallet and the constitution—ergo, alack and alas, there’s been a budding thesis somewhere in my recent hurried sessions to market and kitchen—a kind of food that I should be eating on the hum-drum, just got home from work, everyday kind of way.  

My thesis is such: the food has to be honest food, and food that is tasty, fun, and still exciting to eat. It also has to be everyday sustenance food—stuff that builds energy and health (sorry short ribs and pork belly, you’re not an everyday food for me). The key, though, is that it should strike some balance between convenience and low impact. Equal servants to the gods of local, sustainable,  modern, technological, and, I’m so tired from working all day, I just want to eat something already. 

There are two things that have wormed their way into my mind. First the freezer. Whether or not it’s full, It sits there on, 24/7, 365 days a year. (The ConEd subway ads also echo in my head, I believe a full freezer is a more efficient freezer—and when I think about how a dense cast iron pan retains more heat, it makes sense). Second, the microwave—a real untapped resource. When the two are used correctly, it can greatly speed up the preparation of great food, minimize cleaning, and allow me to actually use fresh ingredients.

I am not talking about frozen prepared dinners (stuff like amy’s is great in a pinch, but again, not the every day option). I’m talking about steaming some fresh brocoli in the microwave, mixing that with some chopped pickled chilis I made over the weekend, tossed with some leftover grain, a can of legumes, and some don’t-fuck-with-me-this-is-good vinaigrette. Like 20 minutes to hot delicious dinner. 

So naturally I began my newly rabbled foray into simple microwave preparations with with a recipe I found in the current issue of Lucky Peach—something that requires five different individually prepared components, a whip cream siphon (the thing you charge with nitrous canisters), and a metric scale. But I DID make sponge cake in the microwave in 30 seconds. If you leave out the part that it took over an hour (and three seperate attempts) to make all the individual compents. And naturally I couldn’t help myself, and turned it into a “make your own dessert,” at a recent dinner party. I wouldn’t call it a failure, and I wouldn’t call it a success. That I got distracted and sprayed myself and two of my friends in the hair, face, and nice clothes with whip cream, well that make it all the worthwhile. Stay tuned for my adaptation of the microwave strawberry short-nerd-cake. 

Siphon coffee japaneese style

Apple honey challah, recipe from smitten kitchen. First time braiding bread!

Apple honey challah, recipe from smitten kitchen. First time braiding bread!

Street veg from a Hallal cart. —

It was for sure oversalted, but the texture of the chickpeas was thought worthy. They were tender, delicious, and I’ll dare use the word “velvety.” Time to work on my bean cooking.

Street veg from a Hallal cart. —

It was for sure oversalted, but the texture of the chickpeas was thought worthy. They were tender, delicious, and I’ll dare use the word “velvety.” Time to work on my bean cooking.

Making fresh pasta. (Shot took with my new toy).

Making fresh pasta. (Shot took with my new toy).


Heirloom tomato season: It’s the most wonderful time of the year.