Thursday, June 26, 2008

Last week, because I am possibly a creep who reads too many blogs, I made a recipe from Emily Gould's "famous secret blog" Heartbreak Soup. (I'm not going to get into it, because that's weird, but Team Emily, duh.) I know that the saga is over-exposed and that she got a lot of flack for the extremely long and confessional story she wrote for The New York Times magazine, but I thought it was fascinating and well crafted. Also, I adore a good overwrought food metaphor, and girlfriend is full of them. I deeply understand the impulse to connect what you eat and what you feel in a personal and convoluted way, because it appeals to my passive aggressive desire to communicate in symbolism rather than words. I also like talking about cooking in a way that is experiential and non-technical, because that is how I operate in the kitchen.

I followed Emily's recipe for chicken soup pretty closely, whole bird and all, except I went running while the delicious ginger broth was simmering instead of doing my laundry. Also, I subbed out some vegetables and added fresh carrots and celery and noodles to the strained broth before shredding and reincorporating the chicken meat. I added so much stuff during that last step that by the end the soup was so thick that I couldn't effectively skim the frothy fat off the top, which made delicious soup, because, man, there was a lot of olive oil in there. I loved the ginger in the broth and I made the soup Tuesday night and ate the very last of it for dinner on Friday, which was noteworthy because I hardly ever like a soup recipe so much that Cody and I don't need to freeze at least a few tuppers of it for later.

Chicken soup last week seemed frivolous and wasted on the healthy by this recent Monday night, however, when I truly was deathly ill with something evil tight in my sinuses and rough in the back of my throat. I reprised the chicken base of this soup to make myself some comfort food, Avgolemeno soup. Too sick to feel like stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work, I just used frozen chicken breasts. I didn't even defrost the chicken before browning it in a little olive oil and five cloves of garlic, and then dumping in four carrots, half a bunch of wilted celery, a chopped shallot, a quarter of a red onion, and two bouillon cubes, covering everything in water and letting the mixture simmer for an hour while slumping on the couch and watching my DVRed episodes of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" and sending Cody out for a lemon for the next step of the soup. Think about how this television show would be much cooler if they actually sang more than one Sound of Music song per episode.

After your mixture on the stove is brothy, 1-3 hours, remove the chicken and strain out the vegetables. Say thank you to the vegetables because you are sick and talking to inanimate objects, and put them in your yard waste bucket. Return the broth to your stove and turn the heat to medium high. Add 1 cup rice. While the rice is cooking, shred the chicken breasts with your hands into little bite sized pieces. Juice one lemon into a medium sized mixing bowl and use the microplane grater gifted to you by your best friend to grate a few teaspoons of zest into the lemon juice. Whisk four eggs and a teaspoon of flour into the lemon juice until everything is frothy. Return the chicken to the broth and wait for the rice to soften(approximately 15 minutes). While you are waiting for the rice to be ready, you can dramatically fling yourself onto the couch or the floor to make a point about how sickly you are feeling, because now Cody is back from the store and ready to be impressed by the severity of your discomfort. You can also adjust the seasoning of the broth with salt and pepper.

Next is the tricky part: temper the egg mixture. Scoop a cup of simmering broth out of your soup pot with a measuring cup and pour very slowly it into the egg bowl while quickly whisking with your other hand. This warms up the eggs so that they will not scramble when introduced to the hot broth. Take your whisk and the tempered eggs and pour that mixture slowly into your broth on the stove, whisking the soup in the big pot. At this point, the soup will turn from a brothy color to an opaque creamy white. Continue to stir the soup with your whisk for three to four minutes while everything gets thick and yummy. It is not necessary to bring the soup to a boil.

Once your soup is done you can serve in a big bowl with a piece of toast. I also recommend watching all those episodes of Battlestar Galactica that you've been missing because you've been out town every weekend for the past month, which is probably the reason you're exhausted and got sick in the first place. If you're lucky, when your boyfriend went to buy the lemon for the soup, he will have also bought two single serving pieces of red velvet cake, which is the perfect dessert to almost any meal, but especially Avgolememo Soup.

After all this is consumed, take a big glug of NyQuil. Be sure to put the extra soup in the fridge before the NyQuil step, because I'm pretty sure that what the apothecary gave Juliet was actually NyQuil, and you will undoubtedly pass out approximately 34 seconds after the sweet potion passes your lips.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Seeing as I wasn't present in the courtroom, I don't have much to add about the R. Kelly trial and acquittal that isn't presented more accurately and cleverly than this excellent article from Slate, except to say that sexual abuse of 13 year old girls aside, I'm mostly disappointed that we won't be getting any Trapped in the Closet updates prison-style.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today, a little more than a month shy of our four year anniversary, Cody told Facebook that he is "in a relationship" with me.

The internet is weird.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Another thing that should reassure me that I am firmly planted in my own generation is the fact that I am less scandalized and annoyed by the infection carrying whoring sea-donkeys on A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila and Rock of Love than I am by the waxy, dead-eyed, Stepford zombies on The Bachelor. I've studiously avoided The Bachelor franchise in all its incarnations, mostly because it doesn't seem very interesting. Cheesy rose ceremonies and prom dresses pale in comparison to giant novelty clocks, challenges involving roller derby, complete whack-job sociopaths and the careful dance that is maintaining the illusion that Bret Michaels is not going bald. For the last week or so, however, Vh1 has been running various iterations of the Bachelor pretty much non-stop, so while running on the elliptical at the gym yesterday I subjected myself to exactly 45 minutes plus cooldown of NFL quarterback bachelor Jesse and his quest to find true love on major network television.

I guess what offended me so much about the entire production was the sickening earnestness of it. The fact that a doe-eyed boy from Florida really thought that ABC would present him with his heart's truest soulmate, and he just had to be smart enough to correctly pick her out of a lineup of 25 identically manicured women. I would rather watch Flavor Flav, who I know for a fact has an existing long term girlfriend, pretend to seek a relationship with one or several insane skanks, because at least it is an honest sham. And the very worst thing, on this particular bachelor show, was it was the episode where the bachelor's "best friend from home" (a woman who looked exactly like every other contestant) revealed her identity to the remaining bachelorettes, and, dude, that was so annoying. The "best friend from home" spent a full ten minutes in the beginning of the episode crying about how sorry she was that she had lied to the other women on the show, and that she wanted to be forgiven, and that "there is no peace in deception." And while I might agree with her, come on, did you really not think about this scenario before it happened? Quit crying about it now. Holy crap. It's just tv, it's not like a real life relationship will result from this. Effing idiots.
I generally don't worry about the cashiers in the checkout stand at grocery store judging me by my purchases, but that is probably because I usually buy sensible and non-remarkable assortments of groceries. Fruits and vegetables and 10 kinds of yogurt and sundry dry goods that do not become magical and fabulous until I take them home to my little cubby of a kitchen and squirrel them away in my pantry to eventually be turned into soups and casseroles and baked items. I'm getting to a cranky point in my 20s where I'm tired of most of the restaurants I used to love and nothing will please me like my own cooking does. I sometimes worry that that means I am slowing turning into my yiayia, which is obviously a terrifying concept.

So, the majority of the time my grocery basket looks like the shopping list of an old lady, albeit one who really likes seasonal beer, and I don't think that is anything to cause me considerable shame. However, last night, I must admit I was a little sheepish as I went through the checkout line with a little under a pound of asparagus, three tomatoes, a can of chocolate slim-fast powder and a box of red wine. I wanted to stop and reassure the cashier that I wasn't going to make a slim-fast shake for dinner to wash down my asparagus and wine, but of course that would have called even more attention to the combination. I guess all that means is that I am still firmly planted in my twenties and not in any danger of premature octogenarian status.

Close call, that one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

OMG, I absolutely need for these people to be living in the White House right now.