Not Your Grandma's Chicken Soup

Continuing on with soup, it looks like yours truly will be hosting a soup swap hot on the heels of trying thenew soup recipe. Two weeks from now I will be making this delight for the senses again to share with a roomful of mostly strangers. The hawayedge chicken soup is an explosion of color, from your red tomatoes to the green celery to the yellow spices that will permanently stain your wooden spoon and help it gain that 'used since the beginning of time' patina I so long for.

But what does it TASTE like? That's the important part no? You know how sometimes you try a new dish and you aren't 100% certain if it's good or not because you have never tried the original and have nothing to compare it too? I never doubted this one. It's unusual but I just have that bone aligning feeling that it worked out as it should. This soup tastes like your favorite spice shop smells. There are all sorts of nuance-y layers to the flavors, there's the zingy tomato base with notes of eastern spice complexity all wrapped up in the warm homey comfort of chicken soup made with real chicken. Honestly, this seems like a perfect base soup for experimentation, perhaps replacing the potatoes with rice or blending everything (sans the chicken) to make for a thicker heartier soup. And my lips tingled afterwards, therefore I KNOW it's good. I hope you'll enjoy it too. Thank you to my 'food fairy'.

Yemenite Hawayedge Soup

2 chicken breasts
2 chicken legs
2 tomatoes
an onion
5 garlic cloves
1-2 stalks of celery
4 potatoes
salt, pepper, chicken bullion cubes to taste
1 soup spoon hawayedge spice

-In a large pot of water boil chicken.
-After the chicken is cooked pour off water into a separate pot and keep it for later, strain off any 'scum'.
-Using a fork shred the chicken breasts into fine filaments.
-Cut potatoes and tomatoes into cubes and celery into small slices. Cut onion in half, one half goes directly into the pot and the other half should be thinly sliced. Garlic should be peeled and roughly chopped.
-Place all vegetables and the chicken and garlic in the large pot.
-Pour reserved 'chicken water' into the pot and add as much water is as needed to fill the pot.
-Add spices to taste (pepper, salt, chicken bullion) and then add your hawayedge. I personally like a healthy heaping of pepper.
-Bring everything to a boil and then lower to simmer until potatoes are cooked through.

ps- I am not certain of the availability of hawayedge in parts of the world outside of Israel. Please let me know what you find.


The Soup that Loved Me

In honor of Soup Swap Day and along the lines of the famous Of Doom game comes a new one introduced by E. Think of any James Bond film title and replace a word with 'soup'.

Examples :

Dr. Soup


From Russia with Soup

The Soup is Not Enough

And last but not least....Octosouppy

Mmm Mmm Good!!!

Needless to say I missed out on Soup Swap Day. Why? Because until 5 minutes ago I didn't realize there WAS such a thing as Soup Swap Day. Coincidentally the temperatures dropped below 0C here and we just got our first snow of the season. Also rather coincidentally I started a large pot of hawayedge* chicken soup today (on hold til I have time to buy potatoes tomorrow).

I think I will be implementing a swap of my own QUITE soon. Kiriel...more of that fantastic Thai Pumpkin soup? Leave me a message, or drop me an email and let me know if you are interested. Thanks to NotMartha for the heads up. For more information also read a review of the Seattle soup swap here

*Hawayedge is a mix of spices (originally from Yemen) made with black pepper, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and coriander and perhaps a few other choice spices. Cheers to Ilana's Blog for having the list of secret ingredients.

Lastly a quick note, the above image is from Worth 1000, one truly groovy site. And a lifesaver when you have no photo posting ability!!!


Lounging Lake Side

Saturday was so unseasonably warm that I decided make an unexpected stop while doing my errands. I thought a picnic lakeside sounded lovely (and provide me with a great opportunity to pick up some much needed rocks, long story). Obviously so did half of Geneva! I happened to be at Globus looking for supplies for Sunday's upcoming dinner and grabbed a couple of satay chicken sticks and lyonnaise style potatoes from the various deli counters to take to the lake with me. Much to my shock they were fairly awful. The potatoes were way over salted and the chicken was just....shudder.

Which got me all to thinking, as I was on the edge of conciousness on the lakeshore (not totally unlike kafka), there are so many things I can no longer justify buying. Such as salad dressing, pesto, whipped cream, meringues, any cookie ever and vanilla extract. Lately, I have the desire to start making my own mayo, jams once I get a garden, and my own bread much more often (especially since it's become so damn easy).

What do you no longer buy know that you know how much better/easier/more fulfilling it is to do by hand?

ps- The food at Globus may have been awful but they were redeemed by stocking an amazing strawberry nectar made by Alain Milliat. He produces cold pressed artisanal juices much like the ones on offer at After The Rain.


Chocolate Covered...wait for it....Pie

Speaking of citrusy....I just tried the Cadbury Lemon Cheesecake bar that Morven sent. Now, call me strange but I have NEVER EVER sat down...had a piece of lemon pie...and thought to myself....gosh, this would be sooo much better if it were just smothered in chocolate! (update Jan. 23 - I'm wrong. Frozen chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick is far far superior to the unchocolate covered kind. We don't want none of those 'naked pie' kinds 'round these here parts!) I admit to being a first class chocoholic. And I have absolutely NO reservations whatsoever about fruit/chocolate pairings (IE- godiva raspberry chocolate bars, banana bread with chocolate chips, chocolate dipped strawberries, et al) but I think this might be my limit. I think perhaps Cadbury got a wee bit confused. Lemon and WHITE chocolate is a common pairing, but milk chocolate and lemon is a new one on me. Not completely repulsive but not on my list of things to buy again anytime soon. That said, I will probably finish it anyhow ;) What? I told you I am a chocoholic!

And now to go try another New Zealandais chocolate bar...

...the Moro Gold Cadbury bar is much much much better (more new zealanders sending me these? pleeeease? like brejk bars from Sweden they are!!!). Like the tasty bastard offspring of a Twix bar and a Milky Way (or a Mars for all of you Europeans). Mmmmm milk chocolaty offspring...wonder if I eat enough chocolate if one day I too will have chocolate covered offspring. All the better to nibble on their little toes with! Mwhahahahaha.

[pictures updated Feb.3,2007]


Citrus Rice Dream

Hello my little blogaboos, we have contact! Luckily for my future furry mittens the water didn't affect my laptop too badly. Still haven't found the jumpdrive so we have no photos but at least I can post this now....enjoy. UPDATE 2-21-07 photos added

While my buddy E was visiting over my xmas break we mainly stuffed ourselves silly and then passed out on the couch with cats draped over us. The night he arrived we had a fantastic bolet fondue at Au Vieux Carouge and could barely squeeze out of the tiny jam packed restaurant to roll home. That weekend we also managed to fit in a rosti brunch and a whole lot of snacking. By far the most surprising dish we had was the grapefruit risotto. Wha?! Yep, citrusy goodness nestled in a creamy cheesy rice dream.

I saw the recipe over on The Perfect Pantry and I thought to myself 'Self, we NEED to try this', for the novelty if nothing else. I admit, I have never made risotto and the cute little old lady I bought my parmigianno-reggiano from gave me a brief rundown. E played sous-chef and did a mighty fine job with the cutting of things, while remaining skeptical. To appease him I promised pizzas if it all went awry. But Dominos was denied this time. The risotto was absolutely fantastic. I don't usually like to brag about my cooking but this easily rivaled the risottos I've had in restaurants thus far (ooh, except for the one served IN the wheel of cheese, that was delicioius!) so we'll credit it to the recipe. And E (thanks for the french olive oil!)

The recipe makes a HUGE amount (double dinner size servings for 4, easily) and although we were stuffed til bursting we managed to reheat some while digesting and watching the simpsons later that evening. It seems to be a bit addictive. The grapefruit appears to replace the traditional white wine very well. It is a bit acidic and not sweet or 'fruity' tasting, in fact there wasn't even much in the way of recognizable 'citrus' flavor. And who can resist leeks? My rice was missing the distinctive 'crunchiness' that the Italian risottos normally have but we didn't miss it too much. Here is the recipe from The Perfect Pantry. Buon Appetito!

RISOTTO AI POMPELMO (Risotto with grapefruit)
Lydia says "Sounds weird, I know, but this is truly delicious. As always with risotti, make sure each individual ingredient is the best you can find. Adapted from Risotto, by Judith Barrett. Serves 4 as a first course."

7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or low-sodium storebought
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small leek, white part only, finely chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp finely chopped celery
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1-1/3 cups grapefruit juice, warmed (juice of 1 whole grapefruit)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1-1/2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
8 grapefruit sections, diced

Bring broth to a steady simmer. Warm grapefruit juice in the microwave. In a heavy casserole, heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Add leek and celery, and sauté 1-2 minutes, until the leek begins to soften but not brown. Add rice and stir, using a wooden spoon, for a minute to coat all the grains with the oil. Add the grapefruit juice and stir until completely absorbed. Begin to add the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, reserving 1/4 cup to add at the end. After approximately 18 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add reserved broth. Turn off the heat and immediately add remaining butter, cheese and parsley, and stir vigorously to combine with the rice. Serve immediately, garnished with diced grapefruit.



hello as well as my jumpdrive to upload photos gone missing we have a new computer issue. this past week my little fluffy darlings (let me stress darlings lest they become little fluffy mittens) managed to dump a glass of water on my laptop. while it takes a much needed vacation and dries out i am reduced to sporadic net cafe usage. i have some new posts on E's visit and the fantastic grapefruit risotto we indulged in and a new food game for you all....if the food gods will it!



Wake up and smell the fair trade organic french press. And then feast your eyes on the beauty in the froth.


FoodVentures : Mars Muffin or Muffins are From Mars

*I realized that it's been quite sometime since I've done a foodventure. Don't worry, I haven't lost my taste for it (though this muffin pushes it) or my taste for adventure. I guess I haven't been scouring the shelves of my local markets as thoroughly lately. Please forgive the long overdue new food review. *

In a word, Ick. Do Not Buy one of these! That's why I do this, blogglings. I test the food fads so you don't have to, I throw myself on the front lines of questionable snacks so that you may save your time and eat tried and true deliciousness like cheddar sunchips and miss vickie's sea salt and vinegar specials, mmmmm. You're welcome. ;)

I was at the trainstation last week with the always lovely Markalicious and was tempted by the slick packaging and the fact that I hadn't eaten yet. Always a deadly combination. Chocolate, caramel & breakfast food, what's not to love right? Some exec somewhere was thinking to cash in on the whole sweets for breakfast deal (sweetie, that fad has come and gone. All that endures is cinnamon toast crunch and pop tarts, let it go). Anyhoodles, someone somewhere ought to be fired. I did a side by side comparison of the muffin and it's name sake. Regard....

The chocolate on top of the muffin is IDENTICAL to the candy bar and therefore the only decent part of this muffiny monstrosity. But hot on the heels of that chocolate layer is a dry desiccated diluted chocolate flavored muffin impersonator. To be fair, Europe is just not a major muffin capitol. The best and possibly only blueberry muffins I had in Milan were from a McDo. Ok? You dig? These McVities muffins are supposedly from UK, therefore the fall out of commonly acknowledged 'Muffin Belt'.

The package describes them as having a 'caramel center' , although the thought turned my stomach, I was imagining more of a rolo's soft caramel like filling in a hostess cupcake sort of exterior. I am not sure what the 3 dots of light brown creme-like filling were but I'll tell you what they were not. Caramel. Lastly, there was no nougat. What is a Mars bar/Milky Way without it's signature nougat? Nothing I tells ya! Ladies and Gents, stick to your truckstop candy bars and leave the muffins to the muffin makers. Chocolate, not for breakfast anymore (unless it's a pain au chocolat).

The end.

Survey Says : As another review of McVities candy muffins remarked "A moment of Passion and Regret" minus the passion. Although all of the reviewers of the 'Galaxy Muffin' gave them 3-4 star ratings my conscious wouldn't be clean if I didn't warn you all of my tale of woe. You can read some other brilliant review of the mc vitie's muffin assortments here.


be right back...

...after this short commercial break.

Just kidding. Actually I have a few posts on the backburner if you will. However I have apparently misplaced my jumpdrive and can't upload the photos. And what is a blog post without photos, right? Who wants to read just text when there's foodporn to be had?! So, sorry kiddos, time to scour my apt. and see what I can find. Back soonish. Oh, and happy moo year.