Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup with Kale


Yesterday FD and I went to my parents' to celebrate my sister's birthday.

She turned 37 but looks only 12. Her life is a testimony in so many ways I still am unable to articulate yet, but I try.

The two things that are constant about my sister: pizza is her favorite food and five is her favorite number.

Needless to say we had pizza on her birthday, and she got 5 new nail polishes and more than 5 new puzzles. And when she opened her present from K. & Z., a necklace with a star-shaped pendant with a pink gem, I thought she was going to pass out or end up on YouTube.

It was a super cool birthday for her, and I was thrilled to be there to celebrate it.

While I was home, my Pops told me something I had forgotten. When I graduated from high school, I applied to Kent, BGSU, and a few other schools in addition to culinary school. It came down to Kent and culinary school. My love of writing won, and I went to Kent, became an English major, and "the rest is history," as they say. But my Pops said, "I think it's funny you're still so into food. It's like you went to culinary school after all."

Sometimes the best education is the one you give yourself.
Even if it's unintentional.

I totally forgot I had applied to culinary school.
I totally forgot I loved cooking in high school.
I totally forgot how food bonds me to everyone I love.

I totally forgot I forgot years of my life.

A great reminder was when Hons, my step-mom, gave me two of her America's Test Kitchen cookbooks last night.

Immediately upon getting home, I poured a glass of wine and devoured The Best Simple Recipes cookbook.

Knowing full well I needed a soup for the week and that I had some chicken breasts de-thawing in the fridge, I went right for the soup chapter and found their version of Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup.

What's funny is I wouldn't call it "simple." There are a lot of steps and a lot of ways to fuck it up. But the ingredients are simple. So I wonder if it's the ingredients that determine the "simple" adjective.

What I can say about the finished product? It is divine. Cook's Illustrated and Christopher Kimball never let me down.

The egg yolks (mine came from our local farmer Luginbill Family Farms) added great body, texture, and color to the soup. A total must. (And the leftover eggs whites are perfect for an omelet tomorrow morning.) Yet the procedure was not simple. There were several steps, and it took about an hour. It isn't the weeknight dinner that it had pronounced itself to be in the cookbook...but I do get home from teaching about 7:30 every night, and anything that takes longer than 10 minutes is far too long for me.

Texture and taste wise, the soup was amazing. I added kale to it, while the chicken rested, as well as magic pepper dust. (More on that soon, I promise!) The magic pepper dust made it probably a thousand times more awesome.

But what's even more awesome?

Knowing my decision to go to Kent rather than culinary school was the most awesome decision I ever made (i.e. FD, friends, poetry, job, etc.).

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