Sunday, March 29, 2009

The snow and ice are melting! We are all praying this was our last winter storm; but, if it isn’t, we will plow ahead through whatever…people from the Midwest are pretty flexible!
I stayed in all day yesterday during the beautiful snow storm, it was gorgeous if you didn’t have to be out in it. I didn’t even walk to the mailbox. My mail mostly consists of renewal notices for magazines nowadays. I’ve decided to not renew any of the monthly publications I’ve taken for years. I found I was receiving so many that I didn’t get them all read before the next batch started to arrive! I do remember how anxiously I awaited my copies of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food and Wine. Now, all are on line and I read far more of each issue….of course, they are not posted as early as the printed copies are sent out, but most are not time sensitive, so it doesn’t matter. Bon Appetit and Gourmet are available on line at and Food and Wine is . I do like to go to the bookstore and buy the Thanksgiving and Christmas issues just to keep. Great photography of food and table designs!
On line food and cooking pages are non-stop! New pages are popping up everyday. Many are pretty bad, but some are really good and have great archives storing many year’s worth of recipes. I particularly like the foreign sites that can be pulled up in English. I look at them for food ideas, but also as an educational tool for language and travel.
You can sign up for newsletters from some of the pages, then daily or weekly you will receive a newsletter via email. It is a great way to keep up with food trends at home and abroad.
Some of my favorites are:

Eureka! The page is a fantastic site for regional American and foreign food sites. You can sign up for newsletters, my favorite being by Kyle Phillips, who lives in Italy.
As you see, I did list the Food Network link. I personally feel this network and web site has been bastardized. If you can get through the all of the ads and the junk programs like “Unwrapped” with that idiot Marc Summers as host, you can find excellent information and recipes from the world class chefs they have on their schedule. The problem with the Food Network is they over-do everything. We’ve had Emeril shoved down our throats for too long….One more “BAMM!” and I am going to go BERSERK! And Rachel Ray’s cutesy little cooking terms are wearing on my nerves also. I’m not a two year old, a sandwich is a sandwich, not a “Sammie”.
Okay, so maybe I am showing signs of cabin fever already…getting kind of bitchy! What would make me happy?.....Lets see, something from Colin Cowie is bound to do the trick!

Colin Cowie’s Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
8 6-inch flour tortillas, julienned (cut into thin strips)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion (from 1 1/2 to 2 medium onions)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 cups chicken stock
4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
4 cups chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 large ripe Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded, aged cheddar
1/2 pint sour cream, for garnish
1. Fill a large pot to a depth of 3 to 4 inches with vegetable oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F. The temperature of the oil should not exceed 375 F, nor should it begin to smoke. Once the oil is hot enough, lower the heat to medium. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crisp and golden, about 1 minute. Remove the strips with a skimmer or slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low flame. Add the onion, cumin, paprika, cayenne, coriander, and half the tortilla chips. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the stock, garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro. Season the chicken breast with 1/2 tablespoon of the salt. Add to the pan with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Remove the chicken and bay leaf with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
5. Purée 2 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor, taking care not to overload the bowl. Return the blended soup, to the pot and continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes. (Or purée additional batches of soup, 2 cups at a time, depending upon your desired consistency - even purée all of it if you like.)

Oh yes, I'm feeling better just looking at the photo. It was taken from Cowie's webpage along with the recipe! Thank you Mr. Cowie!

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