Friday, February 4, 2011

One Chicken, Three Meals- Chicken Soup

Meal #2- Chicken Soup

It is undeniable and beyond contestation: one of the best things for a cold is a hot bowl of nourishing, homemade chicken soup.  A week and a half ago, I roasted a chicken.  When we were done with that juicy bird and roasted veggies, I carved off the remaining meat and picked the carcass clean.  I put all the remaining meat in the freezer.  The carcass, on the other hand, had more cooking left to do.

I put the carcass and the contents of the bag of organs that were removed before roasting the chicken in a stock pot and filled the pot with about a gallon (16 cups) of filtered water.  Next, a 1/4 cup of white vinegar goes in to draw out the minerals from the bones.  The water was brought to a boil, then dropped to a simmer.  Any bits and pieces or foamy scum that floated to the surface was skimmed off and discarded. Once that was removed, my vegetables and seasonings went in.  

Each batch of stock is a little different, depending on what I have on hand that day. This time, it was an onion (quartered), 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 5-6 black peppercorns,3-4 cloves of garlic (smashed), two teaspoons salt, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon each of sage and thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  I let the stock simmer on the stove all day for a total of 12 hours. It was left to cool off, then strained and stored in the refrigerator.  I took about half of the left over chicken out of the freezer and put it to defrost in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.  The next morning, the fat had risen to the top of the stock.  I skimmed the fat off and used it to cook potatoes (home fries) with breakfast.

The nicely-gelled, de-fatted chicken stock went back onto the stove top. In went a 1/2 cup of brown basmati rice.  I really don't care for brown rice, but this is pretty good- very similar texture to white rice.  I sliced up three carrots, two celery stalks, and chopped the defrosted chicken.  It all went into the pot with a tablespoon of parsley.

And here is a nice, hot cup of soup.  Perfect to chase away the common (if ever so stubborn) cold.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just a Phone Call

What happens when you are under the weather, coughing, achy, you have no strength for anything (cooking, cleaning, crafting- all too much), and you still need to do at least one thing to make your life better during the course of your day?  Pick up the phone and call your elected officials or a government agency about something important to you.

I know- it doesn't feel like they ever listen.  But silence is like giving your tacit approval; giving consent through non-objection.  Today, I called the USDA to voice my opinion about their decision to deregulate Monsanto's Round Up Ready alfalfa.

In a nutshell, this seed is guaranteed to increase the use of pesticides, specifically Monsanto's Round Up.  It is also guaranteed to contaminate all alfalfa in the surrounding area.  Alfalfa is a cover crop, and a food source for cows used in producing organic dairy.  This decision effectively makes true, non-GMO organic dairy and organic beef a thing of the past.  Consumer choice is eliminated by allowing this seed to infect US alfalfa through pollination.  There are no long-term safety studies to indicate how this will effect humans and livestock or the environment. In essence, we have been turned into lab rats and subjected to an experiment without the opportunity for informed consent.  For a more detailed analysis of the dangers of GMO seed, please click here.

Safe food is crucial to our health and ultimate survival.  I called the USDA and let them know what I think about this. I also told them that I would contact the dairies in my area to find out where they stand on this and whether or not they will use this frankenseed.  Those that do, I will name them and let my local area know about it and the potential dangers of it. 

And my second good deed for the day is passing the word on to you all and asking you to do the same thing.  Not bad for being stuck at home with a bronchial infection! Don't let a sick day keep you from doing something towards creating a better life for you and future generations.