Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a day of food. (discovering sardines, 10-hour chicken soup.)

feets

Yesterday I woke up at 7 a.m. and broke down a chicken. My husband and son are recovering from a bout of the sniffles (NOT SWINE FLU, THANKS) so I wanted to make a big batch of chicken soup to fortify their souls. I needed to get it going before my son woke up and demanded my full attention, so I was in the kitchen bright and early, shoving my hands up a chicken, slicing it apart, and starting a big pot of stock.

fat

Because I'm a huge weirdo about leaving things on my stove when I'm not home (I even called my mom the first time I used a crock pot to verify that it was REALLY OKAY to leave it plugged it when you leave the house. Duh, that's the whole point.) and because I find myself having to constantly adjust the temperature on my stupid range to keep my stock from bubbling too much, I sat around the house with my son yesterday for like 4 straight hours while I made stock. I drained it and chilled it around lunch time, and made myself a snack.

chillin

So, everyone knows I'm trying to be more health conscious and blah blah. I'm still in the process of losing all my 'baby weight' (or maybe should I call it "daily milkshake binge" weight, because let's be honest- Eli didn't hold me down and force feed me all that Mike's Drive-in while I was pregnant) and I get really bored eating the same crap all the time. I first got the idea to start snacking on sardines from The 10 Cent Designer, and as it weaseled its way into my noggin, I started picking up tidbits here and there about how sardines were like, the only sustainable seafood, and how they don't have a bunch of mercury and blah blah blah. Awesome! I don't particularly like canned tuna, and I'm freaked out by all the warnings about mothers/children consuming too much, so I like that I can sit and polish off a tin of sardines without DAMAGING MY BRAINZ.

tin2

But, I'm also broke-ass. Student loans: NOT A GOOD IDEA. Just sayin. So, tins of sardines are the logical choice for someone who wants to enjoy the health benefits of those lovely omega-3's, not melt their brains with mercury poisoning, and only spend like 2 bucks. I bought this package of Moroccan sardines packed in olive oil at (duh) Trader Joe's for less than 2 dollars (I think. Maybe they were 2.50, I don't know.) and they were pretty tasty. I guess I have no idea what canned sardines are supposed to taste like, but I keep hearing horror stories of fishy little bites packed in slimy tomato sauce or whatever, so I guess I lucked out for my first try.

tin3

tin4

sardines

All I did was mash them up and throw them on top of a green salad- not very creative, I know. A friend of mine told me, "Try making a fennel slaw with some heat to it and putting the slaw and sardines on a soft roll." which is exactly what I plan to do next week when I go grocery shopping again.

Oh, but wait! I still have soup to make! So anyway, after lunch I had to run out for parsley (and I just needed to get the hell out after the whole 4-hour stock wait) so I did. Then I got home and realized I only had 1 tiny carrot, so I ran back out for carrots. Then I started the soup!

soup

If you've invested enough time in this post to get to this point, I guess I should reward you with some kind of recipe, but let's be honest- I put like 10 hours of my day into this soup. Unless you're a stay at home mom with no life like I am, I don't expect the same level of commitment out of you. Go ahead and use store-bought stock, or make some in advance, I don't care.

For my sick family, I knew I wanted a traditional, don't-screw-around chicken soup. All that went into it was fresh homemade stock, 3 small carrots, 3 celery stalks, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a handful of chopped parsley, and 2 chicken legs. I sauteed the vegetables, added hot stock, let it simmer for a few minutes, and then added 2 whole chicken legs (bone-in) with most of the skin removed and let it simmer on low heat. After the legs were cooked through (about half an hour later) I pulled them out, shredded the meat off the bone, and added it back into the soup. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, and served it to my family with wheat toast and butter.

soup2

I don't think I need to tell you that it really fit the bill for MOST PERFECT CHICKEN SOUP EVER. Maybe it was just that I devoted my whole day to it, maybe it was the quality of the ingredients, but it was hella good and I think it helped everyone's immune systems tackle this bug that's going around. I'm going to eat the leftovers today for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich.

30 comments:

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

i just discovered sardines recently, too, and i love 'em! i eat them plain on crackers when i'm feeling lazy, but i have to eat them alone because my boyfriend would complain about the smell if i ever opened a tin with him in the room.

and your soup looks so comforting!

amandalaird said...

This looks divine. It is cold and windy and raining in Toronto today, and this would make for the perfect meal.

Now, about these sardines. Are they very fishy?

Lee Ann - The Lion's Share said...

I applaud you for the time spent...I usually use a box of organic stock :) The sardines thing is a great idea! I just get freaked out when they are whole little fish in that can...

Lisa said...

I just discovered your blog, and am really glad I did. You take such beautiful photos!

laura said...

My favorite snack growing up was a sardine & mayo sandwich. Not the lightest way to eat these guys, admittedly, but it's soooo good! (I also loved the fact that is grossed out my little brother.)

Now I love them sauteed with capers, grape tomatoes & garlic tossed with w.w. penne or linguine.

Jessica said...

Sardines kind of scare me a bit...but you've swayed me to try them out soon.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Yum- the soup looks super comforting.

I love sardines - my dad used to take a thick slice of white toast, butter it up, cut it in half and put one sardine on each half, along with a tiny squeeze of lemon juice and serve it to me for breakfast when I was a kid. Pretty hip brekkie for a kid eh? I loved it......I mean, I guess putting it on a fat slab of white bread would ixnay the healthy thing, but if that's all you're eating for dinner, it should be fine. Oh wait, you have to toss in a glass of wine then it's perfect.

Suzie the Foodie said...

Funny how the food for our brains can actually damage our brains these days. I have been toying with the idea of eating sardines, perhaps I will by a version of it in a sandwich and see?

I hope your family is feeling better. Nothing more healing than homemade soup.

life according to celia... said...

first off this blog is rad. thank you for that!
the greatest lesson my mom ever taught me was to never shy away from any food. when i was a kid i LOVED sardines on toast. and if you add a bit of creme fraiche and a homemade tomato chutney... well, that's pretty much the food of the gods. in my humble opinion, of course. a couple years ago i was a nanny to a three year old. we took a little field trip to a gourmet store and picked out all sorts of fun stuff, and when we came home i made her a little sardine and toast snack. she was suspicious at first, as i assume most 3 year olds would be, but the little sparkle she got in her eyes after that first bite was priceless! i can honestly say that that moment was one of the greatest and most satisfying of my life.

the_young_dude said...

I've been looking for healthy/cheap snacks too. Sardines sound like a great idea.. I also like nuts and olives (maybe they are both more obvious snack ideas...)

Jennifer said...

My fam and I have sardines as a weekly dinner staple. We sautee them in a little olive oil with onions, sometimes some cherry 'matos. And have them with a greek salad, hummus and pita (or cous cous).

_nina_malvada_ said...

that looks so tasty...

Melanie said...

I love sardines and eat them on banh mi!

The soup looks awesome. I love making stock!

earthycrunchy said...

The soup looks de-lish. We like Trader Joe's sardines around here. Even the kids. Actually, they love the smoked oysters. We are weird people!

marjean said...

I used to like sardines back in the day you could be sure of opening a can to find a row of tiny little fish, but lately they seem to be larger and kind of gross. My husband eats them all the time especially in cooler weather, with bread and molasses...he's stuck in his "oldtimer's" ways. But maybe I will give them a rethink and try them again.

karrey said...

Your chicken soup makes me want to forgo vegetarianism and eat chickenzzz. THIS IS NO GOOD!

Molly Sophia said...

I am going to make all of this. P.s. Be thankful you don't have to submit that photo with the stool (thank you, by the way haha) to an art school critique. "Well the subject appears to be jumping into the stock pot. I think this has a lot to do with feminist views and the entrapment of women in the home"


Sorry for that, finals month is a B.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

karrey: doooo eeeeet!

molly sophia: are you the one who asked how i got the angle in previous shots? that's how, haha! and, i think i've had enough art school critiques to last a lifetime. thank god i never have to do that again, ha!

Molly Sophia said...

For real. One more year and then I can make a badass cooking blog like some people ;)

melissa said...

I love sardines! And I love your blog!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

molly, i am pretty sure a bfa is not required to start a food blog, haha!

Jessica, Kelly and Porter said...

I've cooked and enjoyed several of your recipes and am only speaking up now, sorry about that.

But it took SARDINES to bring me out of my shell. Seriously? I thought it was my Sweedish parentage that gave me a love of sardines because I do not encounter sardine eaters in day to day life.

You're a natural sardine eater gather-er. Look at 'em line up in your comments!

Coconut Girl Connie said...

sardines mixed with mustard, mayo, chopped onions (like tuna)...spread on toasted rye or a thick grain bread with watercress as greens. Add avocados, even better...yum!

Molly Sophia said...

Alicia- Well I have got some skewed information, then! haha, just kidding.

Cate said...

Chicken soup can cure most anything - looks delicious!

beautythatmoves said...

growing up my dad ate sardines mashed up and smooshed on a saltine along side a cold beer. to this day it's one of the most nostalgic snacks for me.

Ren said...

I've been following you for a long, long time, and I absolutely love this blog.

Thanks to this post I'm probably going to make a ton of chicken soup this weekend. It'll warm me up on this week of blistery Pennsylvania weather.

Anneke said...

Have you ever tried using a Pressure Cooker? You can make homemade chicken stock in about 20 minutes. The pressure cooker is also a really healthy way to cook - lots of flavour, and no loss of ingredients.

Caroline said...

I made homemade chicken soup for the first time last winter and now I will never buy it in a can ever, ever again. My favorite part is the onions, how they become soft and almost buttery after being in the stock for so long.

planforamiracle said...

So I'm pretty late to the game, but I finally picked up a can of sardines when I saw then in the grocery store and thought back to this post.

delicious! thank your friend for the spicy-fennel-slaw-on-a-sandwich way of eating sardines. it was wonderful!