kukla_tko: (own cat face)
Generally when I'm ill I like chicken soup.

However, since I can't really just open a can of campbell's anymore (MSG! No Fair!) and actually making chicken soup from scratch is hard work when I'm not feeling well, I've come up with some variations that I'll make during cold and flu season.

Delicious Chicken Goo
There's two ways to do this: in a pot with a lid on the stove, or in a rice cooker. Now that I have a rice cooker, guess which one I do.

1 can of "healthy" Cream of Chicken soup. I find that the Aldi "Fit and Active" version works perfectly.
1 cup of rice (I use jasmine, though literally any rice will work)
2 cups of water
1 can of milk (or water)
Season to taste (I throw in some yellow curry paste or curry powder. It's gorgeous.)
Optional: Can of chicken (if you're looking to boost the protein.)

Dump the lot into your rice cooker and set it to cook.
On the stove, put the lot in the pan and set it to boil. Reduce heat and cover for the duration of rice cooking. (About 20 minutes.)

Once it's cooked, ladle it into bowls. It's not quite soup and not quite "rice dish". It's delicious goo. Let it cool before you start gobbling it down; a large spoonful can be nuclear in the center. I've literally burned my esophagus trying to eat this too fast.

Broth, egg, toast.

1 cup chicken broth (I get the kind without added MSG, or use stock I made myself.)
1 cup water (more or less to fill the space)
Season to taste (I like a dash of curry)
2 eggs
2 pieces of toast

Put the broth and water in a saucepan. Add seasoning. (Salt and pepper also do nicely.) Once it comes to a boil, stir to make a kind of whirlpool in the broth. Crack an egg into the center.
Set the timer for the duration of a poached egg. Yours will likely be around 5 minutes. Mine is closer to 3.
Poach the egg.
While that is poaching, toast the bread and butter it.
Pull the egg out with a slotted spoon and set it on a plate with the toast.
Stir the broth and add the second egg, set the timer.
Eat Egg 1.
Fish out Egg 2, eat with second piece of toast.

Pour remaining broth into a bowl. Eat like egg drop soup (which is what it basically is at this point.)

Bonus: If you've got leftover rice hanging around, toss it in the broth after you're done with the eggs.


Kukla is too sick to cook, but hungry:
1 cup rice
2 cups broth

Cook according to rice cooking directions. Eat.
This is surprisingly good. If you want it to be more soup-like, add a cup of water, too.
kukla_tko: (Kitty Crack ho)
I'd been craving Curry lately, having gotten my beloved Yellow Curry twice in one week (and made up the leftovers as well), and Gokul, and the like.

I guess I now know why; I'm down with what I'm starting to think is my usual January bug. Not the Martian Death Flu, just an annoying cold that will last a few days in earnest and then a week or so of hanging on like a lamprey.

I had to go in to work today anyway, unfortunately. No one would take my shift. I licked all the phones in a fit of passive-aggressiveness. I'm petty when I'm not feeling well. I also sneezed on the computer keyboard, though that wasn't deliberate.

I know where I got this plague, too. It's a hazard of spending time with small children and teachers. Do the math.

Yesterday I passed out around 4:30 or 5pm and didn't really get up again until this morning. I mean, I had potty breaks and took meds but that was it. I didn't even really eat anything.

Today I ate a breakfast burrito from Sonic (mmm. Bacon.) and some chicken, but I'm not really hungry again yet. My sense of smell is knocked out, which is probably good since apparently the dog had an in-house accident and the toilet was stopped up when I got home.

Here's a free tip from a homeowner to all you renters out there: Plunging is a thing.
I dont' mean putting the plunger in there and going "shooka shooka huh it's still clogged" either. Put some work into it, and try to push past whatever is clogging the thing.

Seriously, it took me less than five minutes to get the thing going again. Jeez.

And yes, my toilet is fine now.

Roommate #2 is making shrimp scampi. She even offered me some. Nah. Thanks anyway.

In a bit I might heat up some broth with an egg in it. Or poach an egg in broth and eat it on toast. I'm even considering some new variations on that theme. Could be good; could be awful. We'll see.
The theme is Yellow Curry, so it can't go terribly wrong.
kukla_tko: (own cat face)
My sekonjabin experiment failed again.

So I've decided it's a metaphor representing 2014.

First, I put a lot of good things into it. Some of the things I'd been saving for a while, some were recent acquisitions.
Most of the things I did this year were the same kinds of things I do every year, or at least have done more than once.

So I followed the paths I've usually followed.

To be fair, this year I tried some new things, too, and the same goes for the Sekonjabin.

My methods hadn't changed though.

So at the end of the experiment, I expected to have a syrup about the consistency of maple syrup to strain and pour into the bottles I've been hoarding, so I can give them out as presents.

Instead, I got something radically different.

Don't misunderstand me; what I have is perfectly consumable. It is NOT a light syrup that mixes easily with cold water, however.

What I have is a thick syrup, similar in consistency to the goo inside of a "Stretch Armstrong". Straining it is something of a strain. (See what I did there?) There is mystery goo ALL OVER my counters, in random viscous droplets on the floor, on the backs of my arms, and in other places that continue to perplex and bewilder me. (How did I get a droplet THERE?)

I'm straining it in slow motion into several bottles now. Both batches nearly turned into candy, so I have quite a lot of this weird goo.

So, despite my using my usual tactics and patterns, and familiar ingredients, 2014 yielded strange, unexpected, and awesome results.
Some of which were messy and got into everything.

That's about it, really.

Here's hoping that regardless of what 2015 yields, the results are good.
kukla_tko: (Kitty Crack ho)
I'm trying to ramp down, but it's harder than I thought. Even after serving everyone my Christmas cookies, there's still too much easily-eaten sugar in the house.

Tonight, before I hit the sack I'm boiling up some Sekonjabin.

Batch 1 and 2 were:
Red Wine Vinegar, rose buds

White sugar vinegar, rose buds (given to cosX)

I did those on DeBoxing day.

Batches 2 and 3 are:
Apple Cider Vinegar, Cinnamon sticks, mint

Apple cider vinegar, Cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, cloves, mint

Tomorrow I may knock out another couple of batches. I have one more package of mint (might try it with the red wine vinegar?) and a couple of other vinegars that might like to get involved.

Speak up if you want some, otherwise they're going to The Boy. LOL.
kukla_tko: (Kitty Crack ho)
For those who liked this season's stuffed pumpkins, here's what I did:

For the one served at the tea social:
Note: This was accidentally vegan. So yay!
1 medium sized carving pumpkin
2 cups jasmine rice
4 cups water
Chinese Five-spice powder (Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, anise, ginger)
Himalayan Sea salt
black pepper
2 sticks of cinnamon
pinch of whole cloves
1 can water chestnuts
1 can bamboo shoots
handful of golden raisins
handful of baby carrots
1 celery stalk
1 package of shelled walnut pieces

For the one served on Halloween:

1 medium/large sized carving pumpkin
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
Chinese Five-spice powder (Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, anise, ginger)
Himalayan Sea salt
black pepper
2 sticks of cinnamon
pinch of whole cloves
1 can of smoked ham
1 snack sized box of regular raisins
about a third of a can of chunk pineapple
handful of cashews
2 cans sliced potatoes
1 can whole potatoes

In both cases:
Put the rice and water (or water and broth) into the rice cooker. Add seasonings, except for the cinnamon sticks.
Set the rice cooker to do its magic.
While that is going on, cut into the pumpkin like you're planning to carve it.
I like to cut a jagged top. You can cut a round top, but make a notch so you can get it back on tightly.
Scoop out the seeds and pumpkin guts. Since you're not carving it, you don't have to be aggressive about getting the strings out. I try not to carve too deeply into the pumpkin's flesh.
Note: If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, save the seeds and wash them. If not, share. If you compost the pumpkin guts, you'll likely have pumpkins the next year.

Once the rice cooker does its job, mix the hot rice together with the additional ingredients. For the canned items, drain them before mixing them.

Lay out two pieces of foil or parchment paper on a pie pan or cookie sheet.
Set the pumpkin in the pie pan or on a cookie sheet.

Get a large spoon and scoop the rice mixture into the pumpkin. I like to toss the cinnamon sticks in first.

In the case of the second pumpkin, I had about half of the stuffing I needed, so I added the canned potatoes as filler. They turned out to be darned tasty, so I may do this on purpose next time.

Replace the lid on the pumpkin.

Wrap the pumpkin in the aluminum foil or parchment paper. (The foil is significantly easier.) Make sure the whole thing is covered up.

Re-arrange the oven racks so that the pumpkin will fit in the oven.
Set the pumpkin in the oven.

The best way to bake this is to set the oven for about 200-250 degrees, the night before you're going to serve it. I did this with the first pumpkin but set it at 275; it was overdone when I pulled it out at 11am the next day. Cooked for about ten hours.

The one on Halloween went in the oven around 1pm, cooked until 6ish. Was set for 350. Added the lasagna for the last two hours, dropped the temperature to 325 per cooking instructions.

So longer time= lower temperature.
Shorter time= higher temperature.

I find that pumpkin stuffing likes lots of ginger, and salt. Savory pumpkin loves its salt. When I have the time and am feeling very "Martha Stewart" about it, I roast the pumpkin seeds and put them back in the stuffing. Mmm.

One of these times I might roast the damn thing with the guts intact; it's not like the strings are poisonous or anything.
kukla_tko: (Default)
Ok, this is NOT a response to [livejournal.com profile] bradhicks's post about what not to stockpile right now.

At least, it's not an intentional response to that post.

Food hoarding as a minor mental illness had never even been presented to me until someone I knew self-identified as a Food Hoarder. She explained that it was related to her other eating disorders and that she tends to still squirrel away packaged foods here and there.

I never considered that I might be a hoarder, until I looked at my Mom. At Mom's house, it is possible to go grocery shopping because there's "Nothing to eat" in the house, return home, and be unable to put the cold stuff away because there's no room in the fridge. I occasionally still find cans or boxes of food that were moved from the previous house. She could feed a village in Ethiopia with the contents of her pantry/fridge/deep freeze for a SEASON, yet complains that she has nothing to put out at a party.

Something happened during the last round of summertime power outages around here. We lost the contents of the fridge during the summer time. For all practicaly purposes, we did a complete purge and scrub down.

And for the first time in my entire life, I began with an empty fridge.

I bought only the condiments that I actually EAT. I bought basic consumables and then consumed them. I can see most of the things in my fridge just by opening the door and glancing in.

You know what? I still occasionally have leftovers that try to form sentience, and I still wind up having to pitch things that have wandered past their expiration date, but even after I return triumphant from the grocery store I have room in my fridge.
I have room in my fridge AFTER I put the food away. Yeah. Like that!

I've been pawing through the cupboards and pantries in preparations for the move. Little leftover food hoardings meet me more often than I'd like. Weird things, things that moved with us (groan) over 6 years ago. Last summer I was bemused to discover four open boxes of graham crackers, probably bought on my way to various camping events because I forgot that I even owned any graham crackers and wanted S'mores. Some of those crackers have fed the wildlife outside the back sliding door to provide Cat TV for my 'Bel. See, I don't actually eat graham crackers except as a conveyance for toasted marshmellows and chocolate or Nutella.

But I find that I'm eagerly looking forward to the impending move, and part of the process is paring down the contents of the house. This means...


I have Scallops. I have shrimp. I have baking goods. I have frozen asparagus spears (and they steam up beautifully!) I have celery, which is not so exciting until you realize that I also have a precious last jar of Cashew Butter. (Trader Joe's has quit carrying cashew butter. WTF?) I have biscuits in tubes that won't probably travel well. I have a couple of cans of apricot nectar in the back of the fridge winking at me.

And a buttload of Girl Scout Cookies. Yep.
I *also* have one precious package of Hydrox (forgotten behind the rice and soy nuts.) I found the booze-chocolates. I found the caviar crackers. (Just crackers. The kind you put caviar on, not crackers made with fish eggs.)

So tonight I planned to steam some of my recently acquired treasures from the Asian Market. Instead I cooked up some scallops and jasmine rice with saffron, boiled (briefly) some asparagus, and made a delicious meal.

Time to dig up the squirrel hoard!!!


kukla_tko: (Default)

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