Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Sometimes blogging about food means subjecting yourself and those you love to just plain ridiculousness and tom foolery. For instance, if I am planning on making something fancy and French for the blog, I’ll go shopping on Thursday or Friday so that on Saturday morning, I can have my mise en place ready to go by noon… usually for a recipe I’m going to be eating for dinner. Yes, I am a masochist and like cooking things that take me literally ALL DAY. My reason is the lighting in my apartment. It’s not ideal and I am a firm believer in natural lighting over artificial lighting when it comes to food. It just makes everything seem warm and sunny and of course makes the food overall more appealing. My job makes it impossible to take pictures of anything in daylight during the week, so again, my Saturday is my day in the sun… literally.
Blogging about food also means having to struggle through the neverending battle of the bulge. Fortunately, my boyfriend has equipped me with p90x videos. I’m whipping up buttercream one minute and then doing plyometrics 15 minutes later. Crazy, but I am doing p90x afterall. That must mean I’m EXTREME! I was talking with a fellow blogger, Winston from The Gluttonous JD, who shares my fear of fatness. Winston mentioned something about a diet, at which point I stopped paying attention. I don’t diet. I may indulge in smaller portions, but I do not and will not ever go cold turkey on certain food items. He caught my attention again when he mentioned Rick Bayless and soup that was “healthy”. In my mind, Rick Bayless + Soup + Easy Dinner = Tortilla Soup! I’m not sure how healthy this is, but I can guarantee it’s better than eating a cupcake or two.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This will be for your homemade tortilla strips.
While the oven is preheating, add the chicken thighs, jalepeno (add the seeds if you want it extra spicy), broth and chicken stock to a large pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait for the pot to come to a boil. Once it reaches its boiling point, redice the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
At this point, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. You want it cool enough to handle when you go to shred it. In the meantime, add salt to the cooking liquid. Depending on your brand and how “low sodium” it really is, you will need to adjust the amount of salt you add. Slowly build up the amount of salt you add to the pot. Cliche, but it’s a good tip — you can always add but you can’t take it back. Keep tasting until the salt level is right for you.
To make the tortilla strips, brush the tortillas with the canola oil on both sides. Stack the tortillas and cut the rounds right down the middle. Stack the semi-circles and cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Spread the strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir the strips around to make sure everyone is started to get a nice tan. Periodically check your strips for golden brown perfection. For me, it took another 7 minutes. Really watch these though. I went 3 minutes too long on my first batch and they very quickly went from golden brown to dark tropical tan. Yuck.
Your chicken should be cool and ready for shredding. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, take the thighs and start shredding with your fingers. Throw the chicken into the pot and let it come back up in temperature.
To serve, you can be like me and dirty every single small bowl in your kitchen and fill them with the fun verdant toppings. Let your guests add what they’d like and enjoy!
Overall, I really didn’t think I would like this soup. In the pot, it was bland and “chickeny”. Chicken isn’t a bad flavor, it was just a little one note and not the complex broth flavor I was looking for. HOWEVER, once I added all of the garnishes and a squeeze of lime, I was immediately transported to flavor town. This was refreshing and light. I would even be so bold to say it may have been healthy! Shocking, I know!!!! If you have the ingredients, I’d say give this soup a chance.
Being a food blogger has catapulted me into the world of pornography. Confused? Don’t be. We’re not talking about the kitchen scene from 9 1/2 weeks. We’re talking about food porn, and there are a lot of perverts out there that will salivate all over their keyboards staring at macro images of just about anything edible. As weird as it sounds, you’d be surprised to find how easy it is to get sucked into this practice. Places like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Food Porn Daily, and even This Is Why You’re Fat (when you’re feeling especially gritty) are some feel good websites that get your salivary juices flowing.
For us, it started with a cupcake. This cupcake to be exact.
This cupcake brought us triple digits! We went from like 20 views a day to 393! I remember freaking out around noon when we broke a hundo. Ray and I were pretty psyched. Titillated even. And since, I have been a maniacal food “photographer”. I wake up early on the weekends to cook things so that my lighting can be perfect. I force feed my boyfriend things like prune stuffed gnocchi in the middle of a Saturday because I was the crazy person who set her alarm early to get things moving and shaking in the kitchen. I guess you could say it paid off?
With stats like these, we could be your #1 fantasy player
What followed were equally labor intensive recipes that had small windows of opportunity to be shot under proper lighting. I tell you, food does not like that ugly warm yellow light in apartments. It also doesn’t like harsh sunlight since some pretty gnarly shadows join the party. Post processing in Adobe can be your saving grace, but truly food loves natural light like I love anything dipped in cheese.
Two days ago was a revelation for me. I had always been under the impression that cupcakes were the bells and whistles. All those dancing peasants out there jump and scream for cupcakes. Forget about it when you have frosting piped on with a 1M tip. Evidenced by the number of cupcake dedicated food blogs, Cupcake Wars on Food Network, and cupcake bakeries popping up from coast to coast, it’s a trend that is truly sweeping the nation. Revelation time — As it turns out, clams and linguine is the librarian fantasy. Seemingly unassuming, and then kapow! It takes you by surprise. 490 views! Wowee! Let’s just hope we haven’t climaxed just yet. Cheap and ridiculous pun intended. Scene.