MAY 2 – 3, 2012
OOOOooooh was I ever sore. We had done yard work all day yesterday, and I could hardly stand up straight. My breakfast started with Advil and coffee as we had another day of yard work ahead of us. Last May I had a one year old, and the May before that I was pregnant, so the yard had been neglected for two seasons–just patched up, not a deep cleaning.
I was heading outside for another day in the yard when I had a mini panic attack about our business and headed back inside. I worked all morning and felt a little better about where we were and how much more we had to do.
Lunch was approaching and The Hunni and kiddos had all been working outside, so I decided to make CHICKEN AND NOODLES SOUP (pg. 82). This was early May, and up here in Michigan, there was still just the tinge of a nip in the air. I figured it soon would be too hot for CHICKEN AND NOODLES SOUP, so I had better squeeze it in right at the first. Now I don’t mind some of the other soups in the summer, but to me CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP is only for a cold day–in this case, a cold day in May.
I glanced at Pioneer Woman’s recipe for CHICKEN AND NOODLES and started chopping and throwing in. It is just CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP–no need to measure. I used some homemade chicken broth/stock. Read this post for the difference in stock and broth.
I didn’t have egg noodles, so I broke up some linguine for the noodles. I also couldn’t find my white pepper, so I added regular black pepper. Then after I had added the amount I found my white pepper. What is the difference between white pepper and black?
“Q: I have noticed that some recipes use both black and white pepper in the same recipe. Is there a big difference between the two? If I don’t have any white pepper can I use black pepper? Is one “stronger” than the other, so you should use less?
A: They both come from the same plant, but, as with red and green peppers, the final color has to do with their ripeness. Peppercorns are the berries of the pepper plant (piper nigrum), which is native to Southern Asia. You might be interested to know that the primary spice that Europe’s explorers were seeking when they accidentally found the New World on their “shortcut” to Asia was pepper. It still accounts for a quarter of the world’s spice trade.
A black peppercorn is picked when still green and dried in the sun until it turns black. A white peppercorn ripens fully on the vine before it is picked. Black pepper has a slightly hotter flavor and aroma.” (from http://www.ochef.com/569.htm)
So basically it seems that in this case the white pepper was used more for aesthetic purposes–a clear broth. I’ll have to continue this practice now that I am informed.
I had to use dried parsley instead of fresh, as my parsley was just a baby plant and couldn’t yet handle any pruning. Then the recipe called for turmeric. Turmeric???? I have only used turmeric in pickles and for dyeing Esther eggs. What is turmeric other than very, very, yellow?
This is turmeric–the plant. The part used in the spices is underground–the rhizomes. Turmeric is in the Ginger family and grows in Asia. They need a tropical climate and plenty of rainfall to grow.
“When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. (photo and info from Wikipedia.) “
Later when I tasted the CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP it reminded me more of soups I had in South America growing up. Although not strong, the turmeric did change the flavour from my standard Chicken Noodle Soup.
The recipe also called for thyme. My fresh thyme was just peeking up in the herb garden, so I couldn’t use fresh thyme. Now I may have dried thyme and I may not. I don’t know. The reason for this is that about two years ago I decided that I wanted to be able to identify all of my dried herbs by smell and look. I wanted to be an epicurean. So I got all new spice containers and didn’t label a single one.
My plan was to just look inside and take a sniff and immediately know which spice it was. Now you can laugh, but mustard and ginger are VERY hard to tell apart–even by tasting them. It is only when they are cooked that their true identity is revealed, and oh how different their identity. Now if you are wondering if I made Mustard Bread Men at Christmas time, well you are just going to have to wonder longer. Ginger Potato Salad is also unique.
Lunch was leftovers, as I was saving the CHICKEN AND NOODLES for after the baseball game in the evening.
After lunch, I was able to go outside and see what the kiddos had accomplished.
Little Man pushed the edger up and down the sidewalk. It is heavy for a still one year old, but he was determined. LBG (Little Big Guy) had dressed him that morning in one of his T-shirts. I thought, that T-shirt is missing one word, so I added it with Photoshop.
Eloise was being Eloise which means that she was off in her own imaginary world playing. She had gotten the umbrella out of the car and was walking through the sprinkler.
The Hunni had spray painted a 4-Square court onto our concrete. The kiddos have played 4-Square here for years. If you look closely, you can see the crack that were the previous markers for the court.
The Hunni also added a home plate as LBG pitches into a home-made pitching contraption that The Hunni sewed up last year.
But behind the garage is where most of the work was happening. I used to have several raised beds back here, but since I discovered a great produce stand, I don’t need all the gardens. Instead, we are putting in a built-in grill. The Hunni spent the morning mixing and pouring cement for the base.
He had the kiddos working. Here is Scout trying to “bring up the butter.”
Here is LBG doing the same thing.
And here is the Overseer.
We cleaned up for the baseball game that evening. LBG can’t eat before a game unless it is just cereal, so my best bet is to have a meal in the oven or crock pot on game night. Tonight we were going to come home to CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP.
LBG pitched, and caught, and played second. His coach moves the players around a bit, which makes it more fun.
Little Man enjoys baseball games. There is almost always a pile of dirt in which to drive his cars.
He faded before the game was over. A very tired, dirty, boy came home with us.
This is how Eloise spent the game–on Daddi’s phone.
The game ended and the coaches had their usual post-game talk. Praise and problems are pointed out. I am so thankful for these coaches that are willing to take a bunch of squirrely 10 – 12 years olds and work with them.
We headed home to CHICKEN AND NOODLES, and after our day outside, it sure tasted good.
The kiddos headed off for showers and bed, while I started a meal for tomorrow. I knew we had another day in the yard and garage, and didn’t want to be inside cooking all morning, so I made PW’s SLOPPY JOES (pg. 58)
Again I didn’t measure, because it is just SLOPPY JOES, how can you mess up. I added a little more ketchup that the recipe called for, but other than that I stuck to the plan.
At 9:30 I had finished. Now the SLOPPY JOES in the photo above are just mixed. What SLOPPY JOES really need are hours of simmering on the stove. I put the dutch oven in the refrigerator and headed off to bed knowing that I had lunch ready.
The next morning before heading outside, I brought the SLOPPY JOES up to a simmer and let them cook all morning while we worked.
Lunch was an outdoor affair. The SLOPPY JOES were a big hit with The Hunni and Kiddos. Of course, “the best sauce is always hunger.” And they were hungry from working outside.
I love yard work and I love my family all in the yard with me.
COMMENTS: Although I am glad that I tried the CHICKEN AND NOODLES recipe, both the kiddos and I prefer the regular ‘ole standby Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. Also the turmeric stains everything from the dutch oven to the Tupperware container in which it is stored, so I don’t think I will add it again. It does give it a “South American” flavour, though, so you might want to experiment with it. This website mentions the health benefits of turmeric, so you might want to consider that aspect as well. The SLOPPY JOES are going to be repeated. I had never in my life made SLOPPY JOES before, and was surprise how much I like them–cheap and easy and kiddo approved. They need a good two hours of simmering, though, I think. Freezes fantastically.
But before I had over the controls to you. There is one last great debate. How do you pronounce “turmeric?” Americans say, “tomb-er-ick” . A few fanatics insist on “tur-mer-ic.”
Now it is your turn to go to work.
Here are the categories. Following Directions, Cooking Methods (steps that got me to the end), Presentation, Overall Impression, Creativity. Each category will be worth 4 points. A = 4.0, B = 3.0 B – = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1, F = failure. If I don’t get a passing grade, then I will have to repeat the recipe.
Or just pass me a note–like back in second grade. “Let’s sit together at lunch.” Did you ever get a note read out loud???