Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lemon Chicken Soup for the Soul

A lot has happened since I last posted.  Jay and I have (with the exception of a few things in a closet) finished moving to Birmingham.  Edie is as happy with her lot in life as ever.

I finally graduated from law school one week before the graduations of two of my dearest friends, and the photographic results of all events were pretty amazing.  (The especially hilarious ones are worthy of their own post and will be saved for a later post.)

I've left one job and started a new one, and that transition has been harder than I initially imagined, mostly because I just really miss the team/family I left behind in Tuscaloosa.  However, I must say it is quite nice to call Jay up and say "Hey, dudeface, you want to come eat lunch with me at Davenport's?", and he can be there in fifteen minutes.  I miss my sister and my RoboBear that I left in Tuscaloosa County, and I miss Tuscaloosa's Sitar f/k/a Maharajah of India.  (Sorry UAB Sitar...your food is not as delicious.)  Things feel so different even though really so little has changed.  I only live an hour or so away from where I used to live, but it feels a world and a lifetime away.  I've had little time to do 'me' things because of the new job and this test thing that I have to take in two and a half weeks.  (Just a little thing, you know.  Rhymes with tar.)  The only creative thing I've really gotten to do is cook, and that has been forced upon me by the contents of our CSA box through Snow's Bend Farm in Coker, Alabama.  (Which is a good thing and one of the reasons I wanted to do it in the first place; I need to try new foods and figure out ways that I like them.)  However, tonight's cooking adventure (during which I looked over materials about Alabama Civil Procedure) was purely selfish on my part.  All ingredients had to be purchased at the store before coming home, which again, is mostly my fault for not having been to the store lately. 

One of the best things about Birmingham has been my discovery of Taziki's Greek Fare.  There is one near where I work, and their salads and lemon chicken soup have become a lunch staple for me.  Well, tonight, I made their wonderful lemon chicken soup for myself, and it was more of a success than I expected!  I found the recipe for it at, of all places,  I, of course, went ahead and made a whole vat of the stuff, which, in hindsight, may have been a mistake, but I was hungry when I started cooking.

Taziki's Chicken Soup

1 quart Taziki's chicken soup broth (recipe at right)
2 ½ cups (firmly packed) chicken, picked from bones
½ cup carrots, grated medium
½ tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoon Greek seasoning
4 to 5 cups basmati rice or orzo pasta, cooked  (I say use the rice.)

Combine all ingredients in a small stock pot. Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soup reaches 165 degrees. After completion, add ¼ cup of cooked basmati rice (or al dente orzo pasta) to each cup of soup. (Note: Pick chicken from bones but do not chop it.)


1 ½ gallons (or 24 cups) canned chicken broth
6 to 7 pound chicken
1 ½ cups yellow onions, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups celery, roughly chopped
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 ounce fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Add all ingredients to a large pot. Bring to boil. (We boil the broth uncovered but you may cover it while boiling.)  After boiling, allow broth to simmer for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender or falling off the bone.
Remove chicken from pot. Allow to cool. Strain and discard all vegetables. Skim or separate fat from broth. After chicken has cooled, pick and set meat aside to cool. (Note: Unused stock can be frozen.) Makes 3 quarts.

Jay is at some co-op social tonight where they eat and have trivia, and I am home alone.  There is only so much bar review I can take at one time, but my breaks from that have mostly been frustration that my soup wasn't done, hurt at some rather insensitive text messages (I mean, really people, Bill and Ted had it right...Be excellent to each other), and sheer panic at the thought of the last two months and the few months ahead.  My mood has been rather black, and while I still feel like Vocal Adrenaline has showed up at my school and sung Another One Bites the Dust, the perfection that is this Lemon Chicken Soup comforts me.  Knowing that all it takes is a little internet research, a few ingredients, and the most basic of cooking skills to make one of my current favorite restaurant dishes in the comfort of my own kitchen is quite reassuring.  Things will work out, and eventually, I'll feel right as rain.

Probably.  :)