Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Making Stock and Chicken Soup

Despite the 50° temperature, cloud cover and rain, it's actually spring. And for whatever reason, I felt the need to clean up the apartment. I mean serious clean. I bleached out the onion cabinet, washed the kitchen floor, emptied, sorted and reorganized the front closet. Serious. Cleaning.

One of my coworkers once commented that she expected my house to be spotless all the time, as my desk is typically uncluttered and clean. Sadly, this isn't the case. We pack quite a bit into this small space and if you don't put something back in it's place right away, thinks get out of hand pretty fast. Add in the never ending dust and it's easy for our place to look like a disaster.

People watching at the West Side Market
If you don't shop at the West Side Market, you really should.
I don't know why, but I always start cleaning in the kitchen and Morgan always takes the bathroom. And for that, she is a saint, because I hate cleaning the bathroom. It's not because it's the bathroom, it's because there are so many different surfaces to clean and they all have tight corners and small spaces. I just don't have the patience. I'm more of a spray it down with cleaner, let sit and then wipe it up. I do kitchens well, bathrooms, not so much. To my Lovely Wife: THANK YOU!!!

Anyone else spend this rainy weekend cleaning up?

And since we were doing a bit of spring cleaning on this nice fall day, I make some homemade chicken soup. Hey, if we're going to spend the day cleaning, we might as well have a tasty dinner after all that hard work. When we made homemade fried chicken we get a whole broiler/fryer from Kaufmann Poultry at the West Side Market. I break it down into quarters and fry it, but I freeze the backs, wings, extra fat and skin for just such an occasion.

Watch Part One of True Brew IV: Take Stock
Basically I follow the Alton Brown method, so be sure to watch the award winning episode I'm guessing about five pounds of chicken parts went into the stock pot, as well as the carrots that had gone a little past their prime in the fridge. Cover that with water, I'd guess about a gallon or so. You remember the part where I don't measure in the kitchen, right? Yeah, I don't do it and I'm okay with that.

Then I tossed in a bunch of spices. Whole peppercorns, coriander and cloves. Ground sage, ginger and nutmeg. This and that, whatever I happen to find in the spice cabinet. And then bring that to a simmer and keep it there for four hours or four days but not a minute more. Straining of the solid bits is recommended because they've given up all their flavor to the stock.

Watch Part Two of True Brew IV: Take Stock
When the stock is done, making soup is easy. Since I don't need a huge vat of soup, I poured off about half to cool and freeze for another day. Morgan chopped up four carrots and three ribs of celery while I chopped up two small leaks and got a chicken breast grilling. I quickly sautéed the veggies before everything ended up in the pot with some egg noodles.

And it was so good, we didn't even take a photo.

Did you make anything tasty this weekend?

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