Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Autumn Vegetable Soup with Matzoh Balls

Last night I made vegetable matzoh ball soup for dinner. Matzoh balls are a comfort food here in Barnacle-ville.  You may recall Summer Vegetable Matzoh Ball Soup, which was a simple water based version.  Last night I made it with homemade chicken stock that was in the freezer..  Chicken stock is pretty easy.  Bill loves rotisserie chicken so I save the bones to make the broth. I like that nothing is wasted from the chicken.   Respect the chicken.  I admit that I use a pressure cooker, which speeds up and simplifies the process.  You can save up the bones in the freezer until you have time to make it.  You can use other bones or veggie scraps instead.

Barnacle Broth
yield 1 quart of broth concentrate
1 carcass from a rotisserie chicken
1 quart water
Place carcass (include skin if you wish) and water in the pressure cooker, and bring to a boil.  Bring up to pressure and simmer 45 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally.  Drain the soup, discarding bones.  Pour the cooled broth into a quart sized container and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, remove the yellowish layer of fat from the top of your broth, (which may be jellied).  This golden disc is schmatz.  Use it like bacon grease, or instead of oil in your matzoh balls. If you wish, freeze the stock and the schmaltz for later.  When you use the broth, thin it with about 1/2 - 1 quart of water or to taste.

Autumn Vegetable Soup with Matzoh Balls
1 T olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 red pepper chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bunch of swiss chard, stems chopped, leaves chiffonade
1 tomato, chopped
1 qt Barnacle Broth
1 qt water
1 tsp salt

Matzoh Balls
1 C matzoh meal
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C seltzer
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
black pepper

Make the matzoh balls: mix all ingredients into a thick batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Saute leeks, celery, pepper, carrots, and chard stems (reserve leaves) in oil.  When golden, add broth and water.  Bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer while you make the matzoh balls.   Divide batter into 8 portions and roll into balls.  Drop into soup, cover and simmer 20 minutes.  After 20, add reserved chard leaves, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. 

Dish Bitch
1 glass 1 quart measuring cup
1 c measure
1 teaspoon
cutting board
wooden spoon

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yikes Time Flies

I can't believe it's October.  I can't believe that I haven't posted since July.  There was a convergence of events (health, motherboard crash, heat and shift my focus on getting back to work)  that required a lot of attention, thus I neglected my postings. 

I'm still having pain from injuries sustained last fall.  I'm back to work and I've faced the patient who assaulted me.  The patient is still in bad shape, but cognizant enough to apologize.  This person is not a killer or a criminal, just someone who was having a really bad day.  I am grateful.  I know, WTF?  But considering some of the injuries sustained by coworkers, inflicted by people who express their intent to maim and kill, I am lucky. But, I've been questioning my own sanity in my choice to return to this environment.

One of the things I've noticed since I'm back at work is the number of my colleagues who are practicing Roman Catholics, mostly from Haiti, Latin America, and the Philippines. 

I was surprised to see a scapula poking out of my colleagues' shirt.  I said, "your scapula's showing" which seemed natural as breathing (flashback to high school?).  She seemed amused and a bit awkward, and responded that she was trying to hide it.  I smiled and put my hand on my chest " I hear you, no atheists in foxholes."  She laughed and squeezed my arm. 

Although I'm not RC, I was raised RC.  As crazy as it seems, in times when I'm faced with sudden fear (like a deer jumping in front of the car on a dark night) , I might spit out a Hail Mary in Latin (thank you Dr. Fossa).  I feel strong connection to Liberation Theology and the Catholic Worker Movement.   Meaning, justice, collective work, and communal/ community experience that I sought, is present in this environment.  So I'm sticking to it for a little while longer.