Happy Holidays, etc.

How are your holidays going? Mine are almost over, thankfully (I fly home Boxing Day).

If you are in need of a little something to take your mind off of the family (or the security alerts at the airport), check out LibriVox. It’s a project to create audio versions of books that are in the public domain – think of it like Project Gutenberg with a voice. Their completed collection isn’t huge, but there are users contributing new readings all the time, so check it out. I’m thinking of uploading a couple chapters out of The Wizard of Oz, just to remind myself that this place isn’t so weird, after all.

Starting when I fly home on Tuesday, things get very interesting. I’m going to Vegas in mid-January? Did I mention that? I am beyond stoked – and this week I go into training so that my liver will be strong enough to survive the 2 nights of debauchery that I hope will ensue. Tuesday night, knitting + town talk, Wednesday: broomball practice followed hopefully by dinner at Midori’s Floating World, Thursday: Broomball game followed by White Light Riot @ First Ave, Friday: Undecided – should involve booze somehow though.  Saturday – Holiday Party at SJ’s, followed by New Year’s – which if I have any say in the matter is going to be a big, messy, mess.

Hot Fuzz

This movie looks to be Shaun of the Dead, minus zombies, unfortunately however, the premise seems a little weak, and the trailer makes it look weaker.

I’m still looking forward to it however.

 

On illness and flower-peppers.

Colds with me are sort of funny. I’ll feel fine, until I get a sudden sensation of thirst, that doesn’t go away with the ingestion of liquid. Of late, this scratchy throat has also been accompanied by mild dizzy/wooziness (which may explain why I face planted at the intersection of 1st Ave and 5th St saturday night). The throat/dizzy thing is then followed up by the ability of my nose to produce enough mucous to block my municipal water main. Bleh.

Now, allowing one’s self to actually feel sick isn’t very hedonistic of course, so I started to put in place my usual remedies: Ny/DayQuil (depending on the hour), NeoCitran/Theraflu (the former is preferable, but needs to be imported from Canada), Buckley’s Mixture (again a Canadian import, which I found myself sadly out of), and the normal food remedies, including chicken soup. And what is supposedly great in chicken soup? Szechuan Peppercorns. What? you say, Don’t they cause some kind of virus that has american citrus farmers all paranoid? Aren’t they banned from this country? No longer! According to The Spice Dude at Penzey’s, and a number of other websites, the peppercorns are now heat treated before leaving China so that they are no longer a threat to our ability to enjoy orange juice from concentrate.

I’d first noticed their return in Penzey’s catalog a couple of weeks ago, and ended up swinging by the Uptown store Saturday afternoon to pick some up (as well as some granulated ginger and lemon grass). Hmmm…now i’m wondering if this was some sort of conspiracy between Penzey’s and my immune system — get her the peppercorns, then get her sick so that she obviously has to make soup…?

Paranoia aside (must be a symptom of the Dayquil), here’s my basic template for Chicken Soup for a Sick and Whiny Hedonist Who Has Been Too Lazy to Make Her Own Chicken Stock for Months and Doesn’t Have Any Defrosted Chicken Around The House*

  • 8 cups water
  • 1.5 tbsp Penzey’s chicken base
  • handful of szechuan pepper corns
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • pinch o’ saffron
  • some celery salt (or some salt and minced celery, if you have celery that isn’t a pathetic wilted mass at the bottom of your crisper)
  • a few twists of black pepper
  • pinch of dried or frozen sage
  • 2 packages ramen noodles
  • sriracha (to taste, added after serving)
  1. Start water boiling
  2. Add carrots, peppercorns, saffron, celery salt, simmer for 20 minutes or so.
  3. Taste for saltiness or anything else that might be missing
  4. Remember to add sage (just crumble it between your fingers), and black pepper.
  5. Without opening the packages or ramen, break the noodles into little pieces, then open the package and remove the spice packet.
  6. Throw away the spice packets. Put noodles into the soup.
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes more (until noodles are done) and serve with Sriracha just in case it’s not sinus clearing enough for you already.

*What this title means, is that this soup can only be made better if you substitute real chicken stock for the water + soup base, and add little chunks of chicken (cooked or uncooked is fine – the best though is the leftovers from a grocery store rotisserie chicken purchased and half eaten a couple nights before).

Thoughts:

  • yum.
  • Even though multiple sources told me it was just fine to add the peppercorns whole to soup, they taste weird if you actually bite into one: it’s like a lemony numbness (that lingers!). Next time, I’ll either be giving them the mortar and pestle treatment first, or putting them in a tea ball.
  • All measurements are of course, approximate, and this recipe begs to be played with. I went a little ghetto with some of the ingredients (ramen noodles? come on!) and I’m sure you can do better.

Enjoy!