Welcome author Barbara Ehrentreu to Good Eats, Great Reads. I learned something new about Barbara. She cooks with her nose. I am sure the delicious aroma of Homemade Chicken Soup will fill the house, not only the kitchen, and tease the taste buds as it cooks all day. Please read all her great tips on how to make this tummy warming soup as well as an excerpt from her young adult book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Oh, my goodness, my stomach is rumbling just thinking about a huge bowl full of chicken soup....How is that possible after that huge Thanksgiving dinner yesterday??
Barbara’s Homemade Chicken Soup
Water to fill pot three quarters full
5 large stalks of celery with the leaves on them
6 large carrots unpeeled
2 medium onions
6 cloves of garlic
bunch of parsley chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Large wooden spoon
Large metal spoon
It's a whole day experience and usually I make it for holidays. It's probably the longest and most tedious dish I have ever made. I think it's the constant skimming of the stuff on top. My mother taught me to cook the vegetables first without cleaning off the skin. So you're putting in washed, but unpeeled celery and carrots with raw onions and garlic and cover with water to just cover the vegetables. The foam comes to the top and you skim that. Then when the vegetables are soft you put in the chicken, add water to cover it until it is three quarters full in the pot, just covering the chicken, and let it boil again. When it comes to a boil you keep skimming off the fat until large globules become smaller and then you add more vegetables. Sometimes I add some parsnips if the soup isn't sweet enough. Then you go by the smell. It should smell like cooked chicken with a blend of the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. It's kind of hard to explain that unless you were with me, but there's really no other way. When the chicken is completely cooked I start tasting it and then add the seasonings. Then you cover it partially and just leave it to simmer, simmer, simmer. When the meat starts coming off the bones, the soup is probably ready. Then you must strain the soup. In the meantime you are constantly skimming the fat as the soup is simmering. Some people keep that fat and let it get cold and hard. Then they use it as a spread or as fat in food, like chopped liver. I don't. :)
The important thing to remember with Jewish chicken soup is that there are also varieties that include dill, etc. I never put dill in mine. I do use parsley, though. After you are finished straining the soup then you need to put it back in the pot and keep the strained chicken and vegetables. When I was younger my mother used to put in the undeveloped baby chicken eggs that look like hard boiled yolk and my grandmother used to make her own thin noodles (lukshen) I usually go through and take out the bones before I serve it. You can serve the boiled chicken or use it in other recipes. Or you can put some of the chicken back into the pot and warm it. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if necessary.
The worst part of this is cleaning up your stove. The soup gets everywhere and you usually have to clean the entire stovetop.:) Wow, did I just give you my secret recipe for chicken soup? Oh yeah, you won't be able to duplicate it unless you have me and my nose there.<G>
Barbara, a retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. When she received her Masters degree she began writing seriously. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Barbara’s first YA novel, was published by MuseItUp Publishing, September 16th and was inspired by Paula Danziger. In addition, Barbara has a story in the anthology, Lavender Dreams, also published by MuseItUp Publishing. All proceeds from this anthology go to cancer research. Barbara also writes poetry and three of her poems are included in the soon to be published anthology, Prompted, a collaboration of members of The Anthologists. Her blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/, is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. She hosts RRWL Tales from the Pages (Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages) on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children's story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online She has written book reviews for Authorlink.com. and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity Café. She is a member of SCBWI. Writing is her life!
Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school.When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?
I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.” He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark- haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.
I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school—first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn't. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.
Dangling over the chair are those size twelve jeans, clown pants—hardly a fashion statement. I groan. Paired with the red long-sleeved T-shirt, they looked so good on the mannequin; I’ll look like a stoplight. What was I thinking? How could I possibly go to school looking like such a freak?
Actually, the real reason I can’t go is Jennifer, with her long straight blonde hair, perfect body, and clothes from magazines like Teen and Seventeen. Yuck. I feel sick, sick with Jenniferitis. I hear Mom's footsteps on the stairs. “Why are you still in bed?” She comes upstairs and peeks into my room with a puzzled look on her face.