Tuesday tidbits

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Last weekend I did something new, at least for me. I started with a chicken and a bunch of vegetables and I ended up with soup.

Xander usually makes soup stock in huge batches. He makes really good stock and we have a lot frozen so whenever we want to make soup, we can. This time, though, since I was starting with a whole chicken, I made my own stock.

I cooked the chicken in the cast iron Dutch Oven given to us by Xander’s mother. I love it! I didn’t do anything too fancy, just rubbed the chicken with cayenne under the skin so there would be a little bit of heat. I learned from the last time I tried to take meat of a chicken; this time I stuck it in the refrigerator for a few hours so I could skip the finger-burning part. I took all the meat off the carcass, fed the skin to the dog, and put the bones and giblets into a stockpot and covered them with water. I added a lot of bay leaves, some peppercorns, celery ends from the freezer, garlic, and various other things that looked good, and then I let it cook for a long time until it tasted right. I then added the chicken and sausage, the onions, carrots, and potatoes, and cooked them for a while. Once they were mostly done, I added the celery and mushrooms and cooked it all just a little while longer. I put in┬ávarious seasonings, too, but I don’t really remember what at this point.

I like cooking from recipes. I like the rhythm, knowing what comes next, how it will all come out in the end. Cooking without a recipe feels a little bit like walking a tightrope without a net (I do know how that feels, though the tightrope wasn’t very far off the ground, at least!). I worry about screwing things up or ruining food. I’m getting more confident, I guess, or more comfortable in the kitchen, because this time I figured it was soup, and as long as I didn’t completely overdo anything, it would be fine. It is, too. It tastes good and has texture. I had fun puttering around, tasting, adjusting, and playing with it.

I made something all by myself. I feel like a little kid, saying that with such pride, but I really am happy about it.