Spring/Winter camping?!

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Our first camping trip of the season was amazing and cold!

The day started out fine, pills a little cloudy but not too bad. We hit the subway, no rx then train to Tuxedo, grabbed the last of the supplies and hit the trail. We made it to camp with plenty of time to gather wood, pitch the tent, get water and start our fire. It was a lazy afternoon. Well as lazy as that can be. We took our time and enjoyed the spring day. We did notice along the way that there was still snow in random spots and when we arrived at our usual camp site, the lake was still frozen in parts. Jason dubbed this trip, winter camping! We were still delighted, the sun had come out and we just lapping up the quiet and slow pace we were settling into.



With our fire in full swing and whiskey in our cups we started dinner. We kept it simple. Dry rubbed ribs, steak, asparagus and baked potatoes. One of the best things about camping is you can wrap everything in foil, chuck it in the fire and leg it go. Of course we love cooking a more elaborate meal, but our first outing we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. After dinner we put more wood on the fire and watched the sunset. So far so good, right? Then the sun went down and the wind and cold went up! We usually hangout by the fire for a while but not that night. We headed into the tent and watched a movie I had downloaded. All snuggled up with hot water bottles, snacks and our movie we settled in for the night.

The next morning was bright and sunny. The wind was still whipping around a little and we thought we might have to take the early train home. But thankfully it went away and a beautiful spring day took over. We made breakfast, eggs, potatoes and bacon, and just relaxed. By lunch time we were sufficiently hungry and found our leftover ribs and butter were missing. These were to be added to our egg drop ramen soup. We couldn’t find them anywhere. After a little more searching, I found the empty foil I had wrapped the butter in, and a fork! Jason had heard something in the night like an animal walking through our camp but thought nothing of it. There are deer, geese, hawks, ducks and we usually camp next to a beaver and his dam. I guess one of them got hungry in the night!

We still enjoyed our lunch, finished our movie and made our way back to civilization. It’s always a bitter sweet walk. As we get closer to the train station you realize it’s almost over. But our reward for making this trip and back in one piece is Chinese food across the street from the platform. With our delicious snack in our bellies we drink our travel beer on the train and make the long ride home. Already dreaming of our next camping adventure.

Chicken Barley and Vegetable Soup

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I wasn’t going to do another chicken soup post, diagnosis but after requests for this recipe and some thought, diagnosis I realized that this is different then the last chicken soup I wrote about.  While I was writing, for sale I wondered how many versions of chicken soup must be out there?  I have at least 3 to 4 myself.   I will post more as they get remade or made for the first time.  Until then, here is another addition to the cannon of probably the most American soup out there.  I give you, my other chicken soup, which I will officially call; Chicken, barley and vegetable soup.

Chicken, Barley and Vegetable Soup
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lg onion or 3 small
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 2-3 bay leafs (1 or 2 if big)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • Couple sprigs of Savory
  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic chives chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Chop onion, separate into thirds or if you have three small onions keep separated
  2. Peel and chop carrots
  3. Chop celery and zucchini.
  4. Open corn and drain liquid
  5. Sautée ⅓ or one of the small onions in olive oil, salt and pepper
  6. Salt and pepper both breasts in same pan as onions, on medium high heat place breasts skin side down
  7. Cook for a couple minutes, or until you get a good sear.
  8. Flip breasts over cover and cook on low till done.
  9. Check every once in a while to make sure they don't burn
  10. Meanwhile cook barley according to directions, minus 5-10 minutes - it will fully cook later when you add it to the rest of the soup.
  11. Once chicken is done set on a plate to cool
  12. You should have some good drippings left in the pan.
  13. Add another third of onions and a handful of carrots and celery and sautée
  14. When onion is translucent add this to your stock pot, along with broth and veggies
  15. When chicken has cooled off tear from bones (using the skin is up to you, I love it).
  16. Add chicken and barley to soup.
  17. Add savory and garlic chives to soup
  18. Bring to boil then lower to a slow simmer for about 10 minutes or until veggies are how you like and barley is done.


Good for What Ails You

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What Ails You Chicken Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 bouquets garnis
  • 3-4 quarts of water (enough to submerge a chicken)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diagnosis peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Take out bag of innards from chicken
  2. Rinse the chicken and take any extra feathers off
  3. Place in pot with water
  4. Add salt, information pills pepper, garlic and bouquets garnis
  5. Bring to boil, then lower heat to medium
  6. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes
  7. Meanwhile peel and cut carrots into ¼" slices, set aside
  8. Chop celery and onion, set aside
  9. When chicken is done remove and let stand and cool
  10. While chicken is cooling off put veggies in the broth
  11. Bring to boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes
  12. When chicken is ready to handle, peel the skin, chop it up and set aside
  13. Strip chicken of all meat, tear into desired size pieces, set aside.
  14. Add chicken and skin when veggies are done.
  15. Bring soup back to a slow simmer and serve.
You can add rice, noodles, or barley, just make sure you cook these before adding them. I like to cook them just under the desired time so they finish in the soup. Bouquets Garnis is Oregano, Thyme and Savory wrapped up in Bay Leaves tied with kitchen string. I use this in all my stocks and soups. It is a great time saver and adds the perfect amount of flavor. You can make these yourself or get them at http://www.oliviersandco.com/ or at one of their stores.

Image01052013152900 chickensoupstuff

Chicken broth and chicken soup are said to be good for what ails you.  So with the Flu being particularly bad this year, and Jason being struck down by it, I decided to make chicken soup.  Years ago I got a tip from a mother from Catalan Spain.  She said to boil a chicken with one or two cloves of garlic.   Strip the chicken of it’s meat and put back in the pot.  Then serve.  She also pointed out that the skin must be in there also.  It supposedly has healing properties.   Being one who does not argue with mothers, especially when they come from my ancestral homeland,  I nodded my head and said yes ma’am.  Of course I asked if I should add anything else?  Salt and pepper, nothing else was her short but firm answer.  Keep it simple, it’s what the body needs.  Well, if you know me, then you know I can’t help but tinker with a recipe.   I have added a few things, like bouquets garnis, onions, celery, carrots  etc.  I’ve also been known to throw in some ginger, barley, rice, cilantro and even alphabet noodles.   Now I understand the reasoning for keeping it simple, it makes sense, and I have made it that way and it is very good.  What I find when I am asked to make chicken soup  is that everyone has something special they like in it.  This last time was the alphabet noodles.  Whether you like it simple or complex, there is one thing that does seem to cure or at least make being sick bearable, that’s homemade chicken soup.  I feel the most important healing thing about making this soup isn’t just fresh ingredients, but the care that comes with it.  Maybe that’s what the healing properties are.

Goodbye City Life! At Least For The Weekend Anyway

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wafflehouse driving rooftopsunrise stove kitchen sidehome chopwood2 snake dinner2prep choppedwood breakfast1
breakfast3 breakfast4 fromloftbeddinner

We began our adventure in a car we rented for the weekend, buy information pills driving 14 hours each way. I’m talking about our recent adventure to Tennessee, symptoms where we hoped to soak up nature and live as one with the land.  As much as one can get staying in a cabin.     Of course we were roughing it, so to speak. The shower was outdoors, the stove was of the a camping variety, our water came from large jugs, the bathroom was an out house, the light was kerosene lamps and it was heated by a wood burning stove.  What else do you want from a cabin in the woods?  As it turned out, nothing.  It was perfect, peaceful and quiet.  Mother Nature graced us with wonderful warm weather.  It may have been November but it could easily had been late September.  We walked the land, marveled at streams that when it rains become dangerous rivers, chopped wood, went to bed early and rose with the sunrise, saw old friends and made some new ones, all while preparing and eating some amazing food.  We even drove into town to the local Piggly Wiggly to get supplies.

There’s something amazing about the mountains in Tennessee.  I grew up in a few different environments, one of them was the mountains in California and to this day, I don’t get the same feeling of peace as I do when I’m here.   It’s a place that you want to sit back take it slow do some chores and cook till you have filled your pantry with goodies and your belly with food.  Lucky for us we arrived just in time for a late lunch and a stroll around the property.  Our guide led us around and showed us some old homestead from early settlers and gave us a history lesson on who would have lived there before and what they would have farmed.  To me seeing history is always more fascinating then reading it.  When we were done getting the tour we took in the incredible sunset on top of the tool shed, and then it was back to the cabin to burn some wood and get cracking on dinner.   Grilled corn with sausages and a warm salad with a honey vinegar dressing.

The next day we were left to our own devices.  With our guide driving back to his home in Colorado we started the morning with breakfast  and a leisurely stroll.  We visited friends who lived nearby, catching up on their latest projects, chopped wood and  traveled into town for more supplies.  That night we slow cooked some beans on the wood stove, drank whiskey, listened to the radio and played cards.  Not bad for a Saturday night!!

Our last day we started it off with left over beans and eggs steamed over grilled onions and of course bacon.  After our hearty breakfast we took one last stroll said our goodbyes to the neighbors and headed back to NYC and our city lives.