Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tortilla Soup

It has started to be a tradition that I make Tortilla soup for lunch on Christmas Day or another time around the holidays. It is a hearty, thick, almost stew like, soup.
I'd like to have it recorded for family-so I include it today.
It is a modified version of the recipe from the cookbook One Dish Meals from the Food and Wine book series.

Tortilla Soup
serves 4 to 6

6 T cooking oil
8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 onion chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T paprika
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth (for strict vegetarian soup use veggie broth)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in thick puree (or 3 cups)
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup fresh, lightly packed cilantro plus 3 T chopped (optional)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can chili beans, not drained
1 avocado cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 pound cheddar, grated
lime wedges (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1. Heat oil in large heavy pot over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring until pale golden, about 1 min. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

2. In separate pot (or the same one after you drain majority of oil) turn heat to moderately low and add onion, garlic and spices. Cook, stirring fro 5 min. Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro (if using), and 1/3 of tortilla strips.
Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 min. Remove bay leaves.

3. In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches and return to pot. Add black beans, corn and chili beans and return to a simmer for 10 minutes.

4. To serve, place tortilla strips in bowls, top with cheddar. Pour in the soup. Sprinkle on diced avocado and cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream if using. Serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Kids up at 6:30 am or so. Java noses the covers and climbs under them with her head by my feet and her body snuggled against mine on one side and Pops on the other. We snuggle for an hour or so and then pops gets up and later I do.
Pops makes toast and scrambled eggs for all.
Pops and Al go to Costco and then Safewayy and run into lots of other Daddies out shopping.
Ki and I bathe and I vow that today, we are getting those 2 fist sized tangles out of her hair. She says matter of factly, "You say that everyday."
I continue with my seemingly endless gift wrapping.
Ki and I clean house a bit so it doesn't look like it should be condemned.
I remember I need to send a fax for work ASAP. Ki and i take the fax, treats and Lucy and Jakes gift and head to Jennyalice's. We get to chat for 10 min and then head home as Tanyo, a dear family friend from when I was 7, has come over and Pops is home from the store.
Tanyo, Granny and I head out for a lunch of Mediterranean food. I had a panini made of lamb and pita bread with garlic fries. Yummy.
Home for a second and get a quick drive-by from Squid and kids.
Pops main gift was just dropped off by UPS. Yeah!
Over to my office with Tonya so El can pick up gifts she wrapped at my office last week. Aj joins us and we bring home more wrapped gifts. We exchange gifts with Tonya and I wrap gifts for Jane.
Jennyalcie stops by and drops off a pumpkin pie she made from scratch. She doesn't believe me when I tell her I have never made a pie crust.
We get all dressed and head to church. See some friends from Roy Cloud and lovely Mer that I use to work with. Mid-mass Aj leans over to me and says, "Can you eat a scorpion?" He later participates and sings a bit. He leans over to the bowl of holy water and dips his hand in a crosses himself. I am vigilant as I am unsure if the next move he'll make will be seeing how big a splash he can make.
We head home and Pops makes dinner of frozen pizza and lasagna. Perfect. I did NOT want to cook tonight.
I begin making tortilla soup and the fried tortillas that go in it. This is lunch for 10 tomorrow.
I bake potatoes that will become twice-baked potatoes for Xmas dinner.
We have our usual dinner at the coffee table watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
I finish making soup.
I make a batch of white chocolate covered chex mix.
Dishes, dishes. Granny helps with the dishes.
Pops has Ki call NORAD. There you can take to an Elf who will tell you where Santa is currently at in the world and when he will be at your house.
We put it on speaker phone and hear a lovely gentleman elf asking Ki where she lives and then asking her if she is going to leave a snack out for Santa. He tells her he has been working really hard all night and will be quite hungry.
"Oh, yes, we are leaving a snack out for him."
He then says that Santa will be at our house in an hour it is about 8:30. Aj's eyes widen and he runs throw his unfinished ice cream into the sink. I tell him it is okay, he has time to finish his dessert. He continues standing and rifles spoonfuls of ice cream into his mouth. He then darts into the bathroom and brushes his teeth. He cannot get into bed soon enough. I agonize him by asking him to pick out a snack for Santa. He chooses a tangerine and Ki chooses a banana.
They go to bed and I work a bit more in the kitchen.
Pops heads into the dining room to wrap gifts and emerges over an hour later.
I sit here and write and watch TV and am flanked by labs.
Now I am off to make the twice baked potatoes, finish wrapping stocking gifts and clean the dining room with Pops. Christmas is fun, also exhausting.
Peace to you all.