October 1, 2010

.pretty much my most favorite soup evah, and, oh yeah, cupcakes.

If I wasn't so rigid about my title format that would actually read "Pretty much my MOST favorite soup EVAH! And, oh yeah, CUPCAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

But, the format is how I roll so. Yes, lets talk soup. Or stew. Or stoup, if you're my homegirl RayRay ( that would be Rachel Ray, for those of you who aren't tight with her, like me). Anyways, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. That delicious little concoction that is "thinner than a stew, but thicker than a soup." You can make it out of any soup or stew that you like, for me, I prefer the Chicken Tortilla Soup. So delicioso. Yeah, I'm getting spicy on y'all.

Oh this pot has some stories....
  I discovered this delightful little soup while in college in Austin, TX   
  (and no, not at UT, try again). Which, if you can't find good chicken 
  tortilla soup in Austin, you can't find good chicken tortilla soup 
  anywhere... north of the border. I didn't attempt to replicate this soup
  until I had already moved to Alaska. Why would I? I had a steady
  supply at my fingertips everywhere in the ATX. That supply was
  nowhere to be found up in the Last Frontier, however, so I had to
  make my own. I looked at multiple recipes from all over and finally
  just made a hodge podge of my own tastes that made the soup quite a bit thicker than I had ever found it. This included doing away with the tortilla section of chicken tortilla soup, unfortunately, because I could never find cute little tortilla strips in the Safeways up there. Bummer dudes. I'll let you in on a secret though.... don't tell....

...the soup is just as good without the tortilla strips...

Really, it is. I promise. But, if you are in a place where you can easily find tortilla strips, or if you want to make your own, by all means, they should definitely be in there. Most recipes also called for cilantro, which I am not a fan of, so I also leave that out. Without further adieu, here is my chicken tortilla "stoup" recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Stoup serves 6-8
Sauteing up the veggies
3 large chicken breasts
14.5 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
14.5 ounces black beans
1 small or medium onion
2 jalapenos
2-3 cloves minced garlic
6 cups chicken stock, or water
1-2 cups rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper for taste
Grated cheese for taste
Lime for garnish

Ok, let me start by saying, in terms of the ingredients, I use a TON of cheese, I also might not use that much water or stock, it just depends on how much it takes to cover everything in the pot, and how thick I want the stoup to be. The rice plays a big roll in the thickness as well, so you can adjust that to maybe 1 cup if you prefer, or leave it out completely as many recipes do, but I like my rice. Also, this time around I used approximately 1 leek. Very tasty addition.

Looks like "blah" tastes like "BANG!"
In a large stock pot heat olive oil. Add the onion and leek for about 3 minutes. Then add garlic and jalapeno for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to get soft. Add the stock/water, tomatoes, beans, rice, chicken, and salt and pepper, bring to a boil. After it starts to boil, lower the temp and cover the stock pot. Let the chicken cook for at least 30 minutes. I usually let it all cook for more like 45 minutes or even longer. When the chicken is tender enough to shred with two forks, do so. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper as needed. Place in bowls, garnish with grated cheese and lime.

I also discovered a nice little tip this time. At the first taste test my mouth was pretty much scorched with jalapeno spiciness... too spicy to be tasty, so upon a little google research and many choices I decided to add about 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda, which is supposed to quickly counteract the spicy. And it did! Hoorah! Other options were cheese, sour cream, etc. Just a little tip-ti-dip from me.

And now, no, I did not forget. I owe you cupcakes. I do not disappoint.

I've been checking out this blog (<-click for link) and am completely in love with the idea of only making enough dessert for two. That being said, all of her cupcake recipes make 4 cupcakes! The man and I would absolutely scarf down 2 cupcakes apiece but I decided, to celebrate the in-laws coming to visit this weekend, we could all suffice with only 1 per person. Upon telling my husband my brilliant cupcake plan he, in a nutshell, said "Noooo, I want all the cupcakes for myself." I then had to remind him that he lived with me and that I would make him cupcakes any time he wanted them. This appeased his inner cupcake demon.

I decided on Ms. Christina's Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Recipe can be found here.

This recipe was so good. No joke. I have to be skrate though... I did not follow it exactly. Eep. I know. If there's one thing y'all should learn from me it's that I don't follow recipes well. My first question was "what on earth is the vinegar for?" Cause I had never worked with that before in baked goods. Christina told me it was to make the cupcakes rise. I looked up substitutes for it (as I don't have it just laying around my kitchen), and found that you can sub lemon juice, but then wound up going to the store last night anyway so, I picked some up. What I did not pick up, however, was buttermilk. Double eep! I substituted a little fakey buttermilk, by mixing some regular milk with extra white vinegar. This seemed to do the trick just fine.

Furthermore, let me say, I have seen some lovely pictures of gorgeous red velvet cupcake batter, but I have to admit, mine looked like fake Hollywood blood. And baked very dark. Any tips? Yeah. I also got that nefarious batter splatter that I ALWAYS get. Any other bakers have that little guy lurking around every batch of cupcakes? Man, that ish pisses me off! Just get in the appropriate place you glob! 

After the cupcakes cooled it was time for frosting. Holy dancing sugar plums Batman. This frosting is the REAL DEAL. It was so delicious I probably could have put it on a piece of homemade honey wheat bread and eaten it like that.

Oh wait. I did. For lunch, no less.

Only because there was so much left over though! This amount of frosting could have easily frosted about 2 to 3 more cupcakes, maybe even 4 if you pushed it. But maybe I'm just not a frosting fiend? Who knows. It was the best frosting I've tasted in quite some time. I'm thinking it will be my new go-to frosting recipe. For everything. Or just, you know, everything that requires frosting anyway.

So, there you have it. A very successful meal for the mister and the parentals, on what is increasingly becoming chilly Georgia nights. NOW GO MAKE THIS FROSTING. Right meow.

Cook on.


  1. Look at me commenting on all your posts. I can't help it...this looks great. I have never made it and never even tried to make it..but Matt loves tortilla soup. This is gonna be on my menu next week.

  2. My favorite soup + my favorite cake in one post? Amazing.

    PS. Rachael is also my homegirl.