Columbian Chicken Stew

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Most people think that chicken soup is a great dish for icky weather days. Days when it’s dark and overcast. When you turn on the lights in the house because the clouds make it feel like evenings.  Soups are great comfort foods on days like this, but I grew up loving soups and ramens on hot days too. I think it made it feel a teeny bit cooler while still bringing in that comfort food feeling deep in your chest. Obviously, I still had a glass of ice water to go with it.  I took this recipe from the Serious Eats website and found the potatoes to be very bland even after modifying it a few times.  I thought, at first, the blandness was because of the modifications I had made that first time. I had literally tossed everything in just like my maternal grandfather did when he was cooking in my youth. I had fingerling potatoes on hand so used those (uncut) instead of the standard russet or golds that most people would use. I also added a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes since I had them on hand and they were about to go bad anyways. (I should probably also mention that the soup itself was delicious – it was just the potatoes that felt bland)

The next time I made this, I made sure to mix everything together so that potatoes and tomatoes and chicken were all layered together. I used Yukon Golds and cubed them up evenly hoping that the non-peel sides would help sop up some of the liquid and add some flavor to the soup. The result had a small bit more flavor, but I wonder if the lack is more because I don’t normally eat cooked potatoes that aren’t fries these days.

Of note – this recipe didn’t require liquid like most pressure cooker recipes but when I lifted the lid there was tons. Which is probably why it took almost an hour to make? I might try a little water next time to see if it goes quicker. Most gurus will tell you that water is essential as this is part of what allows the pot to come to pressure. (Heat creates steam, etc, etc etc.)

 

Recipe: Serious Eats
Prep Time: Unknown
Time to Pressure: too dang long
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Time from start to finish:  approximately 1 hour from the time I sealed the pot.

Three weeks in…

We’re 3 weeks into our training plan and my husband has learned quite a few non-runner, wife related things. Things like I take lots of reminding to get my okole moving if I don’t have plans to meet someone at a specified time. That he has a better chance of motivating me to hurry up if his running clothes is on and waiting than it would be if he waited for me in his underwear.

Run run runThat being said, We got out there for the mere 40 min run on Saturday morning and had a decent time. I tend to run without music as much as possible because I use the time to evaluate how the run is going and ruminate on life in general. With our strides being different, it’s easy to run alone and run with him at the same time. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it has been to have his company when I run. I can only hope that the process is bringing him as much joy as running has for me in the last six years. I’m just not sure why it takes so long for me to motivate myself to get out on the trail.

The pain might has something to do with it. When I sprained my ankle a few years ago, it changed everything about how I run. That’s probably not special to say, but given how much I loathed running 10 years ago (and definitely all through my school years) it’s not particularly surprising. While the time was decent, I still dealt with a bunch of pain. On the outer sides of my feet as if I has issues with Supination instead of the Overpronating like I was familiar with. There was also some issues with pain in my IT Band. This I was somewhat familiar with but this time (and the two previous times I had run), the pain radiated past my knee into my calf. When it occured, I tried to power through it as much as possible and took walk breaks when I couldn’t.

Post run and post food, we went to look into getting Justin formally fit with a new pair of shoes for his training journey. Up until this point he had picked a pair that he thought he liked and used it for both working out as well as for every day use. The nice kid at Run 26 in Mill Creek brought out some Brooks since that’s what he was wearing as well as some other models. After a few test jogs, Justin chose the new Saucony model. The whole process made me realize that maybe it wasn’t just me and I asked if there were any changes in the model shoe I was using. My newest trainers were Adrenaline 16’s I had picked up earlier this year to replace a LE pair I had bought during the holidays. I’ve been using Brooks for quite a few years now so I’ve always just moved to the newest model.

While the store employee indicated that there hadn’t been, when I took the same question to Facebook with a description of my symptoms enough people chimed in with similar issues to have me move back to my older shoes. I can feel the runs more with the age of these shoes, but at least the cramping and pains have subsided for the most part. Now, however, I must search for a new pair since this can’t be a permanent solution.

Next up? Well the plan says 50 minutes which at a 15/16 min pace means we might get 4 miles or so, but we signed up for a 10k on Saturday. A good friend of Justin’s says it’s good placement in our training plan as he’ll most likely learn what the wall feels like and plan for it later on when the training plan calls for that type of mileage.

Applesauce

I’d like to come up with a title wittier than “Applesauce” but I noticed that the last few Pressure Cooker posts have said “Easy”. Since I didn’t want to keep saying “Easy XXX” for pressure cooker recipes (even though they are), I thought I’d start with just Applesauce. After all, that’s what this is going to be. This pretty, pretty apple.   I like eating applesauce and  previously I was buying the type that comes in pouches so all you have to do is twist off the cap and stick it in your  mouth and let it hang there until it’s empty. Helpful when you’re busy writing or sketching, juggling pets, or just too damned lazy to use your hands. I’ll let you decide which one I usually am. At any rate, after a trip over to Yakima and an “accidental” purchase of a couple dozen apples that were a good price I realized that it couldn’t be all that hard to make your own. Thankfully, Youtube makes it really easy to prove that correct.

Everyone’s grandmother’s got their own way to make it and ideas of what you should and shouldn’t put in it. Peels, cinnamon, added sugar. LOTS AND LOTS of options. I just wanted easy.  So I found THIS video that wasn’t too long winded, out of focus
AND had easy ingredients. Apples + water.  I was skeptical of the idea of skins, so I peeled mine, set it on the stove and waited the allotted time with happy results. After getting my Instant Pot, I tried to duplicate it there and picked a random apple that I liked to eat and the results? Weren’t as wonderful. I ended up with a soupy mess wondering where I went wrong. The pot spewed during the Quick Release making a sticky mess and once I blitzed the softened apples it wasn’t what I was hoping to see. Still delish but not…. Not the applesauce you’re used to seeing. I tried again recently and found better results. Lesson? Like in pie, the apples you use make a difference. It’s not like cooking with wine where you choose one you’d like to also drink. You could probably experiment on your own, but as I like Galas I think I’ll stick with this recipe.

This time I used Gala apples and was much happier with the results. I started with 8 good sized apples and peeled them down. You don’t have to if you have a good blender, but I got husband to brew me an apple pie beer and he needed the peels for that recipe. I put all these apples in the pot and added 1 cup water and then set it to 7 minutes manual High Pressure. This took 10 minutes to come to pressure and I did a Quick Release immediately. Thankfully everything stayed where it should and only steam came out. I then dumped all the apples into my Vitamix using a large slotted spoon and gave it a quick blitz. When I first started making applesauce I would carefully pour them into these reusable pouches I found on Amazon, but this time I just grabbed some handy jars. 3 half-pints and a Quart Jar later, I’m happy with my results.

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I don’t do a full canning process on these so be aware that if you don’t these aren’t shelf-stable and will only last a short while. If you have young kids though, that shouldn’t make a difference as it will probably be gone long before it can sour and spoil.

 

 

Recipe: 8 Gala apples, 1 cup water

Prep Time: depends on how fast Peter Piper can peel a bunch of apples. Or if he even wants to.
Time to Pressure:10
Cook Time: 7
Release Pressure after: immediately

Time from start to finish:  Approximately 15-20 minutes

 

Side lesson: don’t buy roadside fruits/veggies unless you have a plan for them.