…Where 'La Gourmandise' is not a sin!

Monthly Archives: February 2006

I’ve been trying to post the following on another blog and ran into troubles with their posting system. I’ll try again later when the phase of the moon might be better, and in the meantime I decided to post it here and expand a bit on the subject. I will come back to it in the future as it is an interesting subject that I have to deal with regularly.

Over the years I have found that the easiest way to handle cooking for two is to cook only what you need for the meal you are preparing. We always have a tendency to cook too much for fear of running out, but careful planning of portions can be done with most recipes. To do this successfully you need to know your level of appetite and roughly how much a recipe will yield. This can get tricky when you are very hungry, but after a while you can manage to gauge your appetite against your favorite recipes.

At times it is difficult to cook in smaller quantities, as some recipes cannot easily scale down, so then you should plan what you will do with the leftovers carefully ahead of time. Our normal routine in the kitchen here is to prepare larger meals on weekends when we have more time to enjoy them, and use the leftovers for our main meals during the first few days of the week. I always prepare my wife’s lunches, and normally for Monday’s lunch I use leftovers from Saturday, and Tuesday’s are the ones from Sunday. Whatever cannot be eaten within a day or two we freeze or give away.

As an example yesterday we invited my in-laws over for lunch, and I had prepared some Szechuan hot and sour soup and some chicken Cheng Tu style with some steamed rice. I had deliberately made more to use this week. After the meal, when they were gone, I put some rice in the bottom of plastic containers with the chicken dish on top. I also prepared some containers with portions of soup. There were still some leftovers so I froze some single portions for later use next week, and heated up a meal for a neighbor at lunch time today.

To recap:

1. Know how to gauge your appetite
2. Learn how to reduce the portions of your  recipes to yield less or no leftovers
3. If it is impossible to reduce the portions, then plan ahead to use the leftovers in the coming days
4. Whatever cannot be used in a few day, freeze or give away
5. Make sure that you use your frozen leftovers as it is not worth the energy to freeze them if they will not be eaten in the coming weeks
6. Get a huge dog that can become your ALDU (Automated Leftover Disposal Unit)

One of the things that is the most annoying when cooking is converting the recipes to the quantity of food you want to prepare. We are building our recipe viewer to handle this chore automatically, but since we have not decided when we will release it this does not help much right now. We are in the middle of finalizing a major new release of our business management and point of sales systems, and this is consuming all of our cycles right now. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will be able to assign some cycles to this project and announce a firm launch date. I will keep you posted.


Over 20 years ago I noticed a new trend in the wine business that promoted neutral blend of varietal wines in production area that were renowned before that for their wines with lots of character. At the time I was told by many producers all over the world that they were producing wine for entry-level drinker that were getting more and more important in the biggest emerging markets like in the United States. If I remember well I had some long arguments with a lot of people at the time, and my point that it is nice to make some wines more approachable by the masses, but if you do it and lose the soul that makes your region and your wines, in the long run you will destroy your market as you will have a bunch of boring cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay from your area, battling against another bunch of boring cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay from another area or country. Not that there is nothing wrong with either cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay, but for a while they were the only thing available in many markets.

Of course this is the way that the market went, to the detriment of regional or varietal diversity. Luckily, over the last decade, a wider diversity of varietals and appellations have started to become popular and the market is slowly changing, with people looking for more interesting tasting wines than the bland stuff available on most retailer’s shelves. The main problem that I have found is that some producer, to make their wine more accessible, toned down their traditional wines to bring them in line more with the blandness of the global market. This problem reminds me a lot of what I discussed some weeks back about food lacking taste, in that it seems that the experts in the food and wine industry have suddenly decided all over the world that people did not want food or wines that have taste in them. I think that the taste molecules (Tastium®) that were used to make food and wine are getting so expensive in the future markets that they are now forced to use less Tastium® and more imitation Tastium® to make their products profitable.

I am sure that with the billions spent in genetic engineering or nanotechnology that the world’s experts will soon create some new version of Tastium® that will be better tasting and cheaper to produce and that one day soon we will have taste back in our food and wine.


Today Normita had a craving for a Mexican dish she likes a lot ‘Tinga de Pollo’. It is an easy-to-make chicken dish that is very tasty and normally it is prepared very spicy. She prefers to tone down the heat so that the flavors shine through. She first cooked a whole chicken breast bones and all, but without the skin and fat. She prepared at the same time a nice batch of her famous chicken soup and we enjoyed a large bowl first. After picking the cooked chicken into small shreds with her fingers, she prepared the Tinga. We ate it with some tostadas, so the dish became ‘Tostadas de Tinga de Pollo’. The normal way of preparing those is to put a nice coating of refried beans on your tostada (we used chipotle ones), then the tinga, then a layer of heavy cream, some ‘queso fresco’ (grated fresh cheese), top it with some pieces of avocado and it makes a succulent meal. After a few of those you will not need dessert. We did not have refried beans at hand and did not want to open a can of them just for a few tostadas, so we skipped them, and we replace the ‘queso fresco’ with parmesan as we did not have the former. It was a nice filling meal and now I think that it is time to go rest and watch some TV, but first I will go and prepare a lime pie for desert tomorrow as the in-laws are coming to visit.


2 chicken breast halves cooked, then cooled and picked with fingers into thin shreds.
1 medium red onion cut in thin slivers
2 tomatoes seeded and cut into thin slivers
1 clove garlic
2 tsp chipotles in adobo sauce puréed in a blender or to taste
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chicken stock powder


1. Boil the chicken until tender and set aside to cool. Follow our recipe for chicken soup.
2. Once cooled pick the chicken apart with your fingers to create thin shreds.
3. In a saucepan put the olive oil and heat at medium-high.
4. Sautee garlic and onions until the onions are translucent.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.
6. Add the chicken stock powder, the chipotle purée, and the chicken and heat through.
7. Serve as a main dish or as tostadas.


When we returned from Canada we went to do some shopping to pick up some late Christmas gifts for our nieces and also something for the birthday of my father in law. While we were going through the department store, we of course made a small detour to the kitchenware department. They were having a sale so Normita bought me one of those stovetop espresso pots. Our espresso machine is in Canada so I have been espresso-less for a while now, and I was really missing my morning dose of high octane coffee. I occasionally brew myself a pot of superstrong coffee, and I normally end up drinking most of a large pot and it takes me about 2 days to come down from the buzz that gets me plastered to the ceiling.

I much prefer the strong taste of espresso and the smaller quantity you drink and lower level of caffeine is much better for my nerves. They had the regular Italian aluminum octagonal espresso pot, and also a Chinese version with a round contour. I liked the looks of the Chinese version better and at 3 times less I thought it was a good buy. I lived happily with it for a month and was making myself a pot on average every other day when I needed a boost of energy for work. I had a large can of dark roasted Columbian coffee in the freezer ground for a drip coffee maker. I used this for the first month until I remembered to pickup a can of espresso coffee, as I really prefer the stronger taste. This new coffee was ground much finer for an espresso machine. I did not think much of it until I make my first pot a few days later.

To my surprise the pot started spitting and dripping all over the walls and the stove. It took me a while to clean up the mess. When I did so and took apart the pot, it seemed that the finer grind of the coffee blocked the filters and the little valve in the side of the pot did not open so a dangerous level of pressure built-up in the pot. The top filter was completely distorted with a nice high dome in the middle of it and luckily the pot did not burst. That first pot of real espresso was really tasty, but since then I have not taken a chance of using the fine coffee again. I took a chance a few days later and used the regular coffee again in the pot and it seems to be still working properly except for a small leak from the middle joint, and the fact that due to the dome now the pressure is not as high and the coffee ends up a little bit weaker.

I hope that I will learn from my experience and I took an oath to never again buy something cheap that has the potential to hurt me. Today we were shopping and I saw a line of automatic espresso machines from a top Italian manufacturer that grinds the coffee and does everything but drink it for you. I fell in lust, and now I have to save some money to get one of those so that I can automatically and safely satisfy my thirst for strong espresso. It might take a while until we can afford it, and when we do I am not sure of where we will put it, but the fear of exploding coffee pots will always remain with me, so it will be a good investment.


Last week, before a lengthy trip to Canada’s West coast, I was able to attend a great tasting of Austrian reds. While white wines from Austria have made a name in recent years – with a little help from Wine Spectator and such – Austrian whites have been widely disregarded in most parts of Europe and overseas. Undeservedly I think, just like the white, which have shown there strength in both the autochthonous Gruener Veltliner and the more international Riesling, Austrian winemakers have shown that once they sufficiently understood how to make fine red wine, they have fared equally well in local varietals as well as in blends using international varietals.

Regions, varietals, blends

Several varietals are considered autochthonous to Austria, including Blaufraenkisch (which is also grown in Hungary as Kekfrankos or in Germany and abroad as Lemberger), St. Laurent (a distant relative of Pinot Noir), Pinot Noir itself which is locally called Blauburgunder (= blue burgundy) and finally (and truly Austrian) the Zweigelt, named after it’s inventor Prof. Zweigelt who successfully made a hybrid of St. Laurent and Blaufraenkisch. Other local specialties like Blauer Portugieser (mostly grown in Eastern Weinviertel and tending to produce thin acidic wines), Blauer Wildbacher (grown in Styria and most renowned for the rather acidic rose wine named ‘Schilcher’) are of limited local importance.

Four provinces in Austria have mentionable wine producing areas (Styria, Vienna the capital city, Lower Austria, and Burgenland) but only certain regions in the last two yield good to great reds in numbers. In Lower Austria it’s focused around the area South to South-Eastern of Vienna, namely Thermenregion and Carnuntum (both bordering to Northern Burgenland) and to a lesser degree it’s biggest wine growing area, Weinviertel. In Burgenland all four defined regions (Neusiedlersee, Neusiedlersee-Huegelland, Mittelburgenland and Suedburgenland) produce great reds thanks to the more Pannonic climate.

While Thermenregion is specialized in Burgundy varietals and Southern Burgenland is almost exclusively Blaufraenkisch county, the other regions offer an interesting mix of single variety wines and blends. Besides the autochthonous vines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and to a lesser amount Cabernet Franc are grown, other international varietals don’t have official status and are grown and used as specialties and experiments.

While some vintners try producing wines made only from one of the internationals varietals, which usually only works in hot years as Cabernet is ripening late, often too late, for Austrian climate, blends mixing autochthonous and international varietals have been vastly successful in recent years starting to turn heads at presentations from Berlin to London. Some of the best names among those ‘blenders’ are Rosi Schuster (famous for CMB, a blend of Blaufraenkisch, Cabernet and Merlot), Kerschbaum (Cuvée Impressario made from Blaufraenkisch, Zweigelt and Cabernet), Albert Gesellmann (Opus Eximium from Blaufraenkisch, St. Laurent and Zweigelt), Feiler Artinger (Solitaire, Blaufraenkisch, Cabernet and Merlot), A. Wendelin (Prophet, a succulent Syrah-blend), Johanneshof Reinisch (Grand Cuvée, a wonderful blend based on St.Laurent), Juris (Ina’mera from Blaufraenkisch, Cabernet and Merlot)  or Franz Netzl (Cuvée Anna Christina, Zweigelt with Cabernet and Merlot). Josef Pöckl’s ‘Admiral’, made of 70% Zweigelt with Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, was selected as wine of the year 05 by Austrian wine mag Falstaff.


Blaufraenkisch uber alles

Blaufraenkisch typically features rich fruity flavors including dark berries and black cherries and some peppery spiciness, with middle strong tannins from thick grape skins. If harvested ripe and of good quality and concentration it can gain a lot from barrique development. Some of the best known names in Blaufraenkisch are ‘ET’ Ernst Triebaumer (famous for Mariental), Josef Leberl (his full-bodied Reisbühel is available in sufficient quantity and at a very affordably price), Paul Kerschbaum (Hochäcker is essential), Weingut Krutzler and Wachter Wiesler from Suedburgenland (Krutzler’s Perwolff is legendary already), Domäne Pöttelsdorf (Baronesse) though today nearly every winery in Burgenland offers decent quality Blaufraenkisch.


The Professor and his creature

The situation is slightly different for Zweigelt, the one variety that is also grown in parts of Austria less supportive for red wine. Zweigelt is very fruity, with red fruit aroma, cherry, sour cherries, though thin skins don’t contribute a lot of body, structure or tannin. Only the best Zweigelt will be able to sustain wood support and barrique aging. Those who do can be great while the others are best as lighter, fruity wines for younger consumption. Dependable names include Paul Triebaumer, Rosi Schuster, Josef Pöckl, Marko Markowitsch, Paul Achs and a few dozen others. One of those others should be mentioned separately: while most reds from Styria are Zweigelt and most of them tend to be thin and slightly sour, there is one to exempt: Schloss Winkler-Hermaden is producing a wonderful, though high-priced Zweigelt called ‘Olivin’, after a common mineral in this area.

Austrian Wine Regions

From Burgundy with love

The Burgundy varietals show similar and still different characteristics. While Pinot Noir offers red fruity aromas with noticeable fruit tannins and at times hints of orange and bitter almonds, St.Laurent reminds of sour cherry, sometimes paired with smokiness or frankincense. Both, if well made, tend to be a little reclusive when young and need to develop to open up. Both are very successfully grown in all of the regions with a especially high density in Thermenregion, South of Vienna. Two groups of Winemakers there have been set up to further quality in this area, on called the Burgundermacher, the other the Thermenwinzer. Other wineries offering great Pinot Noir and/or St. Laurent wines include Josef Umathum, Sodlawirt, Helmut Lang, Hardegg, Schloss Halbthurm, Hannes Schuster, Weingut Rommer and Silvia Prieler (better known for great Chardonnay). Juris is offering a brilliant Cuvée of St. Laurent and Pinot Noir called St.Georg. Heribert Bayer isn’t growing his own grapes but still manages to make one of the most interesting Pinots, In Signo Tauri.

More to discover

Further information on Austrian wines can be found at the website of Austrian Wine Marketing. Many of the best Austrian winemakers have organized themselves into marketing organizations and quality clubs (see list below). For information on special wineries or wines mentioned please refer to the following link list of winery web sites:

Marketing Groups and Quality Clubs:

RWB – Rennomierte Weingüter Burggenland
Verband Blaufraenkisch Mittelburgenland
Vereinte Winzer Blaufraenkischland
Weinidylle Sueburgenland
Die Burgundermacher
Die Thermenwinzer
Weinbaugebiet Carnuntum

Websites of the Wineries mentioned:

Rosi Schuster
Albert Gesellmann
Feiler Artinger
A. Wendelin
Johanneshof Reinisch
Franz Netzl
Josef Pöckl
Ernst Triebaumer
Josef Leberl
Paul Kerschbaum
Weingut Krutzler
Wachter Wiesler
Domäne Pöttelsdorf
Günter Triebaumer
Marko Markowitsch
Paul Achs
Schloss Winkler-Hermaden
Josef Umathum
Helmut Lang
Graf Hardegg
Schloss Halbthurm
Weingut Rommer
Silvia Prieler
Heribert Bayer


All pictures © ÖWM

I have just a short note today on one of my pet peeves. Sharp knives, or most tellingly the lack of sharpness in knives. I tend to keep my large collection of kitchen knives mostly sharp as I cannot stand using a dull knife that cannot cut anything. I am always amazed when I cook at a lot of people’s places that they can actually cut anything with any of their knives. The main reason they tell me is that they are afraid of cutting themselves when using a sharp knife. I have done that to myself on occasion with sharp knives, mostly due to a short moment of inattention. Over the years I have done a lot more damage to myself, the food I am preparing, and the kitchen while trying to use a dull knife. Not only it is way more dangerous as you have a lot less control since you have to use a lot of pressure to cut anything, but also the knife has a tendency to slide all over the place as it does not want to cut nicely into tough skinned food. Just make sure that when you are using a sharp knife you pay close attention to what you cut into, and make sure that you do not put your fingers in the path of the blade.

Another type of knife I do not like are the ones with very sharp serrated teeth that might cut through all kind of things easily including rubber hoses and wood, but you normally do not have any control with them when doing normal kitchen duties like finely chopping food. The only serrated knives I use are good quality bread knifes, as they are essential to cut bread. Do yourself a favor, keep the cheap serrated knife for your toolbox, and get your knives professionally sharpened regularly if you cannot do it yourself.


Yesterday we went shopping in one of those huge mega-stores that are increasingly common here in the city and becoming the plague of most North-American cities. It is a grueling experience just from the huge size of the store. We ended up exhausted from walking from one end of the place to the other and back, since we had forgotten to pickup some dental floss when we had entered the store. We have been there a few times recently as the food is around 15-20% cheaper than at our local small supermarket, especially for the household items we cannot get at the tianguis. The only drawback is that some items I like to cook with are not available as the neighborhood is different than ours and they have less foreigners living there. I normally end up walking to the local store during the week to get whatever we could not find at the mega-store.

We were looking at the fruits and vegetables available there, and were very disappointed of what was available, and even so more at the prices. Luckily we had picked up most of what we needed at the tianguis early Sunday morning. The fruits and veggies there are always much fresher, of higher quality, and very cheap compared to any store. Since there are over 100 merchants, you are always assured of finding what you want. There are also specialists that only sell one produce like limes, papayas, or bananas and they are normally better than the more general stands. They have more to lose if they have bad products on display. Even though we have only been living in this ‘colonia’ for around 6 months, we have been regular customers of some of these merchants for a few years. Since the tianguis is an itinerant street market that appears on a regular schedule on different days in different neighborhoods, we knew some of the merchants in our old neighborhood in the tianguis we had there on Mondays.

Both Normita and I love the street market atmosphere of the tianguis. You can find anything including fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef and pork, seafood, spices, and dry goods in the food stalls that make up about 40% of this particular one. The rest is divided between clothes, hardware, utensils, jewels, incense, pirated CDs and DVDs, toys, decorations, plants, etc., and of course prepared food of all kinds from ‘barbacoa’ to ‘carnitas’, from ‘mariscos’ to tacos and ‘huaraches’, and a huge variety of other food, one more appetizing than another. If you really want you can go around the tianguis and sample fresh fruits and food all morning and have a huge free breakfast or lunch that way. It really beats the reheated frozen food samples that are typically available in the mega-stores. We normally have a solid late breakfast of lamb consommé with rice and garbanzos, followed by some soft tacos of juicy lamb ‘barbacoa’ or golden fried tacos. They are served with a variety of spicy sauces (green, red, and ‘borracha’) and accompaniments like chopped  onions, cilantro, lime, and ‘nopalitos’ with chipotle. With a tall glass of cool and refreshing ‘agua de jamaica’ it makes for a solid breakfast that permits you to explore the tianguis on a full stomach.


I was recently researching various kitchenware offerings online when I was looking to purchase a fondue pot. Normita wanted to have a cheese fondue for Valentine day, and all of our fondue pots are in storage in Canada. Fondues are not very popular here in Mexico, so most regular stores do not carry anything useful. I turned to the major department stores and found some offerings online, but they were uniformly overpriced for what they were. I walked to a nearby major department store to see what they had, as their website did not list anything at all, and I found some nice looking fondue pots. They were also high priced, but when I looked at them closely I noticed that they were very cheaply made. The nice shiny stainless steel was very flimsy and I decided to pass on buying one, and we ended up eating something else that I invented for the occasion. More on that another day…

Thinking back on what I saw in the department stores and what is available everywhere else, I came to realize that cooking is now at the level of expensive hobbies where a huge amount of companies are offering a lot of products more from the show factor, than for cooks to actually use them. There seems to be so many types of kitchen gadgets these days, and the price you pay does not insure of quality.

First there are the cheap mass market gadgets that are useless at any prices. Soon after we moved I noticed that I could not find my vegetable peeler. Later that day, at the local supermarket, they had two different vegetable peelers on sale. One was a low-priced one of a generic style I have been using all of my life and the other a fancy brand one that looked cumbersome and useless and that was offered at a ridiculously high price. I opted for the cheap one, as they are normally solid and work very well.

When I returned home I washed it and after one minute of use the blade had broken off. I was very disappointed as the design normally works perfectly for years, but the one I had bought was obviously of very bad quality. Thus beware of the very cheap kitchen gadgets that however low the price is, are not worth it.

The next Sunday, when we were shopping at the tianguis, I found a solid looking vegetable peeler that was not much more expensive than the one at the supermarket. It was built solidly, was very sharp, and turned out to work perfectly for all normal purposes that you would put a vegetable peeler to do. Those unglamorous, well made gadgets that are a tad higher priced than the bargain basement variety are great values. Of course they might clash with the stunning decor of your fancy ultra-modern laboratory kitchen, but what to you want from a lowly vegetable peeler.

Of course, if money is not a factor and you want pure style, there are a lot of high quality kitchen gadgets that offer both good looks, and great function. These tools seem to be very popular now with cooking becoming a spectator sport and getting to be a hobby for many. The main complaint I have with a lot of those branded gadgets, is why in the world would you want to pay upwards of $50 for a whisk or similar tool, when you can buy a commercial duty one at a restaurant supply shop for about 5 times less? I know that the commercial one does not have the branding of the fancy, endorsed by a famous chef, one, and might be a tad less stylish, but unless you want to decorate the kitchen with it instead of using it, the commercial whisk will just as well or better.

There is also a proliferation of kitchen gadgets that are advertised in infomercials and in boots in various malls. Most of them offer solutions to kitchen problems you never had, and some are so specialized that they make you part with your money for things that you will only use once or twice a year. How often do you need to make heart-shaped pancakes or carve a 10 pound melon in the shape of a swan? Occasionally you manage to find some interesting gadget that is both well-made and very useful, and I have indulged with those in the past and will certainly do so again in the future. One thing to keep in mind is do you really need the gadget, can you afford it, and most importantly how often will you use it. If the answer is yes for the first two and very often for the second, then you should seriously consider it.

In coming months I will talk more about gadgets and make a list of essentials that every cook should have in their kitchens. Until then keep cooking and don’t buy too many kitchen gadgets you will never use.


A few weeks back, for the Chinese New Year, I created a new recipe for the occasion. I researched a bit what would be traditional, and after finding such a great variety of dishes I could not decide on a single thing. I also read that it was traditional to give kids oranges and to eat a lot of them as they are representative of the sun; so I decided to make something with oranges or ‘mandarinas’ in it, as the later are currently in season here. Normita felt like having a chicken dish so this Orange Chicken was born. It could easily be made with turkey or other types of poultry. I opted to make it with oranges as I had some very nice seedless ones, and the ‘mandarinas’ we had were full of seeds. If I remember right we probably made it with turkey breast as we had some frozen ones marinated ‘arrachera’ style. I will talk more about ‘arrachera’ in the coming weeks as the Padrino as requested a recipe and we will provide in time. Enjoy this nice light oriental dish with the chicken served on a nice bed of steamed rice…


1 full chicken breast skinned and deboned then cut in cubes
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp orange juice
1 egg yolk
1 tbs cornstarch
12 green onions cut diagonally into 2" pieces
1 small can of water chestnut slices
1 large seedless orange peeled, broken into segments, and with the segments cut into cubes
1 1/2 cup orange juice
3 tbs honey
2 tbs Hoi Sin sauce
1 tbs cooking sherry
1 1/2 tsp Chinese chili paste or to taste
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sunflower oil
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 tbs water
1 tsp sesame oil


1. With your hands mix the chicken cubes with 1 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of orange juice until well incorporated.
2. Add the egg yolk and mix well again.
3. Add 2 tbs of cornstarch and mix until you get a very sticky mess.
4. In a measuring cup put 1 of cup orange juice, 2 tbs honey, 2 tbs Hoi Sin sauce, 1 tbs cooking sherry, 1 1/2 tsp chili paste, and salt and mix well to make the sauce.
5. Put 2 tbs cornstarch and 2 tbs water in a small bowl and mix well together with finger.
6. In a large wok on high heat place 1 tbs of oil and heat 30 seconds.
7. Stir-fry the chicken cubes until they are well cooked. Around 5 minutes depending on the heat of your fire.
8. Reserve the chicken.
9. Add the other 1 tbs of oil and place on high heat to stir fry.
10. Add the green onions and water chestnuts, and stir fry for 1 minute.
11. Add the prepared sauce, the orange cubes, and the reserved chicken, and bring to boil covered.
12. Add the cornstarch in water to the mix and bring to boil to thicken.
13. Add the 1 tsp sesame oil to give a nice shine to the dish and mix well and serve while still hot.


You have probably noticed that posting had been somewhat light in recent weeks. This was due to many factors, both Normita and I were swamped with work, and the Padrino was away on a business trip. To make matters even more fun Normita had a very bad cold a few weeks back and then, as a gift of love, gave it to me. So, a few weekends back, I ended up making several batch of her chicken soup. I love this chicken noodle soup and it is very simple to make. It really helps you when you have a bad cold, and I find it extremely tasty for all occasions. She adapted the recipe from the way they traditionally do it here in Mexico. The standard ‘sopa de fideos’ or noodle soup is normally made with a chicken and tomato broth, but I personally prefer the plain version without the tomatoes. It can be served with or without chicken meat in it, and my preference again is with lots of noodles and no meat. The soup tastes much better if you prepare it with chicken bones. We either make it with drumsticks, or with breast meat. We normally buy our chicken at the tianguis and they prepare it to our taste. When we buy breasts to make soup we normally have them remove the skin and bones, and we keep the bones separately and freeze them to make soup. The recipe bellow calls for cooking a deboned breast with some bones for flavor, and you can dice the meat when cooked, place it in the serving bowl and ladle soup over it. You can also keep the cooked chicken to make a salad or sandwiches the next day. Either way it will make a wonderful soup that will likely cure all of your troubles…


1 large chicken breast half skinned and deboned
1 bones from chicken breast
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 a medium onion
1 chile jalapeño
2 1/2 tbs powdered chicken stock
5 ounces vermicelli or the type of soup pasta you prefer
2 1/2 quarts water


1. Place the chicken and bones in a medium sauce pan.
2. Place the half onion and the clove of garlic with it.
3. Make a slit the length of the jalapeño and place in the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Add chicken stock powder and water to the pot and place on stove at high setting.
5. Reduce fire to simmer and cook for around 30 minutes until reduced by 1/3.
6. Remove from fire and skim the surface of the soup and remove and discard the bones, the onion, the garlic and the jalapeño.
7. Reserve the chicken for other use, or cut in pieces and place in soup bowls.
8. Return the pot to the fire and bring to boil then add the noodles.
9. Cook until noodles tender and serve.