Can anyone tell me what purpose the bay leaf serves in cooking? I've tried making soups and sauces with and without, and not noticed a difference. Maybe I don't have a refined palette, I don't know.
I'm sorry about the follow-up for the d.i.y gift idea. In the world of sewing, things don't always turn out like you planned. That was the case, anyway, with the tutu I made for Lucy following our trip to "The Nutcracker." I'll have to give that another go soon.
In the meantime, I couldn't come empty handed. Here's an easy soup recipe we make all the time around here. During the last week we have had pretty much every variety of the flu bug, and with our appetite slowly returning, we needed chicken soup. My hubby surprised us with a roasted chicken from Costco. Costco makes a good roasted chicken. We save all the extra meat, stick it in the fridge, and then add all the drippings and bones in a pot with about 2 inches of water. Simmer that on low heat for at least an hour or two, cool, and then save the broth. (Side note: you can add veggies, like onion, garlic cloves, celery and carrots with seasonings, but you don't have to.) It keeps well several days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for a couple months.
Tonight, with runny nose and watery eyes, I chopped an onion, few stalks of celery, and three carrots. I like to add at least 3 cloves minced garlic. I let those cook in my pot with olive oil on low for about 4 minutes. Next, I grab out my broth and add that to my simmering veggies, along with some salt, pepper, that mysterious bay leaf, and a couple tablespoons of Italian seasoning (but not before I rub them between the palm of my hands to release some of their flavor.) If it's bland I add a little spoonful of our "Better than Bouillon Chicken Base."
If you have fresh herbs, you can alternatively add some fresh parsley, thyme, and oregano. Whatever you like. Cover, and let it sit tight on low heat until the veggies are tender. While you're waiting on that, cut up the leftover chicken. Toss that in a few minutes before the soup's ready to eat.
In tonight's soup, I added a potato I needed to use. We've added zucchini, leftover rice, quinoa, or other veggies you might have lying around. Some veggies, like zucchini, you add it later than the other veggies, about ten minutes before serving.
With dinner, we enjoyed this foggy view outside, tucked under a cozy blanket and a box of quickly disappearing kleenex near at hand. Truth be told, I've had kleenex stuffed in my nose practically all day to keep my eye from tearing. Pretty glamorous, I know. The soup is a great starter, but if know any cold medicines safe for nursing mothers, please, let me know.