Hot food for feeling better ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 July 2008

Hot food for feeling better

Of course now I'm sick too. Good. Great. I spent the weekend curled up on our (very uncomfortable) couch, drinking pots and pots of tea. Now I am home from work, and still curled up drinking pots of tea.


1. Hot as blazes soup

broth in the 2-3 cups area
a hunk of fresh ginger
a hot pepper
spinach/other greens
soba noodles
lemon juice if you have any

We still had some of the chicken broth from ages ago, frozen into a big rectangle, so I used that. Other kinds of broth would work fine. I threw my brick of stock into a pot with a little water to melt and heat up. When it was all liquidized and bubbling, I threw in three thick slices of unpeeled ginger and a chopped jalapeño pepper. Asian red peppers would be more in line here, but the green worked ok too. I let everything simmer while I washed and destemmed the remains of a wilting bunch of spinach from the other day. All the leaves went into my soup bowl, uncooked. For tougher greens, I'd probably throw them into the soup for a few minutes right at the end of cooking. Anyway. Then I got out a handful of thin soba and stuck it directly into the soup pot. I let things simmer until the soba was cooked, then poured all my broth and noodles over the spinach, keeping the ginger and as much jalapeño as possible back in the soup pot. Then I squeezed a quarter of lemon over the bowl before I ate it. Er, drank it.

This soup was very, very hot in all senses. It was definitely one of the foods that make you realize why slurping noodles is good manners: it would burn your lips and tongue horrifically not to do so. As it stood, I ate, drank, gulped and slurped everything as quickly as possible, because this is also a dish that hurts a lot more when you stop eating. Also: if you are a person whose body expresses food heat through the sinus and chest as opposed to the sweat glands, have some tissues on the table. Expectorate!

2. Soothing mashed potatoes and peas

some yukon gold/other boiling potatoes
a handful of garlic cloves
at least a cup of frozen peas
salt, pepper, olive oil

Starch and peas are totally the choice for sickness.

Make mashed potatoes: peel and chunk potatoes, then dump into boiling, salted water. Cover and simmer for a half hour, or however long it takes to get your potatoes totally soft. I used two gigantic potatoes for two servings plus leftovers.

While the potatoes are boiling, soften some chopped garlic slowly in olive oil. You can use a lot of oil, especially if you aren't going to butter the potatoes later. This means you will have lots of garlicky oil for mashing purposes. You're welcome. When the potatoes are almost done, add a bunch of frozen peas to the garlic and oil. Cook for maybe three or four minutes, until the peas are not just defrosted but actually steaming and warmed through.

When the potatoes are done, drain them and mash them with a big wooden spoon. Dump in the entire contents of the oil and garlic pan, plus a little salt and a bunch of ground pepper. If you want to add anything else to the potatoes, now is the time. I recommend grated cheese, if you like cheese.

Mix it all up until it's a good texture for you, put it in a bowl, and eat it. Then take a long pathetic nap while pretending to watch Pride and Prejudice.

Later, make potato cakes out of the cold leftovers.

Potato cakes

Warm some olive oil or butter in a medium-hot nonstick pan. When things are adequately warm, throw in some slabs of leftover potato. Let them cook without moving on one side for five minutes, or until you can see golden brown bits encroaching around each cake's perimeter. The flip them over and do the same to the other side. When both sides have an adequate crispy brown crust, flip them onto a plate and eat them hot. The insides will squish out and get all mixed up with the crusty bits, and the peas will pop in your mouth. AWESOME.

3. To be continued.....with more soup. Oh yes. There will be more soup.

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