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AND SO IS MY KITCHEN!!! Why am I so elated, you may ask. I would tell you that my chi is aligned again. My Zen garden, my sanctuary, is back. After several weeks of being in disarray, my kitchen is back to rights. Take a look at her!

I love how all the colors vary between warms and cools. I think it really pulls my counters and my cabinets together.

Here are some of the details. Those shiny accent tiles actually look silver or reddish-bronze depending on what angle you're looking at them from, so they're perfect. The listello(sp?) is fabulous too. The colors range from black to cream to bronze to silver and more. Love, love, love it. More props to Mum and Heather again for all their help.

Right, so I said that me and my kitchen are back in action. Mike's teeth, however, are not. He just had his final root canal yesterday, so he's been eating chicken noodle soup from a can for days and days. I decided to make him a homemade version, which I loosely based on Aarti Sequeira's Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup.

Homemade Chicken, Noodle, and Corn Soup
I'm real creative with the titles aren't I?

A whole chicken, skinned
9 cups water
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp ground ginger
1 box rotini
2 cans corn with liquid
4 cups of chicken broth (1 box)
1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
Salt to taste

After you skin the chicken, trim away the excess fat, especially around the back end. You should keep the neck and cook it in with the rest of the chicken for extra flavor, but whether or not you keep the giblets and use them in the soup is up to you. Fill a large stock pot with the water and put the chicken in. Tie up the peppercorns and coriander in a bit of cheesecloth and drop it along with the ginger, separate, into the water. Turn up the heat and let your water come to boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and let the chicken and spices simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the water and pour the rotini into the pot. Don't forget to remove the spice sachet and chicken neck! Turn the heat back up and let the pasta cook according to the directions on the box. Meanwhile, fork the chicken until all the meat is off of the carcass and shredded. I finished doing this just as the pasta was finishing cooking (about 10 minutes).

Now dump the corn with liquid and broth into the pot. I made my own broth by cooking a duck spine, about a dozen chicken wing tips, and some salt in four cups of water in a crock pot for six hours, but box broth is just as good. Add the chicken back into the pot and heat everything through. At the end, add the vinegar and sesame seed oil, taste, and season to taste.

I tend to alternate between the stab-and-pull method and the stab-and-twist when getting meat off a bird. I also moved the shredded meat into a separate bowl when things got too crowed. Finally, the legs will tuck up under the backbone when you want them out of the way.

I try to buy the healthier types of pasta (multi-grain, whole wheat, vegetable) when they're on sale. I also really like rotini for this recipe because it it's sturdy enough to stand up to all that liquid, but are still small enough to fit onto a soup spoon.

Why am I using such a small pot? Oh no, that's a massive pot. This recipe just makes a month's worth of soup.

Mmmmmmm, delicious. That final, little shot of sesame seed oil makes this soup smell glorious. Mike had this to say about the dish: "Campbell's has got nothing on you!" :-)

This soup is thin enough to work even in summer, but could definitely warm up your whole family on any winter night. I had it with some biscuits a few times too, which was lovely. You could always do frozen veggies instead of corn as well, but you'd need to add a little sugar to make up for the sweetness you'd lose from the canned corn liquid. Give this soup a try; you will not be disappointed.

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