Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Has Sprung In Kodiak

It's been a very good past month for me (obviously, since I haven't been posting, LOL). I've been pretty busy with work. Our transfer season officially kicks off in April, so when you have about 2,500 Coasties all wanting to leave the island at the same time (and just as many incoming to replace them), it can make you feel a little nutso. But, I've managed to make time to meet some new friends, attend a bachelorette party and even had a dance recital in there somewhere. It was such a blur that I barely remember it all! But, it's been a lot of fun, and I'm VERY thankful for that.
I'm also very thankful for the gorgeous weather we've been having here in Kodiak lately. I actually fell asleep laying in the sunshine on my living room floor this afternoon after I got home from work. Like a cat. It was divine.
I don't know what it is, but I've been making a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes lately (well, nothing else has been that noteworthy, at least. I don't count PB&J as a subject worth posting unless I tweak it in some inventive way, LOL). I just love the flavors of Mexican food: the spicy, earthiness just gets me every time.
Anyway, so I was wanting something Mexican tasting, but was burnt out on tacos, and wanted something on the lighter side. I remembered when I was on the USCGC Polar Sea back in 2004, our cooks used to make this awesome spicy chicken & bean soup that I would eat cup after cup of until I felt like puking (but, in a good way). I don't have their recipe, but this is as close as I came to it.
Mehgan's Spicy Chicken & Bean Soup:
-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
-2 cans chicken stock
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 medium white onion, chopped
-1 can of Mexican stewed tomatoes
-1 can of tomato sauce
-1 can of diced green chiles
-1 can of kidney beans
-1 can of black beans
-1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
-2 tsp cumin
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-salt & pepper to taste
-shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to top it off
Instructions: In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and onion. Once the onion starts to turn transparent, add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Then add the chicken breasts. Cook through, until the chicken breasts are white and there are no pink juices when you cut it. Using the two-fork method, shred the chicken, then return it to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to cook for about another hour or so. You want the flavors to really combine. When you go to serve it, throw some sour cream and shredded cheese on top, and you're good to go, partner!

My thoughts: pretty darn close to what I had on the ship, but not quite spicy enough, and I would have liked more tomatoes. I think I should have taste-tested it before hurriedly dished it up and subsequently devoured the whole bowl, haha. It was still pretty darn good though. I had mine with a simple chicken quesadilla (made with some leftover Taco Bell hot sauce packets, LOL) to dip in it. And the leftovers the next day were even better, because the flavors got to really mesh well together overnight. I actually have some of this in my freezer for when I get another craving for a hot, steaming bowl of spicy yumminess.
P.S. Don't you just love my turquoise colander? I paid an outrageous amount for it a store in town, but it matched my apartment so well and it was the last one in that color, I couldn't say no. I love it almost as much as I love peanut butter. Almost. :)