Sunday Photo Essay: When a Pandemic Hands You Lemons…

…make lemon chicken soup with orzo, obviously. My craving began on Friday; I satisfied it today in my kitchen. I found this version on a blog called pinchofyum.com; I like the way this food writer thinks (and you’ve gotta love somebody who married a man named Bjork—seriously, I want to invite these people over to dinner, after the pandemic of course). The recipe is easy to make and the outcome so impressed me, I believe this is the best result of any soup I’ve attempted since last fall or thereabouts.

The ingredients are pretty basic—carrot, onion, garlic, broth, orzo, shredded cooked chicken (The Chef did this part for me yesterday; he is a good guy), eggs, lemons, fresh spinach, salt (I usually substitute low-sodium soy, a holdover from Pritikin), freshly ground pepper, and “as much fresh dill as you can handle.” I ask, can one really have too much fresh dill? I think not.

sometimes you get lucky and find pretty eggs at the supermarket
did somebody say chimkin?
my dad’s wife gave me this citrus juicer years ago, and I love it

The one step that made me a tad nervous was adding the egg and lemon mixture to the hot soup; says the blogger, “If you add your egg mixture to the soup when it’s too hot, the eggs will scramble.” So it’s important to do it gradually. You start by adding a ladle’s worth of the warm soup to the egg and lemon slowly, and then add the finished mix back into the soup pot slowly and carefully. The Chef nodded as I was explaining this part to him, mentioned something about making a custard or some such, and then said he had every confidence I could handle it. This is code for, you’re on your own. But I digress.

this is the slowly, slowly part
this is a face that expresses equal parts annoyance for no more chimkin bits and embarrassment for your hooman who is singing and dancing in the kitchen
so lemony and fragrant and delicious
as ready as we can be for another week of pandemic

My kitchen soundtrack today was Billie Holiday; I leave you with a delicious little morsel.

Pandemic Postscript

For Certain Family Members who can’t bring themselves around to the notion that it’s possible to eat healthy beyond reproach and enjoy what they’re eating, I offer up my daily breakfast sandwich. Ingredients, mise en place:

one small homemade biscuit, a quarter cup of egg whites, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, an ounce of reduced fat cheddar, a slice of low-sodium turkey breast, a handful of kale, some dried dill (of COURSE), and two kumato tomatoes

I use a small non-stick skillet and spray a little olive oil into it, and then set it over low heat. I usually chiffonade the kale, but you can just roughly chop it if you don’t want to be fancy. I toss the kale and pumpkin seeds into the skillet for a few moments and let ’em sizzle. While that’s happening, I quarter the kumatoes, and chop the cheese into little bits. Next, I pour the egg whites into the skillet, and then toss in the kumatoes and cheese; I sprinkle dill weed over the whole business, and usually also add a bit of freshly ground black pepper. After the egg has set up sufficiently, I fold it over, and then turn it out onto the biscuit, where I’ve placed the slice of turkey breast. This entire process takes me a grand total of about 10 minutes, bumper to bumper.

Now doesn’t that look nom? When I need a more portable version of this I forego the biscuit and instead slip the entire business inside half a whole wheat pita, which I crisp up a little on top of the toaster. If any of these ingredients yeek you out, here are some substitutions:

Biscuit or pita – your favorite bread, but watch out for horrid ingredients if you buy commercial bread

Egg whites – whole egg (you’re adding fat + calories)

Pumpkin seeds – Feeling anxious in this pandemic? Leave ’em out if you wish, but they evidently help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. I’ll take any help I can get in that department.

Reduced fat cheddar – Cabot makes a good one. You can use other cheese, but watch out for overloading and fat calories.

Low-sodium turkey – Other deli meat, but most of it’s loaded with sodium; read the label.

Kale – Okay, okay. Just know that kale is loaded with good stuff, including vitamin C. We’re in the middle of a pandemic here. It can also help lower cholesterol. If you can’t bring yourself to eat it, go with a handful of fresh spinach instead.

Tomato – Why would anybody in their right mind want to substitute anything for a tomato?

Eat well and be well.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Photo Essay: When a Pandemic Hands You Lemons…

  1. The soup looks delicious! My husband would love the sandwich but he has a thing about eggs on bread not being civilized… I made an orzo based dish last week and we just finished it off. It was healthy and tasty! (sun dried tomatoes, black olives, feta, fresh basil and spinach, and quartered cherry tomatoes – how can you go wrong?)

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