Well, that isn't very pretty, is it? Geh. I've officially given up on the pretty photos thing. JiT doesn't even offer to help anymore. Oh well.
Frankly, there's a lot I've given up on lately. Adjusting to life in Miami has been harder than we'd anticipated. Our budget is much tighter than we thought it would be (everything here costs more than we expect). Many of the things we used to feel passionately about seem non-existent here (things like local food and good farmer's markets for one, Chicago sports for another). Its been more difficult to fit in and make friends. The local climate poses all sorts of interesting challenges -- its too hot to spend much time outside (I know....June in Miami, DUH) and there are pests everywhere (mosquitos, fleas, millipeeds, roaches...eeew!).
I know its not nice to complain....there are plenty of amazing things about this place too. We have our very own pool, we're just a few blocks from the beach, I've been able to be at home with relatively little stress throughout most of my pregnancy. All good things. But the more pregnant I get, the more homesick I seem to get too.
JiT has been incredibly patient with me....helping get the baby's room finished (see pic...yay!!!),
helping me clean the house til it glimmers, floating me around in the pool when my back hurts. Even helping me in the kitchen. And its a good thing he's willing to help because lately I've been so tired that my culinary inspiration is zapped. I'm still cooking, but its usually something fairly simple and budget-friendly.
Even so, every now and then its still nice to make something truly delicious to remind JiT that I really do appreciate him. So this past Sunday, instead of ordering a pizza (my first instinct), I pulled out the little Bon Appetit "Tastes of the World" cookbook I received in the mail for subscribing to the magazine and asked JiT to thumb through and pick something that sounded good. He chose their recipe for cilantro-lime soup....and boy am I glad he did!
As it turns out, this soup is more than a little bit reminiscent of the chicken tortilla soup from Frontera Grill in Chicago. JiT and I spent many a night sitting at the Frontera bar scraping bowls of that soup absolutely clean, so this version definitely helped to soothe my homesickness. We took some major liberties with the recipe: we used chicken that we already had grilled and ready to go. This would be super easy to pull together using leftover chicken or even some meat from one of those roasted chickens available at many grocery store deli counters. The other adaption we made was with the garnishes and the additional of avocado was especially important (definitely not optional!).
The soup is spicy and savory but the fresh lime juice and cilantro balance it with a zesty, refreshing zip thats light enough for even a Miami-in-June kind of night. I suggest topping your bowl with a handful of crushed tortilla chips and (if you're not pregnant) pouring a JiT-Arita to complete the meal.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 cup pre-cooked chicken, shredded or diced (about 2 chicken breast halves)
5 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 of a bunch of fresh cilantro sprigs, tied together with kitchen twine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4-5 drops Tabasco sauce (depending on taste)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
flesh from one medium avocado, diced
sour cream or greek yogurt
tortilla chips, crushed
Heat olive oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add chili powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken, broth, corn, tomatoes and cilantro bunch. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 - 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Remove and discard cilantro bunch. Add lime juice, Tabasco, salt & pepper to taste. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips.