Sometimes I cook and bake for the ones I love. This week has been a particularly busy one bringing dinners to my mother and her new husband, my son and his girlfriend and my high school friend Christy and her family.
There has been a terrible flu going around that makes you feel miserable for about three weeks. I know, because I had it too. My favourite way to comfort people is by bringing them something warm and flavourful like my “Get Well Soup.” And of course anyone who knows me would expect that I would also be bringing them a yummy treat as well like my brownies w coconut cream cheese frosting.
When my kids were young, I read to them a lot. One of their favourite books was “Get Well Soup.” Sorry, I’m not remembering the author at the moment and I’m NOT climbing into the rafters to find our selection of baby books that I have stored away for future grandchildren. This book was about a mother rabbit and her 12 bunnies that were sick. There was a blizzard and the store was closed so mother rabbit had to ask her neighbours if she could borrow some ingredients. Mother rabbit gathered her ingredients from various animals in her neighbourhood and invited them all over for “Get Well Soup.” It made my boys feel better hearing about the characters in the story and I always enjoyed reading it too.
Wednesday, I brought dinner to my girlfriend and her family who had suffered a great deal, but at last was in heaven at peace. You can imagine my shock to find out that she had passed away just before I arrived with my healthy dinner. I felt honoured that Christy gave me the privilege of providing a nourishing meal to her husband, three children and her parents that night. As much as my heart aches because I lost a friend, I know she will always be in my heart.
Here is my recipe.
Get Well Soup
2 or 3 whole chicken carcasses (All chicken removed and saved for future meals)
Roasted chicken recipe on one of my prior blogs
Roasted Lemons, roasted onions with skin on (for darker broth) , garlic left over from roasted chicken
1 Carrot, 1 celery stalk, ½ C. fennel, 2 Tbsp sliced raw ginger
2 Bay leaves, a few black peppercorns, 1 Tbsp Kosher salt, parsley stems. I admit I also threw in the bones from the veal and lamb shank for the osso bucco recipe.
Fill a large stock pot with cold water and add all ingredients. Cook uncovered on a low boil for 2 ½ hours. You can use the crock pot if that is easier and let it cook all day.
Cool. Put covered soup in fridge and let sit overnight so it has the most flavor. In the morning, remove pot from fridge, and warm up the broth just until the fat is melted. You can skim off the fat with a spoon if you want to be healthier, but that is where all of the flavor is according to my mom.
Strain the soup in a large china cap or sieve. Keep chicken broth stored in freezer in canning jars or save in zip lock bags for future use. I will use the frozen broth instead of buying canned broth in many recipes.
Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Brownies
Follow the directions on two boxes of your favourite brownie mix and bake in a Pampered Chef 13X9 bar pan lined with parchment paper for @ 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cool.
I know it seems crazy to use a store bought box of brownies, but trust me. They are delicious. When I worked at a French Patisserie, the pastry chef and owner also used a box mix for her brownies!
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
While brownies are baking, take 8 oz cream cheese and 1 stick (1/2 C) of unsalted butter and bring to room temperature. Mix ingredients in a stand mixer until blended. Add ¾ C confectioners’ sugar (or more if you like it sweeter), ½ teas vanilla paste and 1 Tbsp of coconut extract.
Bake 1 C of sweetened flaked coconut on a sheet pan in a preheated 250 degree oven for @ 8 minutes. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. Cool.
Flip fully cooled brownies onto a cutting board that is sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Cut off dry edges on each side of slab. Frost evenly. I dropped @ ½ C. ganache (left over from another recipe. Recipe found on my blog for truffles) in splotches on top of brownies and sprinkled the brownies with toasted coconut.