I warned you.
Here it is.
The soup post. Well….with a few junipers thrown in, but there’s definitely soup. Chicken noodle soup to be precise.
First, let’s start with the tree.
A juniperus chinensis “something or other”. It’s not a parsonii, I’m pretty sure. The needles are a bit too wispy.
It’s been said that the foliage pads on this type of juniper will never get dense enough to be satisfying, and that’s entirely possible. But the deadwood and movement are awesome, so I won’t be throwing it on the burn pile just yet. I’ve had it really dense at one point and I’m sure I can get it there again. More sun I think. Or I’ll resort to grafting.
Protect the soil from the lime sulphur.
A medium procumbens nana
This post will feature a rarity. Something you’d never, ever think I’d use.
Yep, that’s correct. Copper wire. I figured that I could mend some fences a bit because it seems that a few people were offended by my off the cuff statements about using copper and growing tropical trees. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re growing a ficus, which needs rewiring 3-4 times in Florida’s intensive growing season, I still think it’s insane to use it. But on conifers like these junipers, go right ahead. And I had this wire sitting around and I have some junipers that need work. Why not. Let’s see what I can do, right?
Oops! I could burn the chicken!
Ok, it’s tomorrow. Here are the leftovers from last night.
Looks like a back, a wing, and two thighs. I’m making my own stock for the soup and this is the beginning of my flavor profile. I used a “rotisserie” rub on the grilled chicken last night and that plus the grilled aspect, will add to the complexity of the broth.
This is my soup pot.
Now, you can buy a chicken already disassembled. But that’s no fun, and it’s definitely not 95¢ a pound. All you need is a knife.
Now, there are many tutorials out there on how to cut up a chicken. This one from Alton Brown is pretty well done (click here to see it) I do it slightly different but the principles are the same (just like in bonsai…..ah). First, grab a leg and hold it up. Not your leg showoff, the chickens.
The wings I save for the next time I barbecue. They’re my favorite and a bird only comes with two. At least for the time being, that is.
Next, the veggies. I’m not one to waste food, and I need the flavor in the broth, but putting good veggies in the broth destroys them…..what to do? Watch.
First, remove the dried out outer layer and throw away.
I say it’s not good in the real world because the handle, which makes it really easy to use, also has this fatal flaw.
No. Really. It works. Not too much. Just a few shakes out of the container.
Then rough chop the onion and carrots and put them in the fridge.
Here’s another trick, salt the carrots and cover them with water to pre-season them. Fill up the rest on the pot with water and bring to a boil. But you don’t keep it boiling, that “burns” the stock and gives it an off taste. A slow, slight simmer. It’s 9:30 am. I’ll let it go until about lunch, checking on it every half hour or so, stirring it and breaking up the bones.
What can I do until then? Oh yeah, the tree!
I hate to keep saying this but, if you’re a regular reader, you know that a lot of the trees in my collection were neglected because of my health problems. This is one of them. I really should have been pruning and rewiring it as it filled in from the last styling, which was a re-set of all the branches (hence all the wire). So now, unfortunately, I have to re-set it again.
It’s now about one pm. The stock is done; all the bones have let go their bonds of sinew and cartilage, and they’ve given all the flavor they can.
And, then I take that chicken I had put in earlier out. It’s because ready to cut.
Now it’s time to pick up the kids from school and get them to taekwondo (yeah yeah, TKD is Korean and bonsai is Japanese. Bite me).
Today, I’m bringing a little friend to help pass the time.
It had one bit of aluminum on it, I’ll again re-wire with copper because, well, why not? Right?
And I get to use this itty bitty 24 guage wire I found.
Here’s the before.
And now, and you thought I forgot about it, it’s time to remove the fat. It’s almost dinner time and I need to get this done. There are three hungry boys and one hungry goil (ah ga ga ga ga!). Not to mention She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.
Oh, lots of garlic too.
Then it’s just waiting for the carrots to cook.
So, after all that, how did it come out? Mmmmmmm!
How does it look? I think it’s the best broth I’ve made in a while and the carrots were perfect. Not too mushy, but done. I serve it with buttered bread myself, but you could use crackers if’n you want to.
After an orgy of chicken noodle soup heights, it is now the third day.
Here’s that little juniper in a little better light.
And the big one.
Man. I put so much work into these branches though.
A little rearranging of the remaining branches.
And I think that works.
I really hate having to do this type of work two years in a row but the tree will end up better for it in the future. There are a few more branches I’d like to get shorter but that’ll take time.
Ok, what’s next? Maybe another juniper or…..I do have several ham bones I’ve been saving…….