once i made up my mind to make mexican tortilla chicken soup for tonight, i wrote down a list of ingredients and headed out to the grocery store. instead of just going across the street, i walked a mile to market basket, down beacon properzi village and dane. the woman ahead of me in line had a demagnetized debit card and it took a while before she was finally able to pay. instead of getting frustrated or mad, times like these i just zone out, almost like meditating. afterwards, with bags of groceries in each hand, i walked a mile back to my place. my arms were straining by the time i got home, but sadly it's probably the most exercise i'll get this week.

mexican tortilla chicken soup is a two step process: first i had to make the chicken stock. instead of following the normal recipe, i made it using the same way i make chinese chicken soup:

chinese chicken soup/stock
pot of water
rice wine
white ground pepper
sichuan peppercorn
whole rotisserie chicken

i used a cooked rotisserie chicken ($3.99) because it has a lot more flavor compared to a raw chicken. i simmered it on the stove for about an hour. the sichuan peppercorn was an added touch, only because i have so much of it and don't know what to do with them. by the late afternoon my house was filled with the aroma of chicken soup.

when evening came around i started making the mexican tortilla chicken soup. it's actually a food 911 recipe i saw on television a few years ago. it was an episode devoted to chicken soup. i recorded it on tape but it was easier to just find the recipe online. it's not the exact same recipe, i made a few adjustments:

mexican tortilla chicken soup
1 medium white onion
5 garlic cloves
6 chili peppers
2 tomatoes
shredded chicken
chicken stock
chopped cilantro
monterey jack cheese
lime wedges
tortillas cut into strips
oil (for frying)
6 oz. corn
6 oz. black beans

when i finally tasted the broth prior to simmering, i realized i added too many chili peppers. everything was pretty easy except for the tortilla frying part. i've been doing a lot more frying these days and i've never had a mishap but it just seems dangerous cooking with a pot of hot oil. the fried tortilla strips turned out pretty well, like pita chips.

julie didn't show up until almost 9pm and i didn't want to start without her. we thought tonight would be the project runway finale but it's only the second to last episode. the soup turned out okay. i much rather have the chicken soup alone instead of with all the mexican additions. if it wasn't for the chicken part, it tasted pretty much like a vegetable soup. i prefer soups that are a little bit heartier, less vegetables, more meat and pasta. for dessert, some klondike bars. before julie left i burned her a dvd of recent movies.

most of the basil plants don't seem to be doing very well. i personally think they prefer warmer temperatures (summer-like, as opposed to the 60 degrees i normally keep inside my house). however, the best ones are growing underneath the red/blue fluorescents. i now have two growing under the LED's, but the verdict is still out on those.

about last night: as expected, i lost my power a few times. the first time i was on my computer. the sudden pulse didn't faze the light or the television (they came back on just fine, i didn't even lose the channel) but it completely shut down my computer. sensing the coast was clear, i restarted, only to have the power go out again for a split second. this time around i decided to play it safe and keep the computer off. instead i switched to my laptop, which wasn't bothered by the power loss (the only thing lost was my internet connection). the power went off for a total of 4 times throughout the night, the longest one being the last one, and even then it was just a few seconds.