18 July 2009

Sam the Cooking Guy Makes Tortilla Soup

The Cooking Guys Tortilla Soup
It has been a busy few weeks here at More Than Burnt Toast. There have been trials and tribulations and car expenses as well as birthday celebrations.... and celebrations simply just for the fact that it is summer. Isn't summer reason enough to celebrate alone!!!! We have been melting in the heat like the wicked witch of the West, and to be perfectly honest it gets pretty tiresome if you can't spend your days lying around the pool sipping margueritas or with my greedy lips wrapped around my favourite bellini. I know you always hear complaints about the weather, including from me, and I know that that is one thing we have no control over in our lives. What I do have control over is how I spend my free time which is a precious commodity and how I spend my birthday.

Over the past few weeks I have celebrated my birthday several times with friends which is just an excuse to get together. Dinner at Bonfire Grill at The Cove, a sunset cruise on Lake Okanagan.,..and still more celebrations to come.

Any celebration for me needs to revolve around food somehow. I would have to call myself a "foodie" and not a gourmet. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Foodies however differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicureans of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food. Foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary and that is ME!!!! I am sure that we can all relate!!!!

This past weekend I decided to spend a few hours as a "foodie" with Sam Zien of The Cooking Guy fame. No, not just the two of us!!!Don't get your hopes up here that I have found a man or am sharing my life with someone.

Sam is the creator and host of the television show Sam the Cooking Guy and spent some time here on the weekend at Predator Ridge Golf and Country Club a 27-hole golf course "The Bear" which if I am not mistaken was designed by Jack Nicklaus and the home of The Skins in 2008. I had valet service and was treated royally all the while seeing how the other half lives at this award winning resort. This was the beginning of my birthday celebrations!!!

Sam believes that food should be "big in taste: but small in effort." He is very clear from the beginning that he is not a chef; he also believes that certain things, like measuring ingredients (unless baking), are not a necessity and that 350 degrees is the "universal temperature" at which to cook everything. I like this guy, since there is a time and place for everything. You can still impress your guests just as easily with a quick and delicious meal as with a gourmet meal you have spent hours of your time away from your guests attached to the stove to stir, foam and plate. Afterall your guests have come to see you and enjoy your company!!!

According to his web site, "Before he became "Sam the Cooking Guy," Sam Zien was a working stiff just like everyone else. However, one day in 2001, he decided to leave behind his position at a San Diego biotech company to spend his days doing something he was truly passionate about. After a great deal of thought and reflection, Sam decided that he would combine his love for people and zest for life by pursuing a career in television with a travel show. His aim was to demystify exotic travel for the everyday person while empowering them to explore foreign locations on their own. However, with the events of September 11 occurring just a month before Sam's first scheduled shoot in Tokyo, it was clear that the time was not right to launch a new travel program.

He decided to change his focus to something else that he could simplify for people. Sam wanted to make the process of cooking easy and unintimidating so that his audience would say,"Hey, I can make that!" Along with his wife, three teenage sons and two dogs, he started filming in 2002 and 7 years later has earned 11 Emmies cooking from his home in San Diego, California...a real guy, in his real kitchen, cooking food for real people!!!! If he makes a mistake they leave it in. If he drops something they leave it in. Because that's what goes on in a real home and the goal is to recreate food you can make easily and really enjoy. Food that'll keep you from going out.

On his web site you will find recipes such as Mexican Bruschetta and Salmon with Gremolata and Tomatoes. At the luncheon he demonstrated 3 dishes we could prepare with one storebought rotisserie chicken...Tortilla Soup, Buffalo Chicken Pizza and a Pulled Chicken Sandwich. The soup was delicious and here is the recipe!!! We started off with a Pimm's (very British) and then we enjoyed the company of our table guests and a few hours with Sam. A very nice way to spend a few hours indeed!!!


**Tortilla Soup**

16 ounces red salsa, medium hot. Oh what the heck—if you like it hot, go for it!
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 flour tortillas
1 one avocado, diced small
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish

Heat salsa in a little pot on the stove. Once it starts to bubble, add the broth and chicken and simmer until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes.

While it's heating, cook tortillas on both sides in a tiny amount of oil in a non-stick pan—the goal is to get them crispy.

Remove tortillas and slice into thin strips.

Serve by putting the soup in bowls and topping with avocado, tortilla strips and chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. That sounds like a good time!! What a great little "getaway" for you :)...no ideas were forming in my head. promise.

  2. Two wonderful recipes! Both are very tempting!



  3. I like your way of celebrating your birthday! ;-)

  4. Happy Birthday! Sounds like all is good in more than burnt toast land!

  5. Multiple birthday celebrations?! That's the way to do it!!! It's all about branching out the groups of friends to get to celebrate more!
    Great soup, very hearty!

  6. Really sound fantastic and fun dear Vall!Happy belated Birthday!! and nice tortilla! xxGloria

  7. Thanks for the write-up. Sam sounds like a great model when it comes to showing people how simple it can be to make good food. I especially like his idea that measuring ingredients isn't important (except in baking). I'll agree with that. Thanks for the recipe as well. I love tortilla soup.

  8. Hapy belated b-day...it all sounds fantastic!

  9. I am all about the "birthday month" or at the very least, the "birthday week" - like you said, a great excuse to get together with friends and EAT!

    Love your description of a "foodie", I definitely can relate to that descriptor! :)

    Happy Birthday Month, Val! :)

  10. Happy Happy Happy ongoing birthday celebrations - it would be good to keep it going until next year. Sam looks like a riot. He would be fun to watch.

  11. I know I'd love to lie by the pool all day drinking margaritas, lol, but we need to do other things during the summer, unfortunately.

    That soup looks really good. I am off to check out his website now.


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