Saturday, September 4, 2010


This entry is brought to you by the application Skype, the colour green, and the genus Capsicum.  Read on!
 I'm a fan of making up portmanteaux- words made out of two other words combined, like the ubiquitous "Brangelina".  These are not always well received; Hubs has a particular disdain for them.  A few people have caught onto my invention, "reversary": a "reverse anniversary", for those whose wedding is more than a year away.  Hubs and I had ours this past July 23rd, and a few kind (humoring?) friends used my new vocab to wish us well.  The countdown to our nuptials in on!!

Sorry.  Back to food, and the title: 

Skyooking (skii-YOU-king). verb.  To cook a recipe while engaging in a Skype video and audio conference with an individual in a separate location, who is preparing the same or similar food.  A portmanteau of "Skyping" and "cooking".

Think I could make it into an entry on Urban Dictionary? ...yeah, you're right, probably not.  Anyway, the whole concept of Skyooking came into existence at the suggestion of my wonderful and recently married sister, Ni.  Wanting to spend time together while doing something practical (like preparing dinner), she suggested that I select a relatively simple recipe that we would prepare simultaneously- she in her kitchen in Guelph, and me in my apartment in Winnipeg.  Sounded like a fantastic idea to me!

Screen shot!! Ni and I, almost 2,000 km apart, ready with our ingredients.  Allez cuisine!!
So for our cooking adventure, I chose Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup, by the ever-perky Rachel Ray.  Ni had requested something "easy", that could be done on the stovetop; I felt that soup fit the bill, but I wanted it to be something special.  I remember Chaddy really enjoying some tortilla soup at the on-campus restaurant in our UWO days, then trying to recreate it in our apartment; this recipe made me think of him.  Ni initially balked at the number of ingredients, but we can promise you that it's well worth it.

Finished product, with additional avocado.  I LOVE that delicious fruit...
Close-up.  Note the heavy use of cilantro; as Rachel points out, this is optional.
I was a little concerned with all the peppers in the recipe.  Not because I have issues with spice, but more because (as I've mentioned before), the texture of peppers is not my favourite.  Honestly, though, it's mostly the plastic-like skin that's the problem... so for things like roasted red peppers, or puréed peppers like in this recipe, I'm perfectly fine.  Jalapeños don't bother me, luckily... son muy delicioso, as far as I'm concerned.

All done and ready to nosh!  You can see me, in the little viewer window, just to the left of Ni's head.  Nothing like sharing a meal with family, even if you're separated by a provincial border.
Ni and I, being in different cities and therefore having different produce options, ended up with slightly varied end products.  I've been utterly spoiled by decades of Ontario sweet corn, and the offerings at the local Winnipeg Superstore were extremely lacklustre.  I just knew that, with kernels that huge, those ears of corn would be super-bitter and starchy.  Not good eats.  So, I opted for canned sweet corn, drained, well-rinsed, and patted dry.  Ni, still living in "a place to stand, a place to grow", opted for slicing the kernels off the real deal.

We also ended up buying very different chilies.  Neither of us could find red chili peppers, so we just chucked in a small palmful of dried red chili flakes (something that always reminds me of our dad).  On the whole ancho chili front: I looked them up in Wikipedia before heading to the store,  so I knew to look for either ancho or poblano peppers.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a sign indicating either.  Instead, I just grabbed what looked the most like the picture I'd seen.  I'm not really sure WHAT it was.  I think Ni ended up with at least one cubanelle pepper, and possibly a Santa Fe Grande chili.  She ended up with a bit more fire in the end than I did, I think... nothing that additional sour cream (or plain yogurt, in my case) couldn't fix.

Still fantastic, no matter what chiles were used.
One thing that we both agreed on, without even consulting each other first, was to debone the supermarket rotisserie chicken ahead of time and use the remainder (I hate to use the term "carcass" as my mom does) to make our own chicken stock.  I had this simmering the night before, with some onions, carrots, and bay leaves to add extra flavour.  Mmm.

I also used some shredded chicken the night before to make this wrap, with some PC Blue Menu artichoke and asiago dip.  A side of fresh fruit instead of chips or fries was a nice change, too!
So overall, Skyooking was a great success.  I'm hoping that Ni and I can turn it into a semi-regular occurrence, despite her busy 4th year veterinary school schedule.  Now if we could just schedule a whole family event, using iChat's four-way video conference feature between Winnipeg, Guelph, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Windsor, we'd be all set.  Having the technology to do what we'd normally do in person, despite the distance, has really made this little "adventure" of mine easier to take.

Looking forward to a long-distance Sunday dinner,


  1. yum!! I have a few servings in the freezer now to save for lunches!
    Pick out a new recipe and we'll do it again. I want something appropriate for fall.
    Or maybe we should do like top chef..skyooking: desserts only?

  2. All my leftovers are gone!! I needed quick eats before my ASL classes. Something appropriate for fall, eh? I'll keep my eyes peeled... but if you want to do desserts only, we could try that. The only issue is finding a recipe that won't kill you, Ni :P