Tis the season to be ill and fill yourself with the comfort foods of the sick. That’s right. When the cold wind blows in, it brings snot and stomach cramps with it. We here at Richard Magazine have been experiencing this trend first hand. With all the sickly people running about our office, we’ve also been indulging in the wonders of comfort food. Cold season cuisine can be amazing, whether or not you can actually taste it. When you really invest in legit comfort food, you begin to wonder why you didn’t eat it before you got sick. Comfort foods are warm and smell like bliss. With such smells wafting in from the kitchen, you’ll be feeling better in no time. What, you ask, are these deliciously healing dishes I speak of? Well, let me show you.
Double-Dark Chicken Noodle Soup
If you’re into homemade chicken stock, I have a little hint for your cold season comfort foods this year. Make stock using the wings of the bird. Wings have a high skin-to-meat ratio, and browning them creates lots of caramelized nooks and crannies to give the stock a deep, savory flavor. For the rest of your soup, chop up a few carrots and stalks of celery. Use egg noodles, which are soft and thin, and sprinkle some parsley on top. This is a classic because it works.
If you love spices and tea, few things clear the sinuses faster than something warm and pungent. Cleansing tea does take a little bit of time. You have to pick what you want to put in and mix it in a large pan and strain it into your cup. Crush up cinnamon, coriander seed, cilantro, rosemary, ginger, vinegar, and honey in a rich, warm blend. After you strain it, add some extra honey and get sipping.
You know it as a childhood classic, but grilled cheese is also a great remedy when you’re under the weather. Start with some mayonnaise for the ideal golden crunch. After the mayonnaise and butter have melted all over the bread, add some thinly sliced American cheese or cheddar. Once the cheese is sizzling, get that golden goodness in your mouth!
Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew
Spicy tofu may sound like the last thing you want when you’re ill, but it’s the perfect weekend detox. Boil a pot of salted water with tofu, then transfer the tofu to a medium bowl and add kimchi, gochujang, scallions, and soy sauce. (Gochujang is Korean hot pepper paste.) If you’re ill, this kick will have you up and about in a matter of hours. It’s also a great Sunday morning meal to reverse damages done the night before.
The Green Machine
It’s no Soylent Green, relax. This drink is a pick-me-up for anyone, sick or tired. Puree apples, cucumbers, spinach, tea, mint leaves, and honey. Strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve and you’re ready to go. One sip and you’ll know what this drink is called the “machine.”
It’s like upscale oatmeal. If your body is craving mushy comfort foods, give it a little variety and surprise. If you boil Bomba or Arborio rice with milk and orange-flower water, you’ll have a filling meal fit for a king. The tenderness of the rice will be gentler on your recovering body than classic oatmeal.
Apricot Miso Jam
Nothing like some serious toast if you’re under the weather. This spread is especially revitalizing. Combine apricots, cherries, wine, orange juice, and lemon juice in a large saucepan to soak. Once this mixture has been sitting for a while, add some bay leaves and cinnamon. After a short simmer, mix in the miso. Jam and toast never tasted this good.
From toast to soup to rice pudding, chase your illnesses away with these delicious takes on classic comfort food. You won’t infest the office with your germs and you’ll learn a few cooking tricks along the way.
— Julie Grossman