Back in the late ’80s or early ’90s, I subscribed to Eating Well magazine. I was working in Nutrition and Dietetics at the time, and was actually starting to learn about food as fuel for the body and not just have it look pretty on a plate. I knew the science behind making a cake – flour and eggs for structure, sugar and fat for tenderness, and how different batters react to different pan shapes and temperatures  –  but didn’t know the science behind the ingredients – and how they reacted in the body and how the body transformed and used them. For all intents and purposes, I still don’t – but I have a better idea today than I did 30 years ago… I’m still a cook, not a Dietitian.

But… life is all about learning, and I wanted to learn healthier ways of putting things together. I ended my subscription because the magazine morphed into more of a woman’s health magazine with recipes, but not before I bought the Eating Well Cookbook. I’ve been hauling this book around since 1992 and it’s made the cut every time I’ve done a cookbook purge – there are a couple of recipes in it that I like. I probably hadn’t opened it in 10 years, but it has always made the cut.

Today, I opened it.

I did a produce run to Gentile’s after the gym, and saw some really nice tomatillos. And a perfect poblano pepper. I started thinking back to a chicken recipe in Eating Well and headed downstairs to get the book. I found the recipe. Naturally, it was nothing like what I had remembered, but it gave me a starting point for something else.

It also gave me a reminder about different cooking methods. Poaching a chicken breast in a pot with water and flavorful herbs and spices not only makes a flavorful piece of chicken – but it makes a flavorful broth that can be used, as well. It’s all coming back to me, now…

I had rolls but no tortillas, so I made sandwiches. Next time I’ll make the tortillas!

Shredded Chicken with Tomatillos

poaching liquid

  • 8 oz chicken breast
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatillos, chopped
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Place chicken breast, water, shallot, bay leaf, peppercorns, oregano, basil, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through – about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow chicken to cool completely in the poaching liquid. When cool, shred chicken and reserve 1 cup of the poaching liquid.

In a medium skillet, saute onion and poblano pepper until vegetables are wilted. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add cumin and cook about a minute.

Add tomatillos and cook until they are broken down completely.

Stir in shredded chicken and heat through. Add additional broth as necessary to maintain desired consistency.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, desired.

This easily made three hefty portions – more than we needed, tonight. Lunch portions for tomorrow!

I think it would have been great with a perfectly-ripe avocado. I did pick one up but it wasn’t quite there… Fresh tortillas would have been nice, as well – and cheese… but we were being good.

I think it’s going to be fun to revisit those thrilling – thinning – days of yesteryear.

And on a totally unrelated note…

Hard boiled eggs. They’re good for you. I really like them. They’re a pain-in-the-ass to peel.

I have tried every system under the sun – starting with cold water starting with hot water adding salt adding baking soda adding vinegar bringing to boil turning off heat letting sit… Every one of then will work sometimes. Every one of them won’t work sometimes.

BUT… I have now steamed the eggs on two different occasions – different eggs from different cartons – and every egg has peeled perfectly.

We shall see how the third time goes…