Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breakfast Stir Fry

In my quest for better health through food I've been reading Minding My Mitochondria by Dr. Wahls.  She is a physician who went from living in a wheelchair due to MS to riding a bike in six months through radical diet changes.  In her book, her diet roughly follows Paleo but with the emphasis on vegetable consumption rather than meat consumption.  She recommends nine, that's right NINE, servings of fruits and vegetables a day; three cups of leafy green veg, three cups of colored veg and three cups of mixed fruits and veg.

In order to come even close to this, juicing needs to be done daily and I've been eating spinach with my eggs in the morning.  Today I decided to add a bit of variety and came up with this delightful and easy breakfast.

BTW, I use pastured butter because of the nutrients it has.  According to Weston Price the fats are required by our bodies to aid in proper digestion.

serves one

1 leak leaf
1 large collard green leaf
1-3 leaves of kale
a fistful of portabello mushroom (i used the stalk from a giant one I grilled for dinner last night)
2-4 stalks of asparagus
pastured butter
2 free range eggs
2-3 leaves of fresh sage
drop of pastured milk
salt and pepper

  1. Wash and dry the kale, collard greens and leaks.  A salad spinner works great for this.  Take extra care with the leak since they are dirt magnets.
  2. Roll up the leaves and slice into thin strips discarding the tough middle vein/stem.
  3. Dice the mushroom and asparagus into bite size pieces.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add a drop of milk, rip the sage and add that, add some fresh ground pepper
  5. Saute the mushroom, leak and asparagus in butter until mushrooms start to soften.
  6. Add the kale and collard greens and saute until wilted.  The greens should cook down to about half the original volume.
  7. Load the vegetables onto the serving dish.
  8. Add more butter to the pan and make scrambled eggs.
  9. Serve with the vegetable.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

My hubby came down with a nasty cold so I decided that with all the lovely vegetables that I got from the farmer's market I should make a nice from scratch chicken soup.  I made the stock first, see my prior post, and then just cut up vegetables until I couldn't fit anything else in the pan.  Since the goal was to have lots of veg the quantities are loose and fast.  I was aiming for lots of different colors and lots of different varieties, making sure I had some root veg, leafy green veg and fungi in a balanced mix.  Just keep adding veg until the pot is full and then cover with broth.  You can make lots of substitutions but I can guarantee that this combination is absolutely fab!!  Best soup I've ever made!

serves 2-3

~1c cooked brown rice ( I used Lundberg's Jubilee mix)
~1c cooked chicken meat (this was left over from the broth production)
1/4c coarsely chopped red onion
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (or 1t minced from a jar)
1 stalk diced celery
1 carrot diced
1-2 fistfuls of butternut squash cut into 1/2" cubes
1-2 fistfuls of baby bok choy sliced into 1/4" strips
1 small red potato cut into 1/2" cubes
1-2 fistfuls of crimini mushrooms peeled and quartered
several cups of chicken broth
Celtic sea salt
several sprigs fresh parley coarsely chopped

  1. Cook rice while chopping the vegetables.  Let the rice fully cook before proceeding.
  2. Put rice and chicken into 2 quart pot.
  3. Cut up vegetables and keep adding until the pot is almost full (about 1" from rim)
  4. Cover with chicken broth.  Add herbs and spices.  Stir.
  5. Simmer until vegetables are are tender about 10-15 minutes.
Okay now for the substitution lists:
Root veg:  white potatoes, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, celery root (celeriac), turnips, jicama, beets (but they will color the stock and everything else: if you use red beets you will end up with pink soup)
Leafy green veg: cabbage, napa cabbage, bok choy, baby bok choy, kale, fennel (if you like the taste), spinach
Other veg: any type of squash, pumpkin, peas, corn, green beans, wax beans, okra, snow peas, cauliflower, eggplant
Fungi: white button mushrooms, crimini (baby bellas), portabellos, shitaki, porchini (buy dried and soak before adding to pot: you can add the soaking liquid but try to keep the grit out of the soup)
Onion: green onion, yellow onion, red onion, shallots, leeks

I try to stay away from cruciferous veg in soups because they can overpower the taste but feel free to add if you like: broccoli, brussel sprouts

Because I didn't soak the rice first this isn't totally WAP legal but if you leave the rice out game on.  Check the veg list in the GAPS book to see if this is GAPS legal and just make the appropriate substitutions.  Personally I'm not yet at that level of picky in my diet.  I might be in the future but I'm still struggling to get in enough broth and fermented foods.  Baby steps.  But in the meantime yummy soup!  

Basic Chicken Stock

This is an easy one.  If you want to do this on the cheap check out the packages of chicken backs on the US Wellness Meats site.  Organic, free range and cheap.  These could also be purchased from a local butcher.  Chicken backs are scrap after they part the chicken out as legs, breasts, etc.  It is just a pain in the ass to pick the meat off the bones once the stock is done.  If you are low on energy just get legs if you want the meat or just bones if you want just broth.  If you want super cheap, save bones and cartilage from chicken dinners and freeze them or save a carcass after a roast chicken dinner.  When you have a few pounds of bones saved up then it is time to make stock.

The bones are cartilage are an essential part of the stock.  They impart nutrients that are vital for our cells to function properly.  WAP and GAPS recommends daily intake of bone broth from beef, chicken or fish to maintain good health.

makes roughly 7 cups give or take

1 package chicken backs (U.S. Wellness Meats: sorry they don't ship outside the US)
or 2.5lbs bone in chicken parts or one whole chicken carcass or several pounds of chicken bones
Filtered water
2 carrots whole or cut to fit in pan
1 yellow onion quatered
2-3 stalks of celery (it is okay to leave the leaves on) whole or cut to fit in pan
1t celtic sea salt
1t whole peppercorns
2 organic bay leaves
several sprigs of fresh thyme

  1. Put everything in a dutch oven and cover with filtered water stopping at least an inch from the rim.  You don't have to defrost the chicken.  It can go in the pot frozen.  The chicken has to be covered with water but how much additional water you add is up to you.
  2. Cover and put over a low light.
  3. Once it starts simmering lower heat until it is barely bubbling.  Skim off any scum.
  4. Cook for at least four hours.  Skimming when necessary.  Adding water if chicken is no longer covered.  I think I cooked mine around four to five hours.  The chicken will fall apart when lightly touched and can not be removed intact.
  5. Remove from heat.  Skim off any scum.
  6. Remove vegetables and discard.
  7. Fish out chicken parts and separate out any meat and save for other uses.  Discard bones.
  8. Be careful you can burn yourself easily on this step.  Carefully pour stock through a fine mesh sieve or line a colander with cheesecloth to remove all the other bits.  Discard bits.
  9. Pour broth into containers and freeze for later use.
This can also be done in a slow cooker set on low.  Cook overnight for at least 12 hours.

Unstuffed Cabbage

I wanted to call this Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage but that is a mouthful.  Anyway, this has all the parts of stuffed cabbage without the actual stuffing part or icky tomato sauce.  It is one of the tastiest meals I've had in a long time.  Okay, really since the kickass chicken soup I made on Wednesday.  I'll post that recipe later.

Anyway, I was making my very first batch of sauerkraut this morning and decided to set aside a wedge of cabbage for my dinner since I haven't eaten any in donkey's years.  I also had too many hamburger patties in the freezer (hubby suddenly decided to boycott hamburgers: groan).  So an idea was born.  How about making some rice, some savory ground beef with a side of cabbage.  OMG it was awesome!!  And it is consistent with the WAP diet except I didn't soak the rice first.  My bad.

serves 2-3

1/4 - 1/2 small head of cabbage
1-2 carrots
2-3c cooked brown rice (I used the Lundberg Jubilee Rice mix)
~1lb grass fed ground beef (in my case it was two preformed patties)
1/4c diced onion
1 clove garlic crushed (or 1t minced from a jar)
several sprigs fresh dill
several sprigs fresh parley
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
1t cumin
1/2t coriander
1/4t cardamom ground
1/4t allspice
1/4c beef broth
1T arrowroot powder
celtic sea salt
olive oil

  1. Start cooking rice first.  Allow enough time for it to almost or completely cook prior to starting the rest of the meal.  I love my rice cooker!
  2. Use a mandolin to slice cabbage into 1/4" strips.  Discard core/stem.
  3. After peeling carrots use peeler to make thin strips of carrot and combine with cabbage.
  4. Set up a vegetable steamer and steam cabbage and carrots.  Alternatively use only about 1" of cooking liquid in pan and keep a lid on and use low heat set to simmer.  This will allow the vegetables to steam instead of boil which keeps most of the nutrients in the veg instead of leaching out into the cooking water.  Keep checking so that water doesn't boil off.  This will be cooked by the time the rest of the dish is done. 
  5. Finely chop onion and crush garlic clove.  
  6. Mince fresh herbs together and set aside.
  7. Heat 1-2T olive oil and a pat of butter in frying pan.  When hot saute onion and garlic until onion is soft.
  8. Add ground beef.  Break up into small bits as it is frying.  Add the dried spices, salt and pepper. Continue to stir.  
  9. When beef is almost done but still showing some pink, add beef broth and fresh herbs.  You could drain off the extra fat prior to adding the broth and herbs but I'm trying to increase animal fats in my diet so I left it in.
  10. Sprinkle the arrowroot over the beef mixture and stir it in.  The broth will thicken up into a thin sauce for the beef. The thickness can be adjusted by either adding more broth or more arrowroot until the desired constancy is reached. Cook until beef is no longer pink.
  11. Taste test cabbage.  It should be done.  I like mine with some crunch.
  12. Serve beef over rice with the cabbage/carrots on the side.  If you are so inclined melt lots of butter over the hot cabbage mixture.  Extra yum points!