Dem Bones- Quick Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

It’s Mojo Mastery time again.  This time I taught broth making which was a first for me.  I love that making chicken broth in my own home is a second nature act.  Bones never get thrown away and I like to roast a whole chicken every couple of weeks or so.  I can’t help it when I look at a whole chicken from the store nestled in it’s plastic with “giblets included” written ostensibly on the outside I can’t help but think “mmmmmmatzo balls”.  (ok I actually think fried chicken, a whole bird quartered with gravy and biscuits, but that’s just me, my stomach to brain neural connections fire at double time and I like to include butchering in my imagination).

I’m a busy lady so cooking for my family it is good to have some good solid building blocks around.  So amazing what one can make when you have the right things just hanging out.  In fact the beef marrow chicken soup that we threw together on Thursday night was one of those great happy accidents…  thanks Bob Ross.  bob_ross_amigurumi-300x300

The group we had gathered greedily drank up the chicken broth that I had preprepared.  I don’t blame them it was dank, slow simmered for more than 36 hours, zero salt added it was seasoned with one of my favorite flavorings…  chicken, chicken, chicken.  But I was going to use it for my chicken noodle soup…  good thing I had also preprepared some beef bone broth. I very rarely make beef bone broth at home, and I think I’ll have to change that trend.  My spine tingled when I drank just the plain broth before we fancied her up, like it was hungry for some of that celular building block goodness.  So anyways here is the recipe for the bone broth     chicken “noodle” soup, the five vegetable blood cleansing mineral broth as well as the recipe for the split pea soup I demoed at Mojo as a easy dinner application once your fridge is “stocked”.

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Beef Bone Broth

Stock Bones (split open so the marrow shows)
H2O
2 Dates
2 Umeboshi Plums
2 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
Bouquet Garni  (i used fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley) wrapped in cheesecloth

Bake bones at 374 for 45-60 minutes.  You will see the bone marrow start to plump out of the bone showing that it is cooked all the way through.  Pour off the fat (this was a nice treat for the dog) and transfer the bones to your pot or crockpot.  Clean and scrape pan droppings from the bottom of your cooking dish with a little boiling water and throw that in the pot too.  Now top up the pot with water, bring almost to a boil (or all the way if you’re not fussy about cloudy broth)  and turn down to just under a simmer and let it steep that way for at least two hours, or much much longer.  Note: I only added the Bouquet Garni for the last 10-15 minutes, if you put the herbs in for too long your broth will go greenish grey.

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Quick Chicken Noodle Soup.

1 Roasted Chicken
Mire Poix Vegetables (1 part Carrot, 1 part Celery, 2 parts Onion)
1 package Kelp Noodles
Bone Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Notice there are no real measurements here.  Remember in 20 years of cooking my own dinner I’ve only completely failed and had to order out twice…  So use the force and make a great soup!

Cut Meat from the Chicken….  save bones to make soup.  “Sweat” your mire poix veggies for about five minutes, that means gently cook with a little cooking oil (I like to use the chicken fat I saved from roasting the bones) try not to brown them.  Add Broth, Chicken and noodles (these are precooked they only need to be reheated) and voila, you have just made an amazing dinner in under 10 minutes (if you don’t count the three days it took you to make the broth ;))

Ham Bone Pea Soup

1 Ham Bone (you can use Raw or Smoked, either works fine)
4 Cups dried Split Peas
1 Gallon Chicken Stock
2 Cups Mire Poix Veggies
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you are using a smoked ham bone you don’t need to do anything to it.  If you are using a raw one you can either preboil or preroast the bone.  Sweat mire poix veggies in a little oil for about 5 minutes, I sometimes put whole cloves of garlic into this soup at this point. Throw in the ham bone top up with broth.  Sort and rinse your split peas…  like lentils they do not have to be soaked, but pick through and make sure there aren’t any rocks, give em a rinse and toss em in.

Bring the whole shebang to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Cook this dish uncovered nice and slow for at least 2 hours so the meat will be falling off the bone.  Stir occasionally to make sure the peas don’t stick to the bottom, also skim occasionally to get the foam off the top.  When the peas have broken down and thickened the soup and the ham is where you want it, this easy dish is done.  Pull the hambone out and shred the meat and add the meat back to the pot.  Season to taste.  I personally love a little olive oil drizzled on top of this hearty soup.

burdock-root-arctium-lappa

Five Veggies Mineral Broth for Blood Cleansing

Carrot
Daikon Radish
Radish Greens (can substitute Kale if the Daikon comes without greens on)
Shitake
Burdock Root,
(I like to add Kelp too for extra mineral goodness, that’s six ingredients but I won’t tell if you don’t tell)

Wash and rough cut veggies (roll cut is great here for the daikon, carrots and burdock). Top with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for between 30 minutes and an hour.  You can cook for longer, but if you cook a long time you might want to strain out and not eat the veggies, just drink the broth like a tea or use it in cooking.  Serve hot or cold.

 

Fat Chance… Easy Homemade Mayonnaise

I had an epiphany last week.  It was a rich moment quite a few weeks in the making and has left me with a conviction that I feel from deep within my heart all the way down to the soles of my sandals.  I will never again buy another jar of mayonnaise.  The fact that it took me so long to come to this seems ridiculous to me now however let me polish off my rear view mirror and explain.

Mayonnaise is extremely easy to make.  All you need is a bowl, a whisk, an egg and some oil.  I used to make it five minutes before service banging together my last minute mis-en-place not because I was late for work that day and didn’t do my prep… but because I knew how little time it would take me and how glorious and glistening it would be freshly whipped from the robot coupe, slid into the top of a refrigerated pantry station in a clean stainless steel nine pan nestled next to cut herbs, edible flowers, fresh fruits and other delightful touches with which to finish the perfect plate.

I’ve been reading labels at the grocery store. I know, occupational hazard right?  Well I’m not just looking at the art although food packaging is a stimulating form of media for my family and between myself and my dear husband we could work through an entire grocery isle and endorse or eschew hundreds of items by their visual representation alone. No, I am interested in what things are made of.  Our own company’s preparation for organic certification as well as the recent article in the Times about Eden Foods and the peril slash pitfall world of U.S.D.A. Certified Organic versus truly health giving versus healthy for a robust corporate bottom line – absurdly complex sentences aside this got me thinking constantly about why things are made the way that they are made.

NYT – Organic Food Purists Worry About Big Companies Influence

I’ve been in the food business for a long time and I’ve received plenty of deliveries off the backs of trucks that deal specifically in large packages of food for industrial use.  Industrial Mayonnaise is very disgusting stuff.  It comes in a 5 gallon bucket which is lined with a bag.  At one restaurant where we used to go through obscene amounts of the stuff the bag would get hefted out and inevitably abused. Raucous games of slap and squeeze, toss and wiggle would ensue to giggles and guffaws.  I would feel sick in the pit of my stomach watching that sad sack of plastic encased oil emulsion passed from one set of disrespecting hands to the next.  Sadder still I knew little about nutrition at the time however somehow I instinctively knew that there was very little goodness in that bag.  Even more incredulous to think that one might be able to buy the same bag of “Extra Fancy” mayo of a “low fat” sensibility.  Egads!  If there’s no fat in that schloop what on earth truly is? Have a quick look at these ingredient lists…Mayonnaise

REAL MAYONNAISE
Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality).

LIGHT MAYONNAISE
Water, soybean oil, vinegar, modified corn starch**, whole eggs and egg yolks, sugar, salt, xanthan gum**, lemon and lime peel fibers** (thickeners), (sorbic acid**, calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, lemon juice concentrate, phosphoric acid**, DL alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), natural flavors, beta carotene**. **Ingredient not in mayonnaise

As with many low fat foods notice the addition of sugar as well as in this case loads of chemical thickener.  Note the calcium disodium EDTA keeps your egg based product stable at room temperature… it’s also in certain face creams that will stop your face from going bad at room temperature too. Of course the organic versions of the above listed must be better for you right?  Wrong.  Although there are fewer scary additives I generally find that the organic mayos all use predominantly soy oil, canola oil and palm oil all of which I have been taught for various reasons to avoid.  Soy is a known adaptogen, shown to bind itself to estrogen receptors it confuses our hormonal balance.  There is no such thing as a Canola plant.  Rapeseed is a kind mustard seed.  Rapeseed Oil is known to produce a high amount of a toxin called erucic acid.  This fact was generally known by the early 20th Century public – the Mustard Gas that was manufactured from the plant I guess was a dead giveaway. The Rapeseed plant was re-engineered (bred in a laboratory) to have low toxicity at which point they re-branded it changing the name to CANOLA (Canadian Oil Low Acid).  Canola Oil is generally “refined” which is a nice way of saying it’s been heated up already, and as we are learning now we want to keep to expeller pressed oils as preheated oils are more unstable and quite likely they are poised to oxidize or are already oxidized and ready to release free radicals that cause illness, rapid aging and general stress on our bodies and our guts.  Palm Oil, well it’s in 50% of everything you see in a typical grocery store, and happens to be the cause for massive equatorial rain-forest destruction.

So for now…  in my home I am happy with the following fat choices.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Butter and Ghee, Coconut Oil, Chicken, Pork or Duck fat and the occasional nut or seed pressed oil (kept refrigerated).  Since there is no acceptable mayonnaise available (don’t even get me started on the travesty that is veganaise) I will make my own.  It keeps up to two weeks in the fridge and I get to make sure that the oil used is up to my personal standard.  Here’s a recipe…  you don’t really need one.  A great rule of thumb or ratio to remember is that 1 egg yolk will only support up to 1 cup of oil in emulsion…  if you break your emulsion, never fear…  start again with a new egg yolk and add your broken mixture to the new yolk.

Best hand whipped mayonnaise

2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons zuké Just Juniper brine (can substitute water)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

Preparation:
If you are worried about eating raw egg yolks heat the egg yolks, lemon juice and zuké brine in a small skillet over very low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly with a spatula. At the first sign of thickening, remove the pan from the heat but continue stirring. Dip the pan bottom in a large pan of cold water to stop cooking. Scrape into a round bottomed bowl, whisk for a second or so, then let stand uncovered at least 5 minutes to cool.

If you are not afraid of raw eggs you can skip this and just whisk the above ingredients together in your round bottomed bowl until they start to pale a little and thicken a little. Add the mustard, seasoning, and cayenne if using.

Drizzle the oil in very slowly at first, down the center hole into the egg mixture whisk like a pro – facial expressions indicating concentration will only increase the excellent texture of your emulsion.  You will see the oil start to emulsify, each time your emulsion stabilizes you can add more oil. Transfer mayonnaise to a clean container and chill immediately. This will keep for at least 7 days refrigerated.

Do the above in a food processor or a blender if you are in a hurry or are wrist / whisk challenged.  Switch up oils…  I’ve had great success mixing nut oils with olive oil or adding flax seed oil to my mayo.  Add more brine or favorite vinegar to thin for a creamy salad dressing, add dill and sour cream for ranch, add worcestershire, garlic, anchovies and parmesan for Caesar, add fresh ground garlic for aioli.  Put a dash of your bomb diggidy on just about everything. 🙂

 

Elephant Journal- DIY Fermentation

on May 11, 2012

Create Your Own Culture. ~ Willow King

 

The Power of Fermented Foods.

About a year ago my partner Mara and I started a company that makes cultured vegetables. No, not beets and carrots that regularly attend the opera, but live, raw, probiotic, naturally fermented veggies.

We started out just making these goodies for our families and friends and nobody could get enough. It turns out that many people crave the zingy buzz of live food and that lacto-fermented foods, that used to be staple in many places in the world, are making a comeback.

Fermenting is an age-old way to preserve food.

It was a way to use all the access produce from the summer and keep eating it all year round. This in itself is a great process to connect to us to seasonality and keep the strength of the food intact.

Fermentation also makes food easier to digest, and creates new nutrients such as B vitamins—folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and biotin.

Some ferments have antioxidants principles and also create omega-3 fatty acids- which we know are key to a healthy immune system.

Basically, fermented foods help supply your digestive tract with cultures that are necessary to break down and assimilate nutrients. These cultures, lactobacilli chief among them, are like little invisible friends that help us stay healthy and happy through the ups and downs of the year.

If you are interested in experimenting we recommend starting with simple sauerkraut and then expand from there.

This is great activity to do with kids (or your dog) as it is a bit of funky food science experiment.

To begin you will need a ball jar, one medium cabbage, sea salt, and a starter like whey, or for a vegan option you can use kombucha.Each starter produces different results and flavors, so you can try a few and find the one you like best.Core and shred the cabbage and then spread on a tray or work surface. Add the sea salt—a good ratio is generally one or two  tablespoons salt to one three lb cabbage. Then pound the cabbage and salt with a wooden hammer (or a rolling pin can work) until the juices start to release and the cabbage softens. You can add a bit of starter at this point, or you can just do the cabbage juice and salt, which usually makes a fine ferment.Place the cabbage shreds into a wide mouth ball jar and press down with a fist (you can use a cabbage leaf as a top and the press on that) until the vegetable is submerged in liquid.

Cover this combination and leave it in a cool but not cold space (ideally 65 to 70 degrees) for about 3 days. You may like it stronger, in which case you could let it go for a few more days.

When you are satisfied with the taste, transfer to cold storage, where it will last for up to 6 months.

Now you can enjoy the benefits of your own homemade culture—monocle and all.

 

Good Medicine and Digestion

Often in the depths of winter I get hit with a serious humdinger of a flu and this year was no exception. I returned home from a lovely holiday with my family and after a few days I had the distinct feeling of being pulled down by a heavy weight that has kept me in bed for three days now. Being sick is not all bad. It seems to be part of a ritual of renewal  that happens for me at this time of year, usually around the Celtic festival of Imbolc.  Having some time to rest and think about ones life and ones health can create an odd sort of inspiration- just the thought of walking around and feeling good seems a true blessing and it makes you want to continue to realize that blessing and take good care of the carriage. I have (along with a stack of long neglected New Yorkers, Harpers, and Atlantics) been re-reading Green for Life, Nourishing Traditions and some other oldies but goodies that encourage balanced, sustainable good health. I also cut out a page from an old NYTimes Magazine by Mark Bittman about going mostly vegan as a way Ozuke Shirtto boost your energy and improve the state of the planet. I have been reading about pH balance in the body and as it turns out food protein, which is vital for maintaining your health, can also create an acidic condition in your body’s pH balance.  An acidic body pH condition facilitates accelerated aging, system degeneration and increased susceptibility to sickness and disease.

What else affects pH and causes it to become unbalanced? A mild acidosis condition (an overabundance of acid in the blood) can be caused by improper diet, but also by poor lifestyle habits or toxic emotional states. The amount of acid in the body can increase through ingestion of acid-forming foods, but it can also be affected by an abnormal metabolism or kidney malfunction. As we age, our body’s systematic removal of excess acid has begun to slow down which is why you sometimes feel like you need a new carburetor.
Although it seems a bit illogical, our bodies metabolize acid foods as alkaline and metabolize alkaline foods as acid. Acid foods (citrus fruits, vegetables, vinegar and other fermented foods- zuké!) all become alkaline when consumed and metabolized and so are called “Alkaline-forming foods”.On the other hand, alkaline foods (meats, flour, sugar, soft drinks, alcohol, aspirin and various medications) are metabolized by the body into “acid-forming foods.” That’s why the average American diet of hamburgers and processed food can and usually does contribute to a condition called “mild acidosis.” Although eating some acid-forming foods is okay, it is best if we consume 60-80% alkaline-forming foods for optimum health.

So, there you have it- along with a new found addiction to Downton Abbey  and a pile of used handkerchiefs I have a renewed resolve for revitalizing with more simple pH balanced foods, plenty of deep breaths and a healthy dose of gratitude.

Clarifying Butter

In honor of simplicity I chose to make my own Ghee this week. I’ve often bought ghee from the store before and even though I have a middling tolerance for dairy products I seem to have no problem digesting butter or ghee.  The smell of ghee on the frying pan is simply delightful and I’ve recently enjoyed using rendered fats in my cooking, saving chicken fat from the last roast that we did inspired a round of excellent chopped liver (onions cooking in chicken fat illicit an awe inspiring drool worthy smell), and saving lard from a recent pork roast made some of the most beautifully textured oven roast potatoes.  One of these days I want to do some lard and flour baking.  That is what they would use when I was a kid to make Dan Tarts (chinese style puff pastry with egg custard), the smell of warm lard is a sure fire flashback to my youth, I am quite sure that pork fat is one of the cornerstones of traditional Cantonese cooking. There’s been much written recently on the undue vilification of saturated animal fats. All I can really add to that conversation is that I was extremely relieved to hear that fat free milk is bad for you.  I have always been drawn to fats, seared fish sends happy shivers down my spine, avocados make me smile and along with strawberries they were a very rare childhood treat (berries and avocados were very hard to find in Hong Kong in the eighties). As long as I can remember I had a deep love affair with fat.  I’m the weirdo that will cut a slab of fat off my steak and eat it first before diving into the lean meat and one time age ten when I got in trouble for fighting with my mom I went to the store and I bought her a gorgeous rib eye steak to express my deep remorse and future good will.  As far as minimally processed foods, fats and rendered fats are perfect…  butter is made of the following emulsion:  the two dissimilar substances are butterfat (roughly 80%) and water (roughly 17%) along with about 3% milk solids. The emulsion breaks on being heated and the components separate. Clarified butter is nothing more than pure butterfat. Fats will keep you full for longer, they help to balance moods, provide essential fatty acids for cell development and body processes and we cannot generate these fatty acids ourselves, they must be received from an external source.

So now that I have prayed for a sufficient amount of time at the temple of tummy I’ll post that recipe 🙂 Clarified butter is so simple to make and a superior tool to cook with as it resists high heat sauteeing and has a mellow and comforting flavour.

Ingredients

1lb Unsalted Butter

Method:

Melt butter on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Skim off the first foam that forms on the butter’s surface.  Reduce heat and continue to let butter simmer.  You will see the liquids separate from the butterfat as the butter boils.  Its quite pretty – roiling and rolling globules of golden emulsified liquid. After the butter has bubbled away for about seven to ten minutes a second foam will form.  Take butter off heat and let it cool for fifteen minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth.  Make sure to stop before straining liquids at the bottom of the pan. Note, you will see those three distinct parts in separation: milk solids you skim off the top, butterfat in the middle and water settles to the bottom.

Store in a sealed glass jar.  You can keep it at room temperature for up to a month.

 

 

Jook

secondjook

Our recent trip to Honolulu found Desmond, my four and a half month old son ready for food.  He was so absorbed in what everyone else was eating, no wonder, our family reunions are serious food experiences.  My Grandfather’s 95th birthday celebration brought Wong family relations together from all over the globe.  Large round tables of raucous conversation and group cheers for each new course as it was brought to the table, all this focus on community and flavor my baby boy started yelling for attention.  I think once you discover how great eating is it’s hard to just watch from the sidelines.  He would literally holler until someone put something in his mouth.  Little man doesn’t have any teeth yet and most of what the grownups were eating was too rich, greasy and/or chewy for a brand new eater to handle. Good thing almost every Chinese restaurant has some Jook bubbling away somewhere in the house.  Jook is a thin rice porridge that is often served with peanuts and shavings of sweet pork jerky on top. (I would much prefer to have Porkfloss on top of jook than these doughnuts I found on an incredulous expatriate’s indiosyncratic Mainland China blog.)

porkfloss on doughnuts?!

It has long been used as a food for infants and convalescent adults and is pretty much ubiquitous throughout Asia.  Known as congee in India and Cambodia, as Jook in South East Asia and Korea, and Zhou in Putonghua speaking China.  Common ingredients mixed in this simple rice and water porridge include lean pork and preserved duck egg, chicken, squid, kimchi, green onions, ginger and just plain for little ones or for troubled digestion.

I used the opportunity of having so many aunties in one place to ask for tips on how to make the perfect Jook.  My attempts at home seemed to differ quite dramatically from the smooth perfectly seasoned offerings one finds in restaurants.  It takes a little bit of practice and filtering to understand what five sisters have to say across an enormous table speaking in very close and overlapping proximity and cancelling one another out with volume and hand gestures.  It’s always a good time watching my mom and her brothers and sisters in action. I imagine all nine of them as young adults, calling on one another (unabashedly) to pull their own weight and heartily creating fun at every given opportunity. Gravesweeping is a common family gathering.  Food and drink are put out for the hungry ghosts and the general area is cleaned up, weeded and tidied.  Our family doesn’t just light incense, we take our expression to a whole new level – Auntie Lo did an interpretive dance on my Grandmother’s grave (she studies ballroom dance) and Uncle Tony put a lit cigarette in the ground near the headstone. My grandmother was pretty much pregnant between the ages of nineteen and thirty three, you’ve got to figure that she was always alive to the possibility to have a little party whenever she could.

So what I could discern from the kerfuffle that followed my question – great jook can be made following these guidelines.  Mix a little salt and oil with your rice.  Add 12 cups of water per one cup of rice.  Restaurants and Jook Joints use broken rice for a finer texture, one can always duplicate this by running rice through a food processor very quickly before use. Add rice, oil, salt mix to already boiling water.  Cook as slowly as possible.  Use broth for a deeper flavor or when making chicken or turkey jook.

I added some Konbu (kelp) to my version for extra mineral goodness, and a teaspoon of flax seed for some of those good omega fatty acids.  I also used the crock pot to make the whole endeavor easier than pie.

Dessie’s Chow

FEED ME!

1 cup Brown Rice; 12 cups Water; piece of konbu rinsed in the sink; 2 tsp Ghee; 1/2 tsp Sea Salt; 1 tsp flax seeds.

Mix all ingredients except water, add water.  Put on High in crockpot til bubbling (1hr) then turn down to low.  Let it go for at least 4 hours.  I let it cook overnight.  Salt to taste.

Some great serving suggestions…  chopped up leftover meats.  Zuké :), furikake (seaweed, salt and sesame seeds), you can even make a sweet cereal by adding dried fruit, cinnamon and maple syrup.

Come Thanksgiving I assure you this is what I’ll be doing with the leftovers, boiling turkey carcass broth then making some slowcooked brown rice goodness.  Sleepytime happy turkey triptomine jook has got my name all over it.

The last rose of summer

Well, school started last week and there is always that feeling at the end of the summer… I call it the “squirrel gathering her nuts” mood. There is lots of canning, preserving and fermenting to be done at the end of the summer growing season. This moment, this gathering, this bridling of the abundance is really at the core of what we do at Esoteric Food Company. Our products aim to capture the goodness of the garden and keep it coming all year round.

This is a great piece I found on NPR about the tradition of kraut making after a bumper crop of cabbage. Whether it is from your own backyard, the farmer’s market or from a zuké that we are making for you, we hope you partake it eating some of this summer in a jar. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14442273