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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Using The Whole Bird

Looking to use all the parts of your turkey this year?
Try my recipe for Turkey Liver with Balsamic Reduction. It takes just a few ingredients and you may have already them on hand.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Simple Thanksgiving Starter

Looking for a simple starter this Thanksgiving?
Try my Pumpkin Soup. It's festive, seasonal, and easy to make ahead. It's also a full serving of vegetables.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Detox Soup


It really feels like fall in the Hudson Valley and I'm in the middle of my annual autumn cleanse.

This soup looks autumn in a bowl. It's bright yellow and orange colors are reminiscent of changing fall leaves. I used golden beets, yellow bell peppers, and an orange tomato because I happened to have them on hand. You can certainly substitute other colors, red or heirloom tomatoes, and green or red bell peppers. (If you substitute red beets, be prepared for your soup to turn purple.)

This dish is my version of lime soup with chicken, or Sopa De Limón.

Wait a minute, why am I eating meat during a detox?
  • Because protein and healthy fats are essential. 
  • It's being used as a condiment in a plant-based diet.
    • This meat was raised on pasture and never exposed to antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. (Look for pasture-raised chicken at your local farmer's market and make your own bone broth.)

      Beets support biochemical detoxification pathways in the liver (specifically phase two) while cilantro helps remove heavy metals from the body. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs, so I added quite a bit to this soup (almost an entire bunch). Use as much as you like or substitute parsley if you prefer.

      Chili pepper spices up this dish and adds anti-inflammatory benefits. I chose chipotle because the smokey flavor pairs so well with cumin, but feel free to substitute cayenne pepper or a fresh chili pepper. If your lime isn't organic, omit the zest.

      1 pasture-raised chicken, 3 to 4 lb
      2 large stalks celery, about 2 cups chopped
      2 large onions
      4 cloves garlic
      2 large orange tomatoes, chopped
      2 large roasted yellow bell peppers
      2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
      4 small golden beets or 1 large beet, peel intact, diced
      Sea salt
      1 tsp ground cumin
      1/4 tsp ground chipotle, more or less to taste
      1½ cups bone broth
      2 to 3 limes, the zest of one and 1/3 cup lime juice
      More cilantro or diced avocado to garnish

      Prepare in advance:

      Season the chicken (24 to 48 hours in advance if possible) and place it in a pot large enough to fit comfortably. While you chop the celery and one of the onions, reserve any trimmings. Set aside the chopped vegetables and place the trimmings inside the pot with the chicken. Roughly chop one tomato and the remaining onion, and add them to the pot with 2 or more cloves of garlic, smashed.

      Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the chicken by at least an inch. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer it slowly until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about an hour.

      While the chicken cooks, roast the peppers. Cut them in half through the stem end and remove the seeds. Place them cut-side down in a baking pan under the broiler until blackened. Cover and set them aside. When cool, remove the skins and chop them into 1 cm pieces, and set them aside.

      Once the chicken is fully cooked, carefully remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool. Continue to simmer the broth and vegetables over low heat. Cut the chicken meat from the carcass and return the bones to the pot. Simmer slowly for 2 to 4 hours. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, reserve 2 cups for the soup and the rest for another use.

      Cool the broth completely. Strain and discard the solids. Use it immediately or store it in air tight glass jars in the fridge or freezer. (If you're going to freeze the broth, use wide-mouth canning jars, leave an inch of space at the top, and chill the filled jars in the fridge first to minimize the chance cracking.) 

      To make the soup:

      In the bottom of a heavy soup pot, warm the olive over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, beets, and a large pinch of sea salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the vegetables start to soften and brown, 15 minutes or more.

      Add the roasted pepper, tomato, cumin and chipotle. Grate in 2 cloves of garlic (or more).  Once the tomato has broken down and dissolved the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add 1½ cups of bone broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender, 30 minutes or more.

      Once the vegetables are fully cooked and not yet mushy, turn off the heat. Add the lime zest, lime juice, reserved chopped chicken and cilantro. Add water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency, more for a soup and less for a stew. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and set aside for two hours.

      When ready to serve, taste soup again and adjust the seasoning and/or liquid level if needed. Gently warm the soup over low heat until hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

      If you're not on a detox, you can place some cooked brown rice in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle some Sopa De Limón over the top. Garnish with cilantro and/or diced avocado.

      Vegetarian Variation:

      Omit the chicken and add instead 2 cups of pre-soaked, slow-cooked white beans. Substitute vegetable broth for the bone broth.

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      Quick Refrigerator Pickles


      These pickles can be made in the fridge in just 24 hours. I kept the seasoning simple with garlic and chili pepper, but feel free to add some herbs, like a sprig of fresh dill or tarragon.

      They will keep in the fridge for several weeks. I like to offer them alongside richer and heavier foods, like paté or roasted meats, because their sharp flavor and crisp bite are a lovely contrast. You can serve these pickles with whatever you wish.

      1/2 cup white wine vinegar
      1/2 cup water
      1 tbsp honey
      2 cloves garlic, smashed
      Pinch red pepper flakes or minced fresh chili pepper
      1 tablespoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
      1/2 tsp sea salt
      1 large unwaxed cucumber

      In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes and sea salt. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover and cool to room temperature.

      Thinly slice the cucumber. Place the slices inside a clean glass jar. Pour the vinegar solution over the cucumbers, cover the jar tightly, and shake to thoroughly distribute the liquid. Place the jar in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Strain and serve.