Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get Cultured! + What's Next


My oh my! I'm so excited about this upcoming class offered by Nourished Kitchen on how to ferment everything from pickles to sauerkraut to yogurt and sourdough! It's 13 weeks of in-depth learning how to bring back these traditional skills that have seemingly been lost in modern cooking. I entered this giveaway on the Cheeseslave blog to win a spot in the class. I'm praying that I win! Otherwise, I may have to bite the bullet and do it anyway--it seems like such an awesome opportunity. Now if I could only convince Alex that this is a necessary expense! Hmm...we'll see.

In other news, I'm working on a long post for you about making beef stock, french onion soup and how to render beef fat (tallow) from stock. Hope to have that up for you later this week. Hope you are feeling good this week and surviving the Chicago snow. We miss you and wish you were here to share dinner with us. Someday perhaps!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Nourishing Chicken Soup

Dear Marie,

I've been meaning to get this recipe to you now for what seems like weeks. I'm really getting into the concepts behind the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" and would love to share what I am learning with you. As you know, I've been all over the map when it comes to eating. We grew up on the typical horrible American processed diet. Then I moved out of the house and eventually discovered vegetarianism which led me to veganism, which led me to (after a short period of better health) a state of poor health. So I started incorporating some (humanely raised) animal products back into my diet and most of my health issues at the time resolved. From then on I have always eaten a relatively healthy whole foods diets filled with lots of veggies and a moderate amount of organic animal products.

I've been hearing about Nourishing Traditions for a while now, but thought of it as yet another fanatical diet and didn't pursue learning much about it. But it just kept showing up in my life so I finally put the book on my library hold queue and it seemed to come to me at the most perfect time. A time (5 months postpartum with my second baby) that I have been feeling really run down and indeed in need of some nourishment. I was immediately drawn to the concept of making broth from scratch and have been doing this weekly now for the past couple of months. It's a simple remedy often overlooked, but the cliche of eating chicken soup when we're sick had to come from somewhere, right?

Since delving into this new old way of cooking I was thinking about Grandma Hargett and how she lived and breathed this stuff. I once had a dream (years ago now) that she passed on her magic with food and homesteading to us. Maybe this is one way to get back in touch with that--to discover and remember how food was prepared when life here on Earth was simpler. I would love to help keep her legacy alive this way. It feels important to me to pass on the wisdom of cooking from scratch and taking good care of ourselves to our children so that they always have the power to feed themselves well. This is something that our culture as a whole has lost, it seems. So I think I'll keep Grandma Hargett in my mind while I'm exploring the concepts behind Nourishing Traditions and maybe it will come together with more grace and ease. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

So I was inspired to share with you how to make your own Chicken Stock to use in soups, sauces or however else you might like. You can use this broth as the base of a soup I made a couple of weeks ago: Coconut Chicken Soup (based on the soup from NT, but modified to include more goodness!).

Chicken Stock (Nourishing Traditions Style)

1 whole free-range chicken
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
4 quarts filtered water
2 Tb apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley

Cut wings off chicken and place the body, wings and gizzards into a large pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 mins to 1 hour.

Next bring to a boil and remove scum that rises to top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 - 24 hours. The longer you cook it, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 mins before finishing the stock, add parsley.

Remove chicken with slotted spoon. Let any meat you want to keep cool and remove it for other uses such as casseroles, enchiladas, etc. Strain the stock into a large bowl & reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your fridge or freezer. You can save the fat to use like cooking oil.

Coconut Chicken Soup

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 cups chicken meat, reserved from your stock
1/4 teaspoons chile flakes
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 quart chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt or fish sauce, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Saute carrots, onion, and celery in coconut oil for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add chile flakes, ginger and chicken and stir. Add stock and coconut milk and simmer until veggies are soft. Add fish sauce or salt. Turn heat off and add lemon juice and top with cilantro.

I wanted to write more, but it'll have to wait. I've got two little one calling my name! I hope you enjoy this and that it brings you nourishment and maybe even a connection to Grandma.

Love you,