Special Dish for the Week: Chili Dinner

Even in Vancouver, where the climate is rather mild in the winter, warming foods are good for the body and for the soul—keeping them warm and not working too hard at digesting the nutrients—and I prepare one of those dinners for a friend and I by using both, the temperature of cooking and the addition of spices, in this somewhat ironically named Special Dish for the Week:

Chili Dinner Menu

Chili Dinner Menu

Chili

Turkey Bone Broth with Lentils & Squash

Turkey Bone Broth with Lentils & Squash

A chili is typically anything but “chilly”, and while I do love my spicy foods, I try to restrain myself so as to make this Chili Dinner’s dishes deliciously spicy without making them uncomfortably hot.

As the starter, I serve a Turkey Bone Broth with Lentils and Squash soup, which—as the name suggests—is made from turkey bones and meat, and contains red lentils, oven baked butternut squash, as well as the requisite for my soups onions, garlic, broccoli, and finely shredded kelp. This soup’s main spice—which also happens to be a sub-theme of this dinner—is cumin. For a little raw addition, freshly chopped cilantro garnishes the soup.

Chili Ingredients

Chili Ingredients

The Chili main course (le plat principal) is accompanied by pre-soaked rice spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with raisins. The chili star of the dinner is a “Maggified” version of a dish inspired by a personally made recipe book from some good friends. The ingredients for the chili, all mixed and well heated together, consist of:

  • coconut oil
  • ground lamb (or another free-range meat, like bison or turkey)
  • black beans, pre-soaked and cooked separately with finely shredded kelp
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • green peppers, diced
  • shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • zucchini, thinly sliced
  • can of organic diced tomatoes
  • spinach, finely chopped and added towards the end
Chili Dish

Chili Dish

The spices for the chili include (at least a teaspoon each, a little less for the peppers):

  • garlic, minced
  • ginger, grated
  • red Thai chili pepper
  • chili powder, generous amount to taste
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cilantro, on the side for garnish
Paczki (traditional Polish donuts) & Cheesecake

Paczki (traditional Polish donuts) & Cheesecake

We enjoy the warming soup and chili dishes with a well-matched glass of organic Chilean red wine, the flavours of wine and spices enriching each other on the palate.

For desert, my Polish dinner guest offers me traditional Polish donuts (paczki) with marmalade filling and glazed in liquefied icing sugar—their distinctive smell flooding my senses with childhood and travel memories. One dessert hardly being enough at nearly all Polish feasts, my dinner guest also delivers a taste of homemade cheesecake, the rest of which finds temporary haven in my freezer. Rooibos tea accompanies our sweet desserts and diverse conversation.

The Writer/Chef and Her Fellow Polish Dinner Guest

The Writer/Chef and Her Fellow Polish Dinner Guest

Meal ideas & recipes from the “Food and Love” book, and from “The Wahls Protocol” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Chicken Liver Pate

As I slowly try introducing a little more meat into my diet, in order to see if this source of nutrients helps my energy levels and muscle fatigue a little more than the more vegetarian diet I have transitioned to over the past several years, I bring back an old favourite in this Special Dish for the Week:

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Livers, Yam and Sauerkraut

Chicken Livers, Yam and Sauerkraut

Organ meats are apparently some of the best sources of animal protein, vitamin and mineral nutrients—and chicken livers are by far my favourite of organ meats, and only if they are accompanied by vast amounts of onions, which are also super healthful for their sulfuric content and antibacterial effects—whether eaten raw or cooked. I have tried turkey and beef livers, as well as beef kidneys, which are all much less tender and more chewy. I also tried eating a chicken heart—but perhaps it best remain at the heart of a soup. Local, organic organ meats are best, and they are said to contain good amounts of vitamin B, iron, copper and creatine, which generally help the body to produce energy for itself from nutrients and to keep the brain well oxygenated and functioning well.

Chicken Livers, Yam and Sauerkraut Dish

Chicken Livers, Yam and Sauerkraut Dish

I like to treat myself once in a while to a dinner of sautéed chicken livers and onions, before I blend the left over chicken livers into a paté. This week, I enjoy my chicken livers and onions with a yam and sauerkraut, both of which I drizzle with walnut oil—a new oil that I am trying out and rather liking: it is more flavourful than olive oil but not as potent as toasted sesame seed oil or peanut oil, all of which I also like.

Naturally, I sip a little red wine with this tasty and colourful dish.

After dinner, while sipping the rest of my red wine and letting a sliver of dark chocolate melt on my tongue, I get busy turning the left over chicken livers and onions into a paté.

Chicken Liver Pate Ingredients

Chicken Liver Pate Ingredients

The ingredients for the paté include:

  • sautéed chicken livers (or other organ meats, local and organic, if possible)
  • sautéed onion, thinly sliced
  • coconut oil (or butter, for sautéeing)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • herbes de Provence, a dash
  • finely shredded or powdered kelp (optional)
  • white wine, brandy, or any mystery spirit you have in your cupboard (optional)
  • yogurt (or sour cream)
Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

I use my hand blender to purée all the ingredients, try a little of this fresh taste sensation, and leave the rest in the fridge overnight, to set and for the flavours to diffuse. I like this paté on its own as a snack (like you might eat yogurt, peanut butter, or chocolate almond butter straight out of the jar with a spoon), or as a meal on a whole wheat filone baguette, or even as a dip for carrots or other veggies.

Meal ideas & recipes from “The Wahls Protocol” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup

For several weeks, I have been trying out the nutrient-rich magical potion of bone broth soup, adding various peppery and other spices as well as broccoli and onion for their sulfuric contributions, and this week for my Special Dish for the Week, I use duck bones to make my:

Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup

Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup

Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup

I originally began making this soup began as bone-less vegetarian detoxifying fasting dish. However, the idea of a fast to someone who is already underweight and who likes to eat a lot can be highly stressful—and so very quickly, I turned a fast into a nutrient-rich detoxifier—gentle on the body, nourishing for the soul.

In the course of my recent nutritional and life-style readings, I am reminded of the virtues of the old-fashioned homemade chicken soup. Hence, I decide to combine the two concepts.

The nutrients in bone broth are apparently very good for bone, joint, and brain health—particularly if the bones are simmered for a long time (8 hours for chicken bones, 24 hours for harder bones like beef) in order to dissolve the cartilage from around the bones and the marrow from inside the bones.

I have been using this bone broth in a delicious and warming, Trojan Horse way to increase my daily intake of various anti-inflammatory spices and sulfur-rich veggies.

The typical ingredients of my bone broth soup include:

  • water (naturally)
  • bones (chicken, turkey, or duck)
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • carrot or yam, cubed
  • soaked over night red lentils or oven baked squash, cubed
  • broccoli, coarsely chopped and added towards the end
  • finely shredded kelp
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano or thyme
  • 1 tsp turmeric or cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cilantro, chopped
Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup Dish Garnished with Spinach and Cilantro

Spicy Bone Broth Broccoli and Onion Soup Dish Garnished with Spinach and Cilantro

I cook the bones for several hours on low heat. Then I let the bone broth cool enough to strain out the bones and peel away the small bits of meat, which I save and add back to the soup later. I return the bones back to the broth, and simmer them for another few hours. (Removing the meat from the bones is a bit easier before the bones have disintegrated too much.) Then I strain the bones out again, and begin adding the other ingredients into the bone broth. I let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes, adding broccoli and cilantro towards the end.

I use my hand blender to purée half of the soup, tasting it for flavour and texture.

Sometimes I serve the soup with chopped raw spinach and more cilantro as garnish, to add more nutrients and enzymes from these raw leafy greens. I am glad to say that the soup turns out really well every time!

Meal ideas & recipes from “The Wahls Protocol” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Yam Thai Curry with Kelp

The start to my New Year 2015 is inspired by “Advanced Style”—the fabulous documentary I went to see in New Year’s Day—and green Thai curry—the dish I had for dinner afterwards, and which inspired this week’s Special Dish for the Week, with a little seaweed twist for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals:

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp Ingredients

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp Ingredients

I begin this production by laying out all the requisite ingredients, including the accompanying wine, which this week is the very rich and flavourful Apothic Dark red:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • yam, peeled and diced
  • shiitake mushrooms, coarsely sliced
  • green pepper, coarsely chopped
  • firm organic tofu, cubed
  • bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • wild organic kelp, finely shredded
  • organic coconut cream
  • kaffir lime leaves
Yam Thai Curry with Kelp on the Stove

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp on the Stove

Another exciting aspect of this iteration of one of my favourite staples is the organic brown jasmine rice, which I try making for the fist time—with relative success even—in a ceramic crockpot lent to me by my neighbour for the momentous occasion. I’ve been wanting to find out if rice could be made in a ceramic crockpot—instead of in my Teflon rice cooker, and the answer so far is: maybe! The rice cooked and it was edible, but it took a few hours for the water to soak into the rice and the consistency was a bit mushy.  I do soak my rice now, overnight, before cooking it, and I forgot to get a lesson on the crockpot’s dials, so some tweaking of cooking water amounts and heat of the crockpot may be needed!

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp

Adding the curry ingredients into my wok, largely in the order listed, as I chopped and cubed each in turn, I let them simmer for a few minutes longer before serving over the previously prepped experimental rice. I garnish the dish with fresh chopped cilantro, and enjoy it with the red wine.

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp Dish

Yam Thai Curry with Kelp Dish