Special Dish for the Week: Bone Broth Soup with Carrots and Soba Noodles

Over the past several months, soothing my tummy and adding nutrition to help my body heal whatever has gripped and irritated the nerve along the full length of my left leg—which is causing me much physical distress and leading to a good number of personal insights for the story that I am working to capture in my book project—has been this Special Dish for the Week:

Bone Broth Soup with Carrots and Soba Noodles

Bone Broth Soup with Carrots and Soba Noodles Dish

It’s really rather a basic soup, made more exotic by the addition of Soba Noodles made with buckwheat flour.

I cook the soba noodles directly in the soup, as the last ingredient that I add to the soup for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. The noodles cooked this way thicken the soup somewhat, which adds for me a pleasant texture to the soup.

The noodles could also be cooked separately, drained, rinsed and added to the soup, also, towards end.

I make my bone broth from scratch, and as I chop, I add the following ingredients:

Bone Broth Soup with Carrots and Soba Noodles Ingredients

  • 8-10 cups bone broth, or water, or half and half
  • 4-8 cups of mushroom broth from soaking gourmet mix of dried mushrooms (optional, fibrous rehydrated mushrooms discarded)
  • wakame flakes
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 carrots, finely cubed
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • garlic cloves, grated
  • 1-2 tsp mustard seed powder
  • 1-2 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2-2 tsp unrefined sea salt

I serve the soup with a glass of Gabbiano Chianti red wine, that a long-time friend gifts me during a recent visit.

Bone Broth Soup with Carrots and Soba Noodles Dish

Special Dish for the Week: Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

When I am left to my own devices and take a day to myself, I often end up in the kitchen, delighting in the amazing flavours of my culinary creations, which this week is another one of my bone broth soups—and which this week I share as one of my Meals on Bikes with a friend who can use this kind of TLC to help heal the injured body and wounded soul—for this Special Dish for the Week:

Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Similarly to when I made my Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup last summer, I once again stock up with beets and chicken bones at the downtown farmers market to make this summer’s version of this soup.

Oddly, the mushroom farmers are missing from the market this year, so I use my grocer as a back-up supply of shiitakes, among other mushrooms. I feel fortunate to love the taste and texture of mushrooms, as they are said to be super healthy, including their ability to produce and deliver their own vitamin D.

Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup Ingredients

Beet and Shiitake Mushroom Soup Ingredients

I make my bone broth from scratch, and as I chop, I add the following ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups bone broth, or water, or half and half
  • 1 cup red lentils, pre-soaked
  • wakame flakes
  • 4 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 beets, finely cubed
  • 3 carrots, finely cubed
  • 6-10 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and finely cubed
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 – 1 in. ginger, grated
  • 1/2 red Thai chili pepper, or a teaspoon tip of sambal oelek that I usually have on hand now since my culinary adventure in Bali
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish
  • drizzle of coconut milk (optional)

I serve the soup with a glass of siegerrebe white wine from the Sea Star Vineyard on Pender Island, that another friend generously supplies from their reserves.

Special Dish for the Week: Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

A conversation with a couple new acquaintances from Authors for Indies event inspires this Special Dish for the Week, which I then make and share at a potluck with another new group of lovely acquaintances—many of whom easily on their way to becoming friends:

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

I find a couple more foodies, recently, who also love Thai food. One of them eats raw vegan foods, which makes me curious: how does one make raw vegan Thai food?!

A quick Google search reveals that Pad Thai is quite a popular option, especially if there is a zucchini spiralizer on hand—which I don’t (yet!) have. I julienne some of my veggies and chop others—some by hand and some in my electric chopper (blender)—for varied texture.

I am reminded of the Rainbow Life Salad with Quinoa I made last year, also very delicious!

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients

I prepare the dressing first, using the following ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (alternate: almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Bragg soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds (alternate: white sesame seeds)
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 4 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves
  • chopped cilantro stems
Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients Combined

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients Combined

I let the dressing stand while chopping the following veggies:

  • 2 carrots, chopped or julienned
  • 1 small red cabbage, some chopped and some thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, julienned or spiraled
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

I pour the dressing over the chopped and sliced veggies, and mix lightly.

I let the dish sit in the fridge over night, to soften the veggies and to allow the flavours to intermingle.

I garnish with sesame seeds just before serving.

The dish turns out very delicious, nutritious and colourful—and it is a hit with the potluck guests, some of whom ask for the recipe.

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Dish

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Dish

Meal ideas & recipes from http://ohsheglows.com/2013/07/01/rad-rainbow-raw-pad-thai/.

Special Dish for the Week: Bouillabaisse

The seafood medley bag in my freezer inspires this Special Dish for the Week:

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

I loosely follow a couple of online recipes, mainly just going from my memory of what goes into this seafood fest.

I also pleasantly discover that this fish stew is a Provençal specialty from Marseille.

It brings me back in my memory to the time in l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue when a good friend and I made this dish with fresh ingredients from the local market.

Bouillabaisse Ingredients

Bouillabaisse Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, for sautéeing the onions and garlic
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp wakame flakes
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek or red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped with seeds in (quantity and seeds in or out dependent on desired spiciness)
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2-1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
  • generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • salmon fillet, chunked
  • seafood medley of squid, mussels, octopus, shrimp

I serve the seafood stew garnished with chopped cilantro and accompanied by a French rosé, Le Petit Chat.

Bouillabaisse Dish

Bouillabaisse Dish

Meal ideas & recipes from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/classic_bouillabaisse.php and http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/classic-bouillabaisse.aspx.

Special Dish for the Week: Nut and Seed Balls

On the spur of the moment, inspired by a friend’s homemade halva recipe, I make this Special Dish for the Week to serve at my Gado Gado and Poetry to Music dinner party, where the Beet Apple Charoset serves as the appetizer:

Nut and Seed Balls

Nut and Seed Balls

Nut and Seed Balls

I make two versions of this delicious and nutritious raw dessert:

  • one version sweetened with dates and honey;
  • the other, with coconut oil and cinnamon.

Both turn out fabulous!

Nut and Seed Balls - Sweeter Version Ingredients

Nut and Seed Balls – Sweeter Version Ingredients

For the sweeter version, I use the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 4 tsp black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
  • 2 tsp milled flax seed
  • 4 dates, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 1 tbsp honey

I make the walnut ‘near butter’ in a small chopper and set it aside in a mixing bowl. I do the same with the dates. Next, I return all ingredients and blender them together.

If the consistency looks good to roll into small balls, I make the balls and store them in the freezer. If the consistency is too liquid, I add another teaspoon of milled flax seed, and if it is too thick, I blender the mass for a little longer.

Nut and Seed Balls - Less Sweet Version Ingredients

Nut and Seed Balls – Less Sweet Version Ingredients

For the less sweet version, I use the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 5 tsp black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
  • 3 tsp milled flax seed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4-1 tsp cinnamon (depending on preference: I use 1/2 tsp)

As with the sweeter version, if the consistency is too liquid, I add another teaspoon of milled flax seed.

To make the balls, I place the mass in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the coconut oil solidify a little. I mix the mass and relatively quickly shape the little balls, since the heat from the fingertips begins to liquefy the coconut oil after a little while. I also store these in the freezer.

One or two balls for each guest to enjoy is plenty as these nut and seed balls are very nutrient and calorie rich. And they’re also filled with lots of TLC.

Nut and Seed Balls Served With Love

Nut and Seed Balls Served With Love

 

 

 

Special Dish for the Week: Makowiec Poppy Seed Cake

As part of my Birthday Month celebrations, I bake myself a birthday cake as a Special Dish for the Week:

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake

Makowiec Poppy Seed Cake

I use my mother’s recipe and find some ready made poppy seed filling in a local ethnic food store.

This dessert is quite sweet, so small portions are advised.

I serve it with loose leaf mint tea, which also cuts the sweetness of the makowiec.

And eating it by candlelight is highly advised simply for the ambiance factor.

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake Ingredients

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 lb butter (soft)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 can of poppy seed filling, prepared with honey, raisins and candied orange peel (called “bakalie” in Polish)

I mix together the dry ingredients first, and add the liquid ingredients next (leaving the poppy seed filling for later). I kneed the shortbread-type pastry and divide it into 2 portions, refrigerating one portion for about 20 minutes.

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake Dish

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake Dish

I grease a pan adding a dusting of flour or breadcrumbs to avoid the bottom pastry from sticking to the pan.

I press the one half portion of the pastry evenly on the bottom of the baking dish, piercing it with a fork.

I bake this layer at 350oF for 10 minutes.

When partially baked, I spread the poppy seed filling evenly on the bottom crust.

I use a large grater to crumble the now chilled 2nd pastry portion on the top in an even layer.

I return the full cake to the oven and bake it at 350oF for 20-30 min until golden brown on the surface.

Special Dish for the Week: Birthday Month Dinner

This Special Dish for the Week is one of the many celebrations that I invent this year to commemorate my life, including my:

Birthday Month Dinner

Birthday Dinner Menu 2016

Birthday Dinner Menu 2016

Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Board

I invite a friend to share in some of my favourite dishes, which in this dinner turn into a Polish-German-African fusion.

I start with a charcuterie board consisting of homemade fermented pickles, Austrian schinkenspeck, and Winnipeg sausage (“kielbasa”).

My friend supplies a lovely Pinot Gris white wine from BC’s / Lillooet Fort Berens Estate Winery, and we begin toasting the meal…and well, me!

Charcuterie Board Table

Charcuterie Board Table

Fig and Green Peppercorn Soup

Fig and Green Peppercorn Soup

For second course, I serve Fig and Green Peppercorn Soup, which my French-speaking German friend introduced to me to during my Book Writing Tour 2013. The soup is once more a hit, with its flavourful and texture combination of sweet, savoury, gritty and creamy.

My guest and I agree that a few more peppercorns would have balanced the sweetness of the figs with spice a little better. My conversion from European grams North American millilitres is not so precise unfortunately. It is still delicious with the licorice flavour.

Fig and Green Peppercorn Soup Table

Fig and Green Peppercorn Soup Table

Butternut Squash Tagine

Butternut Squash Tagine

The main course likewise is a lovely combination of spicy and sweet, in the Butternut Squash Tagine.

Having made previous tagines with chickpeas and zucchini, I return to the original recipe of squash for this dish and “Maggify” it again with shittake mushrooms.

As usual, I garnish my plates with a little greens, such as cilantro, for added colour, flavour, and nutrition.

We pair this dish with the Meritage red wine from BC’s / Lillooet Fort Berens Estate Winery, which my friend also supplies.

Butternut Squash Tagine Table

Butternut Squash Tagine Table

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Cake

For dessert, I bake a Polish poppy seed cake (“makowiec”), which is my friend’s favourite, and as I like it too, I stretch myself once more into baking (typically not my forte, unlike cooking). It is deliciously sweet. Some Polish loose leaf mint tea goes very well with it.

And in the Polish tradition of celebrating every occasion with flowers, I shower myself with my favourites: gerberas, and my friend showers me with these unique looking purplish flowers.

Birthday Flowers

Birthday Flowers