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: Mixed Bean Soup

Warm, hearty and tasty soups are still one of my favourites, and I make this one for this Special Dish for the Week:

Mixed Bean Soup

Mixed Bean Soup

Mixed Bean Soup

Super easy and relatively quick (once there is some fresh bone broth on the stove or in the fridge), I “Maggify” the recipe suggested at the back of the whole grains and mixed bean package* I pick up at a local whole food market.

I am treated to a nice surprise that one such package can make at least 2 sizable soups, so I get to do this particular soup twice (slightly varying the ingredients, of course, each time).

* Whole grains and beans in the package include:

  • small red beans
  • pinto beans
  • lentils
  • whole oat groats
  • brown rice
  • triticale berries (wheat)
  • rye berries
  • hard red wheat
  • pearl barley
  • kamut
  • buckwheat
  • sesame seeds

When I make this soup another time, I may use a combination of beans, lentils, barley and rice that already reside individually in my cupboard and see how it compares—although this ready made mix is really quite delicious.

Mixed Bean Soup Ingredients

Mixed Bean Soup Ingredients

I prepare and add to the pot the following ingredients, in order:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, for sautéeing
  • 1-2 onions, chopped and sautéed
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • red Thai chili pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala or alternatively, 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-3 carrots, chopped (optional)
  • 4-8 shiitake mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 L bone broth
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • sea salt, to taste

I let the soup cook over low to medium heat for about 1 1/2 hours, and then I taste it, garnishing it with a spoonful of creamy coconut milk to take off the edge off the spices. I sprinkle some black sesame seeds for the effect of black on white contrast (entirely optional). The taste is sensational, as a soup guest concurs one evening.

Within 2 weeks, I already make the 2nd rendition of the soup. In this one, I include some of the optional ingredients, like cumin in place of garam masala, as well as chopped carrots and mushrooms. They’re both super flavourful.

Mixed Bean Soup 2nd Rendition Ingredients

Mixed Bean Soup 2nd Rendition Ingredients

Mixed Bean Soup 2nd Rendition

Mixed Bean Soup 2nd Rendition

Meal ideas & recipes from Bob’s Red Mill whole grains and beans soup mix package.

Special Dish for the Week: Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup

These couple of weeks, my Special Dishes for the Week—recently turned ‘Maggified’ Meals on Wheels—take another couple of turns when I join two more car share programs (car2go and evo, in addition to having been a long-time member of Modo, thanks to free or discounted memberships from HUB, Vancouver’s cycling organisation), and I deliver some of last week’s soup by car at the end of a tiring day of cycling and hospital visits—the other turn being the “lecithin-ication” of my soup:

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup

In month 10 of my painful neuropathy symptoms of constant pins and needles along my left arm, with additional shooting electric pain when reaching for something with it—with no medical clue for how to resolve it and my previous neuropathy cure tricks of increased aerobic and lymphatics-moving exercises not working this time—I pay another visit to a nutritionist at InspireHealth for advice.

The nutritional remedy recommendations that I receive for neuropathy in general, and more specifically for damaged myelin sheath regeneration (i.e., the rebuilding of the tissue that encases the nerves in our bodies) include:

  • lecithin supplementation*
  • increase Vitamin C and B Complex (especially inositol) supplementation*

* Supplementation being in nutritional supplement form and/or dietary intake of (good) fatty foods and proteins, including:

  • some red meat
  • nuts and seeds, especially sunflower seeds
  • beans, including non-GMO soy
  • eggs
  • fermented foods and/or probiotics
  • fatty fish
  • organ meats in bone broth
  • citrus fruit

So, in addition to giving my symptoms more time to resolve, I am curious to see if this nutritional remedy works for me too.

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup Ingredients

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup Ingredients

And so, I introduce a few new ingredients into my weekly bone broth soup:

  • 3 L bone broth made from chicken bones, wing tips and chicken feet
  • 1 cup red lentils, pre-soaked
  • sunflower seed oil, for sautéeing onions and chicken livers
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (half cooked with red lentils in bone broth, the other half sautéed with chicken livers)
  • kelp, shredded and cooked with red lentils in bone broth
  • 1 lb organic or unmedicated free range chicken livers (or chicken hearts, beef liver, beef kidneys), sautéed in sunflower seed oil with onions and puréed with some bone broth using my handheld smoothie blender.
  • tomatoes, coarsely shopped
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • basil leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • cilantro and basil leaves, for garnish
Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup Dish

Tomato, Basil, Kidney Bean and Chicken Livers Soup Dish

I leave this soup chunky, garnished in green and accompanied by a cup of lemon balm tea and a lovingly gifted to me aloe vera plant, both to deal with other aches and pains.

I feel engulfed by TLC, from within and on the outside, and await sharing this feeling with my ‘Maggified’ Meals on Wheels soup recipients.

Special Dish for the Week: Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup

I am loving my bone broth soups—and I am loving being able to share my bone broth soups with a few friends who can use this kind of TLC while they heal their injured bodies and wounded souls—and I smile this morning while cycling over to one friend, packing a jar of one of my bone broth soups, as I pass a car labelled with a Meals on Wheels sticker, thinking, “Me too!”, and then, “I need a sticker like that for my bike*!” (to join the one that declares “One Less Car”), having prepared another bone broth soup for this Special Dish for the Week:

* Apparently, Meals on Bikes is what I can aspire to!

Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup

Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup

Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup

I first make this soup last summer, when the downtown farmers market kept me well supplied with beets while I was concocting my daily doses of fermented beet juice. The summer before, I learn to also prepare and eat the greens from the beets. Having once tried them, I now love them in stir fries and soups.

Then I discover, when looking into not only nutritious foods again but also healthy food combinations, that beet greens are recommended to be eaten with chickpeas! According to various sources, the vitamin B6 in chickpeas increases absorption of magnesium in beet greens. So, I combine these two healthy ingredients, creating a “super bone broth soup”.

I sautée the base ingredients first:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, for sautéeing the onions
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2-1 in. ginger, grated
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper
Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup Ingredients

Beet Greens and Chickpea Soup Ingredients

I then add:

  • beet stems*, coarsely chopped
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • wakame flakes
  • 1 cup red lentils, pre-soaked
  • 8-10 cups bone broth, or water, or half and half

* from ~4-9 beets

Once cooked (about 30 minutes), I purée these using my handheld smoothie blender.

I then add:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • beet greens* (leaves), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

To further thicken the soup, when the beet greens are wilted and chickpeas warmed through, I purée about a cup of the soup and return to the pot, mixing it in.

I serve the soup with a drizzle of coconut milk and cilantro leaves for garnish, and enjoy it with a glass of Côtes du Rhône Villages red French wine.

Special Dish for the Week: Creamy Carrot Soup

With a little delay in posting as a result of travelling to the Pacific Gulf Islands for my birthday week, for this extra Special Dish for the Week that is close to being in paradise, I make another “Lunch in Paris” inspired recipe:

Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

As I plan to travel with some of the soup to share it for our meals with my travel companion and Island host, I opt for a vegetarian version of the soup, using lentils for the base, while the recipe calls for chicken broth.

The secret ingredients of this soup are TLC and one cashew nut for that extra special touch!

Creamy Carrot Soup with TLC and One Cashew Nut

Creamy Carrot Soup with TLC and One Cashew Nut

Creamy Carrot Soup Ingredients

Creamy Carrot Soup Ingredients

The other ingredients include:

  • red lentils, pre-soaked and cooked in the main soup pot (alternative to bone broth for a vegetarian version of this soup)
  • coconut oil, for sautéeing the onions
  • onions, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • ginger, finely chopped
  • finely shredded wakame
  • carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • broccoli flowerettes, finely chopped and added raw as garnish
  • cilantro as garnish
  • black sesame seeds as garnish
Creamy Carrot Soup Dish

Creamy Carrot Soup Dish

I use my hand blender to purée the soup, adding extra coconut milk to obtain the desired consistency.

I try a little of the soup for my evening meal before heading out for my birthday week trip with more of the soup in a jar, packing the broccoli flowerettes, cilantro and black sesame seeds to assemble as garnish.

Naturally, I serve it with a glass of red wine and flowers!

Creamy Carrot Soup Birthday Week Feast

Creamy Carrot Soup Birthday Week Feast

The soup is delicious and hardy, and tastes even better during the week when enjoyed with my host after frolicking around in the Island outdoors—and as the first course to my birthday week feast of smoked mackerel and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipped artisan bread.

We sip on a thimbleful of Insomnia Red Wine for the flavour and medicinal benefits of resveratrol in the skins of red grapes.

Creamy Carrot Soup in the Pacific Gulf Islands

Creamy Carrot Soup in the Pacific Gulf Islands

Meal ideas & recipes from “Lunch in Paris” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Inspired by the favourite veggies of my recently visiting long-time friend, I delight in the roasted sweetness of tri-colour peppers and the intensified flavours of cauliflower in this Special Dish for the Week:

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Although I love the taste and texture of roasted and grilled vegetables, I hardly ever prepare them that way, not having a proper grill and not feeling sufficient confident—but energy conscious—to roast them in the oven. In fact, I don’t recall having ever roasted my own peppers—and they are superb, as I was reminded while assembling this soup.

I begin my soup by soaking red lentils over night, preparing chicken bone broth and roasting the vegetables a little in advance.

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup Ingredients

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • bone broth (chicken, turkey, or duck) (optional)
  • small bits of meat flaked off the bones used to make broth  (optional)
  • olive oil for roasting the veggies and sautéeing the onions
  • onion, coarsely chopped and sautéed in the olive oil remaining from roasting the veggies
  • garlic, minced
  • red, orange and green peppers, roasted, broiled, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • cauliflower, roasted, broiled and chopped coarsely
  • red lentils, pre-soaked and cooked separately in some of the bone broth
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin (optional)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • red Thai chili pepper (optional) 
  • broccoli flowerettes, finely chopped and added raw as garnish
  • spinach, coarsely chopped and added raw as garnish
  • cilantro as garnish
Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup - Chunky

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup – Chunky

Though the soup is multi-stepped in its preparation, it is quite fun to make—not to mention incredibly vibrant visually with all the colours!

I manage to resist the temptation to spice up the soup with red Thai chili pepper or a spice like turmeric or cumin, although I may in a future iteration. I may also omit the bone broth in the future, being rather strong, it overpowered the subtler roasted flavours of the veggies.

I try the soup first in its chunky form, before puréeing it with my hand blender to make the soup more creamy. Both versions are delicious. With the addition of several raw garnishes, though, such as broccoli flowerettes, spinach and cilantro, the creamed version is a calmer texture experience.

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup - Pureed

Roasted Pepper and Cauliflower Soup – Pureed