Special Dish for the Week: Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Rosemary

I continue my streak of weekly soup, warming the body and the soul in the chill of the winter months, sharing this Special Dish for the Week with several guests throughout the week—ones from as nearby as my next door neighbours who drop by for a short visit, from a little further away but very close to the heart, and from years past but remaining true—as I serve:

Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Rosemary

Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Rosemary

Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Rosemary

I select mushrooms as the main source of nutrients for this soup for their ability to produce and deliver their own vitamin D.

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

  • green lentils, pre-soaked and cooked separately with finely shredded wakame
  • carrots, cubed and cooked with lentils
  • broccoli stems, coarsely chopped and cooked with lentils

I use my hand blender to purée the lentil base to add later to the soup as another protein source and to make the soup more creamy.

Mushroom and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Mushroom and Lentil Soup Ingredients

The star herb / spice of this soup is rosemary, where I use its powdered form. Herbs and spices are known to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the body’s cells from damage by free radicals. The ingredients of the soup include:

  • bone broth (chicken, turkey, or duck)
  • small bits of meat flaked off the bones used to make broth
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • shiitake mushrooms, chopped finely
  • portobello mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp rosemary powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 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
Mushroom and Lentil Soup Dish

Mushroom and Lentil Soup Dish

Mixing the puréed the lentil base with the seasoned mushroom bone broth, I serve the soup garnished with finely chopped broccoli flowerettes that join the chopped cilantro, a recent favourite addition for raw nutrients and added texture.

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

Special Dish for the Week: Leek and Potato Soup with Thyme

I discovered a little while ago how much I enjoy cooked leeks as another sulfur-rich vegetable, and I include them in one of this week’s two Special Dishes for the Week:

Leek and Potato Soup with Thyme

Leek and Yam Potato Soup with Thyme

Leek and Yam Potato Soup with Thyme

I serve this soup on several occasions this week where I am joined by a friendly dining companion. It is another excellent variation of the bone broth soup that is nutrient-rich and ever so flavourful, warming in heat and spices for the cool winter season.

I start by preparing the bone broth, and this week, I use chicken bones. While the bone broth simmers for several hours, I begin preparing the other soup ingredients: slicing, chopping, mincing. In another pot, I begin with sautéeing my leeks and onions in coconut oil, to intensify their flavours. I allow hem to brown little, to add a deeper colour to the soup.

Leek and Yam Potato Soup Ingredients

Leek and Yam Potato Soup Ingredients

I slowly add the remaining ingredients, which include:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 leeks, coarsely chopped
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • bone broth (chicken, turkey, or duck)
  • garlic, minced
  • yam (or sweet or white potato), cubed
  • small bits of meat flaked off the bones used to make broth
  • broccoli stems, coarsely chopped
  • wakame seaweed flakes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp thyme powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • whipping cream
  • broccoli flowerettes, finely chopped and added raw as garnish
  • cilantro as garnish
Leek and Yam Potato Soup with Broccoli and Cilantro Garnish

Leek and Yam Potato Soup with Broccoli and Cilantro Garnish

This time, I decide to try something a little different with the broccoli and include its finely chopped flowerettes as garnish along with chopped cilantro, thus maintaining the raw nutrients of these greens. To my delight, this twist works well, especially once the cool and textured garnishing broccoli mixes into the warm soup, resulting in broccoli al dante.

Leek and Yam Potato Soup Dish

Leek and Yam Potato Soup Dish

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

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: Vegan Butter Chicken

Dipping once again into some of my favourite subjects after which a recipe book from some good friends was named, “Food and Love”, for this Special Dish for the Week, I “Maggify” their version of:

Vegan Butter Chicken

Vegan Butter Chicken Spices

Vegan Butter Chicken Spices

Containing neither butter nor chicken, this recipe has the flavours and textures of the butter chicken dish. The key to this dish are the spices—and lots of them—which in my version of this dish include:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 in. grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
Vegan Butter Chicken Spices Intensified

Vegan Butter Chicken Spices Intensified

Using coconut oil as my oil of choice for this dish, I sautée first the chopped onion, and then add the remaining spices. Sautéeing the spices is said to intensify their flavours.

I add a can of coconut milk, 1/2 a can of tomato paste, some water, a small bunch of chopped cilantro,  and a small amount of finely shredded kelp—which sufficiently salts the dish, adding good quantities of various minerals and much needed iodine. I let these gently simmer while I prepare the veggies.

In another pot, I cook up some soaked over night red lentils, adding some more finely shredded kelp. In my rice cooker, I cook up some soaked over night brown basmati rice. And I begin to chop up the following veggies:

  • 1 yam
  • 1/2 cauliflower chopped into small-medium bits
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 can of navy beans (chopping highly optional)
Vegan Butter Chicken

Vegan Butter Chicken

After adding the veggies to the simmering “vegan butter chicken” sauce and simmering those for a few minutes, I then add the cooked lentils, adding water for desired consistency.

I serve the “vegan butter chicken” with a side of rice, garnish it with cilantro, and proceed to turn the vegan dish vegetarian by adding a dollop of organic plain Greek yogurt to complement the spiciness of the sauce. My Santé, machine à manger wine glass from friend filled with Bordeaux accompanies this hearty, nutritious and warming dish—as does the seasonal red poinsettia. I light my beeswax candle, thinking fondly of my honey lady from the downtown farmers market, and give a cheers! to the universe for providing all these reasons for contentment.

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

Special Dish for the Week: Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Dinner

Slowly feeling more festive, having heard my first Christmas carols a few days before, I enjoy a Sunday night dinner with good friends—feeding the taste buds and the soul—serving a menu chez Maggie, where we eat like queens and kings, comprised of 4 courses and paired with beverages of choice, featuring as the main course (le plat principal):

Peanut Sauce Stir Fry

Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Dinner Menu

Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Dinner Menu

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Upon a small toast of Apothic Dark red wine to greet my guests’ arrival, I begin serving the previously featured Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup. This time, I use green Thai curry and one of each: yam and sweet potato, instead of the suggested ingredients. The soup is purposefully a little less spicy than my usual to please the palate of a guest, and a little less sweet and colourful with the introduction of the sweet potato in place of one yam—and it still most delicious!

The hors d’hoeuvres are accompanied by “a little something from the chef” (i.e., not specified on the menu), which turns out to be Fermented Beet Juice.

Beet & Red Cabbage Hors d’Hoeuvres

Beet & Red Cabbage Hors d’Hoeuvres

The hors d’hoeuvres consist of a small serving of Beet and Red Cabbage salad served on a bed of arugula and sprouts, sprinkled with a dash of sesame oil and balsamic vinegar.

The Peanut Sauce Stir Fry main course (le plat principal) is accompanied by red lentils, prepared with a tablespoon of wakame flakes (a type of seaweed), which I add during cooking of the lentils. The lentils are pre-soaked overnight in order to induce the germination process previously explained.

The Peanut Sauce for this dish is a mildly spicy sweet and sour sensation is a “Maggified” version of a dish inspired by a personally made recipe book from some good friends. The ingredients for this sauce, all mixed and lightly heated in a pan, consist of:

  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter (Adams 100% Natural)
  • 1/3 cup of water (or more, for desired consistency)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Bragg soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 red Thai chili pepper (or more, for desired spiciness)

For the stir fry, I shred, dice and slice the following ingredients:

  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • carrot, thinly sliced
  • red and orange peppers, diced
  • green onions, chopped
  • pre-cooked chicken, shredded
  • coconut oil
  • cilantro, on the side for garnish
Peanut Sauce Stir Fry

Peanut Sauce Stir Fry

Just before serving le plat principal, I combine the separately heated stir fry ingredients and the Peanut Sauce. I serve the Peanut Sauce Stir Fry together with the wakame lentils, and trying this dish for the first time, it is a tasty success! Next time, though, I think I might try bigger chicken chunks rather than shredding the chicken, for more some defined texture to the dish—although the chunkiness of the peanut butter assists this goal too.

For dessert, I serve little dollops of Fancied Cottage Cheese with Flax Seed, which I recently re-discovered and have been experimenting with varying its flavours and textures.

Meal ideas & recipes from Maria Elia’s “The Modern Vegetarian” book, the “Food and Love” book, from Whole Foods Market, from “The Wahls Protocol” book, and from the Budwig Diet.