January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
I woke up a few days ago and I had a runny nose, congestion in my chest and my sinuses, lethargy, a sore throat, the whole nine-yards.
So for me, that normally means a couple of things. First, my chest gets slathered in copious amounts of Vicks Vapor rub. Second, I up my vitamin c and zinc supplement intake. Then, third, I drink a delicious mixture (not really delicious but it helps with the sore throat) of lemon, Angostura bitters, salt, and honey. Down the hatch!
Now, the sore throat made it difficult to want to eat, since every time I opened my mouth I felt pain. Eating literally gave me a headache. So, it became clear that it was time for some soup, and what better soup to soothe an aching body than some home made chicken noodle soup?
Chicken noodle soup is scientifically proven to be awesome for colds! Drinking the warm fluid and the steam that rises from it helps to thin mucus, along with the soup’s cycteines.¹ It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of colds and upper respiratory tract infections.² Of course, if your culture is one where your mom use to serve you this when you were sick, the psychological benefits of warm soup are multiplied. Finally, most of the veggies and herbs traditionally in chicken noodle soup are beneficial to our health, and the complete soup gives us carbs, protein, and veggies all on one delicious bowl!
Warning: this soup will take a long time if you include the time to make the broth. However, it is super easy and most of that time does not require your interaction at all. That’s how I was able to make it because, remember, I am sick. So if I can do it, you can too.
- Whole 5 lb Roaster Chicken (I don’t use giblets etc.)
- 3 Celery ribs
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Potatoes
- 1 Onion
- 5 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- 1/2 tbsp Pepper
- 4 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Smalle piece Ginger
- 10-20 Coriander seeds
- Clean your chicken and put it in your pot. Ok I put it in the whole chicken because I am lazy. You could debone it now, or wait until later, when the meat will be falling off of the bone anyway.
- Add enough cold water to cover your chicken. It is important to use cold water to help extract collagen, which is part of what helps chicken soup alleviate cold symptoms. While the chicken begins cooking, you can skim off the “scum” that rises to get a clearer stock, if you are into that sort of thing.
- Cut celery, carrots, potatoes, and onion very roughly. Not too small.
- Add veggies to pot, along with garlic, parsley, bay leaves, cumin, cayenne pepper, ginger, and coriander.
- Stir to incorporate all parts.
- Bring broth to a simmer, not a boil. It is important not to boil broth, particularly with celery (which is prone to becoming bitter) because it can cause the soup to become cloudy and bitter. (Also, look at how upset Tampopo is that she let the soup boil. You don’t want to upset Tampopo do you?)
- Cover the pot. Lower the temperature of the stove and leave to cook for 4 hours. Don’t be tempted to peek and stir, because stirring helps to break down the veggies and make a cloudy broth.
- After 4 hours, remove cooked chick and separate meat from bones. Put meat aside for soup.
- Strain broth through sieve and cheesecloth. You can use the leftover veggies by pureeing them with broth for some soup later.
- Broth can be stored in the fridge for about a week, and longer in the freezer. If you want a low fat broth, skim off the fat once it has congealed after cooling in the fridge.
- 2 Potatoes
- 3 Ribs of celery
- 3-4 Leaves of kale
- 2 Carrots
- Whole wheat fettuccine
- Chicken, from broth
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Cut all veggies into bite sized pieces.
- Shred chicken.
- Heat pan and add 2 tbsp butter. Melt butter.
- Once butter is melted, add onions. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add kale, potatoes, celery, and carrots. Cook 4-5 minutes.
- Add broth to desired amount.
- Add desired amount of pasta. I added a ton because I’m not a fan of watery soups, being Trini. Actually I wanted to add dumplings, but decided that was too much of an undertaking for a sick person.
- Add desired amount of chicken.
- Cook broth for the amount of time required to cook pasta.
Enjoy, and get better!
November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
One of my favorite snacks is channa.
While channa is simply the Indian word for chickpea, in Trinidad it also means a roasted chickpea snack.
I loved the excitement of someone coming back from Trinidad, because it would always mean that they were bringing back snacks. Tamarind balls were great, coconut cake was ok, and toolum was fairly gross, but I could eat the whole bottle of channa all by myself. They came in what looked like old rum bottles that had the labels cut off and had channa poured in to the very top. While that is a lot for a little girl to eat, at least I was getting protein and not sugar.
I actually made channa the first time when I was in Japan, and it is fairly easy to make, quick, and delicious. Plus, channa is healthy for you!
Soaking the Chickpeas
I recommend purchasing dried chickpeas, since I am always wary of the chemicals that can leak from can linings.
There are two ways to soak chickpeas (and all beans) a quick way, and overnight. I am lazy, so I did it the quick way.
- Soaking Overnight: Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
- Quick soak
- Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water
- Allow water to boil for 5 minutes
- Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour
- Drain and rinse
Roasting the Chickpeas
- 1 cup soaked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Shadow beni (optional)
November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
I learned about kefir a few months ago when I was trying to find an alternative to yogurt making. I had sold my yogurt maker and I was looking for an easy way to get in my probiotics. After a bit of searching, I stumbled upon kefir.
It is a fermented milk drink that if full of probiotic bacteria strains. Where it originated in the Caucasus region, milk was left out in animal skin bags over doorways to turn into kefir, the movement from visitors jostling the bacteria enough for them to distribute evenly. It is sour, slightly alcoholic, fizzy, and somewhat like runny yogurt. But while yogurt has only 3 or 5 strains of bacteria, kefir made from kefir grains has around 50 different strains!
Not only that, it is way easier to make than yogurt. No boiling! No billions of tiny glass cups to sterilize!
How to make kefir
- Procure grains
- Place grains in around 1 quart of milk in a shady area
- Leave alone for 24 hours (less in hotter climates)
- When the texture is jiggly but the whey hasn’t separated from the rest of the drink, enjoy!