Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken 'Noodle' Soup

A few weeks ago I was on travel status for work for a week. Even though everything I bought was gluten free, everything I ate was upsetting my digestive system in one way or another. This isn’t unusual for me. But, I was lucky enough to be staying in a room with a kitchenette. So after the first few days of grumbling intestines I decided to make something simple and easy for my system to handle… something that I could make in my hotel room with very little counter space.

My co-workers happened to have planned an outing to a local Asian market, so I decided to get my groceries there. I know that most of the food in the store had mystery ingredients, but I figured if I could make a safe meal from this store, I could make something safe anywhere I go. I just stuck to the outside isles of fresh produce, meat and eggs, and was fine. I brought all of my fresh ingredients back to the hotel and made a pot of calming soup in about an hour. It wasn’t mind blowingly tasty, but it was quick, easy, safe and soothing.

I made a similar soup once I returned from my trip (which is where the photographs are from) where I tried to jazz the soup up with tamari and kelp noodles, but I think I liked my first soup better. I was very soup focused because my naturopath told me that whenever my digestive system was out of whack, that I should try and do a broth cleanse. Basically just drink bone broth and water for a few days to settle the stomach and reduce inflammation. Since I like my food and feel like I’m starving to death doing cleanses, I have taken her theory and just added a bit more substance to it. So instead of just broth, I added some stomach satiating filler … but it’s still gentler on my system than the spicy/greasy meals I usually find myself consuming.

The strange glassy noodles in the photo below are kelp noodles. They have zero taste, so are great for adding texture without compromising the dish.

Chicken ‘Noodle’ Soup

½ White or Yellow Onion (or one stalk of Leek), diced
1 pkg Shimeji Mushrooms (or cremini mushrooms, sliced)
1 stock of Celery, sliced
1 Chicken Breast, cubed
1 cup of Baby Carrots
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Handful of Baby Bok Choy
Bean Sprouts or Kelp Noodles or Rice Noodles
1 dozen Quail Eggs
Water (or half water and half bone broth)

In a large saucepan, place 1-2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Once it’s melted, on medium to high heat, place your onions, mushrooms and celery. Stir until onions soften. Then add chicken and cook until you don’t see any pink. Next you can add your lemon juice, salt and pepper, carrots, bok choy and noodles.  Fill the pan with enough water to cover all of your ingredients, plus an extra inch or two. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Finally, crack your quail eggs on top of the soup and allow to simmer (with lid on) for another 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cheese and Onion Drop Biscuits

I’m clearly behind on my food blog posts. I started a few years back with the intention of doing a weekly post. Then as I realized how much time it took, I decided one or two posts a month was ideal. Now that is even a tough goal. A small reason is at this time of year the light fades, and it becomes difficult to take decent indoor photographs of food, at least, when one doesn’t have proper studio lighting. I take pride in my photo’s having worked in a number of photo developing stores in the past. The photo’s didn’t start out very well, but I’m slowly learning the tricks of the trade and it would bug me to put a less than stellar photograph on here.

The other, bigger reason, is that I’m battling with my health. Since last March (so almost a year now) I have seen three specialists for strange symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, constant lack of energy, etc. I’m 34, was teaching yoga on the side, keeping active and eat better than most. So it’s been a bit of a damper of a year when I basically have no energy to do anything and when I try to be more active I end up hurting. This extends to spending extra time in the kitchen and take photographs of my food … so that is why I’m falling behind. I have a few ideas for the next while and hope to put a few posts up, but until I figure out what’s going on with my health it might be a bit stop and go as I wait for inspiration and energy.

The last time I had a little energy was at Thanksgiving when I spent time with my family. This recipe is taken from one of my Mom’s old cookbooks (can’t remember which one). One of the ones that are so well used there are stains and thinning paper throughout. I converted the plan drop biscuit recipe it held, to a gluten free cheese biscuit for our Thanksgiving spread. They were small biscuits, but coming fresh out of the oven, the butter melted perfectly on them and they tasted pretty great. I tried making them again with almond milk and no cheese and they weren’t all that yummy. I think the milk and cheese help keep these soft and delicate. 

Cheese and Onion Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups GF All Purpose Flour (I used Cloud 9)
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Shortening
1 cup Goat Milk (or other milk or milk alternative … almond milk did not work well)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 bunch of Green Onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 degree F. In a large bowl place the first 3 ingredients. Then using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Next add milk and stir well. Finally add in shredded cheese and green onion until well mixed.
Scoop dough by spoonfuls and drop onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 12 – 15 minutes (or until golden brown).