Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three Chinese Bone Soups for Healing

There is a new trend in NYC that I wish would spread to other cities. People are lining up to order Bone Broth in a take away cup instead of coffee or tea. It's not a new idea to drink bone broth, it is however new to make it a fast food as making bone broth actually takes a very long time to make!  And the Chinese never mixed different kinds of bones. Instead, they served one kind of bone soup at a time and for different reasons.  

I grew up drinking various bone soups to enhance my immune system, strengthen my small bones and to give me energy and I continue this practice as an adult. Bones contain many minerals that support the kidneys and help them retain the fluids that we need.  I recommend soup to almost everyone when I teach.

As a child, I was often overtired and had big dark circles. My grandfather was always concerned about my health and pushed me to eat more soup. Actually, he pushed soup towards me at almost every meal! I also had little bones and he wanted to be sure that I had enough calcium since I didn't drink milk, so he would make me three different kinds of bone soups made from Pork Bones, Chicken Bones and Beef Bones. These soups were designed to be drunk from a mug, like a cup of tea and were the base broths for many other soups, but for me, they were all about love and healing.  

Chicken broth is something I had every time I got sick as a child, which was often and has been shown to relieve congestion and tames the inflammation of the mucus membranes of the throat. When I had my first baby, my mother made pots and pots of chicken soup - made with black chickens. I drank so much that my son smelled like chicken broth! But, I've since learned that it was not just helping me recover from a difficult childbirth experience, it was also bringing in more milk. 

When my son broke his leg playing soccer, I reverted to making soup as the way to get him to heal fast. I made these three bone soups in succession over the course of three weeks.  I also fed him lots of Korean Seaweed.  At his checkup three weeks later, his doctor was amazed at how well his bones had healed. He asked me what I had done and I had to admit that I had fed him lots of bone soup and seaweed.  His break looked like he had been healing for 4 months!  

Since then, whenever I have a friend or client with a broken bone or a diagnosis of Osteoporosis or is just plain tired, I recommend these three Bone Soups in this order: one week of Pork Bone Soup, one week of Chicken Bone Soup and one week of Beef Bone Soup. The secret to these Soups is to add a small amount of acid - vinegar or acid in some of the vegetables - to get more of the minerals out of the bones or cook with lots of root vegetables that add even more minerals. For the Beef Bone Soup, make sure that you get bones with marrow in them as that is the most important part of the bone for that soup and if you want to help someone with tendon problems, use beef shanks or oxtails.

For those of you who don't eat Pork, you can skip that Bone Soup and move on to the Chicken and Beef Soups, but then I would eat more Seaweed. And, for the Vegetarians out there, I will post a Vegetarian version soon. If you want, you can also mix your bones together, but the Chinese wouldn't do that. They might mix Pork and Chicken but not Pork and Beef or Chicken and Beef, but it's up to you.

These are soups designated for healing and not for a main dish soup. But they do make  excellent soup bases too if you should like to use them that way. And, these are not soups where you keep the meat or vegetables that are cooked. You have to cook them long enough that there's no flavor left in the meat or vegetables to make rich, nutrient dense soups that will make your kidneys and bones happy!

Pork Bone Soup

1 pound of Pork Bones (preferably Neck Bones)
Enough Water to Just Cover the Pork Bones
EnoughWater to Cook the Pork Bone Soup
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Salt

Optional:  2 cups of Soybean Sprouts

Place Pork Bones in a soup pot and add water to jut cover the bones. Bring to a boil and turn off when the scum rises to the surface. Throw out all of the water and then refill the pot so that there is about 4 inches of water covering the bones.  Add vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer on low for 3 hours or more. Cool and strain broth. If desired, reheat and cook Soybean Sprouts in the soup for about 15 minutes before serving. Otherwise, reheat one cup at a time to boiling and serve in a mug. Season with additional sea salt if desired.

Chicken Bone Soup

1 pound of Chicken Drumsticks
1 large yellow onion, stem ends removed and cut into chunks (can leave peel on)
1 Celery Root, washed and cut into chunks
2 large carrots, washed, stem and end removed and cut into chunks
2 - 3 Parsnips, washed, stem and end removed and cut into chunks
2 large Celery Stalks, washed and cut into chunks
1 - 2 Turnips, washed, stem and ends removed and cut into chunks
2 - 3 teaspoons of salt
10 - 12 cups of Water

In a large soup pot, put in chicken thighs and all the root vegetables. Cover with water up to 4 to 5 inches above the chicken. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Taste and add salt. Strain broth and serve individual portions reheated and poured into a mug. Season with additional sea salt if desired.

Beef Bone Soup

4 - 5 pound Beef leg bones, 
1 large Onion, stems removed and cut into chunks (leave skin on)
2 large Carrots, washed, stem and end removed and cut into chunks
2 - 3 stalks of Celery, cut up
3 Large Tomatoes cut up
12 cups of Water
3 teaspoons Salt
1 Bay Leaf
Handful of Parsley

Put beef bones in a large soup pot and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil until the foam rises. Drain water and rinse the bones. Put back into the pot with the water, vegetables, Parsley and Bay Leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Skim additional foam as it rises. Cook for 3 hours. Cool and scrape out the marrow if possible and add back into the soup. Strain and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, heat up one cup at a time and serve in a mug and season with additional sea salt if desired. 

Five Element Analysis

Soups, and especially broths are a Water Element food. But, each soup is made with  a different kind of bone. Pork Bones belong to the Water Element, Chicken Bones to the Wood Element and Beef Bones to the Earth Element. The Soybean Sprouts contribute the Wood Element to the Pork Bone Soup and the Celery adds more of the Wood Element to the Chicken Soup.  However, the Celery Root is an Earth Element vegetable as are the Carrots, Parsnips and Turnips in the Chicken Soup. Onions add the Metal Element to the Chicken and Beef Soups and the Parsley and Bay Leaf add even more Metal to the Beef Soup. Tomatoes contribute the Fire Element to the Beef Soup. The Pork Soup is for tonifying (nourishing) the kidneys. The Chicken Soup starts adding essential nutrients and supports the Liver and Stomach.  The Beef Soup is for enhancing the blood and energy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ed's Papaya Salsa

I was speaking at the Pacific Symposium this weekend and they didn't give me a room with a kitchen, so I didn't get to cook at all. But, my good friends Holly and Ed Guzman invited me to their room where they made some wonderful Mexican food and it was so good! Ed made a Papaya Salsa that kept me coming back for more. I've never had Papaya in my salsa before, although I have had Mango and Pineapple Salsa.  I actually this one better because it is not as sweet and it is beautiful! There is something about the combination of the rich soft orange of the Papaya mixed with the tomatoes that I loved. And, the Papaya softened the astringency of the tomato in a way that smoothes out the flavor. It was a delightful salsa that I am going to make over and over again and it's so easy to make too. I think it would be amazing with Grilled Fish or Chicken if I can get past eating it with chips....

Ed's Papaya Salsa

1 large ripe Papaya, cut into a small dice

3 medium Tomatoes, diced
3 Tablespoons minced Red Onion
Juice of 1 large Lime or 2 small Limes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Optional:  1/2 Serrano Chili, seeds removed and minced finely

Mix together all the ingredients and let flavors meld for at least 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with Tortilla hips, Tacos and/or Grilled Fish or Chicken.

Five Element Analysis

Papaya, being a Tropical fruit and also a beautiful orange color belongs to the Earth Element. They are exceptionally good for the digestive system as the enzymes help process other foods like meat. Tomatoes contribute the Fire Element and if you add the Serranos, that's even more Fire.  The Limes add the Wood Element and the Red Onion brings in the Metal Element.  Only the Water Element is missing so that's why this would be especially good on Fish.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Arugula Salad with Asian Pears and Prosciutto

It's Asian Pear season and they are one of my favorite fruits. I love their crunch and juiciness.  I realized after having bought a lot of them, that I don't use them in cooking at all. I usually just eat them raw and so today, I decided to use them in a salad. I threw together some of my other favorite ingredients - Prosciutto and Arugula and I decided to create a very light dressing made with Rice Wine Vinegar, Shallots and Sunflower Oil.  It was an amazing combination. I'll be making this salad again and again!

Arugula Salad with Asian Pears and Prosciutto

5 ounces of Baby Arugula, washed
2 Asian Pears, Cored, Peeled and cut into small chunks
3 ounces of Prosciutto, cut into small pieces
1 small Shallot minced
1/4 cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup Sunflower Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Wash and dry the Arugula and spread over a platter.  Sprinkle the Asian Pears and Prosciutto over it.  In a small bowl, mix together the Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar and the Sunflower Oil and add in the Shallots and Salt. Pour over the Salad when ready to serve.

Five Element Analysis

Pears belong to the Metal Element and are very good food for the throat and lungs. The Shallots add even more Metal. Arugula contributes the Fire Element as a bitter green and the Rice Wine Vinegar is a Wood food. The salty Prosciutto brings in the Water Element. Only the Earth Element is missing so serve this with a Main Dish that is Earthy or if this is served for a light lunch, add something sweet for dessert!