Tag Archives: winter

Recipe of the Moment: Caldo De Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup)

Caldo de Pollo

 

Baby, it’s cold outside!

It’s my first winter residing full time in Seattle since 2007. I’m digging the change in weather, relishing the crisp, fresh air and the need to wear scarves beyond SoCal Winter Fashion. It’s soup season – a time of year I largely abandoned in my years in San Diego. Now that I have my ultra-nifty-super-incredible crock pot/slow cooker Multi-tasking Machine of Doom I am playing with throwing everything in the pot and stepping away.

The night I made this I was exhausted and suffering from low blood sugar. This is a nightmare position to be in when you are wanting to stick to any dietary plan because your biology will want to take over and force you to call in a pizza or chinese food. To make this meal as quick as possible, I used a rotisserie chicken and my pressure cooker setting. Dinner in 20 minutes? HELL YES. Take that, Domino’s!

Caldo De Pollo

  • 1 rotisserie chicken – skin removed
  • 1 qt. chicken broth or bone broth
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound tomatoes, diced (use bottled or aseptic packaged rather than canned, if not using fresh)
  • 1 cup Salsa Verde/Tomatillo Salsa
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • cilantro and fresh lime for garnish

Peel the meat from the rotisserie chicken and set aside. The skin and bones can be saved for bone broth, which is highly nutritional and very easy to make. Grab your Instant Pot and add the broth, chicken meat, diced veggies and seasonings. Cook under pressure for 20 minutes and serve, topping with diced, fresh cilantro and lime juice.

MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZE:

Mix chicken, carrots, onion, tomatoes, salsa verde, pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, paprika, and garlic together. Pour into a Gallon Freezer and freeze for up to 3 months, removing extra air from the bag as you seal it.

TO COOK:

Remove chicken from bag and place into pressure cooker. Add 1 quart of chicken broth. Attach lid and set to manual for 20 minutes on high pressure. Serve with fresh lime and diced cilantro.

Stovetop: Remove chicken from bag and to a stock pot with one quart of chicken broth. Cook for 30 minutes, or until onions and carrots are cooked through.

Festive Winter Pasta-vaganza!

This recipe is an adaptation of my apple gorgonzola fettuccine recipe. Now that I live in San Diego, the local produce is a little different than the pacific northwest. The result of playing with what we could find at the farmer’s market was delicioso!

10 oz. brown rice (fusilli, elbows, or fettuccine)
1 small bunch lacinato kale, veined and chopped
3 persimmons, peeled and chopped
1.5 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. goat butter
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Place chopped kale in cooking water before draining pasta, and drain pasta when kale is bright green and lightly blanched.

2. Melt one Tbsp of butter in a pan, and saute the minced garlic until soft.

3. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then the hazelnuts and persimmons and saute until the persimmons are just heated through – make certain the fruit does not become soggy!

4. Add the cooked fruit and nuts to the drained pasta and kale. Toss well. Crumble in Gorgonzola and cracked black pepper and toss again. Serve immediately, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.

Holy cow, yummy!

Ultra Tasty Coconut Ginger Rice Pudding

This rice pudding recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, AND vegan, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who won’t enjoy it! Made from coconut milk, this warming winter treat provides ample medium-chain triglycerides which are believed to provide energy for athletes and be a fat source that is less likely to be stashed away by the body for future use. Coconut is popular in Ayurvedic medicine and cooking, and is well known for its antimicrobial properties and its ability to balance fats in the bloodstream. I created this recipe in response to having a delicious coconut-ginger tapioca pudding at my local health food store earlier this week.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • water
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or 1 can + 2 oz. water or non-dairy milk alternative)
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup date sugar (or sucanat)
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger bits

Place rice in a small saucepan with the cinnamon stick and add water until just covered. Bring rice to a boil and turn heat down to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.

Add coconut milk, vanilla, and date sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add candied ginger and simmer 15-20 minutes longer, until most of liquid is absorbed. Be sure to turn heat off when some liquid remains, as it will thicken upon cooling.

Serve warm or cold, and garnish with shredded coconut if desired.

Staying Grounded: A Simple, Seasonal Soup

Winter is Vata season – season of air and wind. It leaves many of us a little scattered, especially if we are not living in tune with the seasons and taking more downtime and rest as the plants and animals around us do.
People with heavy amounts of Vata in their Ayurvedic constitution tend to have more difficulty staying focused and calm during winter months. Anxiety, worry, distracting thoughts, insomnia, or feeling “spaced out” is common for them when imbalanced. On a physical level, one may experience more gas, bloating, and constipation, fatigue with an inability to relax, and increased sensitivity to the cold. The grounding soup recipe below is seasonally appropriate for winter – when root veggies come into season – and they are quite calming and grounding to the body. From a Chinese 5 element and Ayurvedic standpoint, root vegetables draw our energy back towards the earth and help keep us calm and focused. They are slightly more yang, their own energies cause them to grow close to or burrow into the earth and this energy is passed onto the consumer.
Don’t believe in “energy” around food? Sugar, a highly yin food, makes most people a little spastic and unfocused. When Mom cooks a meal, it tastes better than when you follow her recipe to the “T”, because it is infused with her love. When the chef is upset…well, you can taste it in the food. It’s flat and “off” somehow.

If you are feeling a little spacey, a little anxious, a little constipated and bloated or just want a seasonal, warm winter meal, try the soup recipe below. It’s simple and delightful this time of year!

GROUNDING SOUP

– adapted from Jen Hoy’s recipe at about.com

According to Chinese 5 element theory, round and root vegetables strengthen the spleen and reproductive organs, nourish the liver, and aid digestion. This soothing soup has a notable calming, easing effect, and should be eaten often by anyone with a sensitive nervous system. The soup also helps promote lactation, and balance blood sugar. It is especially good during the cooler months, as it is considered a warming soup.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
* 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
* 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 medium carrot, chopped
* 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
* 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
* 1 small turnip or rutabaga, peeled and chopped
* 1 small pumpkin, or butternut or kabocha squash, peeled and chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 quarts vegetable or beef stock
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
* Sea salt
* Chopped parsley (optional)
* fresh ginger to taste (optional)

Preparation:
In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, leek, garlic, celery and carrot, and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add potato, sweet potato, parsnip, turnip, pumpkin and bay leaf. Stir vegetables, and then add vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil, cover the pan, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add thyme, and sea salt to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, and puree soup in a Vitamix, if desired.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. This soup keeps well for several days.

Makes about 3 quarts, or 6 servings.

Recipe: Easy Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower is a fantastic alternative to mashed potatoes for those avoiding nightshades or high glycemic potatoes. Surprisingly, these do not taste strongly of cauliflower; rather they pick up the subtle buttery notes and allow spices such as cracked peppercorn and garlic to shine through. Use the recipe below as a baseline and feel free to experiment by adding roasted garlic, basil and sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, dill, or other favorite spices to liven things up!

Aimee’s Easy Mashed Cauliflower

* 2 heads cauliflower
* 1 qt. vegetable broth
* 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
* sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tear florets from the cauliflower head and add to a large stock pot. Cover with broth, bring to a boil and steam until very tender – about 15 minutes.

Transfer florets into Vitamix (this makes them supercreamy!) or a food processor. Add butter or oil, salt and pepper, and any spices you wish to use. Puree on high for 30 seconds – 2 minutes until smooth.

Transfer to a warmed ceramic dish and serve.
Makes about 7 cups.