Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quick and Fabulous Dinner

OK, so I made dinner in 45 minutes today. I served Cioppino with steamed broccoli soup and salad. If you have never had Cioppino before I suggest you try it, it is simply (and I mean simply) wonderful!

Ingredients for Cioppino:

2 dozen Manilla clams
1 dozen large shrimp
1/2 lb halibut (chopped)
1/4 cup olive oil
3-5 tbsp pastured butter
5 cloves garlic
herb mixture (see below)
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 head of fennel
1/2 cup red wine
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups fish stock
tabasco sauce is optional

You can use pretty much any fish or seafood for Cioppino.

Herb Mixture:
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt

Just put in spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

I started by soaking the clams in filtered water. Then I chopped the garlic, fennel and onion while I waited for the butter and olive oil to warm. As soon as I added the garlic I pulverized the dried herbs in my spice grinder.

I then added the onions, fennel and herb mixture. After letting them heat for a few minutes I added the wine, vinegar and fish sauce. I let that reduce for a few minutes (meanwhile separately I chopped the broccoli for the soup and began steaming it) and then I added the home-made tomato sauce (canned in the summer), the lemon juice and the fish stock (made from last night).

By this time the clams were ready to be scrubbed and rinsed, so I did that and added them to the soup and covered the pot. During that time (about 5 minutes) I quick as lightning peeled and de-veined the shrimp (butterfly them to make this process go quickly) and added them to the soup with the halibut. I covered the pot and let them cook for 2 more minutes and turned off the heat.

At this point I removed the broccoli from the steamer and put them in a small soup pot with about 4 tbsp butter and some sea salt and then I made the salad (a simple salad of lettuce, cilantro, avocado, red bell pepper and cucumber). Then I added some duck stock (home-made last week) to the broccoli, heated a little and pureed in the pot. I dressed the salad with olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and wheat-free tamari.

And that's it. Simple but really, really tasty. The broccoli soup may seem like an odd addition but that was a request from my daughter.

A few days ago I made red snapper, which I bought whole at the store. I saved the head and bones for my fish stock. You can make fish stock from any whole fish but white fish is best (and red snapper and halibut are really the best, but both are pretty pricey).

Fish Stock:
I put the carcass in a pot and added about 2 quarts of filtered water and about 2 tbsp vinegar (any kind will do). I let that soak for about 1 hour and then added 1 onion, 1 head of garlic and some slices of ginger. Then I turned on the heat to low and simmered overnight.

About 10 minutes before I was ready to drain the stock I added some fresh parsley to the stock.

To drain I used a strainer and a funnel and I strained the hot liquid into quart-sized Ball jars. I immediately plunged the jars in ice-cold water to cool quickly (this helps with gelatinization) and then put the jars in the fridge to fully cool.

Stock is easy and sooooooo good for you! It is packed with minerals and the gelatin aids in digestion. There is a reason why people have served chicken soup when you get sick. But it only works if the soup is made with high-quality stock.

The fish stock was my inspiration for the Cioppino. Stock, butter, cream and salt are magic ingredients that make everything taste good.

As far as eating raw today, well, I did OK.

3 raw eggs with raw cream and strawberries pureed in the food processor (Jill's shake)

2 pieces of raw cheese

Raw ribeye steak sliced and eaten with Lewis Labs' Brewers Yeast and dipped in soy sauce and vinegar. Salad with dulse. Egg drop soup (this was super easy to make)

Raw liver shake: Add about 4 oz of raw liver (I used beef but chicken or duck is much more mild) to food processor, add 1 raw egg, 3 tbsp raw cream, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp raw honey and 1 tsp cinnamon and process. Take a deep breath, muster your courage and drink up. If you can't handle the aftertaste (which the cinnamon greatly reduces) have a strong drink to chase it with, kombucha works beautifully)

Dinner is above.

Egg Drop Soup:

5 eggs from pastured chickens
1 quart duck, turkey or chicken stock
4 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 cup tomato sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat stock and thicken with arrowroot powder (take about 1/2 cup of hot stock, add to a small bowl with arrowroot powder and dissolve, then add back to stock and stir until thickened). Add tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Crack eggs in a bowl, turn off heat, add eggs to hot stock slowly, whisking as you add the eggs. Serve immediately.

This is a simple soup that is a wonderful complement to any meal, the stock helps with digestion and is rich in minerals, the arrowroot is rich in calcium chloride (balances acid/alkaline in the body), and the eggs (provided they are from pastured animals fed a healthy supplemental diet) are full of good fat and cholesterol, protein (in particular the detoxifying sulphur-rich amino acids), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins D and K.

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