Fight-Frost-with-Fire Zen Soup or Ginger Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Fight-Frost-with-Fire Zen Soup or Ginger Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Winter has certainly dragged her huge feet on our Georgia front porch this year… For better or worse, this has inspired me to become a huge fan of soups. So I am experimenting and adding and subtracting and have basically been able to create about 20 different soups just by adding something or taking something out.
They have all turned delicious so far, so I am trying to keep a record of all of them so I can duplicate them, and of course, share them with friends.
So here is my Ginger Wild Rice Chicken soup in honor of the crazy catastrophic ice-storm that has paralyzed the South.

Ingredients for a large Dutch Oven pot
1 large onion
2 Organic free range chicken breasts
½ head of celery root
2 large parsnips
4 medium or 2 large Idaho potatoes (the ones you would use for mashed)
4-6 medium carrots
3-4 inch ginger root (depends on how much you like ginger)
1 stalk leek
2 small jalapeno peppers
4 boxes chicken broth (or 2 boxes chicken and 1 box veggie broth)
Spices:
Pink Himalayan salt to taste
Black Pepper
Turmeric
Curry
Cayenne (for later or while cooking IF everyone enjoys a little zing)
Coconut oil
Cook Separately:
½ cup of black wild rice in 3 – 4 cups of water
Optional:
1 cup mushrooms
¼ cup heavy cream
1-3 garlic cloves
Curry, salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes to serve:
1 bunch Parsley
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Or Lemon juice

How I do it:
I’m all about the Martha Stewart cut-up-your-ingredients-and-place-in-separate-bowls before I start. I just like the neatness of it, and the peace of mind, that I am not forgetting anything
So I start with the onions – chop the whole head finely (do not use a food processor! That thing mushes the onion into a paste… Put in a bowl and cover with a plate or clear wrap. Its vapors will flavor your kitchen, as opposed to your soup. Cover it to preserve taste, and aroma.
Chop in rugged tiny chunks the carrots and put in another big bowl. I like to take the carrot from its wider side, and cut a small diagonal piece off the end, then turn the carrot and cut again, and turn and cut… until it’s all done. That way they are not the boring perfect round circles and just give more chunkiness to the soup
If you haven’t used celery root before, you should. It’s much more flavorful than the stalks and doesn’t have the stringy texture. Peel and chop it like the carrots. Chop the potatoes and the parsnips. Peel and slice your ginger as well
Add all the ingredients from the carrots to the parsnips in the same bowl. You will dump them in the soup together, so no need to use more little bowls.
Put the ginger separately. You want to keep its flavor strong until you use it.
Use a paper towel to dry your chicken breasts and chop them into small bitesized chunks.

This is a good time to put your rice to cook. Just don’t forget to stir it every once in a while. Burned to the bottom of the pan rice tastes yuk! You don’t want to have this happen to you.

IF you have opted to add the mushrooms, clean and chop them in quarters and throw them in a pan with some melted coconut oil. Let them wilt, add the cream, spices. Keep a couple more minutes while stirring to let everything incorporate. Turn off heat and set aside.

The Main Event:
In your Dutch Oven, melt the coconut oil (or butter if you must) and drop the chicken chunks to brown on all sides. This is not to cook them thoroughly, but to give them a bit of a sautee before you cook them with the rest of the ingredients. After you have flipped them around a few times, take them out of the Dutch oven, one by one, and place into a bowl for later.
In the same oil that is now already hot, drop the chopped onions. Let them become translucent. Stir to incorporate the chicken fat into this.
As soon as they are soft and translucent, drop the bowl with all the root veggies (my experience shows, this is where you may find yourself needing a little more butter (try saying it with a English accent and it will make you feel less guilty – A li-uhle moh bu-her!)
After a few stirs, add your spices (good time for the salt as it will release the water in the veggies and the sautéing will be easier)
Now comes the time of the chicken stock and/or the veggie stock or broth. I like Pacific brand, but there are others that are equally organic and delicious. I don’t fill the Dutch oven all the way yet. I just pour enough stock to cover the veggies.
Cover the pan, and let it reach boiling. Once it does, reduce temp to say half or even less.
Take your handheld mixer and mash up some of the veggies at the bottom (this can be done as much or as little as you like – the point is to create a little thickness to the soup so you don’t have to use thickener, i.e. glutenous substances)
After you’ve reached the desired consistency, add the chicken, the rice (which by now should’ve cooked) and optionally – the mushrooms.
Stir well and cover. Leave everything to incorporate for at least another 10 minutes on low.
Prepare your plates (bowls) and garnishes (parsley and lemon juice)
SERVE HOT! Bon Appetit!

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Ridiculously Easy Mediterranean GlutenFree Frittata

Ridiculously Easy Mediterranean GlutenFree Frittata

There are some weekends that I Just wanna linger in bed and if I had the choice I’d rather stay longer in bed, than make time for a healthy breakfast.
But with this super easy frittata I can have it all!

Here are all the products I use:
(all these ingredients are easy to prep the night before – chop some of your scallions and jalapeños and keep in containers ready to use)
2 eggs, or 1/4 cup egg whites (if you don’t want the yolks)
A handful of fresh baby spinach
A handful of cherry tomatoes halved
1 jalapeño pepper seeds removed, chopped
3-4 scallions – chopped
1-2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp ghee (or coconut oil or olive oil)

Take a nonstick pan and melt the ghee (clarified butter) or whatever other fat you decide to use.
Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk with a fork until homogenous
Add all your veggies and the feta in, stir to coat as much as you can
Remember, we are not aiming for the perfectly shaped frittata, so don’t worry if stuff is sticking out of the mixture, it’s sort of like an omelette with a salad built in…
Pour everything in the melted ghee, and turn a couple of times in places where you see it needs to cook a more.
When the eggs stop being runny and the spinach has this bright green wilted look, your frittata is ready.
Throw into a plate of your choice, and sprinkle with spices of your choice. I personally go for the caliente cayenne and the tasty turmeric, but you can go wild with whatever rocks your palette!
Enjoy and share with someone special! just double the quantities 🙂

Pork Kebap Bulgarian Style

Pork Kebap Bulgarian Style

This is Pork like you’ve never had it before! I cooked it with my mom and insisted on writing the recipe down, so I remember every detail of the way she and my grandmother before her used to make it.

Every time I start this dish, the aromas transcend my kitchen walls and I time travel to me being 4, sitting in grandma’s kitchen. It’s still dark on a cold January morning. I couldn’t sleep, I heard some noises in the kitchen, so I went to check it out. Grandma was already up for hours. She gave me a cup of warm milk, tucked me in a huge throw in the couch and told me to nap some more. .. I did, and dreamed a delicious dream……

So you can see why I love everything about this dish.
The beauty of it is, that it’s simple to make, and makes the house smell so cozy, you’d be able to close your eyes and imagine a mountain cottage and pure white snow falling peacefully outside, while the fire is quietly crackling…

This is a great recipe to utilize that type of pork that you may deem too fatty to grill or cook in any other way. But especially because it’s fatty, it makes perfect kebap material!
So here is my Grandma and Mom’s recipe:

Products:
1 lb of shoulder pork meat
5 onions (medium) chopped
1/2 lb canned tomatoes
1 cup red table wine
3 jalapeño peppers chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp black pepper crushed
5 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tsp turmeric
1 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp savory
1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley

Chop the onions
Cut the meat in cubes
Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven and drop the meat to brown on all sides
Add the onion slices, then the jalapeno peppers
While the onions and the meat are simmering, use a hand held mixer and roughly crush the tomatoes. You don’t need to juice them all the way. .
Add all the spices to the meat, onions and jalapenos, and mix well.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and mix all together.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375F
Put the Dutch Oven in the oven and bake for 1hr.

Dutch oven is the easy and effective way. I personally like to use a clay pot with a lid that I have from Bulgaria. I transfer the mixture from the Dutch Oven into the clay pot and put in a COLD oven, rather than preheated. (However tempered your clay pot is, I would rather not chance it and have it crack in a hot oven with all that food in it. .. It may make a mess much bigger than you can imagine.)

The only difference between baking it in a Dutch oven and a beautiful clay pot, is that the presentation is more authentic, but the taste is pretty much the same.

Serving options:
Best way to serve this is while it’s still warm, on top of either warm polenta, or rice or quinoa, with sprinkled fresh parsley on top.

All of the above make good gluten free additions.

Optional Polenta recipe:

1 cup corn meal
1 cup cold water
4 cups cold fat-free milk
Mix well and put on the stove
Keep mixing pretty much the whole time while it’s cooking
Mix until it becomes a thick mixture and the boiling resembles molten lava
Then turn it off.
Take an oven proof dish
Melt one stick of butter in the microwave
Pour half of it in the oven proof dish (it’s good to have a narrow dish so that the liquid butter can form a deep layer.
Pour the cooked polenta in it on top of the butter.
Then pour the rest of the melted butter on top and bake in the 375F preheated oven for about 20-25 min. It only needs to get slightly brown on top. As soon as you take it out of the oven, cover it with an aluminum foil and a towel on top, so it stays soft and juicy.

Goes great with a robust red wine – a Chilean Cabernet or an Argentinian Malbec of your choice will complement it very well!

DOBUR APETIT!
ENJOY!

Positively Radiant [Orchid] in 2014

Positively Radiant [Orchid] in 2014

It’s official! The color of the year is “Radiant Orchid!” The soft enigmatic magical lavender purple replaces last year’s Emerald, which in turn pushed the Tangerine Tango off its plushy 2012 throne.
Regardless of how pointless you think this may be, there is a lot of hard work and many people and influences behind this decision.
Pantone, the world’s leading authority on color and its “Color of the Year” has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.
And it’s not like they just pick a color from a box of crayons.
The color of the year selection requires careful consideration. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

What Radiant Orchid item will you wear?
How will you incorporate Radiant Orchid in your decor?
I know I will start with a gorgeous Radiant Orchid lip color to brighten up my Holidays! How about you?

How does spring smell?

How does spring smell?

Interview with Dr. Joachim Mensing, fragrance psychologist

Q: What is the reason for our wish to use fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Fragrance and perfumes are offers for personal transformation, indented to bring us from our ACTUAL SELF – how we feel, closer to our IDEAL SELF – how we would like to feel. Behind them is the secret wish to transform our selves unconsciously to give us for example, a more feminine, more sensual, more dynamic or self-confident appearance than what we really feel. They also create a certain atmosphere and emotional setting.”

Q: How do women select their perfumes and what are their preferences?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “To choose a perfume is a very complex situation that we can only explain to a certain degree. The reason is that we smell with our emotional centre in the brain and have associations with our long-term memory. I encounter this phenomenon everyday myself. The decision seems to be somehow irrational and is taken spontaneously and connected with the remembrances and feelings that we had and would like to re-experience again. They seem to appear out of the blue. The fascination for a certain fragrance is hidden in our subconscious and linked with desires and moods that are difficult to articulate. Of course there is no doubt that there are more and very important factors for the decision
to a certain fragrance like the image, the sympathy, the packaging, advertising but also recommendations and word of mouth. Exciting is, that certain wishes and moods come up more intense in spring, e.g. the wish for change, for spontaneity and to enjoy oneself are overwhelming. We want to live a more playful and frivolous life, we want to live our fantasies, be creative and also be provocative. In the U.S. there is a definitive higher preference for fruity floral fragrance family during this time of the year.
Perfumes that seem to express this spring-feeling are e.g.
Just me, Paris Hilton
Life, Esprit
Orange Tonic, Azzaro
Daisy, Marc Jacobs Chance, Chanel”

Q: To what kind of fragrance family do these typical spring fragrances belong?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “If you take all prestige perfumes of the U.S. market that are categorized into the six big international fragrance families:
Citrus Green,
Floral Aldehydic,
Fruity-Floral,
Floriental,
Oriental and
Chypre,
the dominance of the Florals in the U.S. is clear to see.
The US market is characterized (like the English) by the spectrum of beautiful floral notes, which come in all kinds of facets and crossovers, ranging from fresh-fruity to Aldehyde-brilliant, to the cozy warm interpretations of the so called Florientals. Over 70% of all fragrances belong to one or the
other Floral family. Year around the Floral –Aldeydic fragrances are dominating with a market share of close to 30%, but every spring, the fresh-fruity floral become the favorites of all Florals. The refreshing, flowery fragrance Happy perfume by Clinique is a good example.”

Q: What are the differences between a spring and a winter fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “A typical spring fragrance smells mostly of fresh notes that belong to the type Citrus Green. Their market-share in the U.S. is about 15%. But in the latin countries like Italy, Spain and Brazil, they have around 18-25 % share. The citrus green fragrances reach out to a more extrovert personality who wants to feel more dynamic and energetic. They hate the idea of professional routine and don’t want to be bored. They set a signal with these refreshing and stimulating citrus- green-aqua notes like:
Eau de Lancôme, Lancôme
Escale à Portofino, Dior
Energizing Fragrance, Shiseido
Concentré d’Orange verte, Hermès
On the contrary, a typical autumn/winter-fragrance shows the longing for romantic sensuality. It is the wish for more emotion, tenderness and comfort. It is also the expectation to be spoiled and to be cosseted. This emotional setting is covered best by the Floriental fragrances that have a market share of about 10% in the U.S. for the whole year. Even more
important for this time of the year are the Orientals in the US, with a market share of over 12% for the whole year. The Orientals express with their depth, spiciness’, warmth and mystery (many of these fragrances are loaded with intoxicating and intensive ingredients such as musk, vanilla, exotic resins and wood), which we especially cherish in the winter month.”

Q: Do spring scents contain extracts of spring flowers?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Indeed, a lot of the citrus green family have the smell of young leaves and plants. The combination with hesperidic notes like grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime and modern aqua notes creates a sensation of fresh, ozone and southern which our long-term memory associates pre-dominantly with Mediterranean climate sensation.”

Q: Do we respectively to our nose smell different during spring time?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “This is also a fact, because we are more open to all environmental stimuli and more curious. Our awareness is more differentiated and our nose reacts more sensitive. We smell with our emotional centre in the brain, which is the circuit of hormone production.”

Q: Which fragrances would you recommend for Easter, Passover and what would be the best Mother’s Day choice?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Easter was in earlier times a celebration of fertility and in the Christian believes, it is a time for transformation. The same is true for Passover. So fragrances that express a joy of life and new beginning fit perfectly. Most of the people are surprised about their feelings and discover a new joy of life. They want to live more intense and cherish their way of life, Fruity Floral notes like
Pretty Nina, Nina Ricci
Cherie, Miss Dior
Inspiration, Lacoste
are just the perfect fit for this kind of mood. Mother’s Day on the contrary is thankfulness, honor and homage. To show this we instinctively search for most precious gifts. Here, the Floral Aldehydic notes are defined from elegant, sophisticated and expressive top notes that show a brilliance and pureness of petals. The loved ones will be honored by an aura of respect, confidence and utter appreciation. Examples of this classic, elegant fragrance family are:
No.5 Eau Premier, Chanel
J’adore, Dior
Caleche, Hermés”

source: beautypress.com

Chilean Sea Bass on my mind

Chilean Sea Bass on my mind

I said I’d order the Chilean Sea Bass. He said it’s so good, I’ll think about it the next day… That sort of creeped me out, but I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been to STEEL many times. Never tried the Chilean Sea Bass. Well, let me tell you, it is not like any other Sea Bass I’ve had before. It starts off as a feast for the eyes, as it comes with this glorious sizzling caramelized marinade on top, lying peacefully on a bed of steamed asparagus and brown rice (you can also have it on white or fried rice if you prefer). Then, with just one tip of my chopsticks, I took in one flake of the fish, and indulged in its melty airy sweet-tanginess. I am not sure if the miso-sake marinade that holds this piece of heavenly taste for 12 to 24 hours, does the trick, or the way the chef reportedly pan-sears, then oven-roasts it to lock in the flavor, but it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to leave out of your bucket list.. if you are a foodie that is.
Goes great with a cup of their fabulous flowering white tea in a glass pot.
Miles is a wonderful host, and never forgets a face. Ever since the first time I went for my lunch there, he’s been attentive, friendly and absolutely delightful!

If you are in the Atlanta area, you should definitely look STEEL up and visit. They also have great sushi and are a perfect location for happy hour drinks, or other evening gatherings. Lovely lovely place.

SpiderSense ultrasound suit gives wearers a sixth sense

SpiderSense ultrasound suit gives wearers a sixth sense

 

A PhD Student from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has created something that comes straight out of a science fiction movie.

VIctor Mateevitsi says he’s already tested the new wearable technology  on his fellow students, and it works!

It is still under development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). It offers users a sixth sense! It allows the person who wears this clothing  to feel when objects are approaching their bodies. Dubbed SpiderSense after Spider-Man’s famous superpower functions through the use of a series of small, directional ultrasound microphones. When a microphone module detects movement, it triggers a corresponding robotic arm, exerting a small amount of pressure on the relevant area of the wearer’s body.

According to a report from New Scientist, Mateevitsi has tested his creation on fellow students — blindfolding his subjects, he gave them a cardboard ninja star to throw at any approaching “enemies,” a test which produced a 95 percent hit rate. Less violent uses for the technology include deployment as a safety system for cyclists, allowing them to sense the approach of cars and other vehicles.

Mateevitsi will present SpiderSense in full at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart next month, alongside collaborators Brad Haggadone, Jason Leigh, Brian Kunzer, and Robert Kenyon. Further research from UIC’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory, including work on virtual reality and so-called “tele-immersion,” can be found on the lab’s website.

via New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729056.700-spideysense-suit-tingles-when-someone-gets-too-close.html