• 23Feb

    I love seaweed. The unsung vegetables of the sea! Chock full of minerals that our bodies sorely lack these days, I wonder why we don’t include it in our diets more. Here in the U.S. of A, seaweed eaters are made fun of as granola eating hot tubbers. Even if our favorite sea vegetable company is located in Mendocino.

    But what do they know! Asian cultures have been reaping the health benefits of these nutritious vegetables for thousands of years. For example, here is a version of the soup my SIL enjoyed (much more than the pig’s feet I might add) after the birth of little S. For new mothers, this soup is purported to help contract the uterus, stop bleeding, clear the blood, detoxify, and rejuvenate so that the mother can produce lots of milk for the new baby. This is generally consumed for the first three weeks after birth. Judging from the results my SIL experienced, this and/or the pig’s feet worked and then some!

    Nutritionally, this soup is rich in protein, calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron and folate. Not to mention all of the other trace minerals that our bodies only need in tiny tiny quantities. No wonder new moms find this soup so restorative.

    Luckily you don’t have to be a new mom to slurp up this soup. It’s a great soup for anyone to enjoy and in fact you will find this soup (or a variation there of) on many a Korean restaurant’s menu.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Miyuk Guk

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1 1/2 ounce Korean brown seaweed or wakame, dried
    6 cups water or beef broth or combo (preferably homemade)
    1 pound mussels, whole fresh
    6 ounces grass-fed ground beef
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
    1 clove garlic — minced
    2 thin slices ginger — minced
    2 teaspoons oil — grapeseed or rice bran
    sea salt to taste

    Soak Korean brown seaweed or wakame in water for 30 minutes or until soft. Wash well to remove any sand, drain. If there is a thick center stem, remove. Cut into 1-2″ pieces. Set aside.

    Cook mussels in the water or beef broth. Remove mussels from broth and separate mussel from shell. Reserve the broth and mussels. Discard shells.

    Marinate beef with the sesame oil, tamari, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a 6 qt stock pot, saute the marinated ground beef. Cook for a few minutes then add seaweed. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add mussels. Simmer another minute or so. Season to taste with additional tamari or sea salt.

    Variations: use more or less of any of the ingredients to your taste. You can also add additional seafoods like clams and oysters.

  • 20Feb

    I had a request from an expectant mother for the Chinese remedy given to mothers after the birth of their child and to help with milk production…Pickled Pig’s Feet.

    When my SIL gave birth to little S, my Mom brought over batch of endless batch of these delicious trotters (…at least those first 2 or 3 were tasty but really, how many can one really eat in a month!) It didn’t bother my Mom in the least that SIL was afraid of the sight of former trotters of any animal origin. Mom’s solution was for me to pick out said trotters and eat them myself (…*belch*) leaving the brine, radish, eggs and ginger for SIL – no small feat 😉 when the resultant brine after simmering for more than an hour in vinegar is now a block of hard rubbery gelatin. Oh, those fond memories…I think there is still some gelatin stuck to the ceiling of the kitchen…

    On a nutritional note, this is really a great replensihing ‘bone’ broth – rich in minerals, collagen, and protein. Think about it – the primary function of a being is it’s own survival. A Mom who just gave birth is depleted to say the least! If she stays depleted, she may not be able to produce much milk. Eating nourishing broths can quickly rebuild much needed minerals and protein. Once the mother is replenished, she can spare the nutrients for her baby.

    Here is the recipe as adapted from Mom, Grace Young, Eileen Blonder and Annabel Low:

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Pickled Pig’s Feet with Ginger

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    5 pounds pig’s feet — split and cut into 2 inch pieces
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    6 cups water
    1 pound ginger — peeled and cut into 1 in chunks
    20 fluid ounces chinese black vinegar — (hock naw mai cho)
    21 fluid ounces chinese sweet black vinegar (teem ding teem cho) — may sub Balsamic vinegar
    6 ounces rapadura or sucanat (more or less to taste)
    1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
    1 1/2 pounds daikon radish — peeled and cut into 3/8″ half round slices
    6-8 each hard boiled eggs with shells

    In an 8 qt stainless steel or enamel pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with sea salt. Add pig’s feet and bring back to a boil – boil for 10 minutes.

    Drain feet into colander and rinse feet well. Remove any hair or discoloration with a paring knife or shave with a disposable razor (my favorite part.)

    Wash pot. Add 6 c water, ginger and regular black vinegar to pot and bring to a boil. Add pig’s feet, lower the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Add daikon radish. Continue simmering until tender – another 15 to 20 minutes. Next, add sweet black vinegar, cider vinegar, sugar and hard boiled eggs – bring back to a boil and simmer another 20 minutes.

    Cool. Pick out the eggs and peel. Refrigerate overnight. Remove hardened fat. Heat and serve with the peeled eggs.

    Grace Young’s The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen

    Ellen Blonder and Annabel Low’s Every Grain of Rice

    Up next, a recipe from the Korean Tradition…

  • 03Feb

    into believing that some of the most healthful foods on earth are going to kill us.

    Avoid butter, eggs, coconut fat…Instead we were told to eat hydrogenated vegetable oil margarines, easily oxidized polyunsaturated fats and to go low fat thus being forced into a high carb diet. Changing our diets thus would prevent heart attacks and prolong our lives.

    The result – heart disease is the number one killer and type II diabetes is on a rampage. The same people that said using trans fat laden hydrogenated vegetable oils margarines instead of butter would prevent clogging of the arteries are now saying “trans fats are not safe at any level” Numerous studies have shown a correlation with diets containing trans fats with heart disease and the onset of diabetes!

    While heart disease has increased from being a rare disease before 1920 to the point that it is the number one killer of Americans today…

    Get this: the consumption of animal and vegetable saturated fats have decreased over the past 80 years

    And this: butter consumption has decreased dramatically – in the good ‘ol days we enjoyed 18 pounds per person per year – now it is under 5 pounds.

    And this: the consumption of refined and hydrogenated vegetable oils have increased 400%

    And this: there has been a 60% increase in the diet of refined and highly processed foods

    And this: people with low cholesterol have a higher mortality rate than those with high cholesterol

    Now, I’m no math genius or rocket scientist but it sounds like avoiding saturated fats like butter, coconut and palm oil and skipping eggs isn’t going to help me live longer!

    Well, what about all those scientific studies that support avoiding all these goodies? In a word, “Interpretation.” You can take all the scientific double blind, meta blahblah studies on lipids and disease and read them til you’re totally cross eyed and blind. But depending on who funded the study and how you interprete or statistically massage the results – you can have it support any theory you want. Even when the results don’t support the theory we are still outright lied to.

    Take the famous Framingham study: We all heard that the study supported lowering saturated fats and cholesterol but the truth is…

    William Castelli the lead researcher for the Framingham study reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine in 1982 that The more saturated fat & cholesterol & the more calories consumed, the LOWER the rate of heart disease”

    Ok, so here is my opinion…humans are complicated – science has figured out A LOT about the human body but it hasn’t even begun to figure out what makes us tick…so why shouldn’t we rely on what our ancestors have eaten for the past 10,000 years? Man-made foods are not supporting the longevity of human kind, in fact they are killing us! We eat and eat and eat all this refined stuff yet are so malnourished.

    Where do we begin…start slow. Replace man-made with nature made.

    Toss out the margarine – it is 100% human-tinkered fake food! Our bodies can’t use it to build or repair new cells – Instead use unsalted organic cultured butter. As we use to say in my favorite restaurant as we slaved away during the dinner rush, “Everything is better with butter!”

    Now, I’m not saying eat a pound a day or even a tablespoon a day. A dab on your veggies – broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes…makes all those veggies taste better and helps you metabolize the fat soluble vitamins. How about a teaspoon to finish off a tasty pan sauce? The butter brings all the flavors together like nothing else can. You enjoy your food more which helps relieve stress! Now reducing stress…that will help prolong your life for sure!

    Remember, as a wise scientist said, “Traditional Knowledge has been Validated in the Laboratory of Life!”