Today I’m posting a recipe for a Zucchini and Ricotta Galette. For over a year the inspiration recipe has been either posted on my kitchen cabinet door or in a stack of “must try” recipes in the kitchen. While I’ve had the ingredients more than once, I wanted to make it while my vegetarian daughter was here. Finally, all the stars aligned and I made it on July 4th this year. And it was a hit!!
The Inspiration Recipe
The recipe that I had printed was from a blogger I had never heard of before. While that doesn’t bother me, I’m not naming her because the recipe was unclear and I don’t want to detract from her. Because I am an experienced cook, I was able to muddle through. But when my daughter asked for the recipe, I decided to go to her blog and look at her pre-recipe writings to get clarification. It was there that I learned that the recipe was actually from The Smitten Kitchen. That name I know!
While the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen was clearer, I had already put my spin on it. I typed it for my daughter the way we had done it. And because She is who she is, she’s going to make some changes too. She wants more Zucchini and I wanted more cheese. Go figure.
What Is A Galette?
Galette Des Rois
The French created the Galette years ago. They called it Galette Des Rois. Traditionally, it was puff pastry filled a creamy almond custard filling with a charm hidden inside. It was usually made at Epiphany. It looked like this:
The modern galettes can be sweet or savory and the pastry is made from any form of dough: puff pastry, pie dough, shortcrust dough, and bread dough. The filling is placed on top and the dough is pulled toward the center leaving the center exposed. Some people call them a “rustic pie.”
The Sweet Galette
A sweet version can be filled with your favorite fruit filling: apple, cherry, blueberry, peach, anything that holds its shape well enough to be in a flat free-form crust. They can be pie sized or single-serving sized, like this one.
The Savory Galette
Apparently, vegetarians decided that the free-form rustic pie could easily be transformed into a savory pie. And the rest is history. We now have all sorts of savory galette recipes to choose from. Today’s recipe is a Savory Galette.
Making It Your Own
Once you get the hang of making a galette, you’ll be thinking of all sorts of ways to make them. I encourage you to be creative. Just remember that the ingredients need to be firm enough that they won’t run out before they set up in the oven. I actually love the crust that The Smitten Kitchen created. It’s buttery, it’s sturdy enough to stand up to the filling but still tender. When making a sweet filling, your favorite pie dough or puff pastry will also work, just make sure they aren’t rolled out too thin. Once you make this one, you’ll have an idea of how thick the crust should be.
The Zucchini Ricotta Galette
So on to our recipe of the day. As I said, the original recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen. I made her crust just as she directed. It was the filling I made differently.
Notes on the Crust
The secret to a tender crust is to not work it too much. Working the dough develops the gluten and makes for a tough crust. The secret to a flaky crust is two-fold. One, make sure all your ingredients are ice cold. The flour here is put in the freezer. The butter and other ingredients are kept cold until used. This is essential. I can’t stress that enough. The other part is to cut the flour and butter with the pastry blender just until the butter is the size of small peas. Don’t cut it too much, you want chunks of butter to melt, steam, and form air pockets. This creates the flakes.
You can make the dough earlier in the day. Even though I haven’t tried it, you could probably roll it out, cover it, and put it back in the fridge to fill and bake it later in the day. This is unnecessary, though, as you’ll be waiting for the oven to come to temperature, anyway.
Notes On The Filling
First, I made my own Ricotta because it’s hard to find Ricotta that doesn’t have additives like carrageenan, which is a carcinogen and my daughter gets really sick on it to boot. We also like ours made with whole milk. Skim milk ricotta – to me – doesn’t have much flavor.
Making your own is SUPER, SUPER easy. You warm the milk, add an acid (I chose powdered citric acid, but you can use lemon juice), allow it to separate into curds and whey, drain, salt and chill (or use right away). Truly, it’s that easy. I made it in the morning before we left for the day and used also it when we returned. Be prepared to only get about 1-1/2 cups of ricotta out of 8 cups of milk. The leftover whey is full of protein and nutrients. In Europe, they drink whey as a beverage, sometimes made into lemonade. You can add it to smoothies, broths, use it to make your own fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, use it as the cooking liquid for potatoes, rice, pasta, and other grains, even use it when soaking beans. It lasts 6 months in your refrigerator.
We decided that since I didn’t have fresh basil as the recipe suggested, we would use dried basil. Sprinkling dried basil on top after it’s baked as the original recipe directed would not have imparted much flavor. So I decided to add it to the cheese mixture. Usually, when substituting dried for fresh you divide the measurement by 3. I was 30 hours post-surgery and didn’t make the conversion correctly. The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon fresh. I added 1 tablespoon dried, looked at it and added more. Yikes! That’s like 4-6 times the conversion. But, you know what? It was PERFECT! The final adjustment we made was to sprinkle the salt and pepper on top of the zucchini before folding over the crust. We wanted the zucchini seasoned, not the cheese. If you prefer not to look at the pepper, add it to the cheese mixture.
The Zucchini is to be sliced thinly and evenly so they all bake evenly. If you don’t have a mandolin to do this and aren’t skilled at slicing even 1/4-inch slices, you could grate the zucchini instead. That’s what my daughter plans to do. Either way, make sure you salt it as directed and then press out as much moisture as you can before assembling. If you are grating, I suggest putting it in a strainer, then when you’re ready to use it, put it on a couple of layers of clean kitchen towels, roll up and squeeze to get out the final moisture.
Placing the Filling
Finally, I want to give a hint about getting the spacing right for the turned-over edge. In my post-operative state, I said, “Okay, it called for a 12′ circle and to turn over 2 inches, so that means a 10” center. No, that means an 8-inch center. You can just eyeball 2 inches all the way around, or, if you have an 8-inch plate, you could center it, pressing a tiny, tiny bit to leave a little impression as a guideline. Totally unnecessary, but helpful if you’re unsure or are a perfectionist. 😉
On To the Recipe
Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. For my daughter (who doesn’t bake much) to say that she’s going to make it herself and it’s her new 2nd favorite food, that’s saying it was good and it was simple.
1-1/4 Cups All-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 tsp salt
8 TB Butter, Cold, Unsalted, cut into pieces and returned to refrigerator
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
2 zucchinis, about 8 inches long, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp Olive oil (or oil of your choice, I chose almond oil)
1 med garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 ounce)
1 to 1-1/2 TB dried basil
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
**begin approximately 3 hours prior to eating:**
Put flour in the freezer. Set timer for 30 minutes (You could do earlier in the day.)
If you still need to make the ricotta, do that now.
Cut the butter into pieces and return to the fridge.
Measure your pastry wet ingredients in the measuring cup and whisk. Place in fridge.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside.
After the timer dings:
Whisk together the cold flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. Add the wet ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball, then flatten into a thick, round disc with smooth edges; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Set Timer for 1 hour
WHILE DOUGH IS CHILLING
Slice zucchini and spread it out over several layers of clean kitchen towels or paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain.
In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, dried basil, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together (you may strain out the garlic if desired).
Separate your egg and make the egg wash with the yolk and water. Set aside. Put pastry brush next to the egg wash.
When the timer says 15-20 minutes remaining
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F – even if you think your oven preheats faster than that. We need the butter in the crust cold and the oven to be hot to get the steam to form and puff the crust. This creates the tender flaky crust you want.
When the timer dings:
On a floured work surface, quickly roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. If desired, use an 8" plate to leave a GENTLE, LIGHT impression centered on the circle for a guideline. This is totally unnecessary, but for the timid and perfectionists, this is a helpful guide if you're using a baking tray or pizza stone.
Transfer to an UNgreased baking sheet, an 8-inch tart or pie pan, or even a pizza stone.* If using a pizza stone or baking tray, you may line it with parchment paper to make it easier to transfer it to a plate later.
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
Blot the zucchini dry with dry towels before using, then shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. We did two layers, and ate the few pieces we had leftover. 😉
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. For those who don't really like garlic, use a small sieve to drizzle the oil without the garlic pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
REST AND SERVE
Allow to stand for 5 or more minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
* If using a pizza stone or any flat tray, make sure to put a liner on the rack below in case it drips.
Supplies you might not have:
A pastry blender. I use mine often enough to be part of my normal toolkit.
A pastry brush. This is America’s Test Kitchen’s winner. It’s also the one I’ve had in my kitchen for many years. The fake bristled ones melt. The silicone ones just don’t work. An old-fashioned natural bristle brush works well. Wash it before use and lightly tug at the bristles to grab any loose ones. That only happens in the beginning, if at all. You will need to wash by hand, but it’s worth it to me.
I almost always buy eggs from pasture raised, organic hens. The difference in price can be substantial. Conventional eggs here are usually about $1 a dozen, sometimes a low as $0.49 and sometimes as high as $1.50. On the other hand, eggs from pasture raised, organic hens are usually $5 and up in my area. At the farmers market they are usually $8.00/dozen.
Pastured eggs are REALLY healthy. Just look at the lower cholesterol and fat in the pastured eggs in the blog link below.
We think that $5.00 a dozen is really expensive. But is it really?? Each large egg should weigh 1.625 ounces. So a dozen eggs weigh 19.5 ounces. The true cost of eggs from pasture-raised organic hens is $4.10#. You can’t buy 100% grass-fed organic beef, even on sale, for that price. So, putting in perspective it’s a good deal on quality protein.
For more information on the nutritional analysis of the different types of eggs, click on the picture below.
An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. I believe there is no other day on the calendar that expectations are so high and dashed hopes are more realized. This is mostly on the side of women.
She is thinking of all the Valentine gifts she would like
Flowers – Red Roses, usually
Chocolates – a big box, because I’m worth it
A romantic Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant
Maybe some wine, definitely candlelight
The single lady…a proposal
This is the Man…
Thinking…I wonder what she REALLY wants?
Let’s go back to the original definition from the Oxford Dictionary: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. In our minds, we envision what we want and expect it to be that way.
The reality is that most people will be disappointed on some level when the day is all done. Why? Because their expectations were not met.
How NOT to be Disappointed
I created a graphic that will help you. It is the true definition of love.
If we don’t expect anything, we won’t be disappointed. When we give without expecting anything in return, there’s no room for disappointment or anger.
I’m sure this wasn’t the blog you expected to read for Valentine’s Day. But it’s what you need to hear. Do you want roses? Either say so or buy them yourself. You want dinner at a fancy restaurant? Don’t expect it, say you’d like to do it – IF the finances are there to do so. Be open about where you want to go, too.
I remember one year many, many years ago when my husband splurged and took me to an expensive romantic German Restaurant. I had never been to a true German restaurant. He had spent a couple years in Germany when he was in the service. He loved German food. I don’t like German food. Never did, and still don’t. I just don’t like the flavor profiles. But I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t disappointed in a missed expectation. I saw that he wanted to give me a beautiful evening. I knew that he wanted to share his love of real German food with me. And I tried to like it, but just didn’t like it. We had a beautiful evening. We were together. That’s what mattered. (As a way to enjoy foods he liked, I redoubled my efforts to learn how to make traditional Polish food – food that he grew up eating and was totally foreign to me, too. Those were flavors I did like. That was a way to show love to him.)
Want to learn more about true love? Check out a blog I did a couple years ago: “What Is Love Anywy?”
February is National Creative Romance month. We all think about romance for Valentine’s Day, but what about the other days? There are 365 days a year. We should be celebrating our spouse and building our relationship every day of the year. I’m not talking about the way Valentine’s is celebrated, but in simple ways.
Ways to Create Romance Every Day
There are simple ways to tell your spouse that he is special every day of the year. Although there are many more ways, here are five to get you started.
Set a Beautiful Table
We set the table beautifully for company but not for those we love the most. When I had a house with a formal dining room, we almost always ate there. I set the table nicely every day with water goblets and the whole nine yards. Sure we had occasional pizza and a movie night, but usually we ate at the formal dining room so we focused on each other, not a TV.
Couples Time After the Kids are in Bed
My husband was a store manager. There were nights he got home very late. Even though he was with people all day, when he came home he wanted to talk – sometimes for 2 hours! He wanted to unload all the stresses of the day. I tried helping him by listening without talking and providing a little treat.
Some nights I would have a tablecloth on the living room floor, music playing quietly, lights low or candles, and finger foods that we could enjoy together. Some nights I had the table set with a small treat on pretty dishes. Again, I would have candles.
Some evenings my husband was home. If we were alone, I would plan a nice dinner. If we could afford beef tenderloin, I would make individual beef wellingtons as I knew that was a favorite. But any meal can be a nice meal if the atmosphere is calm, peaceful, and looks special.
Make the Bedroom a Haven
As your budget allows, make your bedroom a haven. Clear out the junk, and create a calm, peaceful, uncluttered space. It doesn’t have to look like a hotel room. It doesn’t need to be an expensive makeover. Just clearing out the junk, cleaning it and making the bed does wonders.
Take a Walk
Never underestimate the benefit of fresh air and walking hand in hand. Getting out of the house away from kids, phones, internet and all the other things that distract people from enjoying each other is a major relationship builder.
Your Favorite Ways
What are your favorite ways to build your marriage relationship and create an atmosphere of romance? Tell us in the comments.
Today is National “Send a Card to a Friend Day.” Years ago we sent cards often. Phone calls were expensive and there wasn’t social media or even the Internet (I know, how did we live, right?) We sent letters and cards. They weren’t terribly expensive like some cards today, nor was postage expensive like it is today.
What’s in Your Mailbox?
When I go to my mailbox today, I am usually shocked if there is a card in there. Years ago cards came often. We ran to check the mail. That’s kinda sad.
Let’s Change That!
So, let’s change that! Let’s get out a card (or two, or three, or more) and write a short note to a friend or loved relative we don’t see often – even if it just says. “I Miss You” or “You’re a Great Friend, Have a Great Day!”
So, whether you’re a crafter and like to make handmade cards
Crafting a Special Card
WaterColor Handcrafted Cards
Or, if you buy a card – even one from the Dollar Store
Purchased Greeting Card
Send out a Card.
Say, “I’m thinking of You.”
Say, “You’re Special.”
A card takes more effort than a post. It takes more effort than a text. A card says, you’re special enough to receive a little extra effort on my part.
Today is National Frozen Yogurt Day. Frozen Yogurt was first introduced by H.P. Hood as “Forgurt” in 1970 as a healthier alternative than ice cream. The reasoning back then was the fat was bad for you and we needed an alternative. As the “hippies of the ’60’s” were leaving their drugs behind and instead insisting on healthy foods, yogurt was then becoming one of the “in” foods. Frozen yogurt was a natural progression of that demand.
Is it Healthier?
I used one of the recipes from the National Day Calendar site, which they pulled from All Recipes. In my opinion, it not healthy food, but it does have its benefits over ice cream.
The first benefit is that if you’re going to eat all that sugar, having some good probiotics to offset all that sugar is beneficial to your gut. The probiotics will eat away at that sugar. That being said, you don’t know when you pull a carton of frozen yogurt off the shelf if it has live cultures or not. Making your own with a brand known to have live cultures ensures that you do have live cultures in your yogurt.
The recipe from All Recipes calls for lowfat yogurt. While this sounds good, fat helps us feel full and natural fats feed the brain and do good in our body. The American Heart Association has backpeddled on the dangers of natural fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat, as the thousands who have lost a lot of weight very fast on the Keto diet will attest to.
I am at my thinnest when I rely on meat and fat and leave behind the grains. On Sunday when I wrote about African Heritage Week, I explained why for me those should make up the bulk of my diet. That may not be true for everyone.
I glance over to my bookshelf and see books such as,Eat Fat, Look Thin by Bruce Fife and Fat for Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola. While others on the shelves of books may not say it in their titles, many others explain the reason why we need fat in our diet. The number one reason is to feed the brain. The second reason is that it helps us feel full. Don’t we want to feel full?
Sugar or Diet Sweeteners?
This recipe had a good amount of sugar in it, but not nearly as much as you’d find in a traditional ice cream product. Party because you expect frozen yogurt to be tart, not ultra sweet. It is still less sugar than you’d get in a slice of chocolate cake. That shoudl be a plus.
I’d stay away from the “sugar-free” versions as they contain Splenda (sucralose) and/or Nutrisweet (Aspartame). I won’t have either in my house. To learn more about the dangers of artificial sweeteners I HIGHLY suggest reading the book Sweet Deceptionby Dr. Joseph Mercola. And for this recipe, if you substitute an artificial sweetener you may change the texture so much the product will be undesirable.
I worked for the food industry back in the 1980’s when aspartame first came out. From how sick we got when we drank soda using it, the food journals explaining why it was bad, and the controversy back then, it was decided that the manufacturer I worked for would never make a product with aspartame in it. And as far as I know, they never did.
Sucralose is another product that makes me sick. From what I’ve read, it’s not good for you, either. Recent research concurs with the wisdom of the past and what many naturalists have said for years: chemical sweeteners just aren’t good for you and there’s no evidence that they help you lose weight. In fact, some of them turn off the receptors in the brain that signal you are full. Then you eat more that you would have if you had used regular sugar. As these artificial sweeteners have increased in usage, so have our waistlines.
This is where ice cream and frozen treats become a seriously sweet and unhealthy food. Moose Tracks, Snickers, Cotton Candy, Birthday Cake… There are aisles of choices. Usually these ingredients are very sweet. The addition of plain nuts may not be as bad, but they are still additional fat and calories. Fruit usually needs to be sweetened beofre adding to a dessert, which means more sugar.
The Bottom Line
I am not against any delicious food in moderation. When I was a healthy size 4/6 people in my BNI group would laugh because I knew the flavor of the day for the entire upcoming month at our local custard shop (or at least the flavors I liked). They would ask how I could eat custard regularly and be thin. It was easy. When I got the pints home, I would scoop one scoop per container and freeze it. This ensured that I was getting just a small serving – about 100-150 calories, not a bowlful and hunreds of calories. It also allowed me to have an abundance of flavors on hand to pick from. I wasn’t denying myself a treat. I was just eating a healthy portion.
The recipe I used was from All Recipes. I made chocolate frozen yogurt. I made a huge change to the recipe instructions right away. I used a double boiler so the chocolate wouldn’t burn. The instructions said to cook the chocolate, sugar, cornstarch and evaporated milk in a saucepan stirring constantly to prevent burning. This is a disaster waiting to happen. If the flame is too high and you turn to measure the remaining ingredients, a child distracts you, or any other distraction, and it burns. Just be safe and make it over a double boiler. It adds a couple of minutes but in the end, you don’t have a burned recipe and if you do get distracted, it’s not a disaster.
I will do the instructions in picture form. You can read the instructions on the recipe as posted in All Recipes.
In a double boiler, mix sugar, cornstarch, evaporated milk and chocolate chips
Heated Chocolate Mixture
Add Yogurt and vanilla
Stir well. Make sure to use a hot pad as the bowl will be hot
Mixture will thicken as it cools in the ice bath
When completely cool, the base will be stiff like a thick pudding
Place in Ice Cream maker
I have a Dovier manual ice cream maker. A few turns every few minutes for 20 minutes and you have soft serve ice cream or frozen yogurt. Mine is old but it’s perfect. No salt needed. No electricity needed. You just put the insert in the freezer overnight (I actually have it in the freezer all the time ready to go).
Beginning of freeze stage
After 20 minutes
Yum, Frozen Chocolate Yogurt
Now doesn’t this look yummy????
It tastes very good. It does have the tang of yogurt, as expected. It’s not overly sweet. You could vary the flavor by using different chocolate chips. I had some espresso chocolate chips here that I may use at another time. For the initial recipe, though, I wanted to use the ingredients just as they were in the recipe.
Today is International Safer Internet Day. It is observed around the world, having originated in Europe. Safer Internet Day is an awareness-raising campaign that started in Europe more than a decade ago and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries. The purpose of Safer Internet Day is to create a safer and better internet around the globe.
Ways to Be Safe
There are some common sense ways to be safe, but I still know people who ignore basic safety protocols and then wonder why they’ve been hacked (again).
When surfing the web, make sure you are using a secure connection. It’s SO tempting to sign in to the connection at your doctor’s office, the coffee shop, or restaurant, then while you are waiting do some surfing, shopping, banking, or whatever. This is just not safe! You should use a VPN or your phone data plan.
We hear so much about passwords yet people use the same ones over and over and they aren’t safe, either. I remember at one time having the same password for everything. That was a VERY long time ago and it no longer the case. Experts now say that the best passwords are either created with a password manager (we had Roboform in college) or phrases that substitute a “1” for an “l” (one for an l), or using a dollar sign instead of an “s” and adding some numbers. Additionally, they should be a MINIMUM of 12 characters. Yes, twelve. Twenty is better if the site will accept 20. So, an example might be:
My neighbor doesn’t have 16 cats, but this is an example of a phrase that you could use. Something that’s real to you, something you’ll remember, but is hard for a hacker. That might be a good solution for your email account or some other account you access often, but I must have 50 different logins, maybe more. Start counting them all and pretty soon you’ll realize just how many you actually have. So, a password manager is a better option for me.
Two factor Authorization
I have this on a couple accounts and it’s annoying, but I understand. This is where you sign in with the right password and ID, but still need to give them the code they send via text. My bank requires this unless you use a fingerprint. Even then, sometimes they will ask for the banking info, AND the two-factor authorization code. Definitely a pain when you aren’t near your login info, but again, I understand.
Safety on Social Media
This would be a VERY long list, but I’ll just name a couple items:
Beware of all the quizzes and giveaways on social media. They ask for information that you shouldn’t give. I seldom do the quizzes. When I do, I look carefully at the information they are asking me to provide. If they say they will have access to my FB profile, timeline, my friends’ lists (and sometimes THEIR timelines…), I click out of it REAL QUICK. I’m not giving that all away. They can look at MY public timeline, but my friends list? Their timelines? NO!!
Then they ask a bunch of questions in order to generate the answer. Look at these questions carefully. Some of the questions are the exact questions your bank or other institution asks when you forget your password or ID and need to verify you are who you say you are. They are gathering your personal information to steal your identity. Please be careful!
How many times do you get requests from someone that you don’t even know to send you a personal message? My homemaking Instagram account gets at least one request a week from men wanting to chat, “get to know me,” or whatever. One claimed to be the “personal” account of some famous person that I actually am acquainted with. So I responded with a question about a time we were together. No answer. Unless I know you personally or you ask if you can contact me personally on a specific post, expect that I will decline all DMs on social media.
I don’t open links unless I know who they are or where I’m expected to go. I’m leery of them all at this point. If it’s something I really am interested in and click on it, I check the address: is it https? I know my site isn’t (I don’t know how to get it to https, even though I know it’s free to do and have been in business long enough to verify), but I’m not asking you for any information. I’m not asking for your name, address, or even your email address. The outbound links I have on my site are secured sites.
Get the best information
I’m not an expert in this field and I don’t claim to know nearly enough. I am going to send you to a few sites that do have better information. They are authoritative. They also have information on cyberbullying and safety for your children and teens. Connect Safely also has quick guides you can download.
Today is National Homemade Soup Day. Homemade soups, especially those made correctly, are superior to store-bought any day. Chicken “bone” broth is known to have healing properties. That’s not just an old wives tale, it’s a proven scientific fact. It’s known to relieve cold symptoms and even reduce inflammation. We keep hearing that inflammation is the basis for all disease. Dr. Axe will tell you it is gut healing and inflammation starts in the gut.
In addition to the all the healing properties of chicken “bone” broth, the collagen helps to rebuild your skin, nails, and hair. Beautiful skin starts with a good diet, not some expensive beauty product. Strong nails, silky hair, strong bones, ligaments, and tendons all need collagen.
Chicken is the only place to get collagen type II, I’m told. Type II rebuilds cartilage. If you want to read more about which type heals or rebuilds what area of the body, including sources of the types, I suggest this blog post by Mauer Sports Nutrition. It’s pretty comprehensive.
Broth, Stock, and Bone Broth
If you missed my earlier post on the differences between a broth, stock, and bone broth, click here.
Ways to Use Broth
Egg Drop Soup – the True Breakfast of Champions
Let me count the ways…seriously, you’ll never regret having bone broth in the house. It’s a perfect start to your day, especially when you add eggs. Eggs?? Yes, Egg Drop Soup is simple and very nourishing to start your day. I did a post on it a while back. It explains why it’s a good start to your day. Here’s the link for Egg Drop Soup.
Cream Soups, Stews and More
Broth is the basis for other good recipes. Chicken broth is the basis for many cream soups, including my Cream of “you choose your vegetable” soup recipe. You choose the vegetable. Leftovers are a great choice and means you can have it on the table in just a few minutes. The same principle applies for stews, “instant” gravy, and more.
Rice is just rice until you cook it in a good broth. Yum! Try it next time!
My Bone Broth Recipe
I am going to give you the recipe for what I understand to be the most nutritious way to make chicken stock or “bone broth.” Even with this method, there are still two styles of making this. Some people like to roast the bones for a few hours, some don’t. I don’t. I prefer the non-roasted flavor. Roasting poultry bones adds a bitter flavor that I just don’t like. But if you want to roast the bones with the veggies ahead of time, by all means, do so. You can also use leftover bones from chicken or turkey. Grandma always did!
There are a couple “strange” or unusual ingredients in bone broth. The first is chicken feet. Chicken feet contain a lot of cartilage, which is necessary to create one of the main healing ingredients in the soup. The second is apple cider vinegar“with the mother.” That means it is raw, unpasteurized, generally organic, fermented in a natural way AND there will be gut healing bacteria and raw enzymes still in the vinegar. You will usually see “the mother” settled at the bottom of the container. I use the Bragg’s brand. There are other brands. I just know Bragg’s and trust their process. The vinegar is necessary to extract the nutrients out of the chicken.
Making The Broth
We start with extracting the collagen out of the cartilage and other nutrients and imparting flavors. This is a long process. I wouldn’t ever go less than 12 hours for this part. Generally I simmer the broth about 24 hours.
Broth after 20 hours of simmering
We will finish by adding parsley to impart its nutrients – which are damaged by long cooking. Making bone broth is simple, but takes a long time. After removing the solids we quick cool the broth to keep the nutrients and to prevent bacteria from growing.
Place pot in an ice bath to cool the broth quickly
While the broth is cooling, get your containers ready. I’m going to use all this bone broth to make other recipes, so I will just refrigerate it all.
That’s it. It’s EASY, but it takes a day to make good bone broth. You won’t regret it. It is DELICIOUS!!
Learn to make a healing bone broth the right way. This is the base recipe, add what you want to make it your own.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 15 minutes
Author Linda, The Industrious Homemaker
3 lb Chicken parts – backs, necks, wing tips, etc. preferably pasture raised, organic
3 ea Chicken feet, (Asian or Mexican market)
1 large onion, papery skin removed, quartered, roots and all
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped – tops and bottom included
1 ea carrot, coarsley chopped, unpeeled, base included
1/2 – 1 tsp peppercorns
2 ea bay leaves
1 TB salt, optional, depending on use
2-3 TB apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s or similar quality
4 QTS cold, filtered water
Add at the end:
1 bunch parsley, rinsed
Additional Ingredients, as desired
1-2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1-2 sprigs oregano (or a tsp dried)
Put all ingredients EXCEPT the parsley in a stainless stock pot. Let stand approximately 30 minutes to an hour,
Bring to a boil, then IMMEDIATELY turn down the temperature to a simmer. Watch for scum. Remove any scum that rises to the top.
You may partially cover after the first couple hours. There shouldn’t be any more scum at this point.
Allow to simmer at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours.
Add the bunch of parsley. continue simmering 15 minutes more.
Use a slotted cooking spoon to remove as much of the vegetables and bones as possible.
Remove to a colander that has been placed over a clean bowl to strain out more of the liquid.
Cool the broth quickly using an ice bath and stirring frequently. A proper ice bath will cool the broth to 40 degrees in about 20 minutes. A larger recipe may take a little longer.*
Add the strained broth from the colander.
The temperature should be about 40 degrees before storing the broth. The broth will be the consistency of soft-set Jello at this pont.
Discard bones and vegetables. They have exhausted their nutrients and flavor.
Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the cooled broth into containers. Refrigerate or freeze, as desired. You may remove the fat that accumulates** or stir back in.
*DO NOT place in the fridge, freezer, or out in the cold to cool. For safety, please use an ice bath to cool your soup to 40 degrees quickly and safely.
** I remove the fat and freeze the “disk” in a ziplock bag. Then when I need to fry some chicken for a stir-fry or other use, the added flavor of the chicken fat is AWESOME. If serving cornbread with a chicken dish, you can use the fat to butter the pan. I don’t make cornbread, but I assume you can use the fat in place of some of the butter or other fat.
If this broth was made correctly, the use of wing tips and feet along with the apple cider vinegar will pull the collagen out of the chicken. The broth should be like jello once it’s cooled. In fact, by the time you cool it to 40 degrees, it will already be like soft-set jello (see picture when taking the temperature). The collagen is healing to the gut, to your cells, to your joints, and may even renew your skin and strengthen your nails. Drink a cup or two daily for best results.
Please comment below when you’ve made the Bone Broth and tell me how you like it!!
In conjunction with African Heritage Month, the first week in February is African Heritage and Health Week. It is a week to celebrate the foods, flavors and the healthy cooking that form the traditional African diet. The focus of the week is to look back at the traditional foods and flavors that ARE healthy and incorporate them in the diets of the African American population today as well as to introduce them into the culture of all Americans.
Why Look Back at African Foods?
About 11 years ago I was asked to speak on health and nutrition to a primarily African American church. I was to speak for about an hour. Instead, the ladies kept me there for about 6 hours asking questions and I was asked to come back twice to speak more the topic. One of the ladies asked me to just tell them what I ate so I the could emulate me and be healthier. But I said something that I believed and wasn’t accepted as true yet in the health and wellness community: you should eat according to your heritage and listen to your body for clues as to what is healthy for you.
As African Americans, their heritage is more equator living. My heritage is primarily Scandinavian and Canadian Indian. I don’t do well with a diet heavy in vegetables, fruits, and seeds. I do well with a diet heavy in meat, meat fats, cultured dairy with a smaller amount of vegetables and even less fruit. They, on the other hand, do well with fruits, vegetables, seeds, eating meat only sparingly. Their fats should come from tropical foods: olives, coconut, etc. Mine should primarily come from meats and dairy.
Listen to Your Body
I stressed that we should listen to our bodies (not our minds) in addition to knowing our heritage. Not only is olive oil not native to Scandinavia or Canada, but I’m also allergic to it. I feel a little sick from it and if I have too much my mouth and lips will blister. I also don’t do well with cooked tomatoes. I will get yet another stomachache. Sigh. Pizza is okay, lasagna, not so much. Wheat causes me to bloat and gain weight. If I have too much, my joints get inflamed. I wake up stiff and feeling old. It doesn’t go away with just moving around like someone with arthritis. If I listen to my body, I am thin, healthy, and feel great. If I don’t, I gain weight, am stiff and feel terrible.
African American Diseases
First let’s look at the word disease. It really is dis-ease. Your body is not at ease, it’s not working properly. The question becomes, why? When Africans came to America they left their native foods behind and started eating the foods found here. Yes, some of their culture came with them, but the same foods, the same spices weren’t always found here and when they were they were expensive.
Additionally, the way many Africans came to the Americas was through slavery. They ate what was provided to them – the foods of the Europeans. Their bodies didn’t do well with those foods. They became lethargic. Add to that the long hours of working and their bodies started to break down. Eventually, diseases were attributed to their race that were not really a race “defect” but food related. They were not eating according to their heritage.
Enter “Rediscover Goodness Oldways”
Oldways is a “nonproﬁt dedicated to improving public health by inspiring individuals and organizations to embrace the healthy, sustainable joys of the “old ways” of eating—heritage-based diets high in taste, nourishment, sustainability, and joy.” On their site I read what I already knew: Africans did not have the health issues that are attributed to African Americans until they were here eating our foods. I grew up in a primarily African American neighborhood and the foods I remember most were chicken dripping in spicy barbeque sauce, ribs, also dripping in spicy barbeque sauce, fried chicken, and foods like that. Those foods were not native to Africa. They were Americanized foods.
Going Back to Heritage Eating
Oldways desires to teach different ethnic groups how to cook their native foods, which in turn will be healthier. The diseases that plague the group will diminish or disappear.
Can I Still Eat Foods from Other Cultures?
Of course, we can eat food from other cultures, but by knowing the foods that are right for our own bodies, we can choose to eat foods that are best for us most of the time and eat from other cultures on occasion. I still eat lasagna, but only once every couple of years. It’s my favorite of the tomato-based foods, so I’ll eat that over spaghetti, ziti, or other heavily tomato-based foods. I’ll have a bean burrito on occasion, but not on a regular basis. Corn is not my friend. Most of the time I don’t eat it. Again, it’s a rare treat. Sad because sweet corn dripping in butter! is SO good
So this morning I tried one of their recipes for you. African Heritage Spicy Chickpeas. It was pretty easy, but the flavor was not as I would expect from a traditional African food. Personally, I would either let it stew longer or cook it at pressure in a pressure cooker (such as an InstantPot) for a few 2-3 minutes to infuse the flavors. But I’m not African. Maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be.
African Heritage Spicy Chickpeas
First I’m going to apologize ahead of time for the pictures. I made this before my morning coffee. A mistake indeed!!
Clean Your Workspace
Assemble Your Ingredients
Chop The Onions and let sit 5 minutes to Improve Health Benefits
Open Your Cans and Measure Your Spices
Saute the Onions until Translucent
Cook Until Fragrant – This is traditional in Indian and African Cooking
Add Tomatoes Cook
Cook 7-10 minutes
Enjoy (I suggest with a spoon due to the chickpeas)
The Instructions for this recipe can be found on the Oldways site. African Heritage Spicy Chickpeas. The recipe says it serves 8. Seriously, even the chickpeas can states 2 services per can, so 2 cans would be four servings. I ate one-fourth of the recipe and was just adequately full. Serving other vegetables and some fruit afterward would have been the perfect dinner.
This month is National Fasting February. I’m so glad that they have a month for this now. It is being celebrated in conjunction with American Heart Health month.
How I Learned About Fasting
I learned about fasting back in 2002. I heard about it in two places about the same time. One was a group for Christian wives and the other was a preacher who explained that in the New Testament it said when you fast not if you fast (Matt 6:16). The assumption that Jesus made was that you were going to fast. So I started fasting 2 days a week, sometimes more when there was a prayer focus.
What it Did For Me
I Lost Weight
I had some other things going on in my life at that time and I changed my diet also, but the fasting helped me to have more control over what I ate. It seemed like once I got used to the fasting I was able to say no to foods whereas before that I couldn’t. I also was introduced to coconut oil from Tropical Traditions at that time and added a quarter cup of that to my diet every day. Between everything that was going on I very quickly lost 85 pounds.
Physical Ailments were Healing
When you lose that kind of weight there’s always the risk that your heart will become weaker. Anorexics often die from heart failure because they don’t get enough protein to feed their heart and keep it strong. What my doctor noticed, though, is that I was getting healthier as I was losing the weight even though I was losing weight at an incredible rate. Later I learned that fasting actually puts your body in a repair mode. So by fasting my body was repairing my organs and other things that were wrong prior to fasting. Additionally, as I said I changed my diet it was a high-protein high-fat and very few carbs. I wasn’t doing Atkins and Keto wasn’t even a word yet, but it was what my body desired once I went on the coconut oil. So I went with it.
PBS Program on Fasting
Many years later I saw on PBS a program about fasting done by Michael Mosley, a British medical journalist. It was a fascinating program. He went around the world talking to researchers about fasting. He said that it didn’t matter which mode of fasting you chose, the benefits seem to be pretty much the same. When he talked about the benefits of fasting, I noticed that they were exactly what I had experienced in my own life. I had been fasting 2 days a week about 10 years at the time I saw that program.
After watching the program I did go out and buy several copies of his book call The Fast Diet. I have given away a couple of them already. And I see that not only has the book been revised and updated but the PBS show has also been revised and updated.
Because the information was so thorough and good, at this point I’m going to send you over to National Day Calendar’s site for the information on intermittent fasting. They also have links there for a site called Life Apps and a free intermittent fasting app which helps you achieve your goals. Both of the sites have very good and recent information and I do hope that you’ll go out there and look at them. It makes no sense for me to restate what they have already very clearly and concisely stated on their sites.