Mushroom Soup – Boosts Immune System

This mushroom soup is my very favorite soup! If you want a healthy life, mushrooms will elevate you! Skip the supplement aisle and pick up some mushrooms. An all-natural multivitamin and an antioxidant to fight viruses and a plethora of other age related ailments makes mushrooms a super food. A good reason to add mushrooms to your daily diet. The earthy, beef flavour of mushrooms is a favorite for vegans and an addition to Keto diets. Why is this mushroom soup so splendid? The answer is the porcini mushroom.
Porcini mushrooms are tops in — F-L-A-V-O-R 🌶️ T-O-W-N .

Lady Kathy


Lady Kathy spent summers in Italy eating fresh fish & olives. She helped pick the large porcini mushrooms in the Italian alps for various dishes. Reminiscent of her childhood, Lady Kathy’s Porcini/ Mushroom Soup is a little bit of Heaven on earth!

LADY KATHY'S Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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INGREDIENTS
DEHYDRATED Porcini mushrooms: 10 pieces (a handful) of dried porcini mushroom

FOR THE SOUP:
500 gm ( 2 cups) brown (cremini) mushrooms, washed and quartered
10 parsley (half bunch)
10 cilantro (half bunch)
1 red onion chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. quinoa (heaping)
3 tbsp. Olive oil
Salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
REHYDRATE Porcini Mushrooms
In a 500 ml (2 cups) measuring cup add the dried porcini and pour 400 ml (14 oz.) boiling water over the mushrooms. Let it stand for 30 mins. The porcini will relax and the trapped sand will fall to the bottom of the cup. After the porcini has cooled, take the porcini slices out of the measuring cup and place them in a 15/20 cm (6″ – 8″) diameter sieve. Rinse them under gently running water to make sure no sand is present on the slices -if needed.

SOUP:

  1. In a medium size sauce pot put olive oil, onion, clove garlic, and sauté until onion turns golden.
  2. Add cremini mushrooms, parsley, cilantro, and 700 ml ( 3 cups) water. Get it to a light boil. Throw out the clove of garlic.
  3. Add 1 tbsp. quinoa, salt and pepper, continue simmering.
  4. Throw the rinsed porcini slices into the simmering soup.
  5. Line the sieve with cheesecloth or 2 sheets of paper towel. Hold it above the pot. Pour the porcini water slowly into the lined sieve so it drips into the soup. Leave the last half inch of water with the debris (if any) in the measuring cup and discard it.
  6. Simmer for 15 mins
  7. With a smaller sieve -or slotted spoon- take out the vegetables etc. and put into a food processor with bit of soup and purée.
  8. Pour purée back into the rest of the soup and stir.

What are Porcini Mushrooms?

A rich, heady, meaty mushroom with a deeper and nuttier flavor than white, button mushrooms. Sold both fresh and dried, porcini mushrooms are prized in Italian and French cuisine. They vary in size from a medium to jumbo sizes – depending on the richness of the soil. These popular mushrooms (also known as king bolete or cèpe in French) are grown naturally in pine forests at the base of trees. Some of the porcini mushrooms may have white spots on them. That is a natural coloring from the skins of the mushrooms. It is not mold and is perfectly safe to eat. Note: Porcini, meaning “piglet” in Italian. Are you thinking truffles? I did not know that porcini mushrooms are regulated by the Italian gov’t, the same as truffles.

Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms are small- to medium-sized brown mushrooms that have an earthy, mild taste. While the difference in taste between white button mushrooms and creminis is small, some people find the flavor of creminis to be richer and more appealing.

Mushroom BENEFITS:

Bonus: Aid In Weight Loss Programs! Mushrooms keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and is associated with a strong immune system. Research suggests that turkey tail mushrooms may enhance gut health as it contains prebiotics that feed and nourish the good bacteria in your gut .

FOOD TIP: Shiitake mushrooms are a good substitute for porcini mushrooms.(less earthy but similar meaty texture). A garlic farmer once told me that fresh is best-dried is second best. Microwaving and grilling are the best ways to cook mushrooms without slashing their antioxidant power. Complimentary additions to the soup are garlic, shallots, celery and roasted chestnuts.

Dried Mushrooms

Freezer friendly Mushroom soup is loaded with protein and fiber. Low in saturated fat, gluten free and easy to digest. Make a batch and freeze a few individual servings for an easy cup of soup!!

Mango Chutney – Extraordinaire

This is a tasty and healthy condiment will add a “je ne sais quoi to your dinner or appetizer.  This is my best version of mango chutney.   Everyone loves it!  Add mango pizzazz to your  crab cakes, chicken schnitzel and veal.
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large mango cubed
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 T. cilantro* (aka. coriander) leaves minced
  • 2 T. dried black currants
  • Juice of 2 lime (or 1 lemon + 1 lime)
  • Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss.
Serve with crab cakes, chicken, veal or scallops.
To plate an appetizer, place chutney on plate and food on top.


DID YOU KNOW?
*CILANTRO
Like a rose by any name will smell just as sweet. Call it what you may, hara dhania, CILANTRO or coriander. They are, one and the same ingredient.
*Coriander: Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley. But, commonly known as cilantro in North America.
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YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR  WEALTH
One cup of diced mango is 100 calories. YUM! The 20% folate (a form of vitamin E) in a mango is metabolized in the liver. Any drinkers with fatty livers will appreciate this fact. All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none as much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and orange. Currents have more antioxidants than blueberries. Mango and peppers are a dynamic duo! Right Batman!

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Black Rice was once “only” enjoyed by the Emperor and his royal court. It was forbidden for the commoners to eat this exquisite black rice. The tender, nutty flavoured rice is presumed to enrich one’s life and promote longevity.rice3 After I brought my chilled rice salad to the office,  I noticed that all the staff made it the following week!  It travels well and is a great picnic salad.  A refreshing change from your typical summer salads.
I researched and tried out several versions but this recipe from the Bon Appétit June 2012 needs no improvement. black rice salad photo provided by Jason Lowe, Bon Appétit

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BLACK RICE SALAD – WITH MANGO AND NUTS
INGREDIENTS
2 oranges
1/4 cup or more fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 cups black rice
Kosher salt
2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2″dice
1 cup finely fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or unsalted cashews or other nuts
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, minced
black-rice-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1 ) Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
2 ) Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bow to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
3 ) Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
4 ) Set dressing aside.
5 ) Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes.
6 ) Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing and season lightly with salt; let cool.
7 ) Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8 ) Season lightly with salt and more lime juice if desired.
Serves: 6–8

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants; only black rice contains special variety of antioxidants known as anthocyanin antioxidants. (Thus the dark purple colour -like blueberries)  Additionally, black rice also contains an important antioxidant – Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions. Forbidden Black Rice contains 18 amino acids (same as Aloe Vera), iron, zinc, copper, carotene, and fiber. Mangos are #1 ~ the most popular fruit in the world.

black-rice

Emperor’s Dining Room

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderful black rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives. Black rice does provide many health benefits that the western world is now embracing with gusto.  It helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes with high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients and protects heart health (plaque formation). Herbalists use black rice as a prevention and treatment for ailments and as a blood tonifier. 

Black Rice was also considered to be somewhat of an aphrodisiac at one time.  I suspect the Emperors down throughout the ages shared their black rice stock with their consorts or concubines.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Rice.

Heirloom Forbidden Black rice is a strain from Indonesian Black Rice. photo provided by Spikenard and Myrrh

Black Rice is surely ‘one of the’… if not ‘the most’ special variety of rice that is cultivated today. Its special, near medicinal values is truly stunning, even today with all of our medical knowledge and tools. Every time you sit down to enjoy a few servings of this awesome super food, you can remind yourself that you are eating something that was once reserved for royalty. If a commoner was caught eating this rice it was “off with their heads”.

VARIATIONS
If you are trying to find something else to do with your avocados, my friend Monique from Ambitious Kitchen added avocado to her black rice salad. It is a nice touch and goes well. Instead of unsalted peanuts (Bon Appétit version), I used cashews while Monique added almonds to her salad. If you have the time and patience, roasted pecans would be wonderful too.
avocado-mango-blackrice-salad

Another gluten-free recipe that is filled with flavour , colour and the YUM-Factor!

kids32BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH!
A light touch: For milder flavour, use leeks instead of red onion and yellow or red bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers. Forget the nuts (allergies)  if you like.  Substitute other herbs for the cilantro. e.g. parsley, basil, fresh mint, fresh-soft rosemary (my favorite) or even peppery rocket lettuce. Know what your kids like to eat. I would even test out fresh oregano in this ‘forbidden’ black rice salad.  COLLEGE KIDS: Add a smidgen of fresh pressed garlic ~ to boost the immune system.  If it is not fresh I would not use the herbs. The dried herbs taste different. They have flavour, but are better suited in baking and cooking.

Y-U-M-M      Y-U-M-M-M!

A Refreshing Watermelon Salad

FLAVOR-TOWN-MED-SMALLHow about a refreshing and flavourful salad? This unusual combination is a real winner!
A ‘ONE HIT WONDER’ at my last dinner for 16 people. The colourful, delicious salad is an enjoyable departure from your regular dinner servings. Make this salad for your family and friends and watch the smiles appear.

With these refreshing, succulent flavours you have just entered ‘FLAVOUR TOWN’.

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INGREDIENTS
1 red onion
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 kilograms watermelon
1 bunch fresh mint, basil or cilantro (chopped)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100 grams pitted sun dried or Kalamata olives
250 grams feta cheese
watermelon-ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Cut the red onion into fine slices. Place the onions in the lime juice. This will soften the sharp flavour of the onions. The lime juice will turn a light pink colour.
2. While that is marinating, cut the watermelon into cubes or balls using a melon baller. This looks so appetizing.
3. Cut the feta into bite sized pieces.
4. Assemble the watermelon, herbs, and olives in a salad bowl.
5. Add the olive oil and black pepper to the onions and lime juice. Stir this to combine.
6. Add to the watermelon mix and gently toss.
7. Scatter the feta over the salad. Add these at the end to maintain the white colour.

Serves 8
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didyouknow2DID YOU KNOW? Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.
Watermelon is also a good source of pantothenic acid, copper, biotin, potassium and magnesium.
Cancer: As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, watermelon can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies.
VARIATIONS: Garnish with balls of honeydew melon for an even brighter colour!  Peppery  arugula greens contrast well with the sweet watermelon. A good addition to this salad.

Light Lunch: Grilled Marinated chicken with assorted veggies /Watermelon Salad

Light Lunch: Grilled Marinated chicken with assorted veggies /Watermelon Salad