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The end of our short-lived summer here in Portland came with a whiplash-tastic weather change, that brought with it the bug from hell. Headaches, sinus congestion, body aches  and a lingering cough were the maladies that struck our humble abode, a little over a week ago now.

Because I view food as medicine, as well as comfort in my home, I cleared out all sugary treats, alcohol and congesting dairy from our food stuffs. In our weakened state,  we embarked on a journey filled with the immune-shoring properties of garlic, ginger, orange juice, watercress and other mind-blowingly powerful and delicious veggies and herbs.

Drinking tons of water (close to 200 ounces a day) and herbal teas (Echinacea/elderberry, dandelion and peppermint), we kept the diet light. Eating whole wheat toast, fresh fruit like apples, oranges and red grapes (great for strengthening your lung tissue) plenty of hot homemade soups and meals of brown rice, veg and grilled fish, tofu or chicken. I also used jalapeno peppers liberally to open sinus passages.

Here are a couple tried and true soup recipes for when you’re illin’.

Easy Curried Carrot Ginger Soup

1 bag of carrots (full size not minis) peeled and chopped into chunks

1 whole apple (cored, peeled and chopped)

1 cup orange juice

1   32 oz aseptic container of free range organic chicken broth

3 inch knob of ginger (peeled and smashed)

2 to 3 tbsp of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry sauce

Put all ingredients (except curry sauce) in a deep sauce pan or in a Dutch oven letting it boil until carrots are soft enough to mush with a fork. Once carrots are soft, pour soup into a food processor or blender (about half at a time) and puree until smooth. If broth has evaporated and puree is too thick, add additional broth, water or orange juice (depending on your tastes) until you achieve desired thickness and consistency. Pour back into pan and add curry sauce to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with yogurt or soy sour cream (if you’re avoiding dairy during a cold, like I was.) Delish! Makes four HUGE bowls of soup.

Garlic, Chicken and Watercress Soup

1 whole organic chicken (2 to 3 pounds)

1 4 inch knob of ginger (peeled and smashed)

1 medium yellow onion (peeled and chopped)

2 shallots (peeled and chopped)

4 garlic cloves (peeled and finely minced)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 32 oz aseptic of free range organic chicken broth

2 heads of watercress (washed and leaves de-stemmed)

(Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste)

Fill a dutch oven or deep stew pot with water (enough to cover the chicken.) Place the chicken, breast side down, in the pan along with the smashed ginger and let boil until meat falls off the bone and water turns into a flavorful broth. While the chicken cooks prep onions, garlic, shallots and watercress. Once chicken is ready remove chicken from the broth, taking care to remove all fat, bones and debris from the broth (strain, if necessary.) Replace broth in pan and skim any liquefied fat from the top of the broth and return to a boil.

While the chicken is cooling a bit, heat a skillet with a tbsp of olive oil and cook shallots and onions until transparent, throw garlic in last, letting it release its flavor and fragrance (about one minute.) Once the onion/garlic mixture is soft and translucent ladle out  about a cup of the boiling broth to the skillet to deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any caramelized onions and flavor that may be on the bottom of the skillet. Pour all into the boiling broth, turning the heat down to the -of medium. If your overall broth level has reduced through evaporation, add free range organic chicken broth to desired amount.

Turn your attention to the chicken, removing the skin and discarding and picking all the chicken meat from the bone. Tear or chop the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the broth.  Then add the watercress, letting the soup cook until the leaves turn vibrant green. Remove from heat and allow soup to cool for a few minutes before serving. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder. For extra zip, add sliced jalapeno peppers before serving. (Makes 8 to 10 servings)