Archive for October, 2014

At this time of year, I like to cook a big pot of soup on Sunday. This soothing Ginger Chicken Soup from is delicious and very comforting if you have the sniffles.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

There are no additives or preservatives in these ingredients.

This recipe calls for lots of ginger

Remove the chicken breasts after about 30 minutes

Shred the chicken

Rewarm the stock after straining out the solids

Ginger Chicken Soup


1 onion, sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

8 ounces (250 g) unpeeled scrubbed ginger, cut into ½ “-thick (1.27 cm) slices

2 garlic cloves, crushed

10 whole black peppercorns

1 3-pound (1.5 kg) whole organic chicken, cut into 7 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs with thighs attached, 2 wings, 1 back)

Kosher salt

Cilantro leaves (optional)


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large heavy pot. Add chicken, placing breasts on top. Add 6 quarts (6 L) water (preferably filtered or spring water); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low; simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate; let cool, then cover and chill. Continue to simmer soup, uncovered, until broth is fully flavored, about 2 ½ hours longer. Return breasts to soup to rewarm, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat; discard skin and bones. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot; strain broth, discarding solids in strainer (you should have about 8 cups broth). Season with salt.

Rewarm soup. Divide chicken among bowls. Pour hot broth over, dividing equally. Garnish soup with cilantro leaves, if desired. Serves 8.


This is a great weeknight dinner because everything is roasted together on a single baking sheet. Inexpensive chicken legs, potatoes and olives are tossed with a mixture of bay leaf, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes and then roasted for 35 to 45 minutes. For easy clean-up, line the baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Olives may contain preservatives; I use Pilaros brand from Costco.

Toss the chicken, potatoes and olives with the spice mixture and arrange on pan

Cook until the chicken is done, 35-45 minutes

Roast chicken with potatoes and olives


1 bay leaf, crushed

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; plus more for serving (optional)

1½ pound fingerling potatoes, halved

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb.)

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


Preheat oven to 450°. Pulse bay leaf, fennel seeds, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes in spice mill until finely ground.

Toss potatoes, olives, 2 Tbsp. oil, and half of spice mixture in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper and rub with remaining spice mixture.

Arrange potato mixture around chicken. Roast until potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is cooked through, and skin is crisp, 35–45 minutes. Serve chicken and potato mixture topped with parsley, lemon zest, and more red pepper flakes, if desired; spoon pan juices around. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Bon Appetit

Cooking fish and other ingredients inside parchment paper is a great cooking method. It’s quick, healthy and doesn’t dirty any pots or pans! The October 2014 issue of Real Simple includes six recipes for fish in parchment packets. I tried the one featuring fish with cherry tomatoes, onion and olives. It was delicious. Cook’s note: If you are like me, you may have trouble folding the parchment to obtain a tight seal. The solution? Use a stapler.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The olives and Feta may contain artificial ingredients. I use Pilaros brand black olives from Costco and Tre Stelle Feta.

Place all the ingredients but the Feta on large sheets of parchment paper

Fold the edges together to form a packet; you can staple it

The fish and other ingredients will steam inside the packets

Tomato, onion, black olive and Feta fish packet


4 6-ounce (175 g) pieces boneless, skinless cod, salmon, or bass

2 cups (500 ml) halved cherry tomatoes

¼ small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup (75 ml) halved pitted black olives

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ ounces (45 g) Feta, crumbled (about 1/3 cup/75 g)


Heat oven to 425° F (210°C. Place the fish, tomatoes, onion, olives, oil, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper on 4 11-by-15-inch (28 x 38 cm) pieces of parchment, dividing evenly. Fold the parchment over the fish, then seal each packet by folding the edges over twice.

Transfer the packets to a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes.

Transfer the packets to plates and use scissors to make a small X in the top of each packet.

Tear open carefully (they will probably release steam) and top with the Feta. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Real Simple

This delicious stir fry from combines steak, vegetables and noodles with a tangy sauce. The recipe calls for soba (buckwheat) noodles, but you can use any long noodle. I also substituted red pepper for the carrot.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the almonds for preservatives. I make my oyster sauce from scratch (see recipe below) and use tamari instead of soy sauce. Marukan rice vinegar and Emile Noel sesame oil are additive free.

Fry the steak

Saute the vegetables

Add the sauce

Steak and Noodle Stir Fry


2 tablespoons (30 ml) sliced almonds

8 ounces (250 g) soba (Japanese-style noodles), spaghettini or spaghetti

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) plus 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil

12 ounces (375 ml) skirt or flank steak

Freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated peeled ginger

2 heads baby bok choy, quartered

1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal

3 tablespoons (45 ml) oyster sauce (see recipe below)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons (45 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil

Oyster sauce

1 ½ tbsp (25 ml) tamari

1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

1 ½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain; rinse to cool and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add bok choy and carrot. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and ½ cup (125 ml) water in a small bowl. Add to vegetables; bring to a simmer. Fold in scallion greens and reserved almonds and noodles. Serve steak with noodle stir-fry. Serves 4.