Well, today I feel like doing something different. They are doing Flu shots at work this week and I have to be careful of my diet and stress to prevent getting sick during these times in my experience. As such, I have been working on ingredients and recipes to send my husband since he has to do this week’s shopping. I thought I would share some of that process and thinking and maybe a couple total recipes. Usually, I work of a concept or culture not a specific recipe so it can adjust to what I have and my time/tools available. – this may be a bit long with the lists and recipes.
First, let’s look at the basic ideas I am considering:
Immune system and flavor family – that is where this started
I need foods that boost my immune system and I need cultures that fit the ingredients I have or need.
Dealing with flu, cold, and similar things the first things that come up on food lists are the following, among others.
- Mushrooms – usually the stronger flavor dark ones like shiitake, minaki, and reichi.
- Ginger – fresh is recommended not dried, there are pastes available also
- Garlic – again fresh is best, dried doesn’t really work for this
- Carrots – the finer you chop them the faster they cook – this is something my mother taught me cook food faster to keep more in it when working on immunity. Slower if in liquid you are going to eat like soup.
- Egg yolk – I usually use the whole egg – personal preference
- Lemongrass – useful in everything from drinks to dinner, desert to breakfast
- Yogurt – unsweetened Greek is best
- Fish – they usually recommend salmon but most would work for this
- Cinnamon – interesting
- Dark greens like kale or beet
- Red peppers – the hot ones
- Red onion – sometimes I see green onion
- Tomatoes – especially vine
Ok, so that is the basic list we start with and we have to add a few things I know I have at home or want because it is in best season at the farmer’s market. There is more but these are specifics I want to use.
- Fresh black eyed and purple hulled peas (soooo much better than dried)
- Winter squashes – acorn, pumpkin, and several others are in now – pretty much all interchangeable in recipes
- Black rice
- Coconut milk (can use instead of yogurt or milk in many things)
- Frozen berries
This leads us to what to do with them and I think Thai is my major focus first but Moroccan, Indian, and Chinese among others may have ideas.
First I modified a Thai soup recipe for a good chicken soup a roommate made me in Hawaii – she was Korean and made some great food for when you were sick. The prep is from a cooking light recipe but I modified the ingredient list to fit my preference and pantry.
My notes are here and by ingredients. I left prep alone you can modify depending on what you have. This is based on a Thai chicken soup recipe. You can add anything you want really, as long as the basic stock is there. This makes enough for a couple days, can use for lunch if you don’t want soup for dinner. Rice or pasta with it or alone all work. Squash would be good with this. A citrus based desert with little sugar recommended.
12 ounces Mushrooms quartered
3 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced (if not there try lemon zest or something)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (can add if not strong smelling)
1 (4 inch) piece fresh ginger root, chopped (see if we have some, it would be old so would need more)
4 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth also works but we may have some)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks (any chicken)
2 teaspoons red curry paste – I may not have this, I may only have the Indian yellow or green
3 tablespoons fish sauce – if you can’t get this, juice from a can of tuna would work ok – bit different but ok
1 lime, juiced – and another 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
2 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (add more to serve fresh with it)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings – can do another if desired
1 hr 15 mins Directions
Stir lemon grass, garlic, and ginger together in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.
Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Stir in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes.
Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk; return to a simmer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
Skim off any excess oil and fat that rises to the top and discard.
Stir red onion into the chicken mixture; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add about 1/2 the cilantro.
Serve with plates of cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh sliced jalapenos.
After that I began to make combos, this is my personal recipe method.
I make a list of ingredients or flavors I want to use and try and then I come up with various ways to combine and cook them.
The following is 2 combo lists based on the previous discussion process.
- Fresh Peas – black eyed or purple hull
- Carrots – cut small or thin
- Mushrooms – dark
- Onion – red
- Cilantro or parsley
- Ginger – fresh or paste
- Chicken or salmon
- Squash – acorn or pumpkin
- 1 egg
- Yogurt or coconut milk
- Mustard seed
- Red pepper
- Fresh peas
So now we have a base of ingredients and a shopping list; what do we do with it?
The nice thing about doing it this way is I can adapt to time and the form I have ingredients in.
- I can bake it using the chicken as the main ingredient
- I can make lettuce wraps using the greens
- Stir fry or fried rice is easy with this combo
- Using a grill is good with either skewers or a basket
- Soup is easy and doesn’t have to have a main ingredient same as skewers or stir fry
- One pan dishes are an option or I can use them in small groups in a couple dishes to serve together.
- I can also use some of them in tea or other drinks for meals.
- I love soups like pumpkin soups and these are good mixes for that