Dinner from the wok always seems to be a winner in our home. Rice is a simple and quick side dish that the kids love and pretty much anything I throw together gets gobbled up with enthusiasm, as fingers struggle to make chopsticks work as a shovel to get food to mouth in as quick a fashion as possible.
Rather than using sugar found in a lot of recipes, this dish calls for some Canadian maple syrup for sweetness. The sweetness contrasted with the zip of the red wine vinegar makes this a morsel by morsel mouth-pleasing wok winner. Try it out on your crew and let me know what they think!
In Jewish tradition chicken soup recipes are closely guarded family secrets. Everyone's mother and Bubbie makes it a little different than the next. Competition can be fierce.
"I hear Mrs. Schwartz puts cinnamon in her matza balls! Cinnamon! Can you imagine?"
"I swear Danny's Bubbie's chicken soup tastes like it's made with turkey bones. Turkey bones in chicken soup?! Feh!"
"Oy, bubbele, this soup you made is like water. Nebach...."
Anyway, you get the idea.
My wife Ali's Bubbie made the best chicken soup I have ever tasted, but that recipe was not shared with anyone. Ever. That is until she was sick enough to know her chicken soup cooking days were numbered. With much pride she called my father-in-law into the kitchen one day. She sat him down with pen and paper—and started to cook. She cooked soup. He watched and wrote. A pinch of this. A bissel of that. A few "Don't be a shlemiel—pay attention!"
So today, our family makes chicken soup the way Ali's Bubbie used to, and probably the way her Bubbie's Bubbie did before her.
Hope you enjoy it with your family!
Place whole chicken in a large pot, cover with water and heat on stovetop on High. Fill a stock pot with vegetables, and water (about 6 quarts) and also begin to heat over High heat. Place the peppercorns and dill in an infuser and suspend in stock pot with the vegetables (this will make removal easy when done).
Once the pot with the chicken comes to a boil use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken to the pot with the vegetables and discard waste water from first pot (this step removes a lot of the skimming required when normally making chicken soup)
Cover soup and simmer on Medium-Low for 2.5 hours. Remove infuser and discard contents. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the broth. De-bone the chicken, dice and return to the soup or save for chicken salad or chicken pot pie.
Let the soup cool to room temperature uncovered until cool before refrigerating. If rewarming to serve later, simmer gently so soup remains clear.
The food industry as a whole loves its buzzwords. Go local! Eat organic! Buy sustainable! That's not to say that these aren't all worthwile or legitimate movements. Taking care of what we put in our bodies, or how we treat the precious natural resources our planet has to offer is no laughing matter. However, at the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that mega-store X or big-brand Y really have one thing in mind: that is, convincing you to spend more of your money on their products. Maximizing the bottom line. Corporate conscionce quickly evaporates when a product isn't moving off of shelves fast enough. Thus making it pretty difficult to navigate the waters of food industry buzzwords and discover what the underlying issues truly are.
Today we are going to talk a bit about sustainable food from oceans, waterways, and fish farms.
Sustainability at its truest sense strives to ensure that we humans do not exploit either our fished or farmed resources at a rate beyond that which it can maintain. As we've been taught a million times over, our planet is a fragile ecosystem with inter-dependent food chains. If we deplete any resource to dangerously low levels, it can be impossible to revive, and inevitably have wide-ranging negative effects on our planet. Organizations and more recently, the media, have raised the profile of overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods to the forefront. Making socially responsible eating a topic du jour—and rightly so!
According to research organizations, we are now fishing the last 10 per cent of all predatory large fish such as sharks, tunas and swordfish. For the average consumer it can be challenging to stay educated on what seafood is or isn't considered sustainable. For example, one may think that farmed fish would equate to an easily replenishable stock. However, the open fish pens tend to damage the ecosystem around them. Whereas closed, land-locked pens do not. A subtle difference that can make shopping for seafood without a guide or internet connection nearly impossible.
In general, staying educated on the topic is a challenge at best. When you also factor in that the person selling you the fish is interested in moving product to make a living, signage can be both misleading and sometimes altogether incorrect. I always take the view that the more I can do to choose sustainable seafood, the better. Even if at times I'm misled or misinformed, it's a step in the right direction. As a whole, we've squandered the ability to feed ourselves without taking some responsibility for the global impact of how we are choosing to nourish ourselves. We certainly owe it to future generations to ensure we are not bringing irreparable damage to our natural resources.
The David Suzuki Foundation has published their version of Canada's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks below. Certainly we can all occasionally take the time to educate ourselves on making wiser dining choices. Our kids will thank us.
Canada's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks