Bone Broth: Austere, Satisfying and Chock Full of Benefits!

March 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

A few months back my sister Kiona absently mentioned that she was cooking some bones on the stove, as we chatted on the phone. Kiona lives an ocean swept sun soaked bohemian lifestyle in northern California where she is a nurse midwife in training. My youngest blondest valkyrie of a sister is also the most up-to-date person I know, when it comes to health/nutrition/beauty. She is my reference person, and my trend allerter, so I should have taken note immediately.

Although passingly intrigued, sister stuff took over, and I quickly forgot the image of Ki in an apron boiling salty bones in Grandma Gigstead’s old avocado hued crock pot, as she vigorously esposed the myriad health benefits of this charmingly  archaic practice. Then not long ago, my friend Havy, mentioned that her super in-the-know sister Jordana (another glamourous hippie sort) was also boiling bones regularly as part of her health and beauty regimen. Always on the lookout for new and healthy ideas for Komi Organics, I decided it was time to sit down and do the research. As it turns out bone broth is amazing, and every (non vegan) should be drinking it!

Bone broth is predominately noted for its ability to heal the gastrointenstinal tract (thus eliminating allergies), and its ability to strengthen the immune system. This simple, yet practically magical liquid is reported to boast the following:

  • Bioavailable macro and micro minerals: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, flouride, boron and zinc
  • Peptides-healing amino acids and natural antibiotics
  • Glycosaminoglycans: : chondroitin and glucosamine and hyaluronic acid for muscle and joint health and skin
  • Gelatin and collagen for joint and skin health as well as digestion.
  • Amino acids: Glycine, proline, hydroxyproline which are important to detoxification.
  • Omega 9s (promote healthy anti-inflammation response and lower cholesterol)
  • Vitamin A  for intestinal tract tissue, skin and eye health, and vitamin K2  for blood clotting and liver enzymes
  • Easily digestable protein

Simple Bone Broth Recipe (Recipe courtesy of the website Balanced Bites)

This recipe make approximately 64oz of broth depending on how much water, how much you reduce the broth and how strong you like the flavor to be.

4 quarts of filtered water
1.5- 2 lbs of beef knuckle bones or marrow bones (or any other kinds of bones – especially oxtail, which lends added gelatin and a delicious flavor). Chicken necks are inexpensive and also work great.
the cloves from 1 whole head of fresh garlic, peeled & smashed
2 Tbsp organic unrefined apple cider vinegar
1Tsp unrefined sea salt – or more/less to taste 

Preparation

  • If you choose, you may brown or roast the bones/meaty bones first in a separate pan/pot if using a crockpot, but this isn’t a necessary step. I don’t normally do it because I don’t find it enhances the flavor – and it saves dishes. You can choose to brown them in bacon fat or coconut oil before putting them into the water in the next step.
  • Place all ingredients in a 6 quart crockpot and set the heat to HIGH.
  • Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
  • Allow the stock to cook for a minimim of 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better!
  • Turn off the crockpot and allow the stock to cool.
  • Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and throw away what you skim off.
  • Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use. (You can freeze it in ice cube trays and defrost a few at a time!)
When the broth is fully cooled, look for a gelatinous consistency. That means your broth is gelatin-rich! At times, a longer or very hot simmer may break down the gelatin and your broth won’t appear gelatinous. That’s OK! The minerals are still there.
Kiona Rose on Pleasant Ridge Farm
kiona

 

Early Spring Menu

March 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi Everyone, i’d like to announce the new “Early  Spring” menu, which will be in effect from now until the end of April…minor changes should always be anticipated due to popularity (i’ll pull a dish if not well received) and availability of ingredients.  Sometimes i’ll switch it up to provide a little respite from monotony. Kids do tend to like predictability in meal choices, so hopefully two months with the menu will be the right amount of time. If anyone is feeling restless with the length of this menu, let me know, as I aim to please.

  • Black bean, black olive and cheddar enchiladas, with lots of fresh cilantro and cumin- Spinach and red onion added for extra nutrition. Tortillas are made of soft corn, making this a naturally gluten free dish.
  • Mashed avocado with sea salt and fresh lemon- A mild accompaniment to the above. Avocados are a great source of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Three cheese Lasagna with shitake mushrooms and spinach-Made with whole wheat noodles and lots of cheddar, mozzarella and ricotta cheese from Organic Valley.
  • Rubbed kale salad with mango and citrus honey dressing- Raw kale with a light, tart and addictive dressing.
  • Red lentil soup- Made with red potatoes, carrots, spinach, celery, onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric.
  • Butternut squash- Mashed with honey, cultured butter, Celtic sea salt and fresh black pepper.
  • Cauliflower and cavatelli- This pasta dish is made with bronze cut noodles, cheddar cheese, creme fraiche and fresh herbs. The star of this dish is definitely the cauliflower, a wonderful plant source of choline.
  • Honey baked chicken with mango and curry- Chicken thighs, not spicy.
  • Red miso glazed salmon- Farm raised salmon baked in a slightly sweet sauce with thinly sliced shitake mushrooms.
  • Butter bean salad with orange peppers- Marinated in rice vinegar, fresh lemon, evoo, cilantro, garlic and onion. My favorite dish!
  • Baked lemon broccoli- simple side dish with sea salt and evoo.

Home-Cooked Organic Dog Food

November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

At the request of a very good friend I am now making balance all organic meals for pets.  At first I thought this was a silly idea, and I wasn’t too excited about the prospect.  After a couple months of gentle urging I decided to give it a try.  I’m happy to report that dogs are great clients!  They really appreciate a good meal, and they don’t mind my idealistic culinary combinations, like pairing kale with sardines, apples and rice.  Our dog meals are delivered once a week (14 meals), and come in small, medium and large.  Meals are packaged in tough poly nylon vacuum sealed bags, which can be frozen, or kept in the fridge for about a week.  Right now, I am making three basic recipes (beef, chicken, turkey), with the carbs and veggies rotating weekly.  I am using 50%-60% meat, 15% carbs (usually rice), 20% veggies, and 5% coconut oil and eggshells.  These proportions seem to be the best according to most vets.  Because different clients have different preferences, I will cook to specification for each client.  I also correct the calcium phosphorus ratio by adding the appropriate amount of eggshells to each meal. If your dog is on a home cooked diet, but does not eat ATLEAST 20% of his/her diet in raw meaty bones, your dog is not getting the proper amount of calcium.  Many home cooked diets over look this crucial necessity.  Over time a diet with too much phosphorus (found in meat and plants), and not enough calcium, will lead to weakened bones, deformities, pain and even fractures.  A home cooked diet such as this one requires 400-500 mg of calcium per 8oz serving.  I use Eggshellent brand finely powdered eggshells to achieve this ratio (this is a time tested veterinarian approved form of natural calcium).

Introducing customized meal planning

September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Need help planning healthy meals for your family?  Komi Organics is now offering one-on-one sessions which will help you organize your family’s meals and shopping schedule, for reduced stress and increased health and well being.  A session will result in a personalized monthly meal plan which I will develop along with the client.  After scheduling a convenient meeting time in your home (or over the phone if desired), we will discuss the individualized needs of your family (how much preparation time is available, taste preferences, size of family, ages, allergies, financial concerns and goals like weight loss).  I will then prepare a meal plan for the entire month, with your input along the way and final approval.  Meal plans will also include specific recipes, and instructions.  Also included will be a grocery purchasing schedule, so that the meal plan can be carried out with the least amount of time spent thinking about details during the month.  A grocery purchasing schedule will also insure that fresh produce is bought at the appropriate times, decreasing waste due to spoilage.  Each client will also be given several lists to use as resources for future meal planning, making a session even more valuable.  A session can really help diversify your families diet-it is so easy to get stuck in a rut, and forget about all the delicious ways to optimize health and take advantage foods that are available.  A session can also be a great gift for other busy families-one that can improve household efficiency and health year round!  Please feel free to call or email with any questions.  References are also available upon request.

1.  One complete month long meal plan consisting of three meals per day, plus snacks.  Recipes and instructions to complete meal plan

2. Grocery list and shopping schedule

3. Lists of all seasonally available fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts/seeds, legumes, meat/fish.  Plus the best places to find items, including ethnic food items!

4. Basic instructions for cooking things like rice and dry beans, plus various ways to cook vegetables

5. Explanation of how to combine proteins

6. List of fruits and vegetables that are the most important to  buy organic

7.  List of nutrients important in development, and an explanation of how they work in the body, and why they are important (this is great for kids to learn about as well)

Cost: $75 per hour (average cost to complete planning $150-$200)

Fall Menu and New Delivery Structure

August 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hi Everybody, I want to use this blog entry to introduce the new structure of delivery, as well as our fall Menu.  In an effort to economize operations, one delivery will be made per order.  Orders of $100.00 or more will be free of charge.  Each meal is $20, so a minimum order will consist of 5 meals (client may choose which meals are delivered).  All meals will be packaged in vacuum sealed bags, so every meal is freezable, or can remain in the refrigerator for four days after packaging date.  A meal is big enough for an adult concerned with portion control, and will be closer to two meals for a toddler.  As before, all meals are organic and free of preservatives or additives of any type.  All meals will be made either the day of delivery, or the day prior, for maximum freshness.  The client may order as many meals as they like, and freeze them if so desired.  To order please call 646-705-4189, or email request to info@komiorganics.com.  I hope this new delivery system will work for everyone, and as always i’d love to hear your feedback.  I hope you all have a wonderful late summer and fall!

Fall Menu:

1.

Baked Tilapia in cultured butter, tarragon and parsley

Olive oil mashed potatoes with rosemary and garlic

Steamed brussels sprouts  in cultured butter

2.

Four cheese lasagna

Steamed green beans with extra virgin olive oil

Wholewheat chocolate chip cookie with kale

3.

Honey baked chicken with Caribbean spices (not too spicy)

Rice and peas with coconut milk and spices (not too spicy)

Mashed yams with jamaican allspice and cultured butter

4.

French lentil soup with carrots, potatoes, onion and tomato

Sesame chicken fingers

Steamed broccoli in cultured butter

5.

Baked white trout

red quinoa salad with cherries and peas/other seasonal quinoa pilaf

Steamed cauliflower in cultured butter

Is eating organic really that important?

May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

I must admit, every once in awhile i’m gripped by a panicky feeling that I have dedicated my business to the importance of all organic food, and that maybe this is gimmicky, or not truly as important as I generally feel that it is.  Because of the greater cost of organic food items, most people buying them probably experience moments of wondering if it’s all really worth it-especially considering the way our media crazed world has a way of blowing up health concerns to horror inducing levels (i.e. additives, pesticides, GMO foods), and the fact that health crazes come and go, with companies exaggerating their products health benefits to such extremes that they are left with class action lawsuits in the wake of their ravings (i.e. coconut water’s magical  electrolytes, acai berry’s antioxidants, the serotonin precursors in dark chocolate).  One must carefully peruse and digest a lot of information in order to feel like one is making sound purchasing decisions when it comes to health and food.

In an effort to address this question about the importance of eating organic foods, this blog entry is dedicated to laying out the facts about organic foods, so that you can decide for your self.  After doing the research (thank you to the Mayo Clinic, as much here is via there research and website), I feel reassured that the benefits of eating organic are real and solid.  They reach beyond the personal benefits of knowing one self and family are protected from the cumulative effects of pesticides, additives and hormones.  Organic farming treats our neighbors, our cities and the earth in a way that promotes continuation of our species and the planet.  At the risk of sounding too expansive, I cannot imagine any thing more important than supporting sustainable agricultural practices.

Definition:

“Organic” refers to how farmers grow/raise and process their product.  Organic farming does not allow synthetic inputs that are used to increase crop production and prolong shelf life.  These non-organic inputs are things like the following:  pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, hormones, irradiation, preservatives and food additives.  Organic farmers use other methods to control the typical problems that arise with agricultural farming.  Some examples of the difference between organic and conventional farming are below.

Conventional Organic
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth. Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease. Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use herbicides to manage weeds. Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

Labeling:

So, your favorite shampoo is “made with organic ingredients”.  What exactly does this mean?  There are currently three types of organic labels.  The first is “100% organic”-self explanatory, every ingredient in the particular product is 100% USDA organic. A simple “Organic” label means that 95% or more of the ingredients in the product are USDA organic.  “Made with organic ingredients” means that 70% or more of the ingredients in the product are USDA organic.  The label USDA organic means that a product is produced and processed according to the stringent guidelines set down by the Unites States Department of Agriculture.  Any farm that sells over $5,000 worth of product annually must be in compliance, in order to receive this voluntary label.

When is it most important to purchase organic foods?

Not all produce, meat and dairy is equally impacted by conventional farming practices.  The Environmental Working Group annually compiles a list of 25 food products that are most “contaminated” by pesticides/hormones etc., and that should be purchased organic:
Apples
Celery
Strawberries
Peaches
Spinach
nectarines
Grapes
sweet bell peppers
Potatoes
Blueberries
Lettuce
Kale
Collard greens
Fatty meats
Milk
Coffee
Wine
Chocolate

Environmental impact:

There is a general consensus that organic farming has three positive influences on the environment.  The first is that no synthetic chemicals are put into the water system or soil, hence not endangering those “down stream”, the neighboring community, nor the farm workers.  Secondly organic farming sustains a more diverse ecosystem.  The bugs, microbes, plants and little animals that all coexist together in symbiosis stay that way.  No imbalances in the natural ecosystem are created.  The third benefit is that organic farms generally use less energy and produces less waste.

Nutritional aspect:

This is an area that is still somewhat in question.  The UK’s Food Standards Agency has put out the statement that their meta analysis of studies shows no significant difference in nutritional profile between conventional and organic foods. Some studies do exist showing that ascorbic acid, micronutrients, protein concentration and mineral profile of organic foods is higher.  Nitrates are also lower in organically farmed produce (high levels of nitrates are toxic for humans, and especially bad for children).  Being that conventional farming practices often deplete the soil of many micronutrients and minerals, it makes sense that food grown in this ascetic soil would reflect this dearth of minerals.  Minerals of course play a myriad of roles in the human body, and are required for body systems to run smoothly. Phyto chemicals are substances found in plants that have positive health effects when consumed (i.e. resveratrol in grapes), and are produced in response to environmental stressors like weather and insects.  Theoretically it makes sense that organically grown plants would have more phytonutrients because they are grown in a natural environment with natural stressors present.  The research however is in its infancy, and no substantial concrete evidence abounds.

May Menu

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest menu is inspired by bits of my past and the desire to lean towards plant-based meals.  With this intention, it was natural that I dusted off my copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, which was my mother’s favorite recipe book growing up.  As I flipped through the hand illustrated book, it brought back images of my tall Norwegian mother bent over the sink rinsing a bowl full of soy nuts, wearing a long batik dress with her blonde hair tied up in a gentle twist.  My dad grew a sprawling vegetable garden, which provided my mother with the raw ingredients for our mostly vegetarian lifestyle.  It was a beautiful jungle of creeping zucchini squash, towering indian corn, and raised beds of strawberries, cabbage, carrots and green peppers.  For the current menu I chose five vegetable laden soups, four cheese lasagna and spinach calzones, which were lovingly inspired by my mother’s cooking, my father’s lush garden, and the Moosewood Cookbook which brought the two together.

For one dinner, I chose to make koobideh kabob, one of Iran’s most famous dishes, where it is universally loved.  Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to spend several months in Iran, which has a spectacularly delicious and healthy cuisine.  Koobideh kabob relies on lots of grated garlic and onion, as well as saffron, celery powder and sumac.  I used local organic grass-fed beef, and marinated it overnight in the garlic, onion, and spices.  I chose dill chelou (rice) as a side.  This subtle dish achieves its unique flavor and light fluffy texture through a series of rinses, a boil, and finally a bake.  The organic Thai jasmine base is augmented with copious amounts of finely chopped calcium rich dill.  Not only does dill taste great, but it also has antibacterial properties and protects against free radicals and carcinogens.

While finishing up my last year in grad school, I lived on 124th St. and Madison Avenue-right in the heart of Harlem.  I’d never been particularly fond of Southern food, until I discovered a modest little restaurant called Sister’s, which was right around the corner.  The establishment served a combination of West Indian and southern fare, and soon became my favorite place to pick up dinner on my way home from class.  A plate of food from Sister’s was guaranteed to be sweet, spicy and rich.  This awesome trifecta of tastes was the inspiration for the dinner featuring mild jerk chicken, collard greens, scallion cornbread and yams.  Instead of boiling the collard greens for hours with ham (which destroys nutrients), I sautéed them for a few minutes with a touch of olive oil and sea salt, hence retaining the collard greens true flavor and nutritional profile.  I made the cornbread with a cup of low-fat organic yogurt, and organic pepper jack cheese, for extra calcium and protein.  I also used whole wheat to make this somewhat decadent recipe just a little healthier, and cooked it in a cast iron skillet, which adds trace bits of iron.

Monday:

Lunch:

Minestrone Soup

Scallion Corn Bread

Dinner:

Koobideh Kabob

Vegetable Kebab  (orange pepper, onion, celery)

Dill Chelou (Iranian rice)

Tuesday:

Lunch:

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Corn bread

Dinner:

Spinach, Ricotta and Mozzarella Calzone with Whole-wheat Crust

Steamed Carrots and Cauliflower

Whole-wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie

Wednesday:

Lunch:

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Celery Sticks with Nut Butter and Raisons

Whole Wheat Animal crackers

Dinner:

Mild Jerk Chicken Thighs

Corn Bread

Collard Greens

Sweet Potatoes with Jamaican Allspice

Thursday:

Lunch:

Chicken Soup With Rice and Vegetables

Cornbread

Dinner:

Four Cheese Lasagna

Steamed Carrots and Broccoli

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie

Friday:

Lunch:

White Bean and Black Olive Soup

Cornbread

Dinner:

Tilapia with Dill Butter Sauce

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Zucchini and Carrots

Whole-wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Kale Cookie