ProBiol

Pursing a pro-biological lifestyle

Goodbye Thai Chicken Curry February 24, 2015

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 4:54 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Before leaving my wonderful Dutch family my brother-in-law Henny had a  huge request: curry.  As a  young man he lived in India as an exchange worker for some time and grew to love this dish.  Now I must admit that  I  did not  eat or cook a great deal of Indian food  even  as a student,  even though I had quite a few Indian and East Asian friends.  Being Polish, and mingling with an eclectic group of ethnicities during my college years,  my friends and I ate in a largely fused kitchen, mixing spices and elements from many cuisines.  Many of us had a staple favorite though – a small Thai restaurant offshooting from our campus – serving great pad Thai,  amazing bubble teas  and a great coconut chicken curry.

So I dug in my tastbud’s memories  to  recreate one of my favorite dishes from my late teens and early 20s, which included chicken, potatoes, a medly of vegetables including onions, which are high in phenolics and flavonoids – potent anticancer antioxidants, and bell peppers, which a Spanish study concluded  have the most Vitamin A, Vitamin C,  and carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) of all fruits and vegetables, alongside tomatoes.  Carrots add even more carotenoids to this dish.

Along with coconut milk, which gives a good dose of medium chain fatty acids -which gives us quick energy – and lauric acid,  which is  very antifungal and antiviral, we have a creamy base for the curry to simmer in.  A generous addition of  basil and cilantro make for a perfect seasoning combo,  adding a mound of favor as well as a great antibacterial and vitamin filled due.   The starchy carbohydrate in this case is the potato, which, contrary to many’s belief, is a very healthy addition, packed full of potassium, vitamin B6, copper, and vitamin C,  and of course gluten free.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (about 1/4 kilo) chicken – any part, I used deskinned legs and thighs that simmered in the chicken broth

3 potatoes – we used red skinned

2 medium onions

2 bell peppers – any color

3/4 pound (about 10 medium) carrots

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 can ( about 300 ml) coconut milk  – if you  have fresh coconut milk more power to you!

2 tablespoons curcumin powder

1 teaspoon basil ( I  used dried, fresh is great too)

1 teaspoon cilantro – dried or fresh

salt to taste ( I used about 1 a teaspoon and a half, Himalayan)

pepper to taste ( about 1/2 teaspoon)

A large pan or wok

Total time: 50 minutes to 1 hour

Instructions:

To make this faster, I  had already pre-cooked the chicken in  broth.  Cooking the potatoes in advance is also better.  In any case, carrots and  onions are diced into small pieces and fried  in a dollop of coconut oil, onions first – until glossy, and then the carrots, also sliced and diced.  I added a bit of salt with every vegetable to  seal in every individual flavor.  That takes about 15 minutes. Then add the washed and diced bell peppers, for another  5-7 minutes in the pan.  Then in go the potatoes and chicken,  along with the basil and cilantro.  Let that heat for another few minutes.

The coconut milk goes in next, and a bit of simmering happens.  Top that off with the curcumin ( or curry) powder and pepper, and let that simmer for another few minutes. Voila!  A real feast all in the confines of one dish.  Top with fresh basil or cilanto and serve.  Cheers and good health!

curry veg                                      coconut milk

all the vegetables looked glorious together                        the coconut milk that looked the most trustworthy at the local store

curry final

meal in a pan

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Fat Tuesday Pudding Cheesecake February 19, 2015

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 7:13 am

So I’m visiting my Dutch family ( my sister Gosia is married to Henny, who is 100% Dutch, and has lived here for a long time) in the Netherlands – the country known for it’s tulips,  windmills,  massive scale bicyling.  What I also noticed about the Dutch  is  that  they  know and love their cheese.  Jonge kaas – young cheese,  Belage kaas – aged cheese (gaining firmness and  flavor with time),  Geitenkaas (goat milk cheese), Maasdam,  Edam, Rotterdam, Old Amsterdam – many of their cities have their specific cheese – and of  course  Gouda.  With the ending of  Carnival,  what better  way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than to make a rich cheesecake, and for easy fun a no bake version?

Looking at  recipes, I saw that a lot of them  used cream cheese, and using my google translate I  found out that the Dutch counterpart is  roomkaas.  The crust was made with cookie crumbs and grass-fed butter,  since it is one of the healthiest fats around.  Grasboter, as  grass-fed butter is  called in the Netherlands, is full of important  fat soluable vitamins like Vitamin A (butter is best source) and Vitamin E,  necessary for good eye (Vit. A),  as well as endocrine (thyroid gland)  health.  Both  also help with the immune system,  making us  more resistant to  infections, toxins, and diseases in general.  Butter lowers the risk of heart disease, as a new study  at the University of Cambridge shows, circulating  fatty acids from dairy  reduced heart disease risk.

Butter prevents weight gain,  by, contrary to many’s belief,  providing fatty acids for quick energy and not being  stored in fatty tissue,  since butter  provides mostly  short and medium chain fatty acids.  Full fat dairy actually lowers problems with metabolism and  obesity, as shown in this multi-study analysis.   Butter provides energy  for out intestinal flora prevents fungal (like Candida albicans) growth, and contain the highest know amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which reduces the risk of colon, stomach, skin and breast  cancer, and prevents cancer growth in children that ate CLA.   Butter is high in  omega-3 fatty acids, which  are known to fight inflammation and prevent many diseases like cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.  Butter also helps prevent osteoporosis by giving the necessary factors to  absorb calcium like Vitamin K2.  Butter even lowers the risk of developing asthma.

Margarine  and other synthetically produced  fats,  which are high in omega-6 fatty acids,  do the opposite by  slowing the thyroid, and causing inflammation.  Cancer risk increases with intake of margarine and other polyunsaturated fats,  as  well as obesity, and heart disease.  Even  infertility is linked to these fats,  so why not just use the butter instead?

Well we did.  This ultra-rich dessert is only for special occasions, and should be eaten in moderation:

 

Total  time:  1 and 1/2 hour

Preparation time:  about  15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

 

500 g Roomkaas or cream cheese ( we used the Dutch brand Campina,  but I want to make my own, and found this easy recipe: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dead-Easy-Cream-Cheese/ )

 

1/2 (50 g) packet vanilla pudding

 

1/2 liter milk (for the pudding)

 

1 cup  sugar of  choice ( we used cane,  but  Muscovado, coconut palm, or any  other is fine)

 

150 g ( about 5 ounces) cookies or graham crackers, crumbled completely

 

3  tablespoons  Grasboter or grass-fed butter

 

Strawberries, another fruit,  coconut flakes or chocolate for decorations, I used  about  150 g strawberries – not in season,  but my niece Maaike really wanted them 😉

 

A pie pan

 

Instructions:

 

Make the 1/2 package of pudding,  and set aside to cool for a bit.

 

Mash the graham cracker or  cookies ( best to get gluten free and  without trans fats).  Melt the  3 tablespoons of butter and  mix together  and set aside.

 

Next get the  cream cheese, add sugar  and whisk together in order to mix in the cooled pudding.

 

Spread the buttered cookie or graham cracker mixture in a pie pan,  spreading it evenly.

 

Then fill the pie crust with the  cheese and pudding mixture,  put in the fridge or a  cool place to  set  for at least 1  hour.   Then decorate with desired  fruit or topping and  serve.  Yum!

photos courtsey of my sister Gosia

 

Raw Apple Chutney September 12, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:41 am
Tags: , ,

So after the LONG hiatus ( my dad broke a spinal vertebra so  it was a busy summer, thankfully he’s out of his  brace and  walking with  one crutch) the food dissection is back. With an easy, probiotic-rich recipe made for late summer/early fall.

Apples are coming in season,  and to get  on with annoying our  favorite Dic-Tator,  apple chutney is in order.

Apples are one of the healthiest fruits  out there.  They stablize blood sugar,  are  full of soluble fiber that help  regular blood lipid levels, and even alter gut flora to  make important dietary fats like butyric acid (which feed our good bacteria) more bioavailable.  Add the burst of  probiotics from fresh whey, a burst of minerals from the Himalayan salt  and some good old cinnamon, cloves,  and anise and cane sugar,  topped with citrusy,  this is a heart and soul filling recipe  to be made as long as apples are available.   All groups of  taste buds are stimulated with this dish – you have sweet,  salty, sour, and umuami ( which comes with the whey  and lacto-fermenting).

The recipe is simple, the only hard part is the waiting 😉

Ingredients:

1 kg apples peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup yogurt or kefir whey, strained

1 & 1/2 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground colves

1/4 teaspoon  ground anise

2-3 tablespoons cane sugar ( depending on the sweetness  of the apples)

zest of 1 lemon

juice of  1 lemon

1/2 cup raisins ( optional)

Utensils:

Large  bowl and spoon

Lemon rind zester/peeler

2 quart or 3 1/2 liter jars

Place  apples in a large bowl and mix  with spices, cinnamon and  sugar. Then add the salt  ( the apples will start to let their juices out).   Mix the zest  and lemon juice  and add the  whey.  Pack tightly into jars so that the  juices  cover the chutney on tope.  Let it  set from 1-2 days in a room tempertatre spot, and  taste to  serve.  Delicious yogurt or kefir,  pancake or waffle topping,  nd  a great  side  dish to meat, fish and vegetable meals.  Cheers and good health!

apple chutney

 

Marzipan coconut delights May 8, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:48 am

Yesterday was my parent’s anniversary, and besides the bought presents I wanted to make a special treat. Not having a tone of time and ingredients, I scoured my panty and happily found leftover marzipan (sweetened almond) paste from Easter. A light bulb came on – bake free easy treat!

Almonds are packed with Vitamin E ( a strong antioxidant), magnesium (good for your heart and muscles), and copper ( essential for enzyme and antioxidant function),  lower cholesterol,  are high in good fats,  protein and fiber.   Cacao and  coconut add a healthy dose of antioxidants and healthy fats to this delicacy as well.  It’s also gluten free and so easy to make. With a spoonful of cacao and some coconut flakes this makes a delightful treat, inside and out.

 

Ingredients

200 g marzipan paste or

200 g almond paste and a teaspoon and 1/2 of honey

1 tablespoon cacao

2 tablespoons coconut flakes to roll

 

Instrutions

In a bowl, mix the paste and cacao ( or the almond paste, honey and cacao) until there is a marbling. Pinch off about 1.5 cm (half inch) pieces and roll them into spheres. Cover each sphere evenly with coconut flakes. Serve or store in a cool place to firm.

Cheers and good health!

 

2014-05-06 21.02.15 (1)

 

Butter Coffee April 27, 2014

Filed under: Biological Lifestyle,Recipes — Krystyna @ 2:31 pm

Coffee consumption is on the rise and this is not necessarily a bad thing.   Coffee  has a great deal of  health boosting properties – from its antioxidants chlorogenic acid and vitamin E, to to a high  magnesium, potassium, and niacin content.  Caffeine boosts neurotransmission by having caffeine block adenosine in the brain,  to improving  metabolism , fatty acid mobilization ( aka fat burning)  and even physical endurance are improved by caffeine consumption.   Regular coffee consumption has also been shown to decrease the risk of Type II Diabetes as well as the risk of Alzheimer’s disease quite  possibly due to the antioxidant content and increased insulin sensitivity caffeine produces.   Higher coffee concumption is even linked to  decreased risk of liver cirrhosis (liver death), suggesting a role of coffee in  detoxification.

The downside of this all – the coffee itself may be full of pesticides,  rancid,  or even worse  full of mycotoxins (fungal toxins).   Roasting decreases some of the risk, but having a source of  good quality preferably organic coffee is a good start.  Drinking real coffee, and not all the frappy sugary artificial coffee based drinks (or instant coffee, which is chocked  full of artificial ingredients and highest in acrylamide,  a known cancer causing substance).

Having such a wonderful drink,  how could it  be improved… by adding butter.   butter coffeeYes, you  heard me.  When I first read about this I was very hesitant – butter is great on toast, on boiled broccoli,  but in  coffee?   One needs to look no further for a butter lover – I  am  on the top ten list,  from my previous posts ( University of Cambridge’s rehabilitation of butter  as well as Dr. Aseem Malhorta’s defense of saturated fat, even the metanalysis done in California showing saturated fat does not contribute to heart disease) I  am adamant in restoring its place in our kitchen and digestive tract.   High in short chain fatty acids, vitamin K2, a high smoking point (clarified butter),  a high Conjugated Linoleic Acid content and full ofomega 3 fatty acids(in grass fed cow butter), not to mention the great flavor, so many benefits are available both healthwise and culinary.

So today, after whipping up a fresh batch of butter, and only having goat milk,  the decision to  put butter in the morning coffee was set.  To say the least, it was a great decision.

The procedure

The coffee (4 tablespoons) was freshly ground with a cardamon pod,  a  few  cloves,  and a pinch of grated nutmeg.  After boiling the coffee (3 tablespoons for 3 cups of water),  I  added 2  tablespoons of fresh  raw butter and  used the hand blender – gave it a whirl for about 30 seconds.  To my surprise, the butter formed a beautiful frothy cap on top.   So that’s it-  so easy, and a double punch of  health benefits.  No heart palpitations,  since it seems the caffeine would be more slowly absorbed due to the higher fat content.  There was also a greater feeling of fullness than after a regular cup of black or  even milked coffee.   This is going to be a morning staple.  Cheers and good health!


butter coffee 2

 

 

 

 

Slaskie kluski aka Silesian Dumplings April 23, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:22 am

Potatoes are  a (not only)  Polish staple food.  High in vitamin B6, potassium, copper and vitamin C, they are a brain and heart nourishing food.  One of my favorite ways  to  take in this delicious nightshade (which also grows quite easily in  the ground or in a container) is to make Slaskie kluski,  also known as kluski nylonowe, or nylon noodles.  This is because their texture is unlike any other dumpling – they’re chewy and gummy.  They are great  served  with a sweet side (like plum jam) or savory ( meat or mushroom).   The recipe is quite simple,  and  can be brought up a notch for festive occassion like Easter – which I did by adding freshly chopped dill and chives  for a great color effect.  Served with a mushroom onion garlic sauce,  they were  a favorite at the Easter dinner.

 

Recipe:

2 pounds (or about a kilo) of freshly bolied potates

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cup potato flour or starch ( give or take)

2 tablespoons cream

optional:

1/2 cup  chopped chives and/or dill

Peel the boiled potatoes once they cool off a bit.   Mash with cream in a very large bowl or on a pastry board.   Add in the eggs and salt and mix.  Keep mixing the mashed potates and  flour  until the mixture is a rubbery consistency.  If you want the green effect,  add the chives and/or dill at the end.

Kluski

Boil a  pot of water with a little bit of oil or butter (so the dumplings don’t stick).  Pull 1.5- 2 inch (golfball sized pieces) of dough, roll and thumbprint the middle of each dumpling. After making  10-12 noodles,  put them in the pot of  water.  After these rise  put in the next batch.   Each set of  dumplings should boil for  about 5 minutes after rising to the top.   They can be served with bacon bits, with sweet jams (if  made plain), or with our house favorite  sos pieczarkowo-cebulowy (mushroom onion sauce).

Kluski cooked

Mushroom onion sauce:

1 pound mushrooms

3 medium yellow onions

2 cloves or garlic

1/2 teaspoon majoram

1/4 teaspoon oregano

pinch of rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

boiling water

1 teaspoon potato or buckwheat flour

Chop  mushrooms,  saute on a skillet until  slightly  browned, add finely chopped onions  and  garlic.   Add spices,  pour  water over well sauted veggies,  then add flour  to  thicken,  add salt to  adjust.  Top  the kluski while  hot.  Smacznego!

 

 

 

Vanilla extract April 8, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 2:11 pm

I love vanilla – the flavor, aroma, the aura it gives cakes, cookies,  and even coffee.  Vanilla is not cheap, though.  It’s the second most expensive spice after saffron.

Of course there is vanillin – the synthetic extract  found  in most processed foods with “natural flavors”  or something of the kind.  These flavors, along with  artificial strawberry flavors, come from the castor sacs of beavers,  which is something  most people don’t want to ingest, or wouldn’t if they knew.

Real vanilla contains vanilloids, which act like capsaicin,  reducing pain  and inflammation in the body, just like many hot pepper cultivars.  It also has antimicrobial activity.  So  using is not only  tasty and pleasant, but healthful too.

The best way to get real vanilla is to buy the beans  yourself.  The  beans come in pods from vine like plants.  If  you  have a local  grower  or  have the plant, that’s great.  If you’re like me,  and buy the pods dried, the best way to make them last is  to make  vanilla extract.

Basically you put vanilla pods in vodka.  My baseline (completely not scientific) is adding a minimum  of 4 pods per 500 ml, putting in a  cool dark place  for at least 3  months,  and them  having an endless supply  of vanilla extract.   Adding  more  pods will intensify the flavor, as will a longer wait period.

This makes for a great gift,  the  whole bottle (if you’re feeling rather generous) or  dividing it up into smaller bottles.

The “Recipe”

1 bottle of 500 ml vodka ( I  choose Polish potato  vodka because it’s gluten free and I’m Polish)

4 or more vanilla pods

Just stick them in there and  wait for the vanilla to overtake the ethanol. Glorious.

Cheers and good health!

S0010515

 

 

 

 

 
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