Pork bone broth/stock recipe

Ramen pork broth is famously milky white, and I wanted a way to make the broth without having to go through the trouble of blanching and scrubbing the bones, then keeping the broth at a rolling boil until it was done. I’ve found a way to do it without, yet get the milkyness and extract the full flavour of the bones. Here’s how I do it.

3 lbs pork bones*
10 L water*

  1. Place the bones on a sheet pan, spread out so they’re not all touching. Turn on the oven broiler and put the pan on the rack about 10″ or so below the top heater element. Roast the pork bones in the oven under the broiler until they are nicely browned on all sides. This takes about 30-45 minutes, turning the bones over about halfway through.
  2. Put the bones in a large stock pot and fill it up with water. Bring the pot of water and bones to a boil, then reduce to a simmer or even slightly less. Cover the pot and let it cook for 10-20 hours. I do this over two overnight sessions, leaving the bones and water to cool down in the pot during the day.
  3. Once the broth is finished cooking, there will be a good layer of fat on the top of the golden yellow broth. Skim off the fat into a blender, and place another 2-4 cups of the broth into the blender.
  4. Blend the broth and fat on high or max for one (1) minute. The resulting liquid in the blender will be milky white and bubbly.
  5. Pour the blender mixture back into the stock pot with the rest of the broth and mix it all together.
  6. Strain broth out using a sieve (I don’t bother to use a cheesecloth/fine mesh sieve/tea towel) to remove the larger chunks of meat and bone. Add the broth to soups, drink it plain with a few pinches of salt, or use it to accompany your favourite soup noodles.

Notes:
* This is the ratio I generally use. Feel free to use more or fewer bones to the amount of water.

Pork fat and broth
Pork fat and broth before blending
Pork fat and broth after blending
Pork fat and broth after blending

Mushroom Cauliflower Soup Recipe

454 g white button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced*
1 head cauliflower roughly chopped – keep greens and stalk if you wish, it’ll all be blended anyways
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups waterCanola or other neutral oil for cooking
1 slice bacon – optional
Salt and pepper to taste

8+ servings**

  1. Heat up a pan on medium high, add some oil, and saute the sliced mushrooms until golden brown on both sides. Work in batches with mushrooms only 1 layer deep in the pan.
  2. Put mushrooms in a pot with the cauliflower and garlic (and bacon). Add 4 cups of water, or enough to cover the ingredients in the pot. Add a few pinches of salt to the pot. Bring the mix to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Put the cooked mixture into a blender and blend on high until the soup is nice and creamy. Add water if needed, in order to keep the soup blending. You may need to blend the soup in batches. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:
*Old partly dried mushrooms work well in this recipe – I like to check the older/discount racks at the grocery store to see if they have any mushrooms on sale for this recipe.
**This soup freezes well, and I tend to make a lot, freeze it, and have it available for times when I don’t feel like cooking.

Pan Fried Mackerel*

Whole mackerel, about 1 per person depending on the size of the fish
Rice flour to dredge, in a large shallow bowl**
~1/2 cup oil for frying

  1. Clean and gut the mackerel if it hasn’t been done already***
  2. Dredge the mackerel, inside and out, in the rice flour and set aside on a plate
  3. Heat the oil up over medium heat in a large pan, use enough to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 cm deep
  4. Once the oil is hot (stick a chopstick end in, and if there are a lot of bubbles coming up, it’s hot enough), gently lay in the mackerel
  5. Fry the mackerel for about 3-4 minutes per side, then take out and drain on a rack or on some paper towels

Notes:
* I know this is a relatively simple recipe, and can be applied to almost any cut of fish, but we like the fishiness and oilyness of mackerel so much I figure I should post it for posterity** You could use any type of rice flour, or rice flour mix
*** I typically buy frozen whole mackerel, which I defrost, clip off the fins, and gut. Check out this quick video for instructions, or search for your own.

Calcium and milk/dairy allergy

A few more thoughts on yesterday’s post on calcium:

  • While I admit that dairy seems to be some of the most calcium-rich foods, why is dairy pushed so much in the dietary guidelines?
  • Is it a political issue? (i.e., through industry lobbying, economic issues, or something else?)
  • Many people are lactose intolerant (especially many people with non-european backgrounds) so why is milk/dairy listed in such a large amount of foods in many countries’ food guides?
  • While the vitamin D/calcium relationship is well known, does the type of calcium-rich food also matter? Is the calcium from dairy better or worse than from other foods?

Nutrition with food allergies and sensitivities – Calcium

See previous… Nutrition with food allergies and sensitivities

(Update: please also see my further thoughts on this issue here.)

Calcium intake in our diet is a major concern of ours since most of the dietary guidelines push a form of dairy as the primary source of calcium. However, the dietary guidelines do not provide a sufficient variety of foods for those of us with food allergies. Witness Appendix 11 of the recently updated USDA dietary guidelines, published late last year, on the Food Sources of Calcium. I’ve highlighted in pink the foods that we cannot consume.

Appendix 11. Food Sources of Calcium - 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines - health.gov cropped highlighted
(Click on the picture to enlarge)

That leaves us with the following 5 items from the list, with my comments following each item:

  • Fortified ready-to-eat cereals – many of which we cannot eat due to our wheat, peanut and treenut, and dairy allergies
  • Orange juice, calcium fortified – we would have to purchase this, as whole oranges are not at the top of this list
  • Sardines, canned in oil, drained – okay; though some are packed in soy oil, and so we tend to stay away from these products
  • Mustard spinach (tendergreen), raw – I don’t see this in our grocery stores
  • Rice drink – this is suitable; however, many rice drink producers also manufacture almond and/or soy drinks on the same production line, and so we tend to stay away from these products

There are some good resources out there that list calcium-rich foods to incorporate into your diet:

National Institute of Health – Calcium in Diet
National Osteoporosis Foundation – A Guide to Calcium-Rich Food
Dietitians of Canada –Food Sources of Calcium

Also, the USDA provides a great food-nutrient database from which you can search based on nutrient, categories of food, and even through some popular processed foods (Click on Nutrients List in the header).

Here’s a search based on Fruits, legumes and vegetables. (A lot of it is soy-based, which we can’t have, but we can’t remove soy from the search results.)

Onigiri

Cooked japanese (sushi) rice, warm enough to handle by hand*
Bowl of water
Salt (table salt works best, but any other type of unflavoured salt also works)
Roasted seaweed (optional)

Filler Options:
Canned tuna, salmon or other fish, no liquid
Bonito flakes and soy sauce, mixed together to form a paste
Umeboshi (pickled plum)
Cooked ground meat (pork, beef, chicken, turkey, etc) with some salt or soy sauce, the meat should be dry when added to the rice
Spam or other canned meat, chopped into very small pieces
Any other flavourful food, in small bits, and relatively dry (i.e., not mushy) – feel free to experiment

Option 1
Mix filler with the rice – typically only one filler is used in any one rice ball, but feel free to experiment with combinations

Option 2
After step 3 below, make a dent in the rice, stick ~1 teaspoon of filler into the dent, and fold the rice around the filler

  1. Dip fingers in water and spread over both hands, just enough to moisten – this is so that the rice doesn’t stick too much to your hands
  2. Sprinkle a little bit of salt onto one hand
  3. Grab a handful of the rice and filler mix, and form it into a triangular shape – if it’s easier, just form it into a round ball, it doesn’t really matter
  4. Optional – wrap a small piece of roasted seaweed around the rice ball, just before eating, as a place to hold onto the rice ball; don’t put the seaweed on the onigiri until just before eating, or else the seaweed will get soggy – unless you like it that way**

Notes:
* Other types of rice may not stick together quite as well** These rice balls may be eaten warm or cold – if they are cold, the rice will not hold together as well and be a bit messy, but still just as good

Salmon Onigiri

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: ~2 dozen
Working Time: 15 minutes to mix initial dough, 1 hour rest,  5 minutes per oven batch

370 grams rice flour blend*
4 grams xanthan gum
3/4 tsp baking soda
85 grams sugar
85 grams brown sugar
2 eggs replacement**
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Earth Balance Soy-Free traditional spread*** – melted, cooled
225 grams chocolate chips or raisins or dried cranberries or other, total weight

  1. Mix flour, xanthan gum and baking soda in a large bowl
  2. In another bowl whisk together the sugars, egg and vanilla extract. Whisk for a few minutes until the mixture lightens in colour a bit. Add in the melted Earth Balance spread and whisk to combine well.
  3. Slowly add the liquid mix to the dry mix, using a spatula to combine well, without lumps.
  4. Add in the chips and mix in well.
  5. Refrigerate mixture at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C. Scoop dough into balls, about 3 tbsp each or 4 cm in diameter, and place on sheet about 10 cm apart (about 6 – 8 will fit on a regular cookie sheet). Press them down into 1 cm discs. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the sheet at 10 minutes.

Notes:
* The rice flour blend I’ve been using is as follows: 2 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups white rice flour, 2 cups glutinous rice flour, 1 2/3 cups tapioca flour or potato starch.
** I use Ener-G egg replacer. I haven’t tested any others.
*** Earth Balance Soy-Free traditional spread is the only non-soy butter-type replacement I’ve found. It is also salted, and no unsalted version is available. If you have a butter-type replacement you like to use that is unsalted, add 1 tsp salt to the dry mix.

  • After taking the baked cookies out of the oven, let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to cooling rack – they will be very soft and may fall apart. They will harden as they cool.

Cookies