Bone marrow is the beautifully fatty, nutrient dense insides of a bone. Contrary to popular belief, bones are anything but hollow. They are filled with fat, nutrients and a significant blood supply. This is also the site of immune cell production.
Many cultures such as Canadian Natives treat marrow as the most nutritious and best part of the animal. The Chinese value its many healing properties such as a digestive health support. The level of healthy fat and collagen is important in regenerating the cells in the lining of the gut and is important for wound healing too! Marrow is also key for healing a leaky gut, which can lead to digestive issues, allergies, asthma, eczema and more.
Eating bone marrow can increase your white blood cell count, which is basically our immune system army.
Always remember to buy grass-fed, clean and happy bones from your local butcher. Ask questions like:
- Was the animal fed on non-GMO feed?
- Was it grass fed or at least finished (Canadian winters make pasteur raised cattle a lot harder to come by)
- Is the meat free of growth hormones?
- Was the animal given antibiotics?
Basically you want to decipher whether it was factory farmed or produced on a small, health-conscious farm.
This is especially important because although the marrow stores nutrients, it may also store fat-soluble toxins such as pesticides and other environmental toxins.
For me, Bone marrow has always been translated into the epic fit-for-a-queen meal....OSSO BUCO. This is a traditional Milanese dish that's slowly cooked with tomatoes and soffritto (carrot, celery and onion) . The slow extraction process breaks down the collagen inside the marrow and turns the sauce into a creamy, rich, deeply flavoured meal. In fact, its so rich that it's often the meal recommended for that big Barolo or Brunello wine you've been storing away for a special occasion. Serve on top a bowl of creamy polenta and you will not be disappointed!
This recipe is for a slow cooker set on the lowest setting, allowed to cook for 9 hours.
- 2 nice sized Veal shanks (about 4-5 lbs each)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 3 celery stalks plus leaves, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, whole, peeled (use fresh when in season)
- 3 juniper berries
- 3 cloves
- 5 bay leaves
- Aromatics may also include fresh rosemary or thyme
- flour for dusting
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 2 glugs of white wine
- Salt and pepper each shank on both sides. Dust in flour and sear on med-high heat in a sauce pan with olive oil. Cook for a couple minutes per side until a crust is formed. Add to the slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, scrapping off the golden bits with a plastic utensil, add to slow cooker.
- Add vegetables, canned tomato, herbs and spices as well as 1/2 cup of water.
- Let cook for 9 hours or until the marrow becomes soft and easily extruded. My slower only had 2 settings, so I left it on the lower of the two settings.
Bone broth is on everyone's (oily) lips right now as it appears to be the hottest food trend. It's the beverage of choice for supermodels at this years Paris Fashion Week. But if bone broth is a fad then its gotta be the longest food-fad running. Ancient cultures have been making it for thousands of years. From Chinese medicine, Japanese Ramen, Vietnamese pho, French bouillon and Italian brodo.
4 Reasons to Drink Bone Broth
1) Loaded with Nutrients and Minerals
Bone Broth is a significant natural source of all the big ones: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium. These nutrients are essential to bone building, metabolism and the uptake of other nutrients. Phosphorus is also a critical mineral used to maintain acid-base balance in the body. It also contains some Amino Acids: Glycline and Proline. Cheaper than the average multivitamin and contains a lot of what we need on a daily basis.
2) Immune Boosting Power
Studies have proven that bone broth can actually increase the number of white blood cells (infection fighter cells) in the body. So THATS what your mom made you chicken soup when you were sick. Mom's and Nonna's always know whats up. When you're sick, Bone broth will:
Increase White Blood Cells
Act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and sinus infection
Increase your nutrients to help fight the illness
Clear up mucous from upper respiratory tract infection
Incredibly hydrating to help flush out infection and cell waste
3) Digestive Aid
Bone Broth will help cure leaky gut, which can lead to all kinds of scary conditions from food allergies to auto-immune diseases. It does so by mending the gaps in the intestinal lining with collagen and gelatin. These intestinal cells should be strong tight junctions, but many of us have damage to the intestinal cell wall lining which loosens those gaps and releases food particles into the blood stream. SO TIGHTEN UP THOSE GAPS!
Heals Leaky Gut
Increases Mineral Absorption
4) It's Cheap and Easy to Make
The gentle and slow extraction of nutrients makes Bone Broth an incredibly nutrient dense food. And its low in calories.
One 8oz serving contains only 66 calories
You can feed a whole family with the bones that you would normally throw away. Now that is cucina povera!
This recipe is an amalgamation of my friend's Vietnamese father giving a verbal "a bit of this a bit of that" recipe, and othersources. Remember to only use healthy bones! Organic, mennonite, hormone free, all that goodness.
3-4 lbs of mixed healthy bones: beef, chicken, cross-cut veal shank with marrow and oxtails
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
1 cup parsley
2 cups daikon radish, peeled and sliced 3 inch rounds
1 medium yellow onion
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
2 tbsp rock salt (more to taste at the end)
SPICE BAG: 2 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp fennels seeds, 1 tsp cardamom pods, 1 tsp whole cloves
Roast the Bones (Optional) Preheat oven to 400 F. Drizzle bones with olive oil and arrange in single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour or until evenly browned.
Char Onions and Ginger : Cut the onion in half. Peel the ginger, cut in rounds and smash with the back of a knife. Roast on high broil until dark and charred, just before burning.
Cut the Vegetables into large chunks. Cut the carrots, garlic, celery and parsley.
Toast the Spices in a saucepan on medium heat until aromatic. Put into a cheesecloth bag or strain out after
Combine the Bones and Vegetables in a large stock pot. I use an 8 quart pot.
Add Flavour: add Apple Cider Vinegar, fish sauce, rock salt, garlic cloves (whole) dry mushrooms, bay leaves and spice bag
Cover with Water. Make sure everything is well submerged.
Parboil: Heat on high until it reaches a rapid boil. Let boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Make sure there is still a small bubbling action, but very minimal. Cover and cook for 24hrs
Skim the Skum: Check occasionally and remove and scum, bubbles, gray matter that appears on the surface. These are the impurities and released toxins from the bones.
Finished when dark and flavourful. Taste the broth, it should have a deep rich meaty flavour with sweet vegetable flavours. If the bones have begun to disintegrate, you know you've broken down all the minerals.
Strain the broth into a fine mesh colander. I fill mason jars 3/4 full (to prevent bursting) and place in the freezer, leaving a few jars in the fridge to drink within the week.
On holiday in the beautiful Barbados, I was delighted by the culinary wonders that the island had to offer. From Bajan hot sauce, fresh herb seasoning and macpie! But what stood out the most was the variety and freshness of the fish. The most exciting experience was Oistin's Fish Market, which is an open air market where local fisherman have been coming to sell their daily catch for hundreds of years. Corralled between about 20 stalls are fish mongers loudly bantering, laughing and briskly chopping the heads of such large specimens as yellowfin tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi (aka 'Dolphin') and barracuda.
The array of fish on display is exciting and dizzying, and I'm told I have to make my choice between 2 fish for dinner that evening. I choose Barracuda, a fish thats quite long with a tender flaky white texture and enough to feed our party of nine for the evening. I also go with a stack of flying fish, a local specialty thats typically served battered, fried and in a bun or with macpie and rice.
Flying fish are an incredible specie that appear to be more evolved with their wide wing span and ability to literally 'fly' above the water. They say a fish may love a bird, but where would they live? Maybe the evolution of the flying fish stems from this very dilemma ?
The flying fish are very affordable, and I received a stack of 10 fillets for a mere $10 Barbados dollars (about $7 Canadian).
Upon seeing these small fillets of pink flesh, I had a very strong urge to submerge them in acidic liquid for a time, and then douse them in olive oil, garlic and parsley, as they do in Italy. Also, I had a large bottle of Bajan Lime Vinegar that I was dying to cure fish in.
Alici Marinate is made by taking fresh anchovies and curing them in a vinegar bath for about 5 hours. You then rinse them off, marinate them with the best strong flavours of garlic, chilli, salt and citrus, and serve them anitpasti style with crusty bread. This was by far my favourite thing to eat when I lived in Italy because the texture of the cured fish is so tender and delicate, while the strong sour flavours of the marinade make you want to soak up every bit with your scarpetta.
Here are the results of this Bajan, Italian and Spanish Ceviche-style inspired cured local fish:
- 10 fillets of flying fish (or fresh anchovies, in which case you will want double the amount)
- Juniors Lime Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar (enough to submerge)
- 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 1.5 cups of chopped parsley
- red onion thinly sliced
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse the flying fish fillets and pat dry with paper roll
- Place in a non-reactive container loosely, then submerge in vinegar
- Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of salt
- Cover and set in the fridge to cure for 5 hours minimum (overnight works well also)
- When cured, the flesh will be white and stiff
- Either rinse under the tap or strain if you don't mind a more sour flavour
- Carefully remove the skin which will peel easily (if using anchovies, the skin can remain)
- Place in a serving dish, cover in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic, onions and parsley.
- Serve with crusty bread, crostini or crackers.
This recipe takes 10min and it will enrich your life in oh so many ways! Magnesium is in the top three highest nutrient deficiencies in the world, yet it is one of the most abundant in our bodies. It's found in brain cells, muscles cells, everywhere. It can help relieve asthma and allergy symptoms as well as lower cardiovascular disease amongst many other special traits. So how do we get it in our bodies. It's a nutrient very fragile to processing, and needs to come from plant foods. Pumpkin seeds contain a very rich supply of magnesium, and pumpkin butter is so so delicious. Here's the recipe, you'll need a food processor.
- 2 cups of organic unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepita seeds)
- 1/4 cup cold pressed organic coconut oil
- 1 tsp honey
- Pinch of salt
- Combine pumpkin seeds, salt and honey in a food processor and start blending
- Slowly add coconut oil until creamy
- Process for at least 5 minutes, the longer you process the smoother it becomes. Add more oil for desired consistency
Spread it on anything and everything.
Broth. Brodo. The perfect harmony of warming, nourishing ingredients. Gently simmered to infuse the liquid with delicate vitamins, minerals and life-giving nutrition from a simple mix of basic vegetables and bones. Its always been my favourite food, as I child I would ask for my birthday dinner to be a big steaming bowl of "brodo" with rice. Being a June baby, this heated meal would dismay my family members, but nothing else would suffice...I wanted soup! When cooked with enough love, patience and know how, it can be the perfect thing to resurrect you from a cold, flu or even a bad day. So grab a glass of wine, put on some Etta James, and make a big pot of chicken broth.
The following recipe is for my basic chicken broth, which I make on a frequent basis in the colder months and have stored in my freezer at any given time. This recipe is a mix of my mother's, a classic clear french consume, as well as some personal added flavour enhancers and immune-boosters.
Please feel free to play around and add different spices and herbs, there's really no wrong way to go about it. Just remember the basics: at least add the holy trinity (onion carrot celery) and if adding bones, let cook for a minimum of 1.5 hrs. Also, remember to continually skin the surface for impurities coming from the bones. This stuff is all the toxins that you don't want in your body. This recipe can be used as a base for anything ! Roast some squash and make a purée soup. Use as the base for a tasty risotto. Add some pastina and beaten eggs with Parm for stracciatella soup. Sip in a mug when you have a cold. It is a life saver.
Ingredients: • 1 whole free range chicken
• 2 carrots, roughly chopped
• 3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
• Bunch of celery leaves
• 1/2 bunch of Italians parsley
• 1 large onion quartered
• 10 whole peppercorns
• 2 garlic cloves, smashed
• 1 1/2 tbsp sea/Himalayan salt
• 3 dry bay leaves
• 3 sprigs of thyme
• 2 small/ medium tomatoes, chopped Add for super health:
• Ginger root, roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• 2-3 more garlic cloves
• pinch of nutmeg ** for vegetarians substitute chicken for 1.5 cups dried mushrooms. Cook for 1 hr Method:
1) In a large stock pot add all the ingredients
2) fill the pot with water until everything is covered by about 3 inches of water.
3) on high, bring to a boil. Let boil for 10min then reduce heat to simmer. There should be small and steady bubbles.
4) using a large spoon, skim off the surface all the dark bubbles that accumulate around the edges. Know as the scum.
5) about 40-50min into cooking, take a large tong and try to lift the chicken carcass. If it feels that it might fall apart easily, remove from the liquid and set to cool
6) pick all the tender meat from the chicken bones, discard the skin, and throw ALL the bones back into the broth
7) continue cooking for a minimum total of 2 hours.
8) put liquid through a large strainer and discard the rest. Your broth should be richly coloured and taste delicious. Add salt to taste.
9) can be stored in the freezer in small batches or used right away Depending on the size of your pot this recipe should give you at least 3.5 litres of broth.
This is a very easy recipe that everyone should already know how to make, but if you don't... here is a great basic recipe. Frittata is the perfect clean-out-the-fridge meal, and it works with breakfast or lunch. Almost anything can go in it, even leftover spaghetti ! In this version, I've used beautiful summer tomatoes, a whole load of caramelized onions (Including a Nonna tip), and freshly torn basil. Simple.
- 2 smallish tomatoes
- 1 1/2 medium onions
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- splash of cider vinegar
- 6 leaves fresh basil
- 1/4 cup grated cheese (any cheese!)
- On medium heat, add the coconut oil and sliced onions. Saute for 5-8 min until slightly browned. Splash with apple cider vinegar (nonna tip) and continue to caramelize.
- In the mean time, whisk together eggs in a bowl and chop tomatoes
- When onions are cooked, sprinkle tomatoes evenly throughout the pan, then add the whisked eggs
- Cover with a lid and cook on med until bottom starts to stiffen and top doesn't look so wet.
- Once the bottom is cooked (before going brown) add the fresh torn basil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and shred cheese on top
- Whack in the oven under broil. Keep a close eye until the cheese starts to crisp slightly
- Serve with crusty bread for breakfast or a fresh salad for lunch!
This recipe serves 2-3 people