Chamomile-Poached Tilapia with Roasted Red Peppers

tilapia

2 tilapia fillets
2 bags chamomile tea
2 bay leaves
fresh ginger
salt and white pepper to taste
roasted red peppers (optional)

Boil two cups of water. In a heat-safe container, pour the boiling water over the tea bags. Let the tea steep for five minutes. Press a spoon against the tea bags to get as much tea out as possible. Take approximately two inches of the fresh ginger and slice it thinly. Add the bay leaves to a 12-inch skillet. In the 12-inch skillet, bring the tea and ginger to a boil over high heat. Add fillets. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 6 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
Remove the fillets from the liquid. Salt and pepper to taste; if desired, garnish with the roasted red peppers.

What’s anti-inflammatory, low oxalate, interstitial cystitis friendly, and delicious? I’ll just come out and say it: this recipe. The flavor of the fish is definitely mild, but it is moist and tender. You get the benefits of the fish AND the soothing power of chamomile, along with a hint of ginger.

Best of all, it’s a very quick cooking method, perfect for a midweek dinner. Bon appétit!

Corn Chicken Soup with Mushrooms and Barley

4 chicken thighs, skin removed, bones in

2 quarts chicken stock

2 teaspoons of coconut or olive oil (or rendered chicken fat)

1/4 cup quick barley

1 ear of fresh corn, shucked

1 medium yellow onion

1 clove of garlic

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms, white or baby Portobello

3/4 teaspoon of dried thyme

1 to 3 teaspoons of salt

White pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

Heat one teaspoon of oil on medium heat in a large six-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Place your sliced mushrooms in the pot and stir them into the oil. Let them sizzle in the oil until most of their water has burned off, at least 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally. While the mushrooms are cooking, chop your onion and garlic. Add the onions to the pot and stir until they are soft, about four minutes. Add the chopped garlic. Wait 30 seconds or until it is aromatic. Move the vegetables over to the side of the pot.

Now, add the chicken thighs. It will be a tight fit. Let the thighs sit for three minutes or until the skin is golden on the bottom. Flip the chicken and let it sit for three more minutes or until golden. While the chicken is cooking, measure out one quart of your stock (4 cups).

Add one quart of the stock to the pot. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and the bay leaf. Let the soup come to a simmer, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn off the stove burner and move the pot off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Shred the chicken with two forks or, if you prefer, cut it into evenly sized cubes. Throw away the bones. Your chicken may still be a little pink; it will finish cooking in the next step.

Nestle the shredded chicken back into the soup pot. Add ¼ cup barley with the remaining quart of stock. Cut the kernels from the ear of corn; add the corn kernels. Cover and bring the soup to a boil; simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and white pepper to taste, along with the thyme. Add additional water or stock if the soup is too thick.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-chicken-noodle-soup-178790

This post was inspired by a cold. A cold probably picked up while hooting and hollering to encourage the runners at the Disney World marathon. Since I began the low oxalate diet, I haven’t had access to my usual “I’m sick” comfort foods: some form of condensed soup and a grilled cheese. There’s no attempt at a grilled cheese here, but I think I’ve come up with a darn satisfying soup.

So many chicken soups, homemade or otherwise, have higher oxalate ingredients such as celery and carrots, or bladder irritating ingredients such as large amounts of sodium. I think this recipe finds many of the good things about chicken noodle soup, and converts them to a lower oxalate version.

Barley adds a hint of starchiness and thickness and homemade stock adds a rich taste. The mushrooms are there to give a little depth in flavor; the thyme and bay leaf enhance everything. Corn adds a little color and freshness. If you are doing paleo or primal, it would be very easy to take out the barley. If you don’t have quick barley on hand, rice would make a great substitute. And since I’ve started buying chicken thighs with the bone in (because they are considerably cheaper), this recipe allowed me to leave the bones in. You also can use chicken breasts, or deboned thighs or breasts, but the bones do enrich the flavor. I’m saving up a few bones and skins in the freezer for a homemade chicken broth, but it was nice to use all of the chicken immediately.

I deskinned the chicken thighs and popped them in the oven and made crispy chicken chips, which I intend to use in salad. A bowlful of this got me back on my feet, dreaming about what I can do with the chicken chips in the coming weeks. I may also add frozen peas to the next pot of soup for a little more color.