Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Coconut Chicken Soup from Before Baby!

Coconut Chicken Soup

This used to be a sales post for Before Baby but now it's just an awesome soup recipe. I hope you love the recipe as much as I do.


Coconut Chicken Soup

coconut chicken soup

Makes  4 quarts
Prep Time  20 minutes
Cook Times
Stovetop  50-60 minutes
Slow Cooker  6 hours on low

This is, hands down, Ben’s favorite soup.  We make it with 2 teaspoons of green curry paste because I’m a spice wuss, and then Ben adds more curry to his bowl.  I prefer to add toasted sesame oil instead.  Either way, we’ve found that you need a little more green curry when making this soup in the crock pot.  

For extra creamy goodness, replace the second can of coconut milk with coconut cream if you can find it.  It’s how my family prefers the soup!

   1   tablespoon olive oil (Stovetop only)
  ½   onion, diced
   2   large carrots, diced
   4   cloves garlic, minced
  ¼   teaspoon red chile flakes
 3+   teaspoons green curry paste (4+ teaspoons in the slow cooker)
   8   cups chicken broth
   2   chicken breasts (approximately 1 pound)
  ½   cup brown rice
 10   ounces or 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces
   8   ounces or 1 head broccoli , chopped into bite-size florets
   8   ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch chunks
   2   14.5-ounce cans full fat coconut milk (use coconut cream if you can find it)
   1   lime’s juice

 Optional Garnish
    Ume plum vinegar
    Toasted sesame oil
    More green curry paste

To Make the Soup on the Stovetop
Sauté the Aromatics   Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and carrots, turning down the heat to slightly below medium, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and carrots are soft.  Add the garlic, red chile flakes and green curry paste and cook for 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant but not burned.

Make the Soup   Add the chicken broth and bring soup to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts and brown rice, cover, bring back to a boil, and then turn down to simmer.  Cook the chicken breasts 15-20 minutes, until cooked through, and then remove to a plate with tongs.  Cook the rice an additional 10 minutes and then add the kale, broccoli and green beans.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more, until the veggies are tender but not mushy.  While the veggies cook, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces, and then add it back into the soup along with the coconut milk and lime juice.

To Make the Soup in the Slow Cooker
Place the onion, carrots, garlic, red chile flakes, green curry paste, chicken broth, chicken breasts, and brown rice in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 5 hours.  Add the kale, broccoli, green beans and coconut milk (or coconut cream) and cook for another hour.  Turn off the slow cooker and remove the chicken breasts to a plate.  When they are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized chunks and return to the soup.  Stir in the lime juice.

NOTE   This soup will not suffer one bit if you add the vegetables at the beginning of the cook time, they’ll just be softer.  Definitely still add the coconut milk (or coconut cream) and lime juice at the end.

To Make it Vegetarian    This soup is just as tasty when veggie!  Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and use 16 ounces firm tofu in place of the chicken.  Add the tofu when you add the green vegetables.  You could even bump up the brown rice to ⅔ cup for a bit more substance.
To Make it Veggie-licious   Add zucchini and/or cauliflower with the other vegetables.


Monday, May 18, 2015


In December of 2013 Ben and I decided to write a book.  I had outlined the idea a couple of months before but then let it drift as life took over.  I was teaching at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, seeing patients in my private practice and doing contract work, so I was pregnant and busy!  But in December, something shifted.  Both Ben and I love to write, and I was already making and freezing food for when Teo arrived, so we decided to write it all down.  In fact, we got the bulk of the book researched and written before Teo's arrival, and then it took several more months of working with recipe testers, tweaking timelines, reshooting photos, and generally rewriting draft after draft before we could even start the process of self-publishing.  

And oh, what a process!  Ben gets all the credit for getting this book from google doc form into something you can purchase and read.  He's a full-time teacher, so he was only able to troubleshoot the thousand little problems in fits and starts, and I think we spent every day of his winter vacation and spring break thinking we were going to publish, only to discover another issue that needed to be addressed.  This book would not be here without him!

And so, without further ado, I give you Before Baby, available as an ebook through Amazon.  Read it on your honest-to-goodness Kindle or on any of the Kindle apps for your tablet or phone!  You can even give it as a gift through Amazon (click "Give as a Gift" right below where you normally purchase it).

So, who should read this book?  Anyone expecting a child, or supporting someone expecting a child.  Future grandparents could use this book to stock the freezer for their children, or friends could each make a dish for the expectant family.  Before Baby makes a fantastic baby shower gift.  And if you aren't expecting a child but like to cook meals to freeze ahead, just ignore the references to pregnancy and breastfeeding and skip right to enjoying our delicious and nutritious recipes!

We are so excited to share this book with you.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

'Tis the season for fish sauce...

Life is rolling by fast and furious here in the Hoverter household.  We moved into a fixer-upper and somehow the house, the kiddo, the dog, the cats, our jobs, our friends and our family have taken every iota of our time, energy and money.  It's been a fantastic change (yard, anyone?) and a brand new adventure getting to know our new neighborhood in northeast Seattle.  It's a slightly more suburban area with significantly fewer restaurants and amenities, but one lovely surprise has been a superb Thai restaurant just two minutes from home.  Thai One On has gloriously fresh vegetables, high quality meats and some exotic flavor combinations to accompany the usual favorites like pad thai and green curry.  Their curry fried rice is to die for.

One of our family's current favorites is the Neua Naam Tok, or steak salad.  Thin-sliced flank steak, fresh spinach and sticky rice commingle to produce a tangy, spicy, funky experience we apparently can't get enough of.  So, naturally, we had to try to make it at home.

It turns out that the secret is the sauce.  Whatever combination of meat, vegetables and carbs you choose to put in this salad, it's the combination of fish sauce, lime juice and spices that makes it so delectable.  This sauce can go on anything.  Remember when Homer Simpson said "Marge, this is Thai food.  I want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner"?  This is why. 

For this simple meal, we grilled up some chicken thighs and veggies and threw it all over soaked rice noodles.  We added the sauce, then garnished with cilantro and green onions.  For the dish I photographed, we used broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, but feel free to mix it up however you like.  And if you don't have a grill basket for your small vegetables, I suggest you get one--it makes life so much easier.

Neua Naam Tok Sauce recipe:
Modified from Pok Pok, by Andy Ricker

3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (I use Squid brand)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons beef broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1 stalk lemon grass, tender parts thinly sliced
pinch of cayenne

Place all the ingredients in a teeny-tiny sauce pan and heat just until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat but serve warm.