Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stressed Out or PMSing? Dry Skin or Feeling Blue? Try This Medicinal Dish: Chicken Liver

As a kid, I wasn't really a finicky eater. I ate most things my parents did. They made Alaskan King Crab, mussels, fried squid (with the tentacles) and other types of foods that most kids would cringe at. The one food I would never touch was beef liver. I hated the smell and most of all, I hated the taste. It was vile. I didn't know how they could eat the stuff. When my family would all go out for dinner, there was usually a salad bar. My mom insisted I try some stuff that looked like cat food. It was liver pâté. I loved it. I wanted more and kept piling it onto my dish. But whenever Dad would make it at home, I didn't like it. It was in its natural form, fried or sautéed with a ton of onions. I watched him make it as the smells spoke an entirely different story to its taste. As an adult, at the age of thirty-four, my wife had to undergo a partial hysterectomy because she had four humungous fibroid tumors living on her uterus and another attached to one of her ovaries. She found out she had to get this operation while shopping in the grocery store with me one day. I turned around and her lips were blue. Her skin was pale; ash-colored. We immediately got her a blood test and the nurses all looked at one another and said, "How are you even walking around like that?" She had so much blood loss, that her anemia went borderline sickle cell. I was told to cook things loaded with iron like steak, liver, clams, mussels, spinach and on top of that, iron pills. As Madelene was convalescing, I had a ball barbecuing steaks for her and making sure her levels were up. But then, she asked for something I never made before....chicken liver. I remember we were vacationing in the Hamptons one week and she was so scared that she would have some health issues, but I thought it was a good opportunity to just sit by the ocean, make her whatever she wanted and take care of her. It was then, I made my first chicken liver dish. It was so hard to eat at first. I didn't like it at all. But, even as I cooked it more at home, I started to notice the health benefits of it. It helped with my PMS, and menstrual cycle greatly. I also noticed it helped my mood a lot. I felt great after eating it.

Taken from this website, here are 10 benefits of chicken liver...

1. Helps prevent anemia (Vitamin B12 – 352%)

Chicken liver can supply the body with over three times the daily needed value of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient which supports the production of red blood cells and helps prevent pernicious anemia.

2. Promotes good eyesight (Vitamin A -288%)

Many people probably didn’t know that it is brimming with vitamin A in the form of retinol, alpha and beta-carotene including lycopene. At 14378 IU, it’s a very powerful supporter for healthy vision.

3. Helps promote fertility (Folate – 140%)

If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, chicken liver is good for you. With its 560 mcg of folate, it helps promote fertility as well as prevent neural tube defects for the developing baby.

4. Promotes healthy tissues (Riboflavin -136%)

Soreness around the lips, mouth, and tongue and cracking and/or peeling of the skin at the corners of the mouth and around the nose indicates a lack of riboflavin in the body. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B1 is essential for normal reproduction, growth, repair and development of body tissues including the skin. Chicken liver is loaded with 2.3 mg of riboflavin.

5. Keeps thyroid healthy (Selenium – 126%)

It is also brimming with selenium, a mineral which supports iodine to keep the thyroid gland in top shape.

6. Helps the body fight stress (Pantothenic Acid – 83%)

With its rich pantothenic acid, it helps the body combat stress by supporting the adrenal glands.

7. Keeps immune system healthy (Iron – 72%)

In addition to its role in preventing anemia, iron also keeps the immune system in top condition and chicken liver is an excellent source of this essential mineral.

8. Helps prevent pellagra (Niacin – 70%)

Lack of niacin supply in the body will show in the form of pellagra, a disease with symptoms that include delusions, diarrhea, inflamed mucous membranes and scaly skin sores. Chicken and tuna are some of the highest sources of niacin.

9. Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails (Protein – 52%)

One of the many health benefits of protein is keeping the skin, muscles, hair and nails in top condition and chicken liver is another excellent source of this very important nutrient.

10. Helps keep teeth and bones healthy (Phosphorous – 42%)

It is also good for the teeth, gums and bones through its rich phosphorous content as calcium cannot build teeth and bones without the aid of this mineral.

Soon enough, after realizing how healthy these little organs are, I started to absolutely love every single bite. I have now acquired a taste for them, and at times, I crave it more than chocolate when I'm PMSing. Here are some of my cooking tips on cooking your chicken liver. Remember, you can sauté or fry them. When I do fry them, I only use olive oil. Be careful, because olive oil tends to burn your food quickly, so it's important to keep it on a sufficient flame, around 7 or so...

Remember, clean your liver first. (No, don't quit drinking because this dish requires white wine.)

Egg & bread your little guys. Make sure you use breading that has Italian seasonings or you can season it yourself to your liking.

Pile them on a separate dish, so that when you are done frying them, you have a clean plate to place them on - no cross contamination. This is important because some people forget this little tidbit that can prevent them from getting ill.

Chop up white onions (they're sweeter) into ringlets. In my opinion, it makes the dish look better as well as caramelize more evenly. Put them in separate bowls, add a little olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper into a pan and let it get hot....then throw them right in.

Add some lemon & white wine into the mix and let it sauté for a bit before placing the liver into the frying pan.

Start cooking your vegetable. With this dish, I always prefer fresh from the farm market veggies - not frozen and not boiled too much. It gives the dish even more iron. Brussels sprouts are known to be rich in iron as well, or you can make a big spinach salad to compliment it.

Throw the puppies into the frying pan. Make sure you let them brown. Should take approximately ten or twelve minutes, depending on your stovetop.

Multitask! Make sure you're watching your veggies so they don't get too soft, and sauté your onions and mushrooms, adding in a tiny bit of sugar in the raw for more of a caramelized effect. Watch your house smell like heaven when this combo is brewing together.

After frying your liver, place them on paper towel and then lightly blot them with another one on top. This will absorb the olive oil so you won't have greasy livers.

Add your beautiful onion & mushroom concoction onto the liver dish and voila -------

You end up with this beautiful dish that'll enhance your physical and emotional health. No psychotherapy required.

And the results from your dinner guests?

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