Archive for July, 2009

Mango Chutney

Stock chutney This chutney goes with the Curried Turkey Salad with Grapes and Almonds, previous post.

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mango is soft and mixture is thickened, about 10-15 minutes.

Cool slightly and then refrigerate until needed.

1 ½ C peeled and diced ripe mango

½ C sugar

¼ C finely chopped red onion

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T finely chopped green bell pepper

1 T grated fresh ginger root

¼ t ground cloves

Ground black pepper to taste

From Vegetarian Times Low-Fat & Fast cookbook.

Curried Turkey Salad with Grapes and Almonds

Stock turkey This savory-sweet dish brings together high protein, low fat, fresh fruit, nuts and lots of complementary, mouthwatering flavors. It’s hearty, sticks-to-your ribs, yet is fresh and cool for summer weather. It’s a perfect caveman diet dish (except for that little bit of sugary chutney).

I wonder: why do we eat so much chicken and so little turkey? Turkey is not only cheaper but much higher protein and much lower fat than chicken. It makes for a nice change in flavor, too.

I made double this amount for three people and we were eating it for days. A good idea might be to go ahead and poach 5 lbs of turkey and freeze half for quick fixing later.

1. Poach the turkey breast: place it in a stockpot with 2 ½ quarts of water, the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley and thyme. Simmer over moderate heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the juices run clear with the turkey is pierced with a fork or when a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165.° Let the turkey cool to close to room temperature in the stock.

2 ½ lbs turkey breast

1 medium carrot

½ medium onion, quartered

1 celery stalk with leaves

1 bay leaf

3 black peppercorns

A few sprigs of parsley

1 t dried thyme or a few branches of fresh

2. Meanwhile, make the curry mayonnaise: In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the curry powder, chutney, cumin, basil and cayenne. Add the wine and lemon juice and mix well. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

¾ C mayonnaise

¾ T curry powder

2 T mango chutney (an Indian jam-style condiment found in grocery stores. Super simple to make yourself, too. Recipe to come)

1/8 t cumin

1 ½ T chopped fresh basil leaves (1/2 t dried)

A couple of pinches of cayenne pepper

1 T white wine

1 T fresh lemon juice

Salt & pepper

4 oz slivered blanched or raw almonds (about 1 C)

1 lb seedless green grapes

Salads greens or watercress for serving

3. Optional: In a large ungreased skillet, toast the almonds over moderate heat until golden brown.

4. Remove the turkey breast from the stock (Discard all the other solids from the stock. Freeze the stock for soup later) and remove the meat from the bones and tear or cut the meat into bite sizes or ¼ inch or so strips. Mix the meat with ¾ C mayonnaise, adding more if the mixture seems dry. Add the almonds and grapes and gently incorporate them. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

5. Optional: serve with salad or watercress, and/or additional chutney if desired.

From The Best of Food & Wine: Vegetables, Salads & Grains (1993)

Eating Mindfully: How to keep kids from getting fat by turning on to better food

July 22, 2009 7 comments

Stock kid gourmet American parents today have just two main choices today: go gourmet or go unhealthy. You might be both, but you pretty much have to be one or the other.

Feeding kids is not for the faint of heart or uncommitted today.

If we home cooks serve our families foods that are healthy but that have nothing else to offer, we are going to fail. Healthy foods have to be as engaging as the tastily manipulated and temptingly marketed junk food in today’s battlefield for our tastes. We have to beat our opponents at their own game.

Processed foods today are engineered with salt, fat and sugar to be as seductive and addictive as possible, what food industry folks call “eatertainment,” according to David Kessler, in The End of Overeating. Lab rats’ brains, he claims, respond to these sweet, salty, fatty foods like an addict’s to cocaine.

How can our kids resist this stuff ? By our replacing it with something better.

“The substitute for rewarding food,” Kessler writes, “is often other rewarding food.”

Now is no time for feeble, indecisive attempts. It’s an all-out battle, if we hope to win our child’s heart with healthy foods. Don’t expect kids to resist all the bad food stimuli around them if all you’re offering is the occassional steamed broccoli and fat-free lettuce, sans flavor, sans variety, sans interest, sans everything.

We’ve got to bring out all our guns. A generous variety of Real Foods, well prepared, interesting, flavorful, colorful, surprising and unusual is your best weaponry. Strive every day to make healthy food delicious and mealtime enjoyable.

If we as cooks remain plain, clean and virtuous, like a woman who, au naturelle, makes no efforts to be attractive to her man in the arts of shape, color, texture and scent, we are hiding our light under a bushel. We are expecting a lot of our man if we think that being predictable and withdrawn, disdaining enhancements as shallow, is going to cut it. Do we think he shouldn’t be moved by the tricks of our opponent, who is aggressively presenting her assets in every possible favorable light?

There’s no shame in making what’s good look good, taste good, smell good, in making good more attractive than evil.

Such efforts aren’t burdensome. They’re really pretty exciting.

Other posts on this subject:

“Lessons of Seduction: How to Win Your Child Over for Life by Putting Your Best Food Forward”

“How Cleaning Up Your Act Can Make Things Even Worse”

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon / July 23 2009 / All rights reserved

Poached Eggs with Peach Salsa

July 20, 2009 2 comments

Stock salsa 

Eggs with salsa was a new concept for me. I lived much of my life without ever hearing of salsa—all those wasted years! It offers unlimited variety and is the perfect partner to lots of foods. Salsa with eggs is such a great idea for an inexpensive, super easy, super quick, super healthy meal. It’s tasty as well, of course, and makes for an impressive and appetitizing presentation.

Rub or spray a little flaxseed oil or canola oil in small dishes for poaching eggs. I used little glass dishes. My mom has special stainless steel ones. Crack an egg (omega 3 enriched eggs) in each dish. Place the dishes in a large skillet and fill it up with water up to about half way up the dishes. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to slow boil and cover the pan. Allow to cook slowly until eggs are done to taste. Remove pans carefully from the water and remove eggs with a rubber spatula. Serve hot with the salsa.

1 C fresh peaches, peeled and finely chopped

¼ C red onions, chopped

¼ C yellow or green pepper, chopped

1 T lime juice

2 t (or more) fresh cilantro

Cayenne pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Makes 2 cups. Keeps a few days.

From the Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat, by Loren Cordain.

“Good Egg/Bad Egg?”:

Eating Mindfully: How to Keep Your Kids from Getting Fat

July 17, 2009 4 comments

Stock scales

The human appetite, like the human conscience, quits working if you ignore it long enough.

According to Brian Wansink in his 2006 book, Mindless Eating, modern humans have learned to tune out the appetite and the body’s cues about what and how much we need to eat. Instead we are relying on external stimuli to regulate our intake.

We don’t stop when we get enough; we don’t stop until the container is empty, Wansink’s experiments reveal. If the container’s bigger we’ll eat more. If given bigger packages of ingredients, we’ll cook and eat it all. If the soup bowl is being secretly refilled from the bottom, we’ll just keep eating and eating because it never disappears. Like goldfish, we tend to eat whatever comes our way, hunger aside.

We see the results of what happens when we quit listening to our tummies and instead follow what cues around us are telling us to do.

How it Happened

It was in the 1980s that edibles pushers implemented the “bigger servings” marketing strategy, according to an article by  Elizabeth Kolbert, “Why Are We so Fat,” this month in The New Yorker. We took the bait. During that decade, the American rate of obesity took a huge leap to 33 percent, after slowly inching up around the 25 percent mark over the course of the 60s and 70s. We continue to enlarge. The number of overweight children has more than doubled and teens more than tripled since then.

Sitting ducks for junk food marketers, we are constantly bombarded with messages to eat more of these supersize packages. It’s even been proven that the more we’re around fat people the more likely we are to become fat. All forces are against us and we are going with the flow.

Seduction: From Within or Without?

So what happened to our appetite? In its natural state, it is capable of keeping us from over- or under-eating. A baby is born perfectly tuned into and following his body’s orders. Yet many come to view the appetite as a deceptive enemy: that beast inside us that’s more powerful than our will, driving us to eat junk and a lot of it.

Where are we going wrong and how can parents protect their children and their appetites against the forces of obesity? One option: they can insulate them from exposure to advertising and enticements to bad edibles. They can also provide absolutely nothing but good food choices and let hunger do the rest. Both are absolutely necessary, especially early on.

Sanctity of the Appetite

An even more powerful and long-term strategy, in my experience, is strengthening children’s connection to their own bodies. Create an atmosphere at your table of being fully present and eating mindfully. Tune into the appetite and trust the body to do its job.

When we parents get between a child and his appetite, we contribute to his vulnerability to external stimuli and the inability to follow the body’s cues.

From pushing them to eat “one more bite” to bribing them with dessert if they eat all their broccoli or telling them to clean their plates, we manipulate children with various thinly veiled forms of force feeding that deaden their inborn indicators. A parent’s over-involvement in the process teaches a child that whether she’s hungry or not isn’t important. She learns to ignore how bloated and sluggish she feels after eating the wrong thing or too much.

And like a sound conscience, a healthy appetite is a terrible thing to lose.

Other posts on this subject:

“When the Appetite Goes, Everything Goes”

“She—or He—Who Must Be Obeyed: why children should learn to tune in to their own bodies”/

Strategies for Eating Mindlessly/ Strategies for More Mindful Eating

Training Kids to Tune Out External Cues & Tune into Internal Ones


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Victor Frankl


© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon / 17 July 2009 / All rights reserved

Good Egg/Bad Egg?

July 14, 2009 3 comments


Truly free-range, pastured eggs from bug- and grass-eating hens, found at the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market, November 2009.

Giving up eggs because of the fat in them is like leaving a good husband because he won’t let you get the plastic surgery or go gambling in Vegas, and using that as an excuse to run away with the more seductive, gun-toting gangster boyfriend.

Eggs played a limited but complementary and valuable role in the original human diet, which every human was eating up till about 10,000 years ago. This ideal diet provided for all nutritional needs.  This most basic, complete and primal diet, the first diet the Creator provided for humanity, was made up of plenty of animal protein with fat (post-Eden), generous quantities of all available fruits and vegetables, nuts and eggs.

Too many eggs just might make you fat or keep you fat, though. So how many is too many?

Up to six eggs a week is beneficial for adults, according Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat. I try to feed my family all six eggs a piece every week. They’re good for you, they’re easy and quick, and they’re cheap.

A few tips for making the most of eggs:

1. Cooking at lower temperatures preserves an egg’s nutrients better: boiled or poached instead of fried or scrambled.  Cook omelets slowly.

2. Buy eggs enriched with the beneficial omega 3 fats. These eggs are laid by hens fed flax seeds for better eggs.

3. Two eggs in the morning a couple of times a week is an excellent way to start the day with energy.

4. It’s easy to make an omelet with some onions or veggies like peppers, mushrooms or zucchini once or twice a week for dinner or lunch.  Here’s an excellent one with shrimp and guacamole.

5. Serve eggs with any homemade salsa: tomatoes or fruit, peppers, onions, chili peppers, lime juice.  Here’s a great mango salsa.

Stock home-made_salsa Coming up: Poached Eggs with Peach Salsa recipe

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon  /  14 July 2009 / All rights reserved

Categories: The Caveman Diet

Do-It-Yourself Thai Rice Soup for kids

July 12, 2009 2 comments

Stock Thai soup bowl This tasty and unusual soup, called “rice soup” or “kao dom,” is a super simple Thai recipe that’s long been a favorite of our kids. This is the kind of meal that children especially enjoy: they can pick and choose among the condiments and make their own mix in their soup bowls, experimenting with different flavors and combinations. I especially like the ginger, onions and cilantro. The red pepper flakes are very spicy; just a few in a bowl of soup is enough for me.

8 C chicken stock

1 C (or more) raw ground turkey, venison or pork

2 C (or less) cooked brown rice

4 T fish sauce (made from a mixture of fish and salt that has been allowed to ferment for  a year to 18 months, found in the oriental foods section)

4 eggs

2 T raw ginger root, finely minced

½ C (or more) finely minced onions, fried long and slow in a little oil till tender or crispy, stirred often

2 T cilantro

3 green onions, chopped

2 t (or less) dried red pepper flakes

Heat stock then add the meat, stirring it and breaking it up in the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add rice, cook two minutes. Add fish sauce. Break eggs in and whisk a minute or two till broken up and cooked through. Serve the soup alongside the last five ingredients in little bowls, for each person to add them to their bowl of soup, serving themselves at will.

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon  / 9 July 2009 / All rights reserved