Healthy Eating: Basic Techniques For Cooking Success


Published:

If you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. — Kahlil Gibran

Nutrition is very personal. Each body is different from the next, with its own individual requirements for functioning at its prime. Even a single body will have changing needs at different stages throughout its lifetime. It’s wise to take note of nutritional recommendations and trends, but the best guide will probably be your own body’s messages, telling you what it needs and how your diet and lifestyle are faring. Explore different nutritional models and allow yourself to shift between them as needed. Most diseases can be improved or even healed with changes in diet, so take charge of your health and find out what’s necessary for you to thrive. Trust yourself to find the resources that you need, and remember the key factor of any healthy diet: a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed, naturally grown foods. Try the following basic cooking techniques to help you increase your cooking ease and success.  

Enjoy yourself. No other technique is more important! Your attitude affects the food you prepare as much as your ingredients, and so cooking presents an opportunity to nourish your friends and family with your loving, positive energy. Make an effort to feel good in the kitchen and put aside any anger or frustration unless you can effectively transmute it into spiciness!

Trust your intuition. The more you can do this, the easier it will be to enjoy yourself. Eating is to cooking just as walking is to dancing, so relax. When something’s in the oven, heed the voice that tells you to check on it. If you have an idea to add something different to your stew, notice where the idea originated. The voice of intuition will guide you and become stronger as you learn to perceive and trust it.

Read the entire recipe before you begin to cook. It’s like looking at the map before beginning a trip. You will see what needs to be prepared ahead or how you can multitask along the way, making your journey through the recipe more efficient, easeful, and pleasant. You don’t want get stuck having to soak nuts overnight when you’re trying to make dinner in an hour.

Mise en place is a French culinary phrase that literally means “putting in place.” It means measuring, washing, cutting, and otherwise preparing the ingredients for your recipe before you begin. This will also help you accomplish the previous technique, since you will need to read through the recipe in order to prepare your ingredients.

Maximize energy—your own, and that of your stove. When the oven is hot, roast an extra squash, a few bulbs of garlic, some tomatoes, or toast a tray of seeds or nuts. When you prepare beans or grains, double or even triple the quantities, so you can freeze leftovers. Try to make a few batches of sauces or salad dressings once a week. You will find it easier to prepare quick weeknight meals that are more complex and interesting with these building blocks on hand.

❤ Follow Your Heart Soup

This is a general formula to learn how to make a full-bodied vegan soup out of any ingredients you have available. To make your soups more nutritious and flavorful, use broth rather than water. Beware of the ingredients of commercial broths and concentrated stock cubes. Broth is very easy to make from the trimmings of the vegetables you use for the soup and other recipes, but if you must use water this soup will still be delicious!

Place in a medium soup pot:
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 tsp salt

Cook over medium-low heat 10–15 minutes, until onions are very soft and translucent

Add:
aromatics (suggest 1 celery, 1 carrot, 2 cloves garlic)
1/2–1 tsp salt

This base for most soups is called a mirepoix. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Use plenty of fat (oil, butter, etc.) to coat the onions and carry the flavors of the aromatics throughout the soup. While you could just boil all the ingredients at the same time, your soup will be much richer and more complex if you take the time to slowly cook the onions and other aromatics thoroughly first. Use salt as a tool to draw moisture from the onions or vegetables if they start to get dry. You want enough liquid to keep them from burning but not so much that they steam rather than caramelize. If the pan gets too dry, add a little salt, oil, or a tiny bit of water or broth.

Next, deglaze the pan by adding:
1/2 cup wine, tomatoes, fruit or vegetable juice, broth, beer, or water
Let simmer about 7 minutes until nearly dry, taking care to avoid scorching.

Add:
4–6 cups vegetable broth or water
additional vegetables, beans, grains, etc.

Bring to a boil, then simmer (partially covered) until thoroughly cooked. Purée if desired, then taste and adjust salt. If the soup still needs something, try a little lemon or vinegar.

Omnivorous Variations

  • Use butter to sauté onion.
  • Use bone broth or milk in place of vegetable broth or water.
  • Finish with a little cream after removing from heat.

Additional Soup-Making Tips

  • If you need to pause, you can turn off the heat anywhere along the way at the end of a step, before adding the next ingredient.
  • If using mushrooms, I usually add them before the ½ cup deglazing liquid, after the mirepoix has had a few minutes to soften.
  • When using crushed red pepper or dried Italian seasonings, add them with the mirepoix to soften them and draw out their flavor.
  • When blending puréed soups, place a towel over the top of the blender to protect yourself from splattering.
  • If using miso, stir it in after removing the soup from heat.

❤ Massaged Kale Salad

Yields 2–4 servings
I love kale. I eat it every day and thank it for strengthening my bones. I usually chop it very fine, down to the tough bottom of the spine. If you’re new to kale, you may want to pull off the tender leaves and discard the spine until you can enjoy its hearty texture.

In a large salad bowl, combine and allow to marinate 5–10 minutes:
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
¾ tsp salt
2–3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼  to ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, to taste

Add and allow to marinate a few minutes more:
1 beet, shredded

Add:
1 bunch kale, finely chopped
drizzle of quality olive oil

Using your hands, firmly massage the salad for about 5 minutes until the kale is tenderized.

Add:
¼ cup walnuts, toasted or raw
freshly ground black pepper to taste
handful of cherry tomatoes or dried cranberries, cut in half (optional)

Toss and serve at once or refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Variations

  • Any homemade dressing is great on raw massaged kale salads.
  • To make a really easy raw kale salad, simply massage chopped kale with some sauerkraut. Add avocado and toasted seeds for healthy fats and protein.

❤ Follow Your Heart Pilaf

Yields 4–6 servings
Pilafs are excellent served both warm and at room temperature. Use this recipe to make any variety of flavors with the ingredients you have on hand.

Prepare with water or vegetable broth:
1 cup dry grains (barley, brown rice, wild rice, etc.)
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, then allow to stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Combine with the savories below while still warm.

While grains are cooking, combine in a medium pan:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
¼ tsp salt

Cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, until onions begin to color.

Add:
savory aromatics and assorted vegetable base, such as garlic, celery, fennel, carrot, mushroom, etc.
Continue to cook until vegetables are soft, then deglaze the pan by adding:
about ½ cup wine, tomatoes, juice, broth or water
Simmer about 7 minutes until nearly dry again, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Remove to a large mixing bowl and toss with:
warm rice (above)
2/3 cup nuts or seeds, toasted and chopped
¼ cup dried fruit
¼  cup chopped fresh herbs
drizzle of good olive oil
Adjust salt and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Omnivorous Variations

  • Use organic bone broth in place of water or vegetable broth, and butter in place of oil to sauté.
  • If you want animal protein in this vegan pilaf, add pieces of browned, organic pastured meats or chicken.

❤ Hazelnut Meyer Lemon Jewels

Yields 12 cookies
This wheat- and cane sugar–free variation on Meredith McCarty’s Linzertortes in Sweet and Natural is one of the best vegan cookies I’ve ever had. They are a sweet dream come true.

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place in a single layer in a baking dish:
1 cup raw hazelnuts
Toast until fragrant and crisped, about 10–15 minutes. Wrap in a towel to steam while they cool, then rub with towel to remove skins. Place in a food processor and chop finely.

Combine in a large bowl:
hazelnuts
2 cups + 2 Tbsp barley flour
1/4 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder

Combine in another bowl:
½ cup light oil
½ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp Meyer lemon zest, chopped
1 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to make a dough. Roll into 2-inch balls and make an indentation in the middle of each for:
1 Tbsp raspberry jam
Bake jam-filled cookies on an oiled baking sheet until golden, 15–20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Mielle Chénier-Cowan Rose has been a natural foods chef and advocate for natural living for over 15 years. Her latest book, Veganish: The Omnivore’s Guide to Plant-Based Cooking, can retrain any person to enjoy healthier cooking and eating. Visit pieceofmyheartkitchen.com.

See also:
Healthy Eating: Roasties and Sea Salt
Veganish: How Plant-Based Foods Can Work for Everyone

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

February 19, 2020

There may be too many options on the table today. The Capricorn Moon is at odds with Venus early this morning and in an afternoon conjunction with Jupiter. The former aspect engenders outgoing moods but also carries the risk of neglecting one’s personal…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2020

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

January 19th, February 16th, March 8th by appointment only. Kinetic Chain Release (KCR) to balance body, resolve leg length discrepancies, reduce back, shoulder, knee, hip pain and reduce stress...

Cost: $65 to $145

Where:
Leapin' Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME  04101
View map »


Sponsor: Leapin' Lizards
Telephone: 207-221-2363
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With Anna DeWitte Mondays—starts 1/27 Our next new class! Join Anna (one of our recent grads) for her mild heat class! The temperature will hover around 80 degrees which helps to loosen...

Cost: $17

Where:
State of Grace Yoga & Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Sponsor: State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Automatic & Channel Writing — Class 1 of 3 Discussion of channel writing and then spending the rest of the class practicing writing. Getting comfortable writing either with paper and...

Cost: At door $20; online reg. $15

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers — Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In celebration of Pediatric Dentistry Month and recognizing children’s oral health as a foundation for life-long health, join us for a free, fun and informational evening about how holistic...

Cost: Free

Where:
The BioMed Center New England
111 Chestnut Street
Ste 1
Providence, RI  02903
View map »


Sponsor: The BioMed Center New England
Telephone: 833-8BIOMED
Contact Name: Admin Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

"Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” —Krishnamacharya Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the...

Cost: $40

Where:
Friends Meeting House
5 Longfellow Park
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Sponsor: Allen Howell, M.Ed. LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

February 22nd & 23rd Deepen your knowledge and practice of Reiki. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher) This two-day Level II Training enhances...

Cost: $250

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Get a personal teaching for Brother Granite's new Visionary Shamanism Tarot. This class includes the new Visionary Shamanism Tarot deck as well a 90 minute one on one class with Brother Granite...

Cost: $80

Where:
407 Deans Plaza
407 Rte 44
The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Raynham, MA  02767
View map »


Sponsor: Brother Granite
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Granite
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags