Friday, December 31, 2010

Ya Gotta Luv a Fresh Start

Nothing says it like a fresh year! Happy 2011 in 16 more hours. Thanks for 2010 and onward and upward with all things forward and positive.

of a good hard time learning

to learn anew


Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year, New You......

2011's a moment away. The last five years, I redefined what and how I ate. Though a year more, my mind and body seemed to restart a decade younger. Now tackling a whole new way of writing a recipe comes at a time when I am moving companies in the direction of more vegetable centric fare.

In 2010 some folks claimed me a 'tree hugger' putting vegetables, herbs and spice as center of my eating! I say 'Nuts to them! Awaken from your passe ways!' Who wouldn't want tasty, fun flavor chocked full of digestible energy in the center of a plate. Move over food pyramid. Get lost old time bad eating. Enter the year of the body.

2011 Vegetable Alchemy claims premium center stage. A thoughtful diagram below for your thoughts. Today, December 29, 2010. 2 days and counting.

Midnight, January 1, 2011. A New Year, a New You! Vegetable Alchemy onward!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Nothing better than knowing what is ahead.
But one very important trend that will turn
into a world focus:

vegetable alchemy.....add it to your
New Year's Eve Resolution:
food with flavor, fun, fitness and fame!....


Friday, December 10, 2010

Daikon, fresh and fun!

In adding a new page, WHAT IS? to my website, Vegetable Alchemy I kept thinking of how I best explain the wealth of health in self care with the the right, fresh fun food. Taking a minute to grab a copy of Jean Carper’s Food Pharmacy, you will be amazed at the scads of fab reading. A couple of her key statements from years of research are:

1) Foods are full of pharmacological agents

2) Foods do act as drugs in the body

3) Which foods you eat do make a health difference at the cellular level.

4) You can direct your own health taking advantage of the new scientific information about the therapeutic powers of food.

5) By making small changes in your diet---by deliberately eating more of foods known to have positive health effects, you may prevent and alleviate both acute and chronic maladies.

Now HOW GOOD IS THAT! I don't understand why we don't just start at life day one and change the way we eat from the start! Let’s put it to task with this fabulous daikon soup of Chinese origin I urged from my friend, The Web Goddess! Care free, easy cooking.

Daikon Soup

1 ½ lb white daikon, peeled, and cut into 1-1 ½ inch cubes

2 qts. vegetable or chicken stock, could be low sodium stock in the box

½ cup dry rice cooking wine (a very lightly flavored wine)

2 (4 oz) pork shoulder or blade, on the bone, (could be optional)

1 teas sea salt

¼ cup cilantro, chopped coarsely, leaves only, save stems for other uses


Place stock in three quart sauce pan. Add pork and bring to simmer. Skim.

Add wine, daikon salt. Cook slowly until meat is tender, about 50 minutes, slowly.

Turn off the heat. Remove meat and cool slightly, covered. Cut meat from bone into 1 inch cubes and return to daikon broth. Bring back to light simmer. Reseason if necessary adding a little finish of fresh black pepper. Ladel into bowls topping with fresh cilantro.

Voila VegetableAlchemy! Hello Winter! Hello good body! Good bye opportunity for sniffles!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Nano Kitchen

What does a veghead spring roll have to do with the nano kitchen? Everything. But more importantly WHAT is the nano kitchen? Imagine those chopsticks saying: 'michael foley's nano kitchen at your service!' The nano kitchen, it is you, it is me. We are this wonderful place inside of us where food makes its most compelling impact. Inside out, or from the outside in, we see it everyday in the mirror. We are what we eat, and I have always said, 'FUN things happen at the molecular level.'

Nano, a smaller form of molecular. So next time you step up to order or make your favorite spring roll, consider the nano kitchen where eating for a purpose gets you the best kind of 'self care' you can enjoy. Add those herbs you love, in this case it is mint.

Mint, comes in many varieties where Spearmint is probably the most popular. Added to sauces, dressings, cakes, toothpaste or simply as a garnish it probably originated in the Asian or Mediterranean close areas as often represents a sign of friendship in history. Rich in Vitamin A and C it also has smaller amounts of B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. I love it in spring rolls because FRESH is the name of the game. Cook it and it changes and loses potency. For those of you who might be allergic to mint, replace it with basil, same family, different face! 'Fun things happen at the molecular level.' Vegetable Alchemy at your service!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

75 trillion Pixel/Cells and Counting

Spice, Spice, my Kingdom full of Spice

Let me live happy, let me live wise

Make mine a long journey

That this fit body does guise.

Spice, Spice, my Kingdom for that Spice

An ode to the maker for code does he have

To me comes the potient

A mix for the salve!

EVERY day I wake or head off to sleep I think of myself the same way: I am an organized mass of just about 75 trillion cells, give or take a billion or so, just like a computer screen is awash with pixels. Each cell has color and frequency, dimension and an application. HOW amazing we are. That thought sends me thinking of how, when I eat, I add the right, tasty nourishment to each of those tiny bright lights that make and shape me into how I look and feel.

Think about it. Each of us is our own Human Web@. Keep the light shining bright. For me, a little exercise, sleep to restart, balance with fun food that functions in a colorful tasty way keeps that frequency free, clear and running smooth. Enter the world of Vegetable, Herbs, Spice. The new VHS for the body@.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tumerica and Ginger*
2 tbl blended olive oil
1 tbl black mustard seed
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 tbl fresh ginger, grated
1 teas tumeric
1 head cauliflower, broken into large pieces

Heat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees. Toss all the ingredients with a touch of fresh sea salt and coarse ground pepper to taste. Toss onto 12 X 12 inch piece of aluminum foil. Bring up sides lightly an put into oven Roast until just crisp, about 20 minutes. Serve as snack, side or entree.

* I love this adapted from the Food Network and roast it whole with a touch of added olive oil to keep it moist turning the oven to slow roast at 350 for about an hour, then serving whole with fondue forks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A True Pharmacopeia of Rockin' Health

Depend more on food and less on drugs to preserve health. Here is a food pharmacopeia of goodness in my stirfry salad with a touch of oyster sauce and soy. The cut, stirfry and flavor is what a good cook is all about. Simple, clean, healthy and fun.

1/2 cup of you favorite fresh vegetables cut into 2 inch pieces, such as cabbage, peapod, pepper, onion, scallion, tomato, celery, carrot, bamboo shoots
2 cl garlic, slivered
1 tbl ginger, slivered
1 tbl mixed olive oil
1 teas soy*
1 tbl oyster sauce
1/4 cup water

Heat a cast iron pan, wok or your favorite saute pan. Add the oil and then starting with heavier veggies, start to stirfry adding more as you go, tossing and grabbing a sip of wine in between!
As the veggies cook combine the soy, oyster sauce and water. Add the ginger and garlic. Stirfry again. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Let veggies be crisp!

When all is tossed and glistening, add the liquid mix, toss and serve. Enjoy with a friend, or eat it all by yourself!

* for those who want an alternative to soy, use a pinch or so of coarse sea salt.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Eat Me!

Burger, Burger on the Wall,

Who’s the finest of them all?

Could be beef, might be pork

Maybe chicken says

that bite with fork!

Is it turkey, Is it ham ?

What would make all

fine for man?

We know bacon, we know spam

But all excluded, this ain’t no can.

Open minded, spiced and fresh

Cook is quick, so fine a trick!

Black Bean’s the one!

Black Bean’s the pick!

With skill and toil, and blend of kind,

This protein rocks, a welcome find.

A Variation on this Theme*, highly digestible vegetable protein! Yahoo!


2 (14 oz) cans black beans, drained

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

¼ cup dried bread crumbs

¼ cup dried panko crumbs

2 tsp cumen

1 tsp oregano

¾ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

vegetable oil

hamburger buns


Using a knife or coupe, chop coarsely half of the black beans. Remove and reserve. Add the balance back to the bowl and work lightly to a smooth paste. Stir in other ingredients.

Stir in reserved black beans, reseason and cook on grill pan, grill or in your favorite sauté pan. Garnish to preference and serve on you favorite hamburger bun.

* component idea forwarded from Gourmet

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

' Evacuate the Dance Floor '

Make that workspace kitchen of yours a dance floor. Here, Wednesday in Chicago, and the 'Music is Taken me Underground' . Natalie Horler and Cascada has got me goin' and my kitchen's rockin'! Web waves have scored Jason du Rulo cuz 'Whatcha Say' translates today to this:

In the last month Vanity Fair ran a piece on Ferran Adria, London Times on Alain Ducasse. Grant Achatz, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, and Chicago, new on the street, Girl and the Goat, Stephanie Izard have all been claiming media lines for reasons particular to their passions.
Reading, learning and thinking, I almost forgot I was a cook too! My career has taken a different twist than my fine dining, farm to table or consulting past. It keeps creeping more and more to my favorite cuisine, Vegetable Alchemy, casual, tasty, sexy and healthy colorful with hardly any money down!

While Alain Ducasse calls for a new 'gold standard' and simplicity at Plaza Athenee, and Ferran heralds work on cuisine now at Harvard, you and me have to take a look at the home kitchen and how we cook. We need a NEW recipe our day to day food. We have to know what to eat, and eat well, for simple money that brings healthy fun to muscles, mind and bones. A start might be setting your web dial Pandora Radio to CHOSE YOUR ATTITUDE! Mine's on Replay by Iyaz. Back up the rap that opens your soul to cookin, rockin and learn'. Let no man come knockin' when your cookin' tent's rockin'. Chose a sound for the mood and dish that you do. Sound brings frequency and frequency will soon bring you fabulous fla'vor! 'Cook to the tune' tm with T.I on Paper Trail, Live Your Life! cuz YOU Are Beautiful, Akon. High on cooking is a good thing and sound brings it forward!

The dish I am sending takes a little more time, but where do you want to go when the music's rockin? Chop, slice and dice your way to color, flavor, and a fan finish. Wield your knife to the beat but only on the cutting board! Learn your mind to the sound of form and function in peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and homemade touch of ricotta. Pull down a simple web eggplant roll up recipe. Top that scoop of fresh ricotta with olive oil, lemon, cracked black and chile pepper. What you don't use keeps for another two to three days of salad, sandwich, entree or dessert. Yours will be no comparison to store bought. Who knows, while you're getting your cookin' grove on, you might meet that 'Sexy Bitch' in One Love by David Guetta.....Of course, please excuse me ladies, but I know you will make that 'sexy' your way!

For the ricotta take time to measure the salt and vinegar. As the L.A. Times shares, get the temp close to right or you might find the ricotta dry. Vegetable Alchemy, vegetable centric, but not vegetable only. Vegetable Alchemy for a new kind of food sound. The food, I claim, sings like Cobra Starship blasts: it makes some Good Girls Go Bad!

Your Homemade Ricotta
4 1/2 cups whole milk (1 qt)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teas salt
1 1/4 teas distilled vinegar

Heat the milk and the buttermilk to 185 degrees in a heavy bottom pot. Turn off or remove from the heat. Stir in the salt and the vinegar. Stir gently. Let stand
5 minutes. The curds will form as it stands. Using a slotted spoon pull the curds slowly to one side of the pot. Let stand again an additional 5 minutes.

Line a strainer with paper towel or cheesecloth if you have it. Slowly scoop the cheese curds to the cloth. Let drain one minute and bring up the sides. The ricotta will form a ball. Tighten the cloth slightly. Remove the ricotta to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

The whole process takes about 20 minutes, 10 of which are cooking time. Do not boil. Medium heat is find until you reach that 185 temp.

Don't worry, it won't Break Your Heart, Taio Cruz, or your budget, Right Round, Fio Rida! Do It!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The New Norm

Love the term, The New Norm. Not often do I get a chance to use it. When it starts a 'new norm' needs followers. So I know in order to grow this norm, I should remind you of what Vegetable Alchemy is all about. How did I come up with the idea.? What are the design notes? Try to remember this.

For many years I have been cooking food, visiting and working in other countries with food and at many levels of the food chain: farm to table, manufacturing to retail, earth, sea, land and sky. I hit this idea that if a certain food made me feel light and kept my body science even and healthy, then I needed to investigate. I did. Vegetables, herbs and spices really moved on my food design board from garnish to center of plate recipes.

Am I a vegan, a vegetarian, a Chef non- loving of meat, fish, poultry or proteins other than vegetable? NO! No, I am not. I am saying that I found out more about what makes me feel so great, want to work out, do pilates, swim, bike, ride, jump horses, skate and run no matter the season.

The road to Vegetable Alchemy became clear. It took its path came from my hobby, architecture and design. Reading Form, Function and Design, a favorite of Jacques Grillo, the author, squared my thoughts. As an enthusiast for those design ideas shared, I found my recipes shifting in ingredients do new principles and discoveries in food and lifestyle. The recipes are now based on the end user first. I see it like this.

The form (end user) = my body; the function = my lifestyle today, far different than generations beforehand; the design = a chef's need for health, wellness and longevity.

And so Vegetable Alchemy was born. Coupled with dishes centered in Vegetable Alchemy, I add other proteins as key to garnish and flavor so a new recipe style, a better recipe style is born. Weekly dishes are coming. Safe and secure are why we love to eat, umami (that fifth sense in taste) satiation (that feeling of eating to just full) and the best of course, deliciousness. Try them. You will become a friend. We love our friends, we love the followers, we grow from fans. Join us! Vegetable Alchemy is 'the new norm.'

Eggplant Chili

Eggplant Chili Chow

Never under estimate the power of a terrific bowl of chili! With a farmer's load of eggplant, I discovered ecstasy in both chili and a partner jump in cuisine to Italy, using the same idea in an unbelievable bolognese. How did that happen? Just one of those fun filled dreams that I adapted from the plot! While I slept my thoughts were of Fall and eating chowder. I woke humming, 'Chowder, Chowder, Chowder.' The term 'chowder' comes from the French Chaudiere, or 'stew pot'. Since I like one dish meals, I thought, what an application for a classical technique and dish stew. But, Alert to self! Chowder no matter what the content, is secured in definition with cream. Exit 'chowder'. Enter 'chow' to my title! Suddenly chili is my new chow. Adjusting the recipe to a bolognese and you take on new 'chow' applications. Make both in a thick bottom cast iron pot. For the chili bring it to the table with serving bowls, a couple of beers and/or fabuloso not too pricey Zinfandel. 'Chow' down, chow down with vim and vigor!

Don't spend time worrying about bitterness in the eggplant. Since it is diced and seared buy mid size and spend time with more careful cooking. Try the dish one time with the skin on, the next time with skin off. Experiments brought me to using green pepper with skin off and the sweeter red pepper with the skin on the eggplant. I also tried a variety of beans but settled into the white northerns when others were too tannic or too demonstrative against the eggplant, skin on or off. Where you want to spend time is on the chiles! I suggest a great chile powder in both usages for convenience but nothing better than using 2 each whole ancho and chipotle wiped clean and going on a spice adventure.

As you heard them say if you've ever have been campin, "Don't come a knockin' if the trailer's rockin'!" Well, If you don't like what you cooked, don't knock on my it again, and adjust to your likin' . Viva la Vegetable Alchemy, my fun, fit food with flavor!

My second favorite recipe for Eggplant Chili*

2 teas ancho chile powder

2 teas chipotle chile powder2 teas cumin seeds, toasted

1 tsp dried oregano, crushed

pinch of cinnamon powder

3 tbl olive oil1 lb, medium size eggplant, 1/4 inch dice, skin on

2 medium onions, chopped evenly

1 medium red pepper, chopped evenly

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 14 oz can whole tomatoes in juice

white northern beans, 4 c. home cooked or canned, or 2 (15oz) cans, drain with retaining 1/2 cup of canning sauce

2 c. water or 1 3/4 c. vegetable stock with 1/4 c. water

garnish highlights: chopped cilantro, sour cream or queso fresca, chopped scallion and maybe a little rice if you want to savory it more, fontina is tangy but shredded white cheddar fits too

kitchenware: 1 (2 qt) heavy bottom pot

*chef's note: As a vegetable, Eggplant has the reputation for brain food. If you want to add other proteins, feel free. adjust seasoning. add a half a pound of protein or so with the onions when cooking. then add the veggies as directed after the protein is almost cooked.

How To Do> Heat the pot to medium temperature. Add the olive oil and eggplant. Stir and stir again until the eggplant starts to slightly brown. Add the onions. Stir. Add the peppers and garlic. Stir. Add the seasonings including your own take on salt and or pepper. Cook until peppers are wilted. Add beans and water and/or stock. Bring all to simmer with top partially on the pot. Cook slowly stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Taste. Adjust all seasoning including chiles to your taste.
Bring to table with smiles, a few bowls and spoons, the garnishes and bevs of your choice. Bravo! You are now entering the world of Vegetable Alchemy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

This month Vegetable Alchemy takes on a new image.
Time to add a little fresh look!
Stay tuned for new ideas on food, fun and fitness.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Place to Start

On Friday, February 26, 2010 I was invited by a client to a luncheon at the Palmer House in Chicago. The theme of the event, 2010 Go Red For Women, was about raising awareness and money to battle heart disease through funding research on how to rid ourselves of this killer at almost any age. Whether congenital or not, this disease hits women at a higher ratio than men. Seven Lifestyle Simple suggestions listed on the table setting individual place card menus include: 1) Get Active; 2) Eat Better; 3) Lose Weight; 4) Stop Smoking; 5) Control Cholesterol; 6) Manage Blood Pressure; 7) Reduce Blood Sugar. The Recipe Collection compiled by Merck, noted themselves on the back page as working 'hard to discover and develop innovative medicines and vaccines not just for the sake of the company and our shareholders, but also-and most importantly- for patients!' Nice of them to include the reason they exist, the patients! But nothing was said about the primary source of the disease for most women (and people): the Western diet!

This is what we should be funding: new recipes that do not cause or worsen heart disease. Let’s unravel disease to find the real cause.

Take a look at the primary killers of Americans: heart disease, cancer and diabetes. ALL of these diseases are primarily rooted in the American Western diet. And yet as I sat there thinking about all the conversation on the need to raise funds to find CURES for heart disease. I kept returning to one thought, a thought that was not unknown to me, a thought that is the core of why Vegetable Alchemy is so important as the new architecture of food: since the most common causes of disease are for the most part caused by the Western diet and lack of fitness, WHY are we funding cures through medicine? Why are we not FUNDING cures through developing new recipes that will change the Western diet, that can be applied to manufacturing and today's demand for lifestyle-centric frozen, shelf stable and fast food? According to Body and Soul, a Martha Stewart publication, February, 2010, “95 percent of U.S. health-care funds go towards treating illness. 5 percent goes to prevention.” THIS is a call for CHANGE!

Why are we funding research to battle the disease when we SHOULD BE funding the research to MAKE food for our bodies, for our cells that are more nutritious and more heathful. This is the food of longevity and positive proactive living. The best defense is a strong offense.

Lee Iacocca in his book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, talks about politics, but I want to use that context and say....with the EARTH at a Crossroads (Hartmut Bossel), is it not time to fund new thoughts on the human diet so that these diseases caused by foods that conflict with human anatomy are updated for cell nutrition and not bioengineered for profit? Almost all food we eat is based on a system steeped in industrial farming, manufacturing ease, marketing tags, 100 year old generationally suggestive recipes rooted in old cuisine. It is time to take notice from the countless books that have appeared in the last four decades--such as Paul Roberts, End of Food and Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food--and bring research to the forefront that is based on what the human cell needsand NOT on age old adapted templates now used in manufacturing that cause these diseases.

In February, an international kitchen design company demonstrated at a conference in Europe their idea of the 'kitchen of the future.' While the ideas are smart, what I wanted to hear and see were ideas based on recipes for human 'cell cuisine' of the future, one that eliminates disease from the process of growing to manufacturing. That is not what I saw, although I love the stove top.

What I want is a statement that we need to design for the cell. That is why it appears is MY statement: Design recipes NOT on historic styles but on a new "Cell Cuisine." Then design the equipment around it. All for this, say 'AYE!' All opposed....please 'wake up as you will soon be part of the reaction instead of the revolution!'

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bar Food Needs an Overhaul

Everyone's weekday starts and ends at different times. But somewhere in between, those that care spend some time working out. It just makes sense. No matter if it is walking, hiking, biking, skating, lifting weights, running, swimming or one of a hundred plus other choices we all have, it is just damn good for the body.
For some of us who get that after work or after workout thirst, Chicago has an almost non-stop variety of bars, brew pubs, gastropubs and fun wine bars. However, having a bite at these places can be a challenge. I am just wanting something veggie based, even the most sacred of bars. I want more than a salad, more than hummus and veggies and something that has some culinariessence to it, fully respecting the burger and fry tradition!
I have looked at probably 25 menus or so and couple with weekly specials. I think a fully recognizable dish could be your friendly neighborhood pad thai, full of fun ingredients and sexy with all the slurping. Throw on any protein you love, but give me pad thai, bartender, PLEEZE!
Well, NO was the answer, but no problem, we all headed back to make our own!

Time out while we count the minutes and stirfry!!!

Time in while we eat.......
In case you want a is one from Epicurious....don't worry about the list. It is simple, straight forward and not expensive. Cooking goes fast, especially over a couple of beers or a glass of a favorite wine. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fun Times, Fun Flavor

‘Skating Rocks!’ First time on hockey skates. So fun!. Twenty days later with a new opportunity to work out with a skate hybrid called Softec and humbling is the only word for catching the figure skate blade toepick on the ice.  All cocky confidence comes down when your face suddenly finds itself ONE with the ice!. However, the figure skate blade for balance with the sturdiness of the hockey boot is not to be chastised.  A new humility pushes its way into the learning curve.  I ain't no Tinker Bell on the ice but I have respect for working on your core balance and strength.   I could never skate as a chubby kid and washed my face on the rink many, many times!  Practice makes perfect, and practice and practice and practice.  Just like cooking, make it work.   There is a new order of the day: fitness and food. Try out the post skating workout soup, flavorful fun that says, ‘food and fitness are one!!’.

Winter Vegetable Soup with Thai Pesto*


Winter Vegetable Soup
1 cup  each peel sweet potato, carrot and acorn or butternut squash
1 red onion, cut into slivers
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup  water
1 tbl Thai Red Chile Paste
2 cups coconut water

Thai Pesto
½  cup unsalted peanuts
2 garlic cloves,
2 teas  finely grated ginger
2 large green chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 large handful of mint leaves
1 small handful of basil leaves
2 tbl light soy sauce
2 tbl fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbl light brown sugar

For the soup, cut all the vegetables in 1 inch dice.  Add to a 2 quart pot and cover with stock and water.  Simmer until cooked through.  Add the Thai chile paste, the coconut water and blend.  If necessary, add additional salt and pepper to your taste.   Keep warm.

For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Chop by hand or in a food processor.

Ladel soup into large cups or bowls.  Top with tablespoons of the Thai Pesto.
Serves 4.

*adapted from market vegetarian, Ross Dobson, Ryland, Peters and Small, 2009

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The State of American Cuisine !

As you can see, at my studio we are getting ready to start filming my new for Vegetable Alchemy.  Weekly we meet to work up topics and dishes so I can proceed to tell you all about this direction I want to share. It just happens to coincide with the bigger stage national debate on health care politics.  Almost monthly I find new exciting information on my route following what I see as the Evolution of Nutritional Intelligence.   In July, 2008 the editorial staff  of The James Beard House issued a 'paper' on The State of  American Cuisine.  It's content was a summary of surveys conducted on food trends from a national food festival, Taste America @.  I do not have the hyperlink but you have the title and can access it from the foundation website.  In reading it, I remember  the effort for millions of us to build American Cooking into a passionate,  global opportunity for investment:  media, products, distribution, food channels and much, so much more. It was a fun dedicated ride, up and down like a Riverview roller coaster. Yet never will it be even close to the NEXT chapter in food,  the clear theme of my new career to  focus my way of life on LONGEVITY.  

Working with a team of insightful, extraordinary cell biology folk it is obvious that life cannot succeed and extend on dead calories.  Our now 7 trillion dollar food business we label the 'food chain' owned inside and out by maybe 6 or 7 companies, has to  improve with active healthful honest nutrition. While you are waiting to see if that is really going to happen, I suggest you take it upon yourself as I am, to learn and pattern your own way of life around what the body needs and become versed in the ways of 'self care.'  In my studio kitchen I set myself up to develop a new style of recipe from the soil and sea to the plate ! In each case that recipe is enriched with discoveries of techniques to hold on to enzymes and use more digestible proteins for nutritional density, not just counting calories. The end result is less complicated simple food and more energy for me in every way.  I balance my food with an hour of fitness at least four times a week.  It is hard to explain my passion to move to a new style of recipe over the traditional I have cooked, but it is easy to see the results are a much happier and livelier me.

Life is about the living! From cells to smiles, from skin to stomach.  If we want to live, and live bright and long,  we have to change. We have to effect a change. The present food system offers generally empty calories in coffin boxes of refrigerated and shelf stable cases.  Nutrients are gone. Obesity has come. Life as we want it is not possible .  But we have new biology. We have information and physics.  Best of all I am able  to bring forward a new paradigm, a new NORM, a new cuisine, a CELL CUISINE tm.   I want to give it to the world like Steve Jobs gave Apple, Bill Gates gave Microsoft, Warren Buffet give Berkshire Hathaway.  There are those that create trends in life, then then those who rally paradigms and finally those that can create a 'New Norm'. CELL CUISINE tm is the new norm.  Each week I will write and offer a dish steeped in the research.  Stay tuned!

The road to American Cuisine was fun, but it is over. A new road opened.  Never look back! The gift of a body cuisine that is plant centric but not plant only is pure enlightenment, a cell cuisine tm destined to offer longevity.  Time to design a new Koolaid for life! The plan is already on my drawing board!  Back at you later in the week.  CELL CUISINE tm rocks!   happy wednesday! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Case for Cell Cuisine

I know I could age much slower if I change the way I eat and overhaul my lifestyle to be far more active.  While I love classical, traditional and even contemporary to fusion food, I have been looking for something more out of food and not a diet. I want a lifestyle.  I want the food I eat to have more of an impact on my energy and longevity.  I want to understand food and its relationship with my body on a biological level.  So I decided to make this the new stage in my career as well as a business in itself.

I realized that while all the cuisines I cooked were exciting and the countries intriguing to visit, I see a disconnect between those recipes and what I want today. I want food that makes me feel younger not older.  I feel a need for a new kind of recipe that is all about the body, so I set out to create my own cuisine.

In his book, Ending Aging, Aubrey de Grey says, “The most realistic way to combat aging is to rejuvenate the body at the molecular and cellular level, removing accumulated damage and restoring us to a biologically younger state.”  What Aubrey suggests is a marriage of biology, information technology and quantum physics.  While it will take the next decade to create new technology to prevent aging, I have a need for that now!  NOW is the time to act from a food point of view.  Now is my time to design a cuisine that will do as Aubrey is saying…..rejuvenate the body at the molecular and cellular level!

In the book, The Anatomy of the Spirit, Caroline Myss mentions “your biography is your biology” or, translated, you look as you live.  I believe that, but I also believe you have to be conscious of how you are aging and reverse that idiom.  At that point, make your “biology become your new biography.” Take a look at you in the mirror and decide to change your biology through food and fitness with a new set of rules that will offer a better biology.

With that realization in mind, nine years ago I set out to research, starting with books like Jean Carter’s Food Pharmacy and hundreds more like it that were steeped in a New Biology of thinking towards health and longevity.  Together they started me on a new lifestyle.  I call this lifestyle, Vegetable Alchemy: Vegetable because I apply a plant based diet, though not plant-only diet-- as the core for recipes, and Alchemy because these recipes offer a new kind of ‘elixir’ to the body. Coupled with a little minor fitness, the principles of Vegetable Alchemy offer a kind of rejuvenation needed to rebuild energy in a most realistic way.

Now, the only cuisine I want to cook is a cuisine that is centered on the body with flavor-filled recipes that offer better cell nutrition. That is why I subtitled Vegetable Alchemy, “the new architecture of food.” The recipes are motivated by the cell, not the geographically-centric regional foods that are the basis of centuries old cuisine.

The January/February Harvard Business Review has an article called,
“Wanted: A First National Bank of Innovation!”

I want that title changed to say.   “Wanted: A First National Bank of Innovative Recipes for Cell Longevity. Recipes That Restore Accumulated Damage to the Body at the Molecular Level!”  That could be the title of my work.  Cell Cuisine ™ and Michael Foley are a now the new metaphor.

This is what Vegetable Alchemy and I am about.  I want to take 50-plus age and turn it into being younger--at what you now call 35!  I am tying together my food and fitness with research to push for longevity at the molecular level.  This CELL CUISINE is both good for the body and good for the EARTH.  It provides nutrition, satiation and umami, the Japanese notion of full essence of taste! Vegetable Alchemy with Cell Cuisine has many goals, but clearly the mission is longevity.

WE all will age.  Whether you are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or more, it is how you take care of your cells that makes a difference.  In Vegetable Alchemy I define cell nutrition as much more than food. Look for the updates.  But clearly after spending 37 years of my life cooking in kitchens and in business around the world, I have said to myself, “I want those years back.”

I would love your support for what I am doing.  There is an entirely new healthy life and business in my Cell Cuisine: A life that offers longevity of the mind, the body and the earth.  It’s all about longevity.  Stop by again and see how! 


Monday, January 11, 2010

Simmering a New Cuisine

Last night after hours of working on Cell Cuisine Software and ideas that will help in flow charting, I was all up for something fun and full of my love to cook. In the midst of the cold and snow I raided the refrigerator for leftovers.  The principles of simple good cooking make jewels out the the tiniest ingredients.  Spending not a dime, and sipping a little Oregon Pinot Noir all along the way I was on to steaming chicken wings with spices all meant for a larger idea.  It is the kind of dish you want to enjoy, so if you are in a hurry, save it for a time that gets you some music and chop, slice and dice moments.

As I cut up vegetables, my mind shot to a recent issue from the science section of The New York Times.  It focused on Calorie Reduction (CR) for longevity as a way to turn on certain genes, called sirt genes that produce a protein called, sirtuins.  The article went on to say that sirtuins can detect energy reserves in a cell and there is a method to activate through this idea of Calorie Restriction.  For me at that moment, my stomach was far more important but subconsciously sirtuin success is on my mind. I shifted to the art of cook but with careful execution of a lean low calorie finished dish. I am head to research that sirtuin idea to a fuller extent this weekend.  On the other side of fun, I am also out to use this cold and snow to skate and learn to ski!  Love those Winter sports!

Enjoy my rendition of a Chinese Borscht!  Even the beautiful Chinese lady who had a chance to experience the alchemy was amazed at the depth of flavor and mystery of raising a savory sort out of what looked like mindless mass of parts and pieces. Never underestimate the powder of  leftovers and the CHARM of a good cook’s talent!  While the recipe is rough a trip to a web site or cookbook for a guildeline on Borscht might help.  I leave out the sour cream and garnishes. There is more than enough flavor, at least for me.   Viva la Cell Cuisine!

2     oz. sausage of any kind, cut into 1 inch pieces
4-5   raw, rinsed and dried chicken wings
3-4   oz pork carnitas
4-5   red radish, slice thinly
1-2   heads baby bokchoy, cut lengthwise into quarters, or chunks of cabbage
4-5   scallions, whites and greens in two piles, cut into 3” pieces
4-5   mushrooms of your choice, ¼ if large, ½ if medium
3-4   beets, roasted and peeled separate or peeled and steamed in the stock
1      nugget of fresh ginger, peeled and julienne
½     bag, washed and stemmed spinach
¼     cup of parsley stems
1      teas chinese sichuan pepperrorns
½     tbl black pepper corns
1      qt water
2       tbl whey powder
2       tbl  soy sauce of your choice
freshly ground salt and pepper

Fir a steam rack into a pan.  Add the chicken wings. Pour over half the water.  Top with the scallion greens, parsley stems, chinese peppercorns, and half the ginger.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and steam slowly, turning about in ten minutes.  Cooked through.  Remove and cool.  Reserve the stock. Do not strain.

Pull the chicken meat from the bones.  Place the bones back in the original pot and add the other half of the water.  Simmer gently reducing the liquid by ¼. Strain.

To finish the dish, put the liquid back on a medium heat.  Add the beats, quartered.  Simmer until almost cooked.  Add the mushrooms and balance of the ginger and simmer. Next drop in the bokchoy and simmer until cooked.  Remove the cooked bokchoy and plate to each of two deep soup plates or bowls.  Add the sausage, the pork carnitas, the scallion whites and soy sauce.

While gently cooking drop in the spinach carefully.   When it is cooked fully, remove half to each of the bowls with the bokchoy.  Remove the carnitas, the pork sausage and arrange each of the ingredients neatly in the bowls.  Simmer the broth.  Remove two tablespoons of the broth to a bowl and make a paste with the whey.  Turn off the heat and mix into the broth.  Adjust the broth with fresh salt and pepper and pour over the neatly arranged bowl ingredients.  Top with the slivered radish.  ENJOY!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Planning to Grow Younger

I sat up today, about 20 minutes into my pilates workout and said, I just have to make a post.  The day has a half hour of pilates, a ½ mile swim, 2 mile run, tai chi for an hour with a great master and then off to skate. I get up early and while this is an exceptional day with fitness, the rest of the week follows with at least two sports and could include, rowing, a half hour of basketball at a favorite spot, a little time with weights and hopefully my first spin class--something I’ve been a chicken shit on attacking. It is an ‘unknown’ element and that first day you just have to suck it up! I hung up the bike for a while, too much ice outside, although I do not mind the cold. When I get my weight down a little, I am heading out to dance! That could be ugly, but got to learn sometime. Confidence, confidence, confidence.

But I want to tell you why I am doing this. I want you to know more about my blog and what I truly believe is an opportunity for me. As for you reading, that is up to you. Take from it what makes sense, but hopefully you will see that there truly is something behind my return to fitness.

Thirty years ago I had it in my head to do anything but cook. I came from two generations of the restaurant business and I wanted a life of sports. My initial thought on going to train in Florida instead of heading to Georgetown University was not exactly popular. In fact, it met with laughs in my house and with a lot of my golfing buddies. I was small, wiry, not too aggressive and easily psyched out. A big drive for me was 275 yards--not far by today standards. But I loved the sport. Something about hitting and hitting and hitting that made my life enriched. I ran and hit thousands of balls a week. I was only an above average golfer but my heart said: “Go for it! This could be your life.”

I ended up at Georgetown, and on the golf team. Each night we hit, played and then worked on building endurance. One of the ways we did that for wrists and arms was using a heavy medicine ball. By some freak accident, one night passing it back and forth, harder and harder, it flicked off my thumb. I heard a small snap! But I kept at it. A later whirlpool reduced swelling. But it was sore, very sore. Three series of x-rays at Georgetown Medical kept saying no break. Shots of cortisone before I played promised relief. At least initially, until one day my wrist would not longer flex, and all the cortisone would not liven the motion. I was out. Out for the season. I returned home for more x-rays, calling Georgetown for the initial films. Unbelievable! Right in front of two specialists, THERE it was! The BREAK! It had been there all along and I had been hitting thousands of balls and at least a hundred rounds of golf under cortisone gritting my teeth and all along it was just plain broken!

There rest, as they say, became history. Three and a half years of casts with three operations fitting in pins, taking them out, and refitting. When it was all over, the result was a mostly immobilized right wrist, a lot of anger and a choice: forget golf and find a new career or stay angry. I became a well-trained cook, then a Chef, then a Chef/Restaurateur. For over thirty years with the same energy, I attacked cooking. I became famous. I made money and lost money. I got married and unmarried. I made a name and then stopped. I am a good, sometimes a fabulous cook. But my heart 30 years later is still into that golf ball!

And one more thing…..I have absolutely no interest in growing older. I can see the way to being younger is to drop my weight and my style of living to a place where I want to be. I want the body and life of a 35-year-old. I spent 37 years from the moment that wrist broke to now growing my career as a chef. Now I want at least 15 of those back. And I aim to get it. So I designed Vegetable Alchemy and my Cell Cuisine™ to get me there. I believe in my goal.

As for you? Only you can answer. But to go with me, you have to believe, it is all in the BIOLOGY of BELIEF .* Stay tuned. Buddha once said, “Your work is to discover yourself and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.” That puts my web site in perfect harmony with where I am: I am all about getting younger! Happy Monday!

*The Biology of Belief, by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.

Next up: Thoughts from the science happening around ‘Senescence’.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fitness at Fifty, Experiment # 1.01

At 50, is the glass half full or is the glass less than half empty? I firmly vote for the latter. Thirty seven years in kitchens with a body that needs major reconditioning! I went back to working out. But the food I eat based on all things good from classical, fusion and contemporary just isn't helping.

I want to be fit. Not just for a month but for a lifetime. Wikipedia defines 'Fitness' as the state of being physically active on a regular basis to maintain good physical condition.

But what does that mean, “Good Physical Condition?” I hardly know myself. What kind of food balances a body in 'good physical condition' for a chef? What kind of workout will that be to get there? And actually, I am not interested in anything less than getting back a portion of those years I spent building my trade and reputation. I want to grow younger@. Fitness and food have become my new passion. Long life, fun and friends with a business to back it up. Fitness and food.

I started a web site, Vegetable Alchemy, after thinking about the body and what kind of whole food really sends it into happy states. There is a huge disconnect between new and old recipes and what really fuels and regenerates my body. For me it is time to create a new cuisine, one completely focused on healthy cells, not the traditional regional cuisines driven by the local soil, sea and air. However, I am not saying I will eliminate meat and dairy and the inventory I have worked with from organic to traditional.

But I am saying it is time to 'experiment' on what a cell needs--my cells. I am saying that it is time to get out of the pool, get up from pilates or down from the bike, come in from the run and actually focus on what will regenerate my cells once I workout and add the oxygen. What makes the body sound? Recipes enhanced with digestible 'discoveries' that enhance my cells. I am talking about food, from a chef, with a 'cell cuisine™' in mind, with flavor and colors.

Unlike other trades and professions, our view of food is still in the dark ages. Medicine has moved into imaging and nano culture; music has iTunes; architecture has design software; money had a global correction with returns to the rich; clothing has seen massive new styles; web technology keeps growing. Doctors seem to be welcoming aging for the profit. Fast food speaks to cheap convenience food and results in high health care costs; The Food Channels speak only to entertainment. While we seem to have reconnected in small ways with the soil and the sea, what we really need is to connect with what the body needs, then, grow it. The American Cooking Scene opened the way to think and discover American Food.

But it's time to change the focus from local cuisine to body-centric cuisine: food that offers longevity and renewal of the cells, allowing us to expand our lives to a whole new world of fun and add decades of great healthy time. What we eat has to change. The smart ones who can see the old ways have to start to see it is time to make a better recipe, to make way for the new. We age so fast, because we repeat the past. NO NEW THINKING!

We live with a couch potato mindset with marketing as it driver. By the time the body hits a certain age, we feel beat up and tired and we ignore new information that says, 50 is way too young to be feeling this way. We ignore the obvious. We continue to eat traditional, fusion and contemporary food that puts on weight, causes challenges at each decade of our lives and just does not spell fun or longevity.

Self care is in. Time to rip a new road in food. I want my career and my future to challenge food at the cell level. I want longevity. I want flexibility, healthful fun and a life that only can come from a new style of eating with an eye to youthfulness at 50 and more. I call my quest Vegetable Alchemy, my “new architecture in food” for reasons you will soon find out from my blog. I want to learn from and incorporate but set aside all recipes of past cuisine. I want my body to have highly nutritional, easily digestible, energetically easy to make food that I design to be focused to a particular part of my body that needs it, not just as yummy general over-developed recipes from the agriculture driven past!'

Today, I share a little experiment. An hour of running and pilates had made me hungry. I went to look at what parts of my body took from pilates and running. I wanted taste without bulk. With that in mind, without looking to buy anything, I raided the frig. Simple vegetables and spices that refresh demanded the lions share of the mix, with some pulled pork carnitas all tossed with a little omega-3 seed. Crisped in the pan with a tiny chopped salad, it brought flavor, lightness and satiation. I still might add a few corrections with an addition of chopped nori instead of salt and a touch of lemon. But for what I needed, the dish was ready to publish.

I want a kitchen of purpose, the purpose of Cell Cuisine tm, highly digestible, nutritional dense, flavorful, simple snack style foods that have fashion and function for me. Sure I rounded it with a glass of Cote du Rhone and a sampling of Pinot Noir, but that is the whole point! Something better for the body and something better for the chef!

Time for a change! Time for Vegetable Alchemy, the new architecture of food. Enter my new 'Cell Cuisine.'