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.'