Monthly Archives: November 2011

Cozy-up Turkey Pot Pie

What I’m about to disclose is admittedly indulgent, no over-indulgent. Tim and I had 3 Thanksgivings and 4 birds over the past 10 days. We hosted Friendsgiving this year the weekend before Thanksgiving as an excuse for friends to gather in revelry, libations, and comfort food. We hosted about 18 people, always thinking we would not have enough, thought to deep-fry one turkey and bake another. Then up in Jersey, we did my Dad’s Thanksgiving on Thursday and my mom’s on Saturday. When we got back Sunday, even after friends came by for leftovers, we had so much damn turkey. We had really overdone it this year and this was our reckoning. How do we keep the excitement of the feast alive? Monday night we put this together and I must say, the magic and wonderment was back in the kitchen and in our bellies. Enjoy!

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 40 min

Servings: 8

Pie Crust:
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tbsp butter, cut in chunks
5-8 tbsp water

1) Sift flour and salt into large mixing bowl and rub butter until ingredients thoroughly mixed.

2) Gradually add water one spoon at a time and knead into dough. 3) Cut in half and press into 2 discs. Used wax paper to separate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling:
2-3 cups homemade turkey stock (or organic store bought chicken broth)
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
3 tbsp butter
1 small onion, minced
5 celery stalks, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
4-5 medium waxy red fingerling potatoes, diced with skin on
1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme, oregano, and sage, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 425. Evenly press one disc of pie crust dough into bottom of 10″ pan, set aside.

2) In large dutch oven, melt half of butter and swirl olive oil. Add veggies, sautee and occassionally stir over medium high heat for 5 minutes until they begin to reduce down.

3) Gradually ladle in turkey stock to achieve desirted consistency. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender but still firm.

4) In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Slowly ladle in some turkey stock to allow sauce to thicken. Slowly stir in milk. Combine turkey base into the vegetable filling.

5) Spoon in filling and evenly spread remaining pie crust dough over top. Cut slits in the top crust to let out steam.

6) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Power of Finding your Own Tune

With all of the cold, dry air this time of year, you can find sinus relief in a very unexpected remedy – humming.  Studies have found that humming daily can increase airflow between nasal cavities and prevent the inflammation that creates sinus infections.

As a yogini and enthusiastic “ohmer”, I have find the vibrational effects of chanting ohm or other mantras have always helped to clear the sinuses, relieve pressure, and open up spaces throughout the body.   Scientists are beginning to confirm the many health benefits of a chanting practice, specifically in creating the the space for a quiet mind and awakened spiritual energy.

But even if it’s not a chanting practice, say even singing a favorite Otis Redding tune, provide the opportunity to uplift and transcend constraining narratives of the mind.  When finding your own tune, whether that is humming, singing, or chanting- you can know that like many things that lift your spirits and are good for the soul, it it good for you.

Cultivate YOUR Unique Nutrition Practice

When people find out about my work in health and nutrition, often the immediate follow up question is about my personal diet.  Are you vegan? No. Vegetarian? No. Not quite anyway.

I have always found myself rebelling against such labels.  Sure, for the most part my diet tends to be mostly plant-based whole foods, but it’s not because I subscribe to one dogma or another.  I can always get down with a good cheese platter and do enjoy meat.

The two major beliefs that guide my nutritional practice are: bioindividuality- that no one diet works for everyone because each of us comes with our own specific body constitution and needs; and that food is sacred  so it is important to invest in food from ethical and sustainable sources.  I have personally found increased vitality when I enjoy a more plant-based diet.  But that’s me and that practice may not work for others. For instance, my husband, who is 6’3″ and about 70 pounds heavier than me, has a much different body constitution than I do and it would be unreasonable to expect him to observe the same diet as me.

What makes my nutrition work fascinating is learning about each client’s body narrative and how that informs their needs in cultivating their own unique nutritional practice.  And I’m just lucky enough to be a part of their journey.

Be well everyone.  As always would love to hear from you!

Sweet Potato Gratin

There are so many ways to enjoy sweet potatoes- and how can you get enough of them? They are high in fiber, Vitamin A, and just delicious.  The more traditional way the root vegetable is prepared this time of year is the candied sweet potato casserole, with brown sugar and marshmallows.  This recipe is a nice savory variation, in which the natural sweetness of vegetable subtly plays against the delicate creamy cheesiness of the sauce.  ENJOY!

 

Savory Sweet Potato Gratin

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves 8

  • 5-6 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced (no thicker than 1/4 inch of sweet potatoes)
  • 1 cup of shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of organic light cream
  • olive oil
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 385. In a small bowl, mix cream, cayenne, salt and pepper
  2. Swirl and coat large flat baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Spread one-third of sliced sweet potatoes in a thin layer in baking dish. Top with thin coat of parmesan.  Swirl thin drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Create two more layers of sweet potatoes, repeating Step 3 two more times.
  5. Pour light cream mixture on top and give another dusting of parmesan. 
  6. Bake for 40 minutes. Covering dish with foil for the first 20 minutes.  Remove when top is golden brown.

Vanessa King on Cast-Iron Goodness

November’s featured self-care tip comes from the locally renowned teacher and nutrition muse Vanessa King.  All hail the cast-iron skillet, the home cook’s tool to make every dish a comfort meal.

 

In the fall, I take my cue from nature and shed my excess outer layer and settle into self-nurturing activities like cuddling and cooking in cast-iron pots. Heavy, earthy, steady, metallic, cast-iron pots are grounding and warm. Plus, cast iron cooking has 3 health benefits that makes the weight workout worth it:

1) Cast-iron pans release iron into foods, meaning that foods cooked in cast-iron have higher iron content
*Note that the enamel-covered cast-iron pans, i.e. the pretty colored one, will not have this iron-enriching benefit
2) A seasoned cast iron dish is naturally non-stick, without the use of chemicals
3) You can cook with less oil

In the fall, as energy moves downward and inward, quiets and darkens, it’s fun to spend time in the kitchen, making life-affirming deliciousness for yourself and company.

Vanessa King is a nutrition specialist and AcroYoga teacher living in Washington DC. For more info and additional benefits of cast-iron visit http://MakeYoga.org/about