Kale is a super food and also a food that may put off people who don’t necessarily like their greens. Remember Pop-Eye encouraging children to eat their spinach. You don’t need a cartoon character to get you and your own kids to like green vegetables. Try Geri’s recipe for Kale Chips!

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Today I gave the second installment of a three part lecture series and cooking demo at Aitoro in Norwalk, CT. What a great time we had! I talked about the 5 strategies that are important for optimal health and one of those is your omega 3 ratio. A good omega 3 ratio to other fats is 3 to 1. In America, we are 20 to 1 in the wrong direction. Yikes! Too much Omega 6 and Omega 9 can cause inflammation when out of balance with Omega 3. I also talked about the benefits of coconut oil, which happen to be many. You should have heard the outcry….OMG…it’s a tropical oil. That’s right, and it’s solid at room temperature too. But you know what? It’s a medium chain fatty acid and it is burned for fuel, not stored as fat. Let me repeat that you get the full impact: it’s burned for fuel and not stored as fat. What a concept!!

So, what did I cook? I made Thai style Chicken & Vegetables with Coconut Milk. It was really good. Here’s the recipe:

Thai Style Chicken and Vegetables
in Coconut Milk

This dish is easy to make and can be adjusted to your own taste. If you don’t like curry, ginger or garlic, simply leave it out. Make it with shrimp, scallops or even beef. It’s great for using leftover protein. Add any vegetables that you like or make it completely vegetarian.

Serves 2:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 red pepper (any color will do, I prefer red)
1 medium onion, large dice
1 cup asparagus, kale or green beans (broccoli works too)
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 teaspoons curry powder, (hot or sweet; I prefer the hot variety)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup peanuts
Sea or Kosher salt

Slice the chicken into cutlets and then into cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the vegetables into one inch pieces. Heat a large pan. Put in the olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and brown until just done. Remove.

Add a touch more oil if necessary and throw in the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry for another 2-3. Add the curry powder. Cook for another minute or two and then add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken back to the pan. Adjust the curry. Add salt if necessary. When the vegetables are just tender, remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Serve over basmati rice.

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Hot off the press…click anywhere in the following paragraph to check out www.thedailywestport.com food section for my fabulous black bean salad recipe. It’s a huge hit whenever I bring it to a party. Black beans are my favorite bean, highly nutricious and adding a rainbow of vegetables increases it nutrient profile.
This salad is a great side dish under spicy chicken or fish. With chips it makes a great salsa. Add diced tomato or mango to switch it up a bit.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!
Geri Zatcoff:
What to eat, when to eat it, where to buy it and how to cook it!

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One good thing about this time of year is that I don’t mind cranking up the oven to high for awhile. I can cook and warm up the house at the same time. Well, I’ve been cranking the oven up to 400 degrees roasting up root vegetables, big platters of them. It’s so easy and they go with everything from pork, lamb and beef to chicken and, well, just about anything. You can even make a frittata or omelet with the leftovers. So, here’s a quick and easy recipe that I hope you’ll love.

PS: Don’t you just love the sound of rutabaga?

Turnips, parsnips, rutabagas…..oh my! These vegetables become ever so sweet  when  roasted and are the perfect accompaniment to any roasted meat, fish or fowl. Add some yams or new potatoes for the potato lovers in your house. Leftovers are great in an omelet.

Preheat oven to 375 to 400 degrees depending on your oven.

Rutabaga (yellow turnip)

Parsnip

Turnip

Yams

Peel and cut the veggies into one inch pieces. Make sure to cut all the veggies the same size so they will cook evenly. Toss into a large bowl and douse lightly with olive oil. Spread on a large sheet pan but do not crowd or they will steam and not roast. Sprinkle with Kosher or Sea salt.  Roast for about 40 minutes. These can be made in advance and warmed later. Undercook them slightly if you plan on warming and serving later. Just before serving, add a bit of chopped fresh parsley.

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by Geraldine Zatcoff, M.S.Ed., M.S., C.N.S.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Chicken or vegetable broth as indicated below
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped or ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat olive oil in small saucepan. Add onion. Cover until onion sweats and almost becomes clear. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper. Do not brown garlic. When onion is clear, add beans and stir. When beans are hot, add cilantro. Serve.

Black Beans & Rice:
Add all liquid from can or use chicken broth. Spoon over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Black Bean Burritos:
Beans need to be dryer for burritos so be careful how much liquid you add. Remove some of the beans from the pan and puree them in a food processor or blender. Return beans to pan. An immersion blender can be used right in the pan. Add liquid as needed. Let beans cool a bit. They will be easier to work with.

Place a spoonful of beans in the center of a whole grain tortilla. Fold over once, turn in the edges, and fold over again. Place in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed or rubbed with olive oil. Lightly spray or rub top of burrito with olive oil (if not using cheese). Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes until lightly brown and crispy. If made ahead, heat in a slow oven, about 250 degrees for 30 min. Garnishes may include: chopped tomatoes, salsa, chopped cilantro, cheddar cheese*, sour cream* or plain yogurt*. *regular or low-fat version

Bean Dip:
Follow recipe for black beans and rice. Blend entire mixture until smooth or leave it a little chunky. Try adding a little cumin or a tablespoon or two of your favorite salsa. Serve with crudités or tortilla chips (organic w/ no hydrogenated oils).

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