Monday, April 23, 2007

Body, Heart and Soul

Cooking has always come instinctively for me. I recall one of my first memories; I am five years old standing on the open oven door scrambling my morning eggs...And so began my involvement with being fed and feeding. When I think back on my first successful soufflé or chocolate mousse I am flooded with the faces, smiles and emotions of the people I care about as well as an art form I love.

What has come to pass though over the intervening years is that it is not only important I instill love and magic into what I create, but also a sense of health. For we all want to continue to gather around the table for years to come. I found myself creating meals that utilized healthy fats and flavors beyond salt for my own prevention and well being. Many books have been written dedicated to this topic. While I have read these books and incorporated their messages into my life they left me somewhat confused. Since, I am not in a state of health crisis how long do I deprive myself? Should I feel riddled with guilt when I consume a bowl of Swiss vanilla almond or a rich coconut curry? My conclusion is there has to be a balance, and a conscious awareness of the foods that we choose to eat.

Striking the cord of balance meant two things. Firstly, working with the information I garnered as a culinary student and the practical knowledge gathered as an Executive Chef. Though the occasional indulgence is not an absolute taboo that will bring down the wrath of the gods. Secondly, I started experimenting with other cuisines and their flavor profiles. I found the tastes, textures and healthiness I was looking for. With all the other flavor bases available in this country satisfying and exciting choices are just a fork full away.

Baked Halibut with Spicy Tomato Marinade - yields 6 servings

6 four ounce Halibut fillets
1/2-tablespoon sambol (chili paste)
14 ounce stewed-diced tomatoes - salt free
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Scallions – diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix all the ingredients together, coating the fish well. Let the fish marinate for 20 to 30 minutes refrigerated. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the fish on a baking pan in a single layer and season with salt. Pour any remaining marinade over the fish. Bake the fish in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the fish is done. Serve immediately. Serve over rice.

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