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Spicy Coconut Soup (Tom Kha)

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Serves 4-6

¼c lemongrass, white only (about 6″)

2t garlic

2T grated fresh ginger

1-2t crushed red pepper

1t ground coriander

1t cumin

1c onion, thinly sliced

4c water or chicken stock

10oz can  coconut milk

2t olive oil

1c shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced

2c green cabbage (or bok choy), thinly sliced

¼c chopped cilantro

 

1. Smash stem of lemongrass to release flavor

2. In large pot, combine lemongrass, garlic, ginger, spices, onion, stock & coconut milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes. Remove Lemongrass

3. Heat oil in sauté pan. Sauté shiitakes, 4 mins

4. Add cabbage to shiitakes, cook 5 mins more

5. Add shiitakes and cabbage to soup

6. Garnish with chopped cilantro

 

Feeling It

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Winnie the Pooh: “Piglet: how do you spell love?”

Piglet: “Pooh: you don’t spell it, you feel it.” 

We are in the people business. And the food business, but the food doesn’t walk itself from the farm to the truck to the kitchen to the cutting board to the platter and out to the customer. And it doesn’t clean up after itself. People still do!

Each day, we influence how people feel through our attitudes and our actions. “Hospitality” is achieved when someone “feels” taken care of…and when the food we are serving “feels” taken care of. 

So, are you feeling it?

 

 

Roasted Kale Chips

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Serves 6-8

1 small bunch kale

2-4T canola oil

sea salt

 

1. Preheat oven to 300°F

2. Strip kale off center ribs, tear into 2″ pieces

3. Rinse & dry thoroughly

4. Toss with canola oil, work into leaves until shiny

5. Spread on baking sheets in shallow layer; season lightly with salt

6. Bake 10 mins, rotate pan & bake 15 mins more, until crispy

Meet Your Motivation

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When we work in teams, like in busy kitchens, we occasionally think about how to motivate each other. Or…if that’s even possible. Can one human really motivate another? That is debatable. But think of it this way…have you felt inspired by another? Have you watched someone perform a skill or hear them describe how they got from point A to point B in their life, and felt encouraged that maybe you can accomplish ____, too? (whatever that ____ may be…run a marathon, learn a second language, plant a garden, seek a promotion).

According to the experts, we all have “native”, intrinsic motivations that are formed early in our lives. DiSC assessments have a section devoted to this topic. If you search the web, there are many self-tests…like this quirky one sponsored by Oprah. Whatever your motivation style is…give yourself a chance to feed it every day and surely you will inspire others by your example.

 

Asian Pear Salad

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Serves 6-8

zest & juice of 1 orange

½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced on bias

1 pinch sea salt

¼c tamarind juice

¾c salad oil

2-3 asian pears, very thinly sliced

6-8c asian style greens or mesclun 

 

1. Combine zest & juice of orange, scallions, salt * tamarind juice.

2. Whisk in oil

3. Toss pears with dressing. Toss greens with dressing. Layer on platter

4. Serve chilled

Peace

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It’s almost a new year which means in the next 48 hours we will see clips of “2015′s greatest or biggest…” – sports moments, news stories, movies, memes, etc…

And, we may find ourselves saying – or thinking…”I wish I had made time to ________”, followed by “I resolve to ______”. 
 
As you do, consider these messages: 
 
A repeat from Dr. Wayne Dyer (who passed away in 2015)

“…you can go about resolving until the cows come home, and you still have to live your life just like everyone else on this planet – ONE DAY AT A TIME…set up day-to-day goals for yourself… for example, instead of deciding you are going to give up sugar for a year, resolve to go one day without eating sugar. Anyone can do virtually anything if it is for only one day.” 

 

And, from part of Dorothy Hunt’s poem “Peace”:
Do you think peace requires an end to war
Or tigers eating only vegetables?
Does peace require an absence from your boss, your spouse, yourself?
Do you think peace will come some other place than here?
Some other time than now?
In some other heart than yours?
Peace is this moment without judgement.
That is all.

 

Peace to all – one day at a time

Skillet Pot Pie with Butternut & Kale

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Serves 8

¼c olive oil

1c frozen white pearl onions. thawed

2t minced fresh garlic

1T chopped fresh sage

1small  bunch kale, ribs & stems removed, leaves chopped

¼c all-purpose flour

3c low-sodium chicken broth

2c butternut squash, peeled, cut ½” lieces

2c rotisserie chicken, meat torn bit-size pieces

s&p

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 425°F

2. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 4 mins

3. Reduce heat to med-low, add garlic & sage, stir 2 mins

4. Add kale, cook & stir until wilted, 4 mins

5. Whisk in flour, cook 4 mins

6. Whisk in broth, ½c at a time; add squash & bring to boil

7. Reduce heat, simmer squash 8-10 mins, until soft

8. Add chicken, s&p. Simmer to heat chicken. Taste/adjust seasoning

9. Unfold puff pastry, smooth creases, place over skillet

10. Whisk egg & 1t water, brush on pastry, cut 4 slits to vent

11. Bake 15 – 20 mins, until pastry begins to brown

12. Reduce heat to 375°F, bake 15 – 20 mins more, until brown

Puff pastry brands: Dufour or Pepperidge Farm

Smoked Trout & Crispy Apple Salad

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Serves 8

1 granny smith apple, very thinly sliced

2t sugar

2qts baby greens

¾ apple cider or lemon vinaigrette

½lb skinless smoked trout, flaked, pin bones removed

4oz smoked gouda, julienne

¼c red onion, thinly sliced

¼c toasted pecans

1. Preheat oven to 300°F

2. Core & thinly slice apple

3. Lay on well sprayed baking

sheet, sprinkle lightly with sugar

4. Bake until apples brown &

crispy, 30+ mins

5. Cool, remove with spatula

6. Toss greens in vinaigrette,

top with trout, gouda, onions,

pecans & crispy apples

Notes: Mandoline is best for slicing apple super thin, but sharp knife works. Recipe for Apple Cider Vinaigrette in September. Delicious sub for trout is rotiserrie zhicken

 

Give Thanks

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As I was preparing to write this blog, I came across the usual array of articles about holiday weight gain, including one about how much exercise is required to burn off your Thanksgiving dinner. Rather than add to the litany of advice about holiday eating (and guilt) I have decided this year to focus on what Thanksgiving is all about: giving thanks. 

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday where we celebrate with friends & family, coming together for a meal of traditional favorites. Many of us have foods we prepare each year that bring us a great deal of comfort & memories. For me personally, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is Corn Bread, Wild Mushroom & Pecan Stuffing. This dish is filled with lots of hearty goodness. I add extra veggies & skip the heavy cream lending to a decent nutritional profile. 

So this Thanksgiving rather than obsessing about the calories you put in your mouth, enjoy time with friends & family, go for a walk (or turkey trot), be mindful of the quantity of food your consume (no “thanksgiving full” this year) & quite simply, give thanks.

Elementary Wisdom

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As we get ready for Thanksgiving and the meaning we attach to our meal…the gathering and togetherness and gratitude…we also can find ourselves marking time. Maybe we only eat a certain food on this day…or see certain people…or use certain china…or visit a certain home. Just this one day. And so from childhood to adulthood we go through variations of Thanksgiving rituals from simple to elaborate, while marking time, year to year. 

Recently, when Rie Godsey and I were visiting one of our partners (a day school in Northern Virginia), I saw a handmade poster that was titled at the top, “Traits we are working to grow in the Lower School.” It had colorful sticky notes calling out the traits and examples. Optimism. Perseverance. Flexibility. Resilience. Self-Awareness. Empathy. 

And I thought…wow…these are traits I (and grown-ups, everywhere) can work to grow, too. 

There is a lot of wisdom in what we learned and experienced as children. From traits to work on, to how Thanksgiving started.

The “first Thanksgiving” was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance. 

So enjoy the family, the football, the day off, or the china you only use once a year, while remembering what you learned about this holiday (and traits you can work to grow) so long ago…the beauty of each human life, the gift of food and the hands that grow it, and the spirit of reconciliation.

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