Healthy Yummy Dishes

It is a chilly beginning to the first day of November, having dipped into the '30s overnight.  And so I was especially warmed by this note and photo I received when I turned my computer on this morning.  The "recipe book" referred to is "Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs." It was published last year by Bloomsbury and has recently gone into another printing.  I love this book because I did not write it alone.  I had the help of a team of young chefs who helped create, shape, and cook the recipes.  Nothing went into the book that wasn't "teen-tasted."  With all the conversation these days about childhood obesity and getting kids to eat healthier, it is this part of the equation that is most often ignored:  The food needs to taste delicious and to appeal to the taste preferences of teens.  This cannot be done in a vacuum by chefs who don't include kids and teens in the process. Teen-friendly recipes also need to be "blessed" by a nutritionist who can help balance the critical nutritional  factors that make a recipe "healthy."  Helen Kimmel, MS, RD, did an awesome job in determining what to alter to make each recipe nutritionally sound.  We do not believe that kids should "eat by numbers" (meaning calories, carbs, etc.) but that, overall, each recipe should focus on fresh, unprocessed ingredients and be low in saturated fats.  For more information, take a look at this wonderful article written by Jane Brody in the Science section of the New York Times  and enjoy the numerous comments about the book on Amazon by parents and teens alike.

I am looking at the photo to determine what's on Tabbie and Kimberly's table!  I see a bowl of Carrot-Ginger-Tomato Soup (that gets garnished with crispy fried carrot tops! -- see recipe below) and Juicy Chicken with Roasted Spaghetti Squash, created by my daughter Shayna.  It's a real crowd-pleaser.

Months ago, I had the pleasure of being one of the chefs to congregate on the White House lawn to hear about Michele Obama's initiative regarding childhood obesity and the myriad health concerns associated with it -- i.e. childhood diabetes and heart disease.  I say that the issue of "self-esteem" also needs to be addressed and the importance of cultural food preferences in families.  But with all the complexity surrounding this important topic, I say there is one message that is simple enough:  Eat Fresh Food.

Enjoy your day. Dear Ms. Gold,

My name is Tabbie and my friend and I, Kimberly made some dishes using your recipe book. We made them for our family and friends over the summer. We enjoyed your recipes, I hope another one comes out with more delicious dishes. Thanks! :)

CARROT-GINGER-TOMATO SOUP  -- from Eat Fresh Food:  Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs While carrot-ginger soups have become commonplace, this one enlivened with tomato, tastes a bit mysterious and especially fabulous.  Fresh ginger adds a background of "heat" and flavor.  I top it with crispy wisps of fried carrot tops.  Serves 4 or 51 large bunch fresh carrots with green tops (about 12 ounces carrots)
1 large baking potato, about 8 ounces
2 large garlic cloves, peeled 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peel the carrots (saving green tops for later) and the potato.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and put in a 3-quart pot.  Add garlic, ginger and shallots. Add 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Lower the heat to medium and cover.  Cook 30 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a food processor with half the cooking liquid.  Blend until smooth, slowly adding the remaining cooking liquid.  Process until very smooth and add the  tomato sauce and butter.  Return to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes; add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with crispy carrot tops!

Fried Carrot Tops:

1/4 cup lacy green carrot tops
Wash carrot tops and dry well.  Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until hot.  Carefully add the carrot tops and fry for 30 second or until crispy and bright green.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt.