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Mindful EatingHelpful hints from world-class spa.
Chad Luethje, Executive Chef at the world renowned Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, shares some of his favorite cooking tips to help you create delicious and nourishing meals:
CHEF CHAD’S HELPFUL COOKING HINTS
• Add citrus zest and juice, or a dash of vinegar, to brighten food flavors and reduce the amount of salt a dish needs.
• Fill your saltshaker with kosher salt instead of iodized salt. Kosher salt’s larger granules come out of the shaker more slowly, which will help cut down on your sodium intake.
Use kosher salt in your cooking. It tastes better than iodized salt and the larger granules dissolve more slowly, so you can see how much salt you’ve actually added to a dish. Kosher salt is also better for you: it contains approximately 30 percent less sodium to an equal measure of iodized salt.
• Use a spray bottle to add oil to your recipes instead of free pouring from the bottle. In this way, you can better control the amount being used, as a spray bottle dispenses between 1/8 and ¼ teaspoon of oil at a time.
• Substitute a mixture of plain nonfat yogurt and reduced-fat mayonnaise whenever a recipe calls for regular mayonnaise. (Use a 3:1 ration of yogurt to mayonnaise.) The mixture is flavorful, the consistency is very similar, and it contains far less fat and calories.
• The flavor of vegetables and some fruits dramatically deepen with roasting or grilling. If you don’t want to use a grill, you can oven roast or char them over an open stove-top flame. At Miraval we roast pineapple and mango, as well as beets, bell peppers, chili peppers, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, onions, and shallots to include in our sauces, soups, and salads.
• Add a combination of fresh and dried herbs to your preparations for stronger aromas and more pronounced flavors. Dried herbs have more concentrated flavors than fresh ones, so add them to a recipe first. Add fresh herbs at the end of the recipe, as their flavors are more delicate and their aromas blow off quickly.
• Be aware of healthier ingredient substitutions and use them whenever you can to lessen the fat and calorie measures of a recipe. Substitute low-sodium vegetable stock for chicken stock, for example. Use pureed potatoes mixed with soy, skim, rice, or almond milk in place of heavy cream.
• Replace butter with Miraval Oil Blend (see below), extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil in baking and sautéing. And olive oil makes a great replacement for butter in mashed potatoes.
• Agave syrup is a favorite ingredient in the Miraval kitchen. This natural sweetener has 1.5 times more sweetening power per calorie than sugar and a very low glycemic index. Agave syrup makes a great substitute for refined sugar or corn syrup.
• To cook a mixture of vegetables, add the firmer varieties to the pan or steamer first in order to ensure even cooking and retain the greatest nutritive values. For instance, carrots take longer to cook than squash or asparagus and should be added to the pan first. Toss the cooked vegetables in a bowl with one or two squirts of olive oil or Miraval Oil Blend, a dash of kosher salt, and finely chopped fresh herbs for a satisfying and easy side dish or pasta topping.
• Appearance goes a long way toward making food more appealing. Dress up your plates by piping mashed potatoes from a pastry bag with a star tip into the center of the plate, garnish with fresh herbs, and drizzle with reduced vinegars, herb oils, small diced vegetables, and so forth.
Miraval Oil Blend
This is a kitchen staple that’s used in many of our recipes. By combining the two oils, the higher heat resistant properties of the canola oil help to preserve the flavor of the more delicate extra virgin olive oil.
Serving size: 1 Tbsp.
¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Combine in a spray bottle or mister and use to sauté food.
Calories: 144; total fat: 17.5 g; carbohydrate: 0 g; dietary fiber: 0 g; protein: 0 g