Archive | January, 2012

Bastyr University’s Culinary Arts & Nutrition Program

23 Jan

Bastyr

Saturday morning around 4 am, Pete and I packed the car and began our 3 hour journey north through the rain and snow to Bastyr University just outside of Seattle.

I realized recently that I needed to add a link for my future school (assuming I get in) to spread the word about their amazingly unique and all encompassing culinary program. For those of you interested in real food nutrition as well as culinary arts, this might be just the place to get started.

Bastyr University is one of the world’s leading academic centers for advancing and integrating knowledge in the natural health arts and sciences. Their mission is to transform the health and well being of the human community through an integrated approach to education, research and clinical service. The programs are all very heavy in the science department, which I think is essential when walking the fine line between conventional and non-conventional medicine. For a full list of the many programs offered, click here.

I love food, and I am fascinated by the ways in which it affects us both physically and mentally. I think that as a whole, we as a culture have been set up for failure in regards to making proper food choices for a healthy life. Sadly, what many of us believe to be healthy really isn’t; and on a more depressing note, some of us will never truly be able to relax and enjoy food, as we are told to meticulously count calories and feel guilt while consuming some of the best foods on the planet. I see it all the time waiting tables, and I have been there myself. It is no way to live, as life is too short and good food is way too good.

Many  nutrition programs in this country are sponsored by the big guys (think Kraft and Nabisco), meaning that folks going through these programs are told to promote items such as low fat dairy products and sugar free sweeteners as the healthy choice, rather than looking at food closest to it’s natural state. Many of these schools never even provide contact with actual food, let alone educate their students on the importance of understanding how to prepare a meal at home. How are you supposed to eat well if you don’t know how to make something taste good?

Bastyr however offers an alternative, and it really is one of the only accredited programs in the country dealing with real foods as well as educating its students from every angle; from the hard sciences to the kitchen. (The only other program that I have found that actually offers a degree is NYU’s Food Studies Program, which we will save for another day). And the best part is they offer a Culinary Arts and Nutrition Degree, meaning mastering nutrition with a focus on food preparation (meat and all the good stuff included).

For more specifics on the actual program, click here.

My goal in life is to one day play a role in the food movement that I believe to be happening here in America, and to help empower the general population to make smarter food choices, and more importantly in my eyes, how to have fun while doing it.

Thanks for staying tuned and hope you all are having a lovely winter.

Stay posted for more to come soon!

Peanut Butter Pie With Honey Goat Cheese and Bananas

10 Jan

I made this for a friend for her birthday a few days ago and was amazed by how delicious and easy it was. She informed me that she enjoyed it with a nice glass of scotch, which I decided was an idea worth sharing. This would be a great pie for those of us who aren’t natural born bakers, as screwing this one up would be hard to do. I used a simple butter crust but the options are endless as a crumb crust would be equally satisfying. I also used goat cheese instead of cream cheese, but as I have mentioned before if the taste of goat milk isn’t your thing, substitute. Take note: this pie takes about 4 hours to set.

Alright, here we go.

Peanut Butter Pie with Honey Goat Cheese and Bananas

Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

  • fresh 9-inch pie crust (For a simple butter crust recipe, click here. You can half the recipe for the purpose of this pie).
  • 3/4-cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4-cup organic peanut butter
  • 8-ounces of honey goat cheese, softened (If it’s not at your local store, you can make this yourself by mixing goat cheese with a little honey, just enough to make it a tad sweet).
  • 1/2-cup powdered sugar
  • 1-cup cream, whipped into stiff peaks
  • 1-tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • good dash salt

Directions:

First, you will need to bake your crust. Follow the directions from your recipe for time and temperature. Once crust is almost fully baked, add chocolate chips, allowing them to melt for about 3- 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula, spread melted chocolate evenly on the bottom of the crust. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together peanut butter, goat cheese and powdered sugar. Use an electric mixer if possible and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whip the cup of cream until it forms stiff peaks. This will usually take a few minutes and is easily achieved with an electric mixer. Once cream is fully whipped, add vanilla and salt.

Combine peanut butter mix and whipped cream and blend together until light and fluffy. Taste and season as needed.

Poor the finished product into the baked pie crust. Top with bananas and freeze for at least 3 1/2- 4 hours.

Remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve with extra whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or your favorite nightcap.

Eat, and enjoy.

Forks Over Knives

2 Jan

Over the years I have become an admittedly indulgent person, especially when it comes to food. If I have a craving I will almost always fulfill it and if there’s foie gras on the menu I will without a doubt order it. My new years resolution for years now has been to eat a more plant-based diet as fruits and vegetables are essential for good health. Sadly, it has never happened. A co-worker recently suggested that I watch the movie Forks Over Knives and I must say it had a surprisingly strong impact. The message is about the standard American diet (mainly the over consumption of poor quality meat and dairy products) and its overwhelming connection to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I would have liked to have more detailed information about the quality of meat these people were eating, but even without it I was still truly moved. I really don’t think I would ever give up meat and dairy entirely, but this film definitely has me thinking more closely about my day-to-day food choices.

You can watch the movie instantly on Netflix or rent it at your local video store.

Here is a link to the trailer: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/forks_over_knives/trailers/

Check it out.

Happy 2012 to you all and may you have a safe and healthy start to the new year!