Thank you for your support of The Improvising Chef!
Some books are selling! We're up on Amazon, iBooks, Google books, and direct sales from The Improvising Chef website. I'm posting new recipes from time to time as inspiration hits!
Meanwhile, I've got a new project!
As many of you know, my primary occupation is - I'm a musician... a bass player and composer.
Over the last year I've written 15 compositions for Big Band!
The Meeting House Jazz Orchestra has been kind in allowing me to bring the music to their rehearsals as I've been writing it, getting a chance to hear. refine and improve it.
I grew up playing in big bands... school jazz bands (with Clem DeRosa on Long Island, Herb Pomeroy's band at Berklee, then John Garvey's University of Illinois Jazz Band), and then working commercial big bands, many affectionately known in those days as "ghost" bands, having outlived their famous founders. The Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey bands were examples of that - but there were many leaders still alive in those days. I had the chance to play with Count Basie when I was working with Tony Bennett back in the 80's . I did a year with the Buddy Rich band (I got some stories if you want to hear em!), and had the chance to play with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis band, Billy Watrous Big Band, and many others.
The music I've been writing is influenced by all these experiences, plus Basie, Mingus, Thad Jones, Olivier Messaien, Ellington, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Maurice Ravel, Ashby Anderson, Jim McNeely, Alexandr Tcherepnin, Maria Schneider, Debora Gurgel, and Edgar Grana.
This past year I've been accepted as a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop.
This is Big Band Music for the Twenty First Century!
Please have a look!
Hello backers of The Improvising Chef!
Hard copies are in the mail to qualified supporters. To EVERYONE, Thank YOU!!
We've been blessed with support from a distinguished individual. As Director of the Center for Preventive Medicine at Yale University, as a Blogger for the Huffington Post, Director of the Turn the Tide Foundation (seeking to reduce or eliminate the obesity epidemic) - and as the nutrition columnist for "O" Magazine, Dr. David Katz is the foremost credible voice in our society with regard to matters of nutrition and optimal health.
He had the following to say in response to my request to look over "The Improvising Chef" (his comment is featured on the jacket of the book):
Jon- lovely work! Here you go, and best of luck-
"Jon claims to be making healthy food tasty. Personally, I think he's making
tasty food healthy! Either way, this engaging, insightful, beautiful and
clearly heart-felt work is aimed right at the sweet spot, where the food we
love- loves us back. I endorse that destination, as well as Jon's joyfully
improvisational means of getting us there!"
-David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP
Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center
Please spread the word, tell your friends!
If you haven't already, please go to our Facebook page. Hit the like button - and share the page on your wall, in private messages with your friends, or wherever else you think the book might do some good in the world!
And thanks once again for your support!
Hot or cold, soups are fantastic. Beware supermarket soups; read the labels carefully. It’s easy enough to make soup at home that buying manufactured, dead soup shouldn’t be necessary. Some store-bought soup is okay; lentil and bean soups combine good nutrition with convenience, but long-dead vegetables in preservatives have dubious nutritional value. Homemade soup can be wonderfully tasty, satisfying, and infinitely variable; it can be extended, re-heated or frozen. Caloric density can be controlled. Soups are a great way to offer maximum nutrition with minimum calories. Think of them as a tasty low-calorie delivery system for micronutrients!
Hot soup usually consists of a broth of some sort plus other elements. The broth can consist of water and stock of any sort, usually savory. Stocks can be:
Chicken, beef, fish, pork, lamb, turkey, duck etc stock…reduced by simmering leftover bones and vegetables in various combinations
Bouillon cubes or powder
Soybean paste (miso paste)
Store-bought sauces of infinite kinds such as black bean sauce, or Adobo paste (we like Vietnamese fish paste)—read the ingredients!
Sautéed right in the pan; think caramelized onion, celery, mushroom. garlic, shallots, etc with spices and seeds with a little oil, butter or fat, then add water. Our favorite is a little bacon and onion…it makes a great soup base; we might add a little miso or fish paste to it.
Add any number of different things to the broth. Pouring hot broth over cold raw vegetables is a great winter substitute for a salad! Experiment.
Heat up frozen raw peeled shrimp in the broth and serve just as they turn pink and curl. Add leftover meat scraps. Cook meat into the broth. For extra protein, break an egg into the broth and poach it before pouring it over the vegetables. Improvise! A sliced hard-boiled egg is a nice addition. A little tahini or peanut butter adds “heartiness” (and calories).
Pour the broth over raw cut-up greens such as chard, collards, beet or kale for a fantastic micronutrient blast. Raw cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi have fantastic nutrient benefits as well, and are made very palatable in this presentation.
Add flavor with seeds and spices. You’ll find that almost anything from the vegetable world goes with almost anything else, and the combinations are endless and delightful. Tomatoes with caraway. Beets with cumin and dill. Avocado with curry and celery seed. Endless! Black sesame is a favorite garnish in our kitchen.
Other options for adding vegetables include using a food processor to puree, chop or julienne them. Another option is a “spiralizer.”
With vegetables, the less heat and cooking the better for most kinds. Exceptions are squashes, rhubarb and nightshades such as eggplant, and tubers such as yams and sweet potatoes—these should be cooked. For greens and cruciferous vegetables, raw is better.
Eating soups like this reduces cravings, is very satisfying, will reduce inflammation, and will lead to optimum body composition (read: reduce body fat!). Given the variety of ingredients possible, it’s not really necessary to eat anything else! One could live on these soups, and end up very healthy and slim with no cravings or binge eating. Remember to watch caloric density; keep dense foods, including legumes, fats, proteins, and grains, to very limited quantities. Raw cruciferous vegetables are very filling—if you can find a palatable way to consume them. This is it! The “holy grail” for the healthy eater —optimum nutrition, optimum taste, controlled caloric density, high water content.
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