interview with Ivy Haaks, Master of Gastronomy
We at Eat Something Sexy have sought the advice on eating indulgently and feeling fantastic offered by Chef Ivy Haaks for years. Not only is Ivy a Master of Gastronomy and an expert on organic foods, she’s also the face behind the sinfully rich yet virtuously pure desserts at M Cafe de Chaya, Los Angeles’ celebrity stalked macrobiotic cafe. This month Ivy shares with us her philosophy on relishing the Thanksgiving feast without all the post-Thanksgiving flab and that Holiday guilt.
”What I love about thanksgiving is the feeling of abundance. Turkey day is not a day for restriction, however I don’t want to have to pay for my indulgence on Friday morning. For me the key is really about portion size and knowing when to stop, I have a little of everything and that is really satisfying. Often I will save my piece of pumpkin pie for Friday’s breakfast. Nothing gets me in a holiday mood more than pumpkin pie and coffee for breakfast.” Chef Ivy Haaks, Master of Gastronomy
ESS: What are some of the traditional foods to steer toward to make it a healthier holiday?
IH: I love brussel sprouts, very healthy and delicious. If you don’t like them whole try shredding them and cook quickly in a small amount of butter (or soy butter) until they wilt. Also, cranberry sauce is very healthy if you don’t overdo the sugar. A good substitute is grade A maple syrup. It is not considered a refined sweetener and a healthy alternative to sugar. It tastes great in cranberry sauce, I do it this way every year.
ESS: Is free range really better?
IH: Yes, I believe it is. You will pay at least one-third to almost double the price for a free-range turkey, especially if it is organic as well. But the benefit of spending that little bit extra for your beautiful thanksgiving dinner is that you are eating poultry that was raised without hormones or antibiotics and was not raised in cruel, inhumane conditions.
ESS: What’s your view on gravy?
IH: It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without gravy! I love gravy and Thanksgiving is the one time of year I indulge in this calorie-laden sauce. But make it from scratch
ESS: Got any un-traditional ideas to try this year?
IH: Well, Thanksgiving is such a traditional holiday that I try to keep it that way. But there are certain things you can do to make it healthier without changing the basics. Mashed potatoes and candied yams are a holiday staple for many people but I find these dishes to be just too heavy with everything else on the table. What I make instead is a wonderful root vegetable mash, using parsnips, sweet potatoes, rutabaga and turnips. Just cook them all together in a pot of water, drain and puree with a little bit of butter and milk or soymilk and season to taste. You will be getting a healthy dose of beta-carotene and lots of fiber.
I know a lot of people buy their pies at grocery stores or pastry shops but I love to make my own. Instead of using canned pie filling I cut up butternut squash and use that as the base of the pie filling. I use maple syrup instead of sugar and replace milk with soymilk. I do use eggs in the pie but it works fine without them as well.
ESS: One fast tip for getting a great meal without all the Holiday guilt:
IH: Portion size, keep it moderate and come Friday morning you will be grateful.
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