Deb Morgan

Deb Morgan

Deb, Kripalu’s Former Executive Chef, draws on more than 25 years’ experience in the world of natural foods, including owning and running an organic restaurant and tea shop. Deb is an enthusiastic chef and is author of the Kripalu Seasonal Recipe Book series. Her approach to food and cooking is grounded in a deep belief that love is the main ingredient in a healthful diet.
Posted on June 8th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Kitchen-Sink Cooking

“That’s it—I’ve had enough! I, of all people, should not be doing it this way!”

Ever have one of those enough-is-enough moments? As I was once again staring at my refrigerator with its combination of very fresh, slightly worn, and “what-are-you-still-doing-in here?” produce, leftovers, and half-eater jars of miscellaneous mayhem, I hit the turning point.

“OK, family,” I announced. “I will not be buying one more ounce of food until we have eaten every single morsel of what we already have.”

My rant was spurred by my newly instituted budget austerities, and the obvious yet uncalculated cost of what I was about to throw in the garbage. I heard a staggering statistic once that something like 15 to 30 percent of our food budget goes in the trash: sporadically used condiments and half-eaten canned goods; good-intentioned yet left-to-rot produce; the two pounds of this or that “wonder food” that were purchased after reading about its healthful properties in O magazine.

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Posted on May 25th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Ahimsa in Action

This past weekend, on a visit to my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s house, I was remembering my first few years as a newly converted natural foodie. I was about 19 and heavily into macrobiotics. In those days (the mid-1980s), macrobiotics focused on a very simple diet primarily of brown rice, cooked vegetables, beans, and seaweed. Dairy in all its forms was completely out, as was any sugar–except that we were still using brown rice syrup and barley malt as our “binge foods.” Meat was off the menu too, except for the very rare occasion of having some fish.

Imagine my poor mother that first year I came home for Thanksgiving after leaving the nest now in what I lovingly remember as my “macro-neurotic” state.

There I was: refusing the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy while asking to have the stuffing made with whole-grain bread and saying things like, “Mom, don’t kill me by putting butter or turkey stock in the stuffing! I won’t eat it!”

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Posted on May 11th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: When Smiling Panda Bears Lie

Lately, I’ve been playing around with a gluten-free diet. I often find that wheat feels heavy in my body, so a gluten fast this time of year often helps me lighten up. Because I don’t have a severe reaction to eating gluten, when I go gluten-free I don’t feel overly concerned about consuming any “incidental” amounts of gluten—mainly I just stop eating bread, pastries, and pasta for a few weeks. That said, during my gluten-free windows, I become more aware of how pervasive gluten is in the American diet and I’m always happy when I see companies making an effort to identify it or make versions of their products sans gluten.

Unfortunately, I also become aware of how the marketing potential of what has become, to some, a fad diet can turn this dietary choice into a sneaky way to pawn off cheap food to the unsuspecting!

Case in point: I bought some pre-made maki rolls from a local all natural grocer. In the Berkshires, we’re lucky to have several great locally owned stores that sell whole foods and organic produce. I went to Guidos, which is a wonderful combination of a main store (with all the basics) accompanied by several privately owned sub markets, much like the old indoor year round farmers markets I remember from my childhood in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

So back to my purchase, and, more specifically, the little packets of soy sauce that came with it. As I often take my makis home, I rarely use the soy sauce provided. If they’re all-natural I might save them for a picnic or travel. If they aren‘t, I simply discard them and wish the store would commit to using the all-natural kind.

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Posted on April 27th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday – My Top Five

Has anyone ever asked you the classic foodie question? You know, the one that goes something like, “If you were stranded somewhere and could only eat five different foods forever, which would you choose?”

Of course, the location of said strandedness makes a big difference in the answer: juicy watermelons sound perfect for a lifetime on a desert island, but not so great in the snowy Arctic! Climate aside, it’s a great question to ponder, and one that we chefs seem to get quite a bit.

Depending on my mood, a few of my top five foods can change. Past winners have been winter squash, lacinato kale, brown rice, cannellini beans, and arugula. Or I’ll cheat with a broad answer like, “any fresh vegetable or fruit” or the generic “beans, grains, and veggies.” Sometimes I’ll answer with some of my favorite dishes, such as butternut squash soup, risotto, and lasagna. Or sautéed greens with cannellini beans tossed with pesto; kichari; a nice dahl over rice with cilantro mint chutney; tabouli; sourdough bread; arugula salad with dates and raw cheese with balsamic … the list easily gets longer than five!

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Posted on April 13th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Recipe for Connection

Well, my intention to have more dinner parties this year is being met, and most importantly, being met stress-free! Wait, do I hear you asking, “a stress-free dinner party? Is it possible?” To which I answer an enthusiastic, Yes, yes, yes! Since my last post about a fun Moroccan themed dinner party,  I’ve hosted two […]

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Posted on March 30th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday – Ode to the Spring Cleanse

You know how Italian restaurants traditionally have red tablecloths? The theory goes that red stimulates the appetite and thus patrons will order more food if the dining room has a red décor. Well, I can’t say that I have definitively experienced an increase in hunger in a red dining room; however, I will tell you the three magic words that make me ravenous every time I utter them

Here we go (but please don’t say them too loud): “Fast, cleanse, diet.” Just writing them has me thinking of chocolate croissants; now I’m thinking of a nice dark roast coffee to go with them (notice how I said “them,” not “it”). Mmmm….

I first noticed this strange word association phenomenon back in 1988 while living in the Kripalu Yoga Fellowship in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania. There were 60 folks living on the property at the time and we shared a communal kitchen in which a small team of us would prepare all the meals. It had been decided that the entire community was going to do a three-day raw juice spring cleanse/fast. What a great idea, I thought. Having community support would make it easy. We wouldn’t have any other foods around to cheat with, and since our workload would be lessened we would be able to take it easy and allow our bodies to cleanse.

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Posted on March 16th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Moroccan Nights

What do you do when you invite 10 people over for dinner and only have eight dining room chairs? Well, when you’re eating Moroccan cuisine, why not do what the Moroccans do: Get cozy on cushions. Granted, most Moroccans use low tables with their cushions, but after 30 seconds of near panic, I decided to throw a blanket and a tablecloth on the floor, along with an abundance of pillows, and call it part of the dinner theme!

Although my daily diet is relatively simple (I’m a rice with dahl fan), I love taking the time to explore the flavors and cooking styles of various cultures. When my daughters surprised me at Christmas with the gift of a beautiful copper couscousiere (a large double boiler–type pot used specifically for steaming couscous) I knew that a Moroccan dinner party was in my future.

I’ve seen pictures of couscousieres before—the copper ones are especially beautiful—but I never really understood the point; I had always just boiled water, let the couscous soak it up, and called it a day. Why use a special pot that requires you to steam the couscous multiple times? All I can tell you is that this couscous is unlike any you’ve ever tasted! I looked up several recipes before I was truly convinced that the way to use one of these things was to mix the couscous with water and a bit of olive oil and steam it for 15 minutes, then remove and fluff it, add more water, and steam again—then repeat the entire process! The difference? Incredibly light and fluffy couscous. The couscous itself actually had a flavor even before I added almonds, cinnamon, and dried fruit. I’m sold—thank you, girls!

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Posted on March 2nd, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday – From Italy with Love

From Italy with Love…

TGIFF! Thank God, it’s Foodie Friday! What better way to gear up for the weekend then to talk about food? OK, so I’ll admit it: As a chef and certified foodie, I consider any day a good day to talk food. That said, we decided to give it a special focus every Friday, so hopefully you’ll join me and my fellow Kripalu foodies as we share our love of all things edible.

For me, the wonder of food really blossoms through the individual people who enter into relationships with it, from farmers to cooks to the diners whose senses are filled with foods’ amazing smells, sights, and tastes. Through these relationships, we can reap the benefits of not only physical health, but also of deep joy and connectedness.

I was reminded of this last weekend during a visit with my oldest daughter, Rhea, who is a sophomore at Union College. Rhea is lucky to be living in a big house on campus with a wonderfully large kitchen. Since I only had a few hours to be with her, I wanted to make the most of it. What better way to connect and say I love you than by cooking together? We would be doing something we love to do, plus making enough for her boyfriend, Charlie, and her best friend, Ilyena, to enjoy. (I was also heading off to a potluck that evening so I decided to do a bit of double duty and prep for that as well.) Hmmm… what to make that was healthful, comfort food? My choice was obvious, one of Rhea’s favorites: Butternut Squash Lasagna!

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