Keeping it balanced

Even on these hot summer days, we need to make sure that we’re eating a balanced diet.

Spicy turkey on a bed of Swiss chard and pumpkin (photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)
Spicy turkey on a bed of Swiss chard and pumpkin
There will always be newer and better scientific studies being published that exhort us to eat more of this, or less of that, in order to maintain ultimate health, but I’ve always been a big fan of taking the middle road. I’ve found that if we eat a variety of fresh, nourishing foods, we will be healthy and strong.
Even on these hot summer days, we need to make sure that we’re eating a balanced diet. To that end, we should prepare light, refreshing meals that don’t use up too much energy and that can be prepared quickly.
Legumes can be put in the back of the pantry for colder days, and instead we should focus on lots of vegetables seasoned with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Instead of preparing beef, I recommend serving chicken and turkey dishes.
Turkey is a great type of meat to serve in the summer, because it is filling and full of nutrients. It’s also low in fat (3%-5%) and not too heavy. Turkey contains all the amino acids our bodies need, and is chock full of vitamins, iron and minerals.
Two of the recipes below explain how to prepare turkey dishes, and the other two explain how to prepare pargit (filleted dark chicken pieces).
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Spicy turkey on a bed of Swiss chard and pumpkin
Makes 6-8 servings
■ ½ breast (about 1 kg.) turkey, rinsed and dried
■ 4 cups water
■ 1 cup orange juice or apple cider
■ 1 cup dry red wine
■ ½ cup brown or golden sugar, or 2 Tbsp. silan (date syrup)
■ 4 slices fresh ginger, grated
■ ½ tsp. black pepper
■ 3 bunches rosemary
■ 3 bay leaves
■ 2 hot chili peppers
Herbal mixture:
■ 1½ tsp. salt
■ 3 cloves garlic, crushed
■ ½ Tbsp. oregano
■ ½ Tbsp. paprika
■ Black ground pepper, to taste
■ 2 Tbsp. rosemary, chopped finely
■ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
For sauce:
■ 1 cup of liquid from marinade
■ 2 carrots, sliced
■ 4 Tbsp. orange juice
■ 1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
■ 2 Tbsp. honey or silan
■ ½ cup dried, unsweetened cranberries, or pitted plums
Vegetable seasoning:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, cut into slices
3 whole cloves garlic
5 Swiss chard leaves, cut into strips
1 kohlrabi, cut into strips or sections
150 gr. pumpkin, cut into cubes
2 hot chili peppers
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp. cumin
Pour all the marinade ingredients into a bowl, except for the turkey. Mix well. Add the turkey breast (make sure the turkey breast is completely submerged in marinade). Cover and keep in fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the herbal mixture. Remove the turkey from the marinade and rub with herbal mixture so that it’s completely covered. Lay on a rack that sits on top of a tray and roast in oven that has been preheated to 180º for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 150º, cover turkey and bake for another 35 minutes. Baste with olive oil every once in a while.
Add all the sauce ingredients to a pot and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Brush sauce on top of turkey. Cover and bake another 10 minutes. Remove and let cool a few minutes.
Pour oil in a large skillet and fry onion rings, garlic, Swiss chard and kohlrabi for five minutes. Add the pumpkin and spices and cook until soft. Place the turkey in the middle of the skillet, cover with sauce, and place cover on skillet. Slice turkey and serve hot
Roast chicken with paprika and thyme
Makes 4 servings
■ 500 gr. chicken breast, divided into 4 pieces
■ ¼ cup olive oil
■ 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
■ ¼ tsp. spicy paprika – optional
■ ½ tsp. thyme, chopped
■ Salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse and dry chicken pieces.
Mix all ingredients – except for chicken – together in a bowl. Add the chicken and let marinate for 5-10 minutes. Heat a grill pan with ridges and cook chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with vegetables and rice.
Chicken in sweet chili sauce
This is a favorite among kids.
Makes 6 servings
■ 10-12 boneless young chicken thighs
■ ¼ cup olive oil
■ 1 cup sweet chili sauce
■ 1 Tbsp. silan
■ 1 Tbsp. honey
■ 1 Tbsp. pomegranate juice In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients – except for chicken.
Add chicken and then store in fridge for two hours. If you’re in a hurry, prepare marinade the day before and store in the fridge.
Arrange the pieces of chicken on a tray. Keep a few tablespoons of the marinade to use later. Bake for 40 minutes in an oven that was preheated to 180º. Baste with marinade every so often. Bake until golden brown.
Turkey with stir-fried vegetables
Makes 6 servings
■ 500 gr. dark turkey meat, cut into ½-1-cm. strips
■ 2 cloves garlic, crushed
■ 7 Tbsp. soy sauce
■ 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
■ 1 tsp. shwarma mix – optional
■ Salt and pepper, to taste
■ Olive oil for frying
■ 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
■ 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
■ 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
■ 1 red onion, cut into thin strips
■ 3 scallions, chopped
■ 1 large, light green zucchini, cut into thin strips
■ 2 thin strips of ginger
■ Salt and pepper, to taste
■ 300 gr. thin noodles, cooked according to directions
Heat olive oil in a wok or large skillet.
Fry the turkey strips for a few minutes until the strips change color. Add garlic, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, chili sauce. Mix. Season with salt and pepper and fry for a few more minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat some more oil in the wok and fry the vegetables. Don’t fry for too long, so the vegetables don’t lose their crunchiness. Add the ginger, salt, pepper and 5 Tbsp. soy sauce. Mix well. Add the turkey strips and mix. Serve hot with cooked noodles.