Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thoughts from Mike & Anne Mikkelsen

Turmeric Inspiration by Anne Mikkelsen

I have a history of caring about food, really great, no—really fine food. I studied the preparation and the presentation of food, among other places, in the kitchen of Simone Beck in Grasse, France. I love the hues and textures, the olfactory sensations of perfectly blended herbs, the juices and sauces, all the possibilities of marrying varying cuisines on our palates, platters and plates. So, in October when Mike and I attended the Governor's Conference on Parkinson's, I was intrigued by a presentation which emphasized the importance of a focused nutritional strategy aimed at fighting back against cell death. Imagine the power in that!

Recommended ingredients were antioxidant-rich and therefore anti-inflammatory. The list included some familiar ingredients like blueberries, broccoli, spinach, dried beans—black and pinto, rosemary, fresh ginger, and organic foods. But the most surprising to me was the spice turmeric—high on the presenter's list. Turmeric has the scent and taste of orange zest and ginger and the color of gold.

On the way home from The Governor’s Conference we picked up a few items: an organic chicken, dried blueberries, dried black and pinto beans, garlic, broccoli and turmeric. Here’s what I did with those groceries on that very night:

Roasted chicken, stuffed under the skin and a warm black bean salad.

Black Bean Salad

1 cup black beans and 1 cup pinto beans, cover beans with water and boil till slightly tender—approx. 40 minutes. You may need to add more water along the way.

While beans are softening, begin the dressing in a large salad bowl:

3 T red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
juice of half a lime
1 tsp grated lemon zest (if you don’t own a zester, it’s worth the investment)
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
2 cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup cilantro (you can make this optional, but I wouldn’t risk it)

When the beans are slightly tender, drain and while they are still warm, add beans to the dressing. Then add 2 T of turmeric—notice the rich golden color. Add salt to taste and a few good grinds of black pepper. Add cilantro and enjoy! If you have to refrigerate this salad, be sure to refresh it with fresh lemon juice and more zest.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken—2 lb organic fryer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the following in a food processor: chicken liver, gizzard and heart. A handful of fresh rosemary, 2 T fresh parsley, a chunk of white onion, 4 cloves of fresh garlic, 1 T olive oil, 2 tsp sea salt, several good grinds of black pepper and 1 T turmeric. Blend ingredients until it makes a loose paste. Then gently lift the chicken breast skin and massage the paste between skin and breast meat—rubbing the filling all along the breast meat. Sprinkle 1 T turmeric on top of the chicken and drizzle 2 T olive oil over that—another beautiful sight! Bake the chicken at 350 for approximately 1 ½ hours. And that’s 1 ½ hours of pure olfactory pleasure flowing through your house. When you serve the chicken, be sure to spoon the resulting juices over each piece of meat and share the stuffing-all around.

For dessert, I made a salad of dark butter lettuce with a simple vinaigrette sprinkled with intense little dried blueberries and a pinch of turmeric. Lovely.

Want to know more about The Governor’s Conference on Parkinson's? Visit

We sold a number of our beautiful Yellow Birds at the event. If you'd like to purchase one of these remarkable creatures and help make the lives of Parkinson's patients better, be sure to check out our website...

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