A cooking school for 'smart' eating

November 14, 1993|By Peter D. Franklin | Peter D. Franklin,Contributing Writer Universal Press Syndicate

After more than 20 years of writing, lecturing and teaching the basics of preparing lighter meals, Jeanne Jones seems to have found the perfect outlet in the desert.

For four days recently in Scottsdale, Ariz., she explored the nuances of "eating smart" with the first class of the Phoenician Cooking School, so named after one of the nation's top resorts, the Phoenician. Co-hosts at the school were the hotel's executive chef, Greg Waldron, and chefs de cuisine Allesandro Stratta, Robert McGrath and David Hough.

In addition to creating the cooking school, the Phoenician has for more than a year embraced Ms. Jones' philosophy in its menus, creating for its guests "Choices" -- light and healthy fare as an alternative to the traditionally heavier resort food.

"What I preach is common sense and moderation" without sacrificing flavor, says Ms. Jones, who is the author of 25 food books. Her latest is "Eating Smart: ABCs of the New Food Literacy" (Macmillan, $17), in which she covers "the fundamentals you need to become 'literate' in smart eating."

The five basics of "eating smart," according to Ms. Jones, are: Eat at least five times as much carbohydrate food (vegetables, ++ fruits, pasta, etc.) as animal protein (fish, meat, poultry and dairy products); limit fat to no more than 20 percent of your daily calories; use sugar and salt sparingly; drink six to eight glasses of water a day; limit the intake of alcohol, and stop eating when you are no longer hungry.

At the Phoenician Cooking School, she and the chefs prepared outstanding dishes, yet kept down the calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol content. Her paillard of chicken breast, for example, had but 306 calories per serving, but she removed all the fat and skin from the breasts and used egg whites instead of whole eggs.

On the second day of the school, she prepared a traditional French dessert, an apple tarte tatin, which had but 326 calories and no cholesterol, and a delightful bouillabaisse that included a pound of fish and shellfish and a cup of dry white wine. It totaled 310 calories per serving, virtually no fat, 295 milligrams of sodium and 50 milligrams of cholesterol.

An unbelievably tasty and simple roasted garlic appetizer was ,, prepared another day, followed by two risottos made with beets and carrots, a roast chicken and biscotti with peaches in champagne for dessert.

The four-day school, which is priced at $395 and includes dinner each night, and the "Choices" menu items in all the restaurants complement the recently expanded Centre for Well-Being on the grounds of the Phoenician. Exercise physiologists, masseuses and masseurs, beauticians, aerobics instructors, dieticians and lifestyle management counselors all work at keeping guests fit.

Proper food intake and exercise are part of keeping a machine -- your body -- in good working order, says Ms. Jones.

She created this turkey mole for her Southwestern holiday dinner, which offers a nice alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or for using up the leftovers. The count per serving: 315 calories; 78 milligrams cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 458 milligrams sodium.

Her menu also included cocktail salmon tamales, tortilla soup and a peanut-butter mousse with broiled bananas for dessert.

Turkey mole

Makes 8 servings

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

PTC 2 large tomatoes or 3 small ones, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped raisins

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chili powder

1/3 cup roasted carob powder (found in health food stores)

1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted stock)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed

1/4 cup unhomogenized smooth peanut butter

3 cups defatted chicken stock

2 pounds thinly sliced cooked turkey breast

Cook the onion in a covered pan over low heat until soft, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Add all other ingredients except the stock and the turkey. Mix well.

Bring the stock to a boil and add it to the mole sauce. Cook !! uncovered over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

To serve, heat the sliced turkey and pour 1/2 cup of sauce over the top of each serving, or chop the turkey and add it to the sauce and serve it like a stew.


"This salad is really attractive," says Ms. Jones. "It looks like confetti from a pinata." The count per serving: 106 calories; no cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 105 milligrams sodium.

Pinata salad

Makes 6 ( 2/3 -cup) servings

1/2 jicama, peeled

1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed

1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed

1 zucchini

1 carrot, peeled

2 heads Belgian endive, separated into leaves

2 tablespoons crushed, dry roasted peanuts


1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (not from the bottle)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar, unseasoned (without MSG)

2 tablespoons honey

L Dice all vegetables into 1/4 -inch squares and place in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine lime juice and salt. Stir until salt is completely dissolved. Add all other dressing ingredients and mix well. (Makes 1/2 cup dressing.) Add dressing to diced vegetables and mix well.

Line six chilled salad plates with 2 or 3 Belgian endive leaves. Arrange 2/3 cup of the salad on the plates. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon of crushed peanuts.

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