To the Spa
Delicious and Healthy – The Famed Canyon Ranch Spa
Tips and great recipes
-Francine Segan, food+fome editor
I just spent a decadently wonderful few days at the Canyon Ranch Spa, in Lenox, Massachusetts.
I expected to basically have to eat rabbit food, but was amazed by the four-star food presentation at dinner with gourmet touches like microgreens, and foods usually banned on diets like roast duck and ravioli. The secret – duh – is portion size. You can eat basically anything rich, if you don’t eat too much of it.
And dessert! I didn’t expect dessert. OK, OK, I do have to admit that they go a little skimpy on dessert portion size, but their desserts, like the yummy Oatmeal Cookies (recipe below) were rich, so the mini portions were actually enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Here are some tips and great recipes from Canyon Ranch:
How to Stock your Kitchen:
1. Ideally, your refrigerator should be stocked with more food than your pantry. Preferably you should be eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, hormone and antibiotic-free proteins such as poultry, lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, and drinking filtered water.
2. Read labels. Avoid unsavory additives and unhealthy products including:
-Hydrogenated fats and trans fats
-High fructose corn syrup
-Artificial sweeteners and colorings
3. Your pantry should include staples like:
–Legumes and beans: Eden brand canned beans are especially delicious and naturally low in sodium
-Whole grains: quinoa, barley, wild and brown rice, nuts, seeds and seed/nut butters: Brazil nuts, almonds, pine nuts, almond butter, peanut butter, sesame paste (tahini)
–Olive oil (sesame, canola, and walnut oils should be refrigerated, not kept in the pantry, as they tend to go rancid quickly)
–Dry herbs and spices
4. Look for more fiber than sugar per serving in packaged cereals and crackers. Select brands such as: Uncle Sam’s cereal, Kashi Seven in the Morning, Arrowhead Mills Shredded Wheat, Ak-Mak Crackers, Wasa Bread, Ryvita Rye, and Finn Crisp crackers.
5. Miscellaneous items recommended by Canyon Ranch:
-Olea Portuguese Sardines
-Olea-Skipjack Tuna in olive oil
-Thai Kitchen lite Coconut Milk
-Eden Vinegars – apple cider, red wine, rice wine, balsamic
-Pacific Organic Chicken Broth and other organic broths
-Yogi Green Kombucha Teas, Rooibos Chai or other herbal teas
-Muir Glen Tomato Ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup)
1. When cooking with oil, spray the oil to avoid adding more calories than necessary.
2. Steaming fish or vegetables is a great way to cook without adding calories. Try using low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to enhance flavors.
3. Seek out seasonal and local ingredients where you can. Shop the local farmer’s market if you have one nearby. Better and fresher ingredients make better meals.
4. When shopping in your local grocery store, shop the perimeter. Avoid highly processed ingredients.
5. Try to incorporate a bit of sweet, sour, bitter and salty in each dish that you create. Balancing flavors can help you avoid having to add fat for flavor.
6. Balancing textures in dishes can help enhance the enjoyment of a dish. Add some crunch to a dish that is primarily “soft.”
7. Dry herbs are best for longer cooking times. Fresh herbs are best added at the very last minute in a dish to preserve the flavor and color.
8. Season with Mediterranean sea salt – it adds not just sodium but also mineral impurities which add an additional dimension of flavor to your food.
9. Try using freshly juiced vegetables as a sauce or broth for grilled fish, chicken or other protein. It is a sneaky way to incorporate additional vegetables in to your diet, and does not add fat.
Recipes adapted from Canyon Ranch Cooks by Barry Correia, Scott Uehlein, and the Kitchen Staff of Canyon Ranch (Rodale, 2001)
Flax Seed Apple Batter French Toast with Fruit Compote
Start your day right with an easy-to-prepare breakfast of moist egg less French Toast that includes flax seeds, a great source of fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/4 cup diced apple
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons apple butter
3/4 cup soymilk
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 large slices multigrain bread, about 3/4 inch thick
In a medium saucepan, bring the juices to a boil. Add the pineapple, apple and orange peel and cook until the fruit is soft. Top with mint. Set aside the fruit compote.
Combine ground flax seeds, apple butter, soymilk, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add canola oil. Dip both sides of the bread into the batter and transfer to the hot pan. Repeat for remaining slices. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with the fruit compote.
Caramelized Vegetable and Tofu Stir-Fry
This vegetarian dish is a hearty and flavorful one-skillet main course.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoon low-sodium tamari sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame tahini
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup sliced scallions
1 cup sliced jicama
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
10 ounces of tofu, diced
2 cups cooked soba noodles
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat and olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry briefly. Add the tamari sauce, brown sugar, tahini and pepper flakes and stir to blend. Add the remaining vegetables and stir-fry each until tender but crisp.
Gently toss the caramelized vegetables with the tofu and soba noodles and serve.
Shrimp with Green Apple Chipotle Salsa
Perfect for company because it can easily be made ahead these shrimp are so delicious that none of your guests will ever guess they’re eating light!
The spice dry rub and salsa are great with chicken too.
Green Apple Chipotle Salsa Ingredients:
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons apple juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of chipotle chili powder
Spice Dry Rub Ingredients:
6 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
Combine all the salsa ingredients in a medium serving bowl and mix well. Refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to mingle.
Combine all the spice dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle the dry rub on the shrimp. Reserve any leftover rub in an airtight container for future use.
Grill or broil the shrimp until pink, about 1 minute per side.
Serve the shrimp with the salsa on the side.
Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies
These yummy fiber-rich oatmeal treats are made without animal products-no butter or eggs. The silken tofu makes them wonderfully moist.
10 1/2 ounces silken tofu, drained
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Puree the tofu, sugars, canola oil and extracts in a blender. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the oatmeal and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and mix well.
Add these dry ingredients to the tofu mixture in thirds, mixing after each addition, until all the ingredients are moistened. Add the raisins last.
Roll about 2 tablespoon-sized portions of the dough into a ball and set onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining dough. Wet hands and lightly flatten the cookies before baking.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until just golden.
For Information and Reservations
Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires
165 Kemble Street
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240