Health in a Hurry: Fast Food That's Good for You

Liz Rueven

Entering Health in Hurry in Fairfield is like entering a close friend's kitchen after she has prepared fragrant dishes for you all day. Owner, Sue Cadwell, greets customers while literally standing in the kitchen of her 275 Sq. foot storefront tucked away off the Post Road.  There is nothing but a short counter to separate you from the simmering pots and a couple of dedicated cooks chopping and packing healthful, mightily flavored dishes to go. Sue's philosophy is simple. She provides a welcome alternative to fast-food for busy people using organic, whole foods, seasonal produce and ethnic flavors from around the world. 

What she does in this tiny kitchen is remarkable, and even while working she is always ready to  pause and greet her customers with a welcoming smile and a hug.  She will ask if it is your first time there and gladly explain as much or as little as you would like to hear about each dish and its ingredients.  Food allergies? Food sensitivities? No problem. Sue caters to all dietary needs and to her loyal following. This may be a small, intimate operation, but Heath in a Hurry has a big heart and big intentions.

Sue states her philosophy clearly on her informative website.  Health in a Hurry is "100% committed to providing health supportive cuisine that assists the body in digestion and supports a diet rich in nutrients."  Sue graduated from Anne Marie Colhbin's NATURAL GOURMET COOKING SCHOOL in NYC in 1998 and opened shop here in 2004. In 2006 she joined forces with STICKS AND STONES FARM in Newtown, CT., where most of the organic vegetables were grown.  She is now growing many of her own veggies in her backyard garden plot of only 250 sq. feet. Each Spring, Sue hosts a planting day when customers and friends gather to assist in planting the early Spring crops of greens, radishes and sugar snap peas.  Her offerings in the store are a direct result of her own harvest although she continues to source out local, organic products as needed.

Peer into the kitchen, chat with Sue, or check out what is stocked each day in either of the narrow, vertical refrigerators in the storefront.  Grab what tempts you or call ahead and be assured that Sue will have your order packed and waiting for you in the kitchen. This is the perfect spot for vegetarians, vegans or anyone with food sensitivities.  Sue will gladly alter a recipe if you call in advance and order more than a serving or two.  All of the soups and baked goods are vegan, great for those who want to avoid dairy or want non-dairy side dishes to add to your meals.

One of my favorites is the RAW THAI SLAW, a creamy (but non-dairy) concoction of chopped napa or savoy cabbage, beets, yams, and carrots popping with flavor of the Thai almond sauce.  This bright pink salad is enveloped in a dressing of almond butter, ginger, wheat free tamari, sesame oil and ginger (seen below on the DRAGON PLATTER).  I love to serve this one. The crunch is so satisfying, the magenta of the beets so prominent, and the raw goodness so obvious, that I would never try to make this on my own. 

Sue's dishes are mostly seasonal although there are some faves that she prepares year round.  The SWEET GINGER TOFU is one you will always find available.  The slim, rectangular slices of tofu are lightly coated in a  sweet and sour, tangy marinade of maple syrup, apple juice, and a touch of mild vinegar.  This makes the perfect snack when you are in need of a pick me up in the late afternoon.  I used to pack this for my daughter to eat between school and rehearsals when she wanted protein and flavor but didn't want a sandwich.  She tells me that her snacks were often the envy of the stage crew at Staples High School.

Another year round treat is the HEALTHY BURGER (seen above).  Sue calls these her best seller and i know why!  You can see and taste every ingredient in this perfect veggie burger. There is never any soy or wheat filler,  just lentils, brown rice, portobello mushrooms and plenty of flavor. The addition of sunflower seeds, cashews, dill, and parsley give it a very satisfying texture, and each ingredient is packed with nutritional value.  We often make a dinner of these, warmed gently in the oven at home with a slice of melted organic cheddar cheese.  Tuck that into a fresh whole grain bun or wheat pita and enjoy with the RAW THAI SLAW, or crisp and flavorful SPINACH SALAD  (topped with addictive tofu "bacon") and you have a great meal for under $20 for 2!

I asked Sue which dishes were her top sellers in terms of entertaining and she mentioned the STUFFED DELICATA SQUASH.  This dish would make a bold and lovely presentation on a buffet.  The deeply hued squash is hollowed out and then stuffed with brown rice, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and other fresh herbs.

One of the dishes that I never leave without buying is the BAKED GARDEN PIE.  I often order it ahead just to avoid disappointment.  It is loaded with veggies like swiss chard, spinach and zucchini, which Sue grows herself whenever possible.  The greens are really packed in there, providing a big dose of those dark, leafy greens that you know you should be eating but may not be interested in cleaning or prepping on your own. The greens are combined with lots of protein provided by the egg, ricotta and a bit of Parmesan.  The cheeses and eggs provide richness and creaminess  for a satisfying meal or snack. Compared to the 3 cups of cheese and butter used in a quiche, this is a nutritionally packed, lower in fat, delicious and satisfying meal. 

For the vegans among our readers there are plenty of choices as only 4 dishes here are NOT vegan.  Among the newer additions to the menu are RAW VEGAN SUSHI and the DRAGON PLATTER.  The vegan sushi avoids fish and cooked veggies by combining  a wide and ever changing assortment of sprouts, avocado, celery, beets and asparagus with a nut pate used to hold it together and lend a little creaminess.  Consider how many of your veggies you would be consuming in one dish!

Also new is the DRAGON PLATTER which is the macrobiotic platter combined to provide the perfect synergy of beans, grains and veggies.  Tucked into the compartmentalized container of this carefully composed dish is a choice of SEA VEGGIE SALAD OR RAW THAI SLAW. I opted for SEA VEGGIE SALAD after Sue explained how important the trace minerals are.

I openly give credit to Sue when I serve one of her dishes to my friends.  Over Chanukah, while 14 dined on a buffet of many things, including those labor intensive potato pancakes, I was much relieved to add the LEMON CURRY RICE SALAD to my buffet.  Although the ingredients are simple and few, I don't even bother trying to make it myself. It is light on curry but plenty flavorful with the addition of green peas, raisins, cashews and scallions. I asked Sue what makes it so special and she thinks it is their homemade curry powder, a combination of 9 spices carefully blended in their kitchen.  This extra effort is just one example of some of the efforts made here, to flavor things boldly and with concern for health as the focus.

It is good to know that special order cakes, cupcakes and other sweets are available for nut free, dairy free, gluten free products.

Also, helpful to both Sue and her loyal customers is a VIP card that is loaded with $140 of your bucks which buys you $175  (20% discount) worth of vegetarian cuisine at HEALTH IN A HURRY.  Why not?

A word of advice.  Do not be in a hurry as you are searching for this treasure tucked behind the Cruise and Resort Connection on the Post Road.  The best landmark is the barn red Rawley's hot dog stand across the street.  HEALTH IN A HURRY's driveway is directly across from there.  Head to the back and you will find this tucked away spot.  

Enjoy eating better, picking up something healthy in a hurry, or planning ahead by pre-ordering for larger quantities. It is take-out only, except for in the warmer months, when there are a few tables between the storefront and the parking lot where you can pause to eat  outside if you can't wait to get home.

Health in a Hurry 1891 Post Rd. Fairfield. 203.254.5777

M-F  9 AM -6:30 PM

Sat.  10 AM-3 PM

closed Sundays

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