Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Yield: 6 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

3 small zucchini or summer squash (mix of both, preferably)

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

 

1. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Using a mandoline or your vegetable peeler, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/16-inch thick slices lengthwise. The slices will resemble wide pasta noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the zucchini in a medium bowl.

4. Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture and add the capers. On a plate, loosely arrange some zucchini slices into a small pile, then spoon some of the caper vinaigrette over the top.

5. Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top with some shavings of cheese and some of the parsley.

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Cook with me!

My online Clean Eating Academy cooking course, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” starts APRIL 3rd!

Sign up today and I’ll see you on MONDAY! Wohoo!

A sampling of what you will be eating…

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Braised Spiced Chickpeas 
with Swiss Chard & Sweet Potatoes

Try my delicious veg & fruit packed stew recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!

braised-spiced-chickpeas-with-swiss-chard-sweet-potatoes

photo by Ronald Tsang

Braised Spiced Chickpeas 
with Swiss Chard & Sweet Potatoes

 

Yield: 6 servings

 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

2 small fennel bulbs, stems and bottoms removed, diced small (2½ cups)

¼ kosher salt, plus more to taste

7 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a Microplane

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (3 cups)

3-ounces dried figs, tough stems removed and quartered (9 figs)

3-ounces dried apricots, chopped roughly (11 apricots)

3-ounces dried plums, chopped roughly (12 plums)

1 tablespoon honey

2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 pound rainbow chard (leaves and stems), chopped roughly

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

 

Add the olive oil, onions, fennel and ¼ teaspoon salt to a 5.5 quart dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the sweet potatoes, dried fruit, honey, chickpeas and chicken stock. Cover and increase the heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are barely tender.

Stir in the chard. Cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls and top with fresh cilantro for a delicious garnish. (Pairs well with brown rice, quinoa, chicken, etc.) Tip: make this dish vegetarian by swapping out the chicken stock for veg stock.

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Presenting… your holiday roast!

pot-roast-with-veggies-and-kumquats

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables and Kumquats

Yield: 6 servings

1 (2½- to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced medium (3 cups)

3 celery stalks, chopped roughly (1½ cups)

5 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (5 cups)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon)

2 cups red Zinfandel wine

4 cups chicken stock

2 dried bay leaves

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 pound small yellow potatoes (7 to 10), scrubbed

6 kumquats, halved and seeded

  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator, pat dry and season all sides with the salt and pepper. Allow the roast to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF. Open a few windows or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky.
  1. Heat a small oven-safe pot over medium-high heat until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Immediately add the roast and brown on all sides, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a large plate and discard the oil.
  1. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  1. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil, the tomato paste and the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  1. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes more; it will begin to thicken just a bit.
  1. Stir in the stock, bay leaves, thyme, potatoes and kumquats. Replace the roast in the pan. Depending on the size of your pot, the roast may be halfway or completely submerged.
  1. Bring the pot just barely to a simmer, cover and carefully place in the oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, remove the roast and cut into pieces, or simply pull apart with two forks. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle pieces of the roast, vegetables, and broth into soup bowls.

Note: When shopping for your boneless beef chuck, look for a lot of marbling in the meat. Those white streaks are marbling, or fat. It is the fat, in part, that gives this dish loads of flavor and keeps the meat moist. The total cooking time is just over 1 hour per pound of meat. Thus, a 2½ pound beef chuck roast will take approximately 2¾ hours to cook.

Monsanto Hide And Seek?

Today, sweaty from the gym, I wasn’t quite in the mood to cook just yet, so after ordering a simple meal at my local Thai restaurant with my sous-chef, we began to wonder about where all of the vegetables came from. Not just what supplier or farmer, but where the seeds originate: from the rice to the veggies to the soy sauce.

Before we even finished our meal, we began doing some research on the topic, which included internet research as well as asking my master gardener and farmer friends, and (although we are still researching), our findings are quite unsettling.

Turns out, a company Seminis, (established in 1994 – a conglomeration of a number of Dutch seed companies) sells over 3,500 seed varietals and controls about 40% of the US vegetable market and 20% of the world market. In the US, they supply 55% of the lettuce, 75% of the tomatoes, and 85% of the peppers supplied in supermarkets. Basically, if you have ever eaten a salad, you are eating the produce from Seminis seeds.

The unsettling part? Monsanto bought this company for 1.4 billion dollars (cash!) in 2005. Now that’s a lot of Lattes…

I am a big supporter of small farms, family farms, organics, non-GMO’s. It has been easy for me to stay away from the Monsanto GMO crops like corn and wheat since I buy organic flours and corn and stay away from processed food which contains things like GMO canola oil and high fructose corn syrup. However, this new discovery made me realize that by the mere fact that Monsanto controls so many seeds (albeit non-GMO), that through the simple act of enjoying a meal (in fact most meals) – I have probably still been supporting Monsanto!

Are there ways to farm conventionally without using these seeds that have been bred and grafted for conventional farming? Do farmers really have options? Do consumers who garden have options? And, how will consumers ever really know what they are eating or not if GMO labeling is not mandated and varietals are not labelled?

For a list of Monsanto/Seminis varietals, you can look at their website. As I teach people, farmers markets are so great because you can ask your farmers all about their produce. I know I’ll be asking my farmer friends about varietals this Sunday when I visit the Hollywood Farmers Market.

I’m on the search to find out. With Monsanto buying up world seed companies… is Monsanto really avoidable?