Tomatoes

Primal Butternut Squash Lasagna

So here it is friends... the official launch of IntersectionCoaching.com with my new and improved blog! It has been a long time in the making, and I could have never done it without my incredible designer Margot from Pitch Design Union. To give you a bit of an update, I have spent the past few months finalizing my first cookbook Bowls of Love: Paleo Soups for the Seasons. After a lot of ups and downs, the book is finally finished, and you can pre-order by emailing me at ali@intersectioncoaching.com. Do it. Please? The book will be featured in Melissa and Dallas Hartwig's Whole30 newsletter, George Bryant's Civilized Caveman blog, Emma Frisch's Frisch Kitchen, and many more incredible sites! I am beyond thrilled to share my soup recipes, stories, and bowls with all of you over the holiday season and throughout the cold winter ahead!

In other breaking news, I was sorting dirty laundry last Wednesday at 5:24pm when my phone rang with a 212 number. I put down the laundry, answered the phone, and was greeted by one of the producers of the Today Show saying that I was being considered as a finalist for Joy Bauer's Too Good To Be Healthy Thanksgiving side dish contest. While jumping on the bed like a maniac, I kept complete composure on the phone and answered questions for about 20 minutes. The next day the phone rang again, and it was official... I was chosen! To say this was a dream come true would be the understatement of the century. Ever since Mal and I became friends, we committed to finding a way on the Today Show. The reason could be pathetic or shameful, as it just didn't matter. Lucky me I got a legitimate reason to go on air at 9:33am with Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Joy Bauer, and my fellow finalists to showcase one of my favorite holiday brussel sprouts recipes.

Wednesday was a dream and a blur, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity. Joy was as kind and genuine as I had hoped, and I even had the chance to show her a proof copy of Bowls of Love! (BTW she loved it!) You can read the article and watch the clip here. Enjoy the part when Willie and I talk about sewage... talk about classy morning television!

I am now returning to reality, settling into my new website, and cooking a Friday night feast for my fiance. I had an extra butternut squash lying around, so I decided to go a little crazy and try making a primal lasagna. I am serving the lasagna with a baby arugula salad topped with balsamic, pomegranate, avocado, and roasted hazelnuts. Time to kick off the weekend with a nutritious and colorful dinner and soak up a dream week.

Warning: This recipe is primal (rather than paleo) because of the inclusion of dairy. I figured I could switch it up now that my blog isn't called SoooPaleo anymore and because my sweetie loves cheese almost as much as he loves me. I will continue to post paleo recipes as well as a collection of other healthy recipes incorporating real, clean food.

Primal Butternut Squash Lasagna

Serves 6-8, Prep time: 60 min, Cook time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash 
  • 1 lb. organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6oz. spinach leaves
  • 3-4 cups tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 cup organic whole milk ricotta cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup organic shredded cheese of choice (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel your butternut squash with a standard vegetable peeler
  3. Slice the squash in thin pieces (about 1/8-1/4 inch) starting at the smaller end until you reach the seeds
  4. Cut the remaining piece of squash (with the seeds) in half, remove the seeds, and then slice the rest of the squash
  5. Cook the ground beef over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until no longer pink
  6. Drain the fat, set the meat aside, and then add the onions and garlic to the pan
  7. Cook the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes until soft
  8. Add the spinach leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes until wilted
  9. Add all but 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce as well as the ricotta cheese to the mixture (you may omit the cheese if you want this recipe to be paleo)
  10. Begin to build your lasagna by spreading about 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato sauce on the bottom of the 9x12 dish so nothing sticks
  11. Add a layer of squash, making sure the pieces do not overlap
  12. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture
  13. Repeat steps 10 and 11 until the meat mixture is used up
  14. Top with a final layer of butternut squash, the remaining tomato sauce that was reserved, and the shredded cheese (if desired)
  15. Bake for 45-55 minutes until squash is cooked through (you can check by poking through it with a sharp knife)
  16. Let lasagna rest for at least 10-15 minutes prior to serving (this by far the hardest part!)

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Deconstructed Garden Pesto "Pasta"

What a week! I truly believe that I have had the most productive days of my life recently, and it is all paying off. My upcoming cookbook

Bowls of Love is FINALLY coming together! It has been months and months (and months) of some serious hard work, and I am overflowing with excitement as I see it becoming a reality. Thanks to the hard work and brilliant creativity of my incredible designer Margot, the book looks so professional, colorful, and just my style. I released a sneak peak of the cover on Monday, and the response has been incredible. The books should be delivered to me by mid-October and in your hands before Halloween just in time for cool Fall nights and the holiday season. If you want to get your hands on a first-edition signed copy of the book at 20% off, you can order a pre-sale copy at my Square shop  - don't forget to enter PRESALE20 at checkout to get your discount.

I am also eagerly awaiting some big-named Paleo celebrities to review my manuscript! I am hoping for at least one review/endorsement for the book, and I will keep you all posted on the progress. In the midst of all of the craziness, I wanted to make a simple yet perfect summer dinner tonight. I was eating alone because Ry had to work late, so I made some zucchini noodles and threw in a tomato and some basil from our balcony garden. It tasted AMAZING, and while the picture wasn't perfect, I decided I should share it with all of you! Go pick some tomatoes and give it a try! 

Deconstructed Garden Pesto "Pasta":

 Serves 1, Prep time: 5 min, Cook time:  10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small zucchini, peeled into "noodles"
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 5-10 small basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 5 minutes until fragrant
  3. Add the zucchini noodles, and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft
  4. Add the tomato, pine nuts, and basil, and cook another 2-5 minutes until well combined
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste

YOU WILL LOVE THIS! 

Roasted Ithaca Tomato Soup w/ Fresh Basil Pesto

Life is good... Really good... Beyond amazing actually! Need some reasons?

1. I have a complete draft of my cookbook Bowls of Love: Paleo Soups for the Seasons! All 50 recipes have been photographed by the wonderful Erica Gannett, and the stories have been drafted and are getting refined by my editor (famous author) A.J. Walkley :) I am still pushing for a publish date in October so the book will be ready for all of you just in time for the Fall and cool nights that will be perfect for bowls of soup.

2. Mal and I have been separated for over three years, and our official reunion is TOMORROW! She is finished with business school, and her two-month travel adventures in Asia are coming to a close. She is moving back to Stamford, living in my building, and making my dreams come true!

3. RYAN AND I GOT ENGAGED!!! There are no words to fully describe how this makes me feel, so just know that I am so (sooo) excited, grateful, and in love with the turns my life has taken. Everything truly has happened for a reason, and there is no better time than today to reflect on that and appreciate every moment that brought us here.

I am also thrilled to announce that I won Groundswell International's basil recipe contest which was an incredible way to reconnect with an old sorority sister AND have the chance to work with the wonderfully talented Emma Frisch of Frisch Kitchen. She was by far my favorite contestant on the Next Food Network Star, and I was overjoyed to win a guest post on her blog. Check out my guest post here.

The winning recipe is for my Roasted Ithaca Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil Pesto. It is one of the 50 recipes from my upcoming cookbook, and I am bursting at the seams with excitement for the book to be done. You will have to wait a couple more months for the rest of the recipes, but in the meantime, enjoy this beautiful teaser with photo cred to the talented Erica Gannett!

Roasted Ithaca Tomato Soup w/ Fresh Basil Pesto:

Serves 4-6, Prep time: 15 min, Cook time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 3 pounds roma tomatoes (or any other tomatoes in your garden!)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil (about 20 leaves)
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (organic & no salt added)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock

Pesto:

  • 4 oz. fresh basil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • fine sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Pesto:

  1. Add the basil to a food processor
  2. Pulse until basil breaks down, and then add all other ingredients
  3. Blend until smooth (you may need to scrape the edges down a few times)
  4. Add additional olive oil or pine nuts if you like your pesto thinner or thicker

Soup:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice the tomatoes length-wise, and arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet
  3. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over the tomatoes, and season with sea salt and pepper
  4. Roast tomatoes for 45 minutes
  5. In a large soup pot, heat the other 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat, and add the onion, shallot, and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until tender
  6. Add the can of tomatoes, fresh basil, and broth
  7. Stir in the roasted tomatoes
  8. Cook for 45 minutes uncovered over medium-low heat
  9. Puree the soup with your immersion blender until smooth. 
  10. Top with drizzled pesto and enjoy the taste of your fresh summer garden!

Italian Salmon Pockets

I am approaching the 72-hour mark for my kickstarter campaign for Bowls of Love, and it is exhilarating! I am shamelessly plugging the cookbook everywhere I can, and I hope you all have had a chance to watch my video and check out some of the pictures from the book. I have connected with incredible people all over the world, each with a unique story why the project touches them. This experience has opened my eyes in so many ways, and the entrepreneur in me is quite happy.

Tonight's recipe was inspired by Giada's and was originally suggested to me by Mal. We went up to Ithaca this weekend for Mal and Mike's MBA graduation at Cornell, and it was incredible. Tons of great times, big laughs, and happy tears all around. More than anything, it made me really realize that Mal is on her way back to Stamford! There will be a few countries/trips in the meantime, but soon enough we will be neighbors sharing recipes (and memories) together just like the good old days.

This recipe is incredibly flavorful and a nice change from my go-to salmon recipe (post to come!). The salmon has a lot of juice from the tomato mixture, so it would be perfect served over zucchini noodles or your favorite gluten free pasta!

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Italian Salmon Pockets

Serves 4, Prep time: 10 min, Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped basil
  • Salt & pepper

 

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Instructions:

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  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil on salmon fillets, and season lightly with salt and pepper
  3. Mix the tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon, basil, and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a bowl
  4. Lay out 4 large pieces of foil on the counter
  5. Put each salmon fillet (oil side down) on the foil, and top with 1/4 of the tomato mixture
  6. Fold the foil packets closed, and twist the ends tightly (they should be sealed)
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, and then serve immediately
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