Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Zucchini and Clams

Those who know me well enough know that I don’t usually conform to socially accepted norms or “conventional” methods of accomplishing goals.  Even the word “conventional” has come to mean many different things to me, most often with a negative connotation.  

Let’s start with the farming reference, in which “conventional” farming generally indicates mass production of crops and livestock with the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers (essentially the complete opposite of organic and healthful).  

We also have another food reference in terms of conventional food products like microwavable soup, TV dinners, and instant anything. (Hint: Real food is not instant. Real food takes time.)  

Then, there is conventional employment.  Many people enjoy the security and predictability of working 9-5 Monday through Friday, even if they don’t enjoy the actual work they do...For others like myself, if I am unable to use my imagination in the workplace, and if my time is spent doing repetitive, mindless work that I don’t enjoy, I often question and doubt the point of it all.  

To me, “conventional” has become synonymous with words like ordinary, expected, and easy, but who wants to labelled as such?  In that sense, I don’t want to live a conventional life.  I would much rather work hard, do the unexpected, be extraordinary!  Sometimes it is just more fulfilling to think outside the box and be mindFUL... not mindLESS.

On that note, today’s recipe is an “unconventional” take on linguini and clams (sans pasta).  Enjoy!

Zucchini and Clams

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee (or butter)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 10-ounce cans of cooked clams, drained
  • 4 medium zucchini

  1. To steam the cauliflower, add about 1 inch of water to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower florets and a pinch of salt, cover and allow to steam for about 7-10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and easily pierced with a fork, then strain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the ghee over medium heat until melted.  Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes until translucent.  Add the garlic, salt, pepper, old bay, and crushed red pepper flakes, and sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and steamed cauliflower to the pot with the onions and garlic.  Allow it to come to a simmer, then carefully pour the mixture into a blender and purée on high until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the purée back into the same pot along with the diced potatoes and celery.  Allow the vegetables to cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add the chopped oregano and clams, and allow the mixture to simmer for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  5. Meanwhile, create “noodles” out of the zucchini by using a spiralizer (which kind of looks like a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables).  If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can julienne the zucchini by slicing it the long way into thin sheets, then slicing the sheets into noodles. (These can be left raw, or you can quickly sauté them in ghee with a little salt.)
  6. Serve the zucchini in bowls topped with the clam sauce, and garnish with some fresh chopped herbs or scallions if desired.

Can you think of any other examples of life in which “conventional” methods could be physically, mentally, or socially detrimental?  Feel free to post your comments below.