Schoolhouse Journals July 2015
By Chef Christopher Dobrowolski
It’s good to be back! I am so happy that I am able to be with you again after a short, but very necessary, break. Thankfully I am on the right side of a comeback and have so many things to be grateful for. Over my last year we have discussed food, food and more food because well, that’s what I know! I just had my 37th Birthday, the day after celebrated my 23rd year in this industry of hospitality, and I have to say that I am enjoying it more every minute.
Back to our favorite topic, food! It seems as if our food sources are constantly working to bend the rules. Or go around them entirely. All pretty scary if you ask me. Chicken being shipped overseas just to avoid regulation and shipped back for consumption is just the start. Most Americans don’t know that over 70% of our food supply at any given time is shipped in from other countries. Instead of talking about the politics and such, let’s chat briefly about what you can do to minimize the impact of these issues when it comes time to feed your family.
Nowadays there are so many options for growing your own food it is almost a crime that more people don’t. In a .19 acre lot with a home on it you can grow over 10,000 pounds of food a year! Crazy right? I am not saying go out and do this because, well, you will have to work the garden 40 hours a week or more. Here is something that we can do. Say you live in an apartment, or maybe even a great neighborhood, gather your neighbors together to enjoy some food and wine and come up with a plan for everyone to contribute to a group market. Have each home grow a different crop and come to a meeting point weekly with your goods for trade (this should always be done with something to eat and some wine). Do a little research, look for urban gardening tips and jump on the bandwagon of knowing the person growing your food.
I am at that point where I need to give you a recipe, so here it is. But I am going to challenge you not to run to the store but rather find the ingredients grown locally and know the person who put their life into your nourishment.
Until we meet again. Make everything in life a passion, as it is far too short.
Christopher Dobrowolski/Schoolhouse Restaurant
Courtesy of Southern Living Magazine: Grilled Peach-and-Mozzarella Salad
A cumin-lime vinaigrette spiked with a tiny amount of tequila adds a little something extra to this gorgeous grilled salad of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese. As the seasons change, consider substituting heirloom tomatoes, plums, and other soft fruits for the peaches. We found traditional peaches work better in this dish than white peaches, which have more sugar and water and don’t hold up as well on the grill.
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)
- 5 peaches (not white)
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 (6-oz.) package watercress or baby arugula, thoroughly washed
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices
- Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs
1. Peel and chop 1 peach. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 28 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. (Cut peaches inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Discard pits.)
2. Process chopped peach, green onions, next 7 ingredients, and, if desired, tequila in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse 3 to 4 times or until thoroughly combined.
3. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high). Brush both sides of peach rounds with 1/3 cup peach dressing.
4. Grill peach rounds, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
5. Arrange watercress evenly on 4 plates. Alternately layer 4 grilled peach rounds and 4 cheese slices over watercress on each plate. Top each with 3 more peach rounds. Drizzle with remaining peach dressing. Garnish, if desired.