What’s In Season: October Chef by Request Meals

October 21, 2009

Good food that’s good for you just doesn’t get any better than this.

For starters, there’s the squash family—from pumpkins to golden nuggets to sweet pepper squash. Then there are mushrooms foraged fresh from the forest floor and apples crisp from the tree. Throw in hearty greens and lettuces, a sprinkling of nuts, and the succulence of the fattened Northwest salmon—and autumn eating is in full swing. 

All of this bounty goes into seasonal dishes tailored to zone diet requirements—foods that support insulin-regulated and gluten-free eating habits, cooked fresh and delivered to you. Because we know that the fresher the food, the more vitamins and minerals you get, too.  

 What’s Cooking in Seattle and Portland

The Northwest’s record-hot summer yielded an amazing bounty of fruit and vegetables. We have even been blessed with a couple of surprises: a late crop of golden raspberries and an early arrival of blood oranges that are perfect for muffins, pancakes, and salads or cutting into wedges for breakfast. Seattle-based Chef by Request chef Patrick Fagan gets his food and produce from local farmers’ markets and area suppliers—the kind of folks who might show up at his kitchen with freshly-picked trumpet mushrooms in hand. Fagan says, “Grocery shopping? It’s all play to me.”

For many of us, October is the Season of the Squash. This veggie brings a lot of added natural sweetness without being high in sugars. Fagan likes to pair a sweet pepper squash with citrus—perhaps adding some orange zest or a hint of lime. Expect to see plenty of leafy green side dishes, like red kale, Swiss chard, and spinach. “I like roasting veggies this time of year, too,” he adds.

Then there’s the salmon. It’s the end of their run and they’re at their best. “The flesh has silkiness,” Fagan says, “a melt-in-the mouth quality that’s creamy and rich.” Plus, salmon is filled with those great Omega-3 oils.

Is your mouth watering yet? Check out this rundown of some of the seasonal dishes that Seattle and Portland Chef by Request customers are enjoying in October:

  • Roasted golden nugget squash with apples
  • Slow-roasted leg of lamb, with a hearty, rich gravy of wine, fresh thyme, and caramelized onions
  • Roasted chicken breast with toasted pecans, cranberries, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese, dressed with a sherry vinaigrette
  • Steak Marsala with black trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms
  • Cedar plank–roasted salmon with a dill sour cream sauce and served with crisp vegetables such as garlic-steamed broccoli or wax beans

What’s Cooking in San Francisco

Katia Sabbah grew up in Morocco, where French and African influences blended together in the kitchen. She brings an international flair to her Chef by Request meals, with Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, French, and Thai dishes. Sabbah offers culinary variety and diversity. “Because it’s a zone program, I try my best to come up with more exotic recipes,” she explains.  

Sabbah gets up at 5 a.m. and hits the local San Francisco area market, Berkeley Bowl. She does the shopping for all the meals, every single day. Her menus, though, read generically—like this: “Baked chicken with seasonal vegetables.” That’s because she never knows until that day which fruits and veggies she’ll use. “I pick vegetable by vegetable myself, gather salad by salad myself. I want to make sure it’s fresh and it’s in season.”

This fall, Sabbah will showcase seasonal squash, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, green beans, sweet potatoes, and her favorite—shiitake and chanterelle mushrooms. She also works with the mood of the season—comfort food. Here are some of her meals, side dishes, and pairings for October:

  • Tuscan stew with sirloin, barley, lemon zest, and fresh vegetables
  • Tomato-based Moroccan stew, cooked with fresh vegetables, cumin, and spices, served with chicken, sirloin, or fish
  • Coq au vin with a good Burgundy wine and a dash of cinnamon
  • Coconut shrimp wrap with cabbage
  • Red squash with cinnamon
  • Salads with sprinkles of pomegranates, dates, and walnuts
  • Brussels sprouts sautéed with garlic and olive oil
  • Pumpkin mashed with cinnamon and almonds
  • Yams with caramelized onions and orange juice

And Now for Dessert

Dessert is very popular among San Francisco Chef by Request customers. To stay zone-compliant, Sabbah uses whole-wheat flour, Splenda, soy-based cream, and small portions. This season’s desserts include two tempting specialties: pumpkin pie and pralines and sweet potato pie.

Sabbah, who is eating the zone program these days, says she loves it because it’s balanced and gives her a ton of energy.  If it hadn’t been for her current job, she’d never be on it.

And what about now?  “I can’t stop saying how good it is,” she says.

Check out more sample menus.
If you’d like to enroll or talk to someone about getting Chef by Request meals,
click here.
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