So many of my friends are pescatarians, that is, those who eat mostly vegetarian and grains, but welcome seafood as their protein of choice. This cookbook highlights the adventures of how a couple of friends got on the track of eating well—while having fun at the same time.
Developed and written by a couple of best friends—you can really feel the love they put into the recipes. Who are they? Well you may know actress Abbie Cornish, who starred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Jack Ryan. Her good friend is chef Jacqueline King Schiller of The Feel Good Kitchen blog, whose focus is on living well. PESCAN came to life when Abbie asked Jacqueline for cooking lessons. Thereafter, every Sunday, the two made a day of it: gathering healthy ingredients at the local farmer’s market, creating a dish, then treating their family and friends.
A little background: Abbie is a native Australian who grew up on a farm and has always been an adventurous eater. Jacqueline grew up in a Hispanic family who recalls a childhood of fast food and sugar. When she began traveling the world as a model, her lack of nutrition led to unhealthy hair, nails and a fainting spell. That warning forced her to really look at her eating habits, and as a result, she fell in love with cooking and nourishing her body with fresh, unprocessed foods.
The result of their shared joy makes up the bulk of this pretty book. The photography is so light and dreamy, and each dish is has appeal, whether you are a health-nut or not. I found so many in the book that would be perfect for entertaining, it was hard to choose one to share with you here. But I thought the idea of a non-dairy nacho dish was too much to resist. (seen in the photo at the top of this post) Sweet potatoes and nuts make up the melty, gooey sauce. Check out the recipe at the end of this post.
Some other dishes that caught my eye: This photo actually makes my mouth water: Crispy Turmeric Spiced Tofu with Cilantro Mint Coconut Cream. For entertaining, I would cut the tofu smaller, to serve as a canape with a bowl of the cream on the side as a dipping sauce. On the right, Sweet Potato Pizette with Roasted Radishes and Fried Sage is a sweet one-bite-way to serve a wonderful mix of flavors and textures.
For those attracted to all things hot, the Spicy Buffalo Tofu Fingers comes with a side of healthy Avocado Ranch Dressing to cool things down. On the right, served in a wine glass for extra appeal, is Cardamom-Rose Peach Melba which combines the natural sweetness of raspberries and peaches to great effect. What a delightful item to include on your summer bbq roster.
Add a surprising element to a frittata at your next brunch gathering. Lobster, Corn, and Caramelized Leek Frittata will surely wow all your guests tastebuds, and keep then full for hours. On the right, Lemon-Pea Risotto with Mint marries three flavors beautifully: peas, mint and lemon.
SUPER NACHOS WITH GOOEY SWEET POTATO CHEESE SAUCE
Abbie: I have seen these nachos devoured more times than I’ve seen the Lakers win a basketball game. They not only look colorful and beautiful but are a healthy and delicious party snack the whole crowd will enjoy. I love the mix of crunchy jicama and corn chips and the gooey cheese sauce with a hint of sweetness and spice.
MAKE THE CHEESE SAUCE
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 55 minutes Serves 6
1 garnet sweet potato (about 1 pound/455 g)
1/4 CUP (30 g) raw cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours, drained, and rinsed
1 1/4 CUPS (300 ml) hot water
2 TB nutritional yeast
2 TB tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 tsp kosher sea salt
1 – 2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce
Pinch ground cumin or taco seasoning
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Prick the sweet potato several times with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and bake until easily pierced through with a knife, about 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the cashews, hot water, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, hot sauce, and cumin and blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
When the sweet potato is ready, cut it in half and scoop the flesh from half of the sweet potato into the blender or food processor and puree again. (Reserve the other half for another use.) Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and set aside.
MAKE THE GUACAMOLE
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 large or 2 small avocados
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch kosher sea salt
pinch ground cumin
1/2 CUP (90 g) chopped tomato
1/4 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 1/2TB finely diced onion
1/4 CUP (10 g) torn fresh cilantro leaves
Mash the garlic into a paste in a molcajete or mince it with a knife and transfer it to a medium bowl. Add the avocado, lime juice, salt, and cumin to the garlic and mash together using the pestle or a fork. Make it as chunky or smooth as you prefer, then fold in the tomato, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro.
MAKE THE SPICY BLACK BEANS
Prep: 2 minutes Cook: 4 minutes Serves 4 as a side
Abbie: As simple as it is, this is one of the recipes that I use the most often. Spicy black beans make a welcome addition to almost any meal and even make a yummy post-workout snack, especially with a little Quick Pico de Gallo and Avocado-Lime Cream on top.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TB coconut or olive oil
2 (15-ounce/425-g) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher sea salt and black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Small handful (2 -3 TB) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
In a large sauté pan or skillet, sauté the garlic and cumin in the oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beans and season with salt, black pepper, and the cayenne. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for a few minutes until the beans are warmed through.
Garnish with the cilantro. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
FEEL GOOD INGREDIENT: CUMIN Cumin is the second most popular spice after black pepper. It is widely used in Latin American, North African, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisines and has long been used as a digestive aid. Cooking regularly with ground cumin can help prevent iron deficiency; each teaspoon provides 4 milligrams of iron (or 22 percent of the daily value).
QUICK PICO DE GALLO
Prep: 5 minutes Makes about 1 cup (240 ml)
As with most things in life, when it comes to food, boring is never better! With this pico de gallo, you can add freshness, beautiful color, and a little heat to all of your favorite bowls, wraps, and Mexican dishes. If you like things extra spicy, leave in a few of the jalapeño seeds.
1 CUP (135 g) chopped tomato or halved grape tomatoes
1 1/2 TB finely chopped onion
1/4 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 handful torn fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher sea salt and black pepper
In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Squeeze the juice from the lime over top. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. Use immediately, or store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
FEEL GOOD INGREDIENT: TOMATOES Considered a health food since ancient times, a single tomato can provide about a quarter of your daily vitamin C and vitamin A requirements. Tomatoes are also one of the best sources of the phytonutrient lycopene, which has been shown to be closely tied to enhanced immunity and cancer risk reduction.
CREAMY CASHEW SOUR CREAM
Prep: 2 minutes Makes 1 cup (240 ml)
Here’s a simple, plant-based alternative to traditional sour cream. The ingredients are natural and nutritious, filled with enzymes and essential minerals. It complements Mexican food, wraps, or bowls, adding a cooling richness. We like to make it during our weekly food prep to use throughout the week.
1 CUP (120 g) raw cashews, preferably soaked for 2 to 4 hours, drained, and rinsed
1/4 CUP (60 ml) filtered water
1 1/2 TB raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp kosher sea salt
In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the sour cream to a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy within 5 days.
CHEF’S NOTE Use a couple of tablespoons in smoothies to add a little tang and extra creaminess.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: TO SERVE
3 to 4 CUPS (75 to 100 g) organic corn chips
1 small jicama, peeled and sliced into chips
1/2 recipe Spicy Black Beans
Quick Pico de Gallo
Creamy Cashew Sour Cream
2 radishes, thinly sliced
2 TB pickled jalapeños (optional)
Fresh cilantro for garnish
To serve, cover a small platter with half corn chips and half raw jicama chips. Heat the beans in a small pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Heat the cheese sauce over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring gently but continuously with a wooden or silicone spoon, until it thickens. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the saucepan as you stir to avoid scorching.
Pour half of the beans onto the chips. Top with the cheese sauce, pico de gallo, and guacamole, followed by the remaining beans. Add a big dollop of cashew sour cream. Dot with the radish slices and pickled jalapeños, if using, and garnish with cilantro.
FEEL GOOD INGREDIENT: JICAMA Jicama has a starchy crunchy texture similar to raw potato but with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It contains inulin, a special type of plant fiber that plays a prebiotic role in the intestines. That means that it promotes the growth of “good” bacteria, which help contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Pescan: A Feel Good Cookbook by Abbie Cornish & Jacqueline King Schiller, Abrams Books, 2019.