Meatless Monday Recipes: Mushroom Stew courtesy of inSHAPE

As the days get shorter and cooler, the body craves heavier comforting dishes. Meat tends to be a center of attention in these meals, but with a bevy of fresh mushrooms, you can create an earthy stew in less than an hour.

As the days get shorter and cooler, the body craves heavier comforting dishes. Meat tends to be a center of attention in these meals, but with a bevy of fresh mushrooms, you can create an earthy stew in less than an hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 8 oz package cremini mushrooms
  • 1 8 oz package baby bellas
  • 1 8 oz package button mushrooms
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock (see note below)
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 tsp chopped sage
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour

Preparation:

In a large stock pot over high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, coat them with onions and turn down the heat to medium. After about 10 minutes, as the mushrooms begin to soften (we used larger chunks instead of slicing), add stock, potatoes, carrots, and spices. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Shake flour into a cup of water to fully blend, then slowly stir into stew to thicken the sauce. Simmer for another 10-20 minutes. Remember: the longer the simmer, the better the flavor.

Note: we cheated with organic vegetable stock this week. It’s not super challenging to make but does take considerable time. Alternative, use water and increase your spice content. 

  Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter. 

Meatless Monday Recipes: An ode to kugel courtesy of inSHAPE

This week we have made a spin on kugel, a traditional Jewish dish that is already meatless. This spinach & squash kugel is a fantastic total meal in a single dish, perhaps served with a salad for some additional roughage!

This week we have made a spin on kugel, a traditional Jewish dish that is already meatless. This spinach & squash kugel is a fantastic total meal in a single dish, perhaps served with a salad for some additional roughage!

Note: This recipe yields a family sized casserole dish, so half the recipe if you are serving four or fewer people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 kabochi (or acorn) squash
  • 1 16 oz package egg noodles
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in halves, remove seeds and place in roasting dish face down. Pour 1/2 cup of water in bottom of dish, cover with foil, and roast for 20-25 minutes. You want the flesh to be cooked but not mushy. Remove from oven and cool (I put them in the freezer to cool completely for about a half hour while preparing the rest of the ingredients).

Cook egg noodles (add a little salt to the water). After straining, shock the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.

To make the yummy sauce, melt butter over low heat (don’t let it burn), stir in flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and add chopped spinach and ricotta. Blend with a spoon thoroughly and set aside for a few moments.

If your oven is still on, turn it down to 350 degrees and wait for proper temperature (otherwise, preheat it again). Rub baking dish with oil. Remove squash from fridge/freezer, cut squares into cooked halves then scoop out squares into a bowl. Some of the softer, mashed pieces can be used with the cheese on top when you get to the assembly.

Mix noodles with sauce thoroughly making sure that all of the noodles are coated. Spoon and spread 1/3 of noodles into baking dish. Drop squares of 1/2 of squash into dish, then add the next 1/3 of noodles, followed by the remaining squares of squash, and finishing with the remaining 1/3 of noodles.

Sprinkle cheese on top and dollop any smaller mushy pieces of squash (this will add additional color to the dish).

Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese browns. Cool but serve warm.

We want to thank inSHAPE clients Rebecca Reich and Anna Suh for their contributions to this dish. It was great fun inventing it. If you want a taste of it, book a session with Kim. Her tiny family of three should have plenty left, and will need a year to finish off the completed dish!

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Tomato and Corn Pie courtesy of inSHAPE

Served with a green salad, this meal is not to be missed! Garden
tomatoes and fresh corn are superstars of the summer plate, and this
dish blends their flavors with a creamy, herbacious base. Served in a
blended pie crust that gives your body the protein it needs, its a
perfect dish for Meatless Monday. Or any other day of the week!

Served with a green salad, this meal is not to be missed! Garden tomatoes and fresh corn are superstars of the summer plate, and this dish blends their flavors with a creamy, herbacious base. Served in a blended pie crust that gives your body the protein it needs, its a perfect dish for Meatless Monday. Or any other day of the week!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour blend (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus 2 tsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 ears of corn, sliced off cob
  • 1 tbsp. basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp. thyme, minced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups grated cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)

Flour blend: We used a blend of Cinque e Cinque chick pea flour from Lucini Italia, which we mentioned in a previous recipe with traditional flour for our crust to add protein content and reduce empty calorie load. Granted we aren’t concerned with fat content in this recipe, but to make it a complete meal, we suggest experimenting with flour mixtures that offer a little more than enriched white flour.

Preparation:

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Flour the counter or another work surface, and divide dough in half and roll out pie crusts. Gently lift into a lightly buttered 9-inch pie pan. Secure crust and trim edges as desired. Fold top half and place in the fridge.

Once you get through this step, go ahead and preheat oven to 400°F, and ensure that the rack is in the middle.

Slice a one-inch X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10-15 seconds. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice and remove seeds (you just want the fleshy part). Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one half of basil and thyme, 1/4 cup onion, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice and pour over filling. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and cover with top pie crust.

Pinch edges to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top and brush with melted butters. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until pie is golden. Cool on a rack for about 20 minutes before serving.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Veggie Polenta Pie courtesy of inSHAPE

This is a recipe I look forward to trying out on my father-in-law. Despite being Brazilian-born, my father-in-law’s family has strong Italian roots, so much so that their entire family, including my wife, have Italian citizenship.

This is a recipe I look forward to trying out on my father-in-law. Despite being Brazilian-born, my father-in-law’s family has strong Italian roots, so much so that their entire family, including my wife, have Italian citizenship. One of his absolute favorite things is polenta, typically served up with a meat of some kind. But, this veggie version in pie form seems like a great way to pay homage to his roots, while going meat-free for a day. As always, many thanks to Kim Watkins and the great team over at inSHAPE Fitness!

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 stick of butter (5 tbsp), softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preparation:

(Note: At some point in the preparation, take advantage of those “quiet” moments when cooking down the wine and veggie mixture, or freezing the dough in the tart pan to prep the spinach, red pepper, and cheese. Or, you can obviously do this in advance.)

Add uncooked polenta and salt (about a tsp) to boiling water, slowly with a whisk. Once the ingredients are well blended, lower heat to medium-low and continue to stir until you are happy with the texture and taste of the polenta. Remove from heat.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil then add garlic, onion, and spices to brown for about 5 minutes. Pour in red wine to de-glaze pan and lower heat to simmer. Add tomatoes, carrot, and celery then cover and cook for 30-45 minutes. When happy with the flavor, insert hand blender and liquefy sauce for later.

Measure out 3 cups of cooked polenta and blend with butter. Gradually add corn flour and when mixture gets doughy, cover and refrigerate for 10-15 min.

Butter a tart pan, or use cooking spray. Using your hands, spread dough into pan as evenly as possible. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375-degrees.

Once you pull the crust from the freezer, spread about 1/2 cup of sauce first. Then add spinach, then red peppers, pine nuts, and finally cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and remember to give the dish about 20 minutes to cool before serving.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Mexican Pie courtesy of inSHAPE

Savory pies tickle the tummy with hearty and satisfying flavors, and in the winter, they warm us with the comfort factor. This recipe has no meat of course, but you’d never miss it. Meatless Monday proves once again to push creativity in the kitchen and is so great for the environment.

Pie crust can be a tricky proposition from scratch, but you can easily cut a few corners by sneaking a frozen organic crust into your shopping cart and using pre-made enchilada or mole sauce for a base. We used a little of our mole sauce from the popular Black Bean and Winter Squash Enchiladas as the base for our filling. We threw together a little cucumber and avocado whip for a cool topping.

Mexican Pie
Mexican Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup enchilada or mole sauce (see note above)
  • 1 cup black beans, tender
  • 1 cup cut corn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 3 egg whites
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado
  • lime juice

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare mise en place (chop your veggies and clean your work space like any good chef or cook does). Over medium heat in a skillet, drizzle olive oil and saute onions, red pepper, and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until onions are clear. Remove from heat, add sauce/base, black beans, corn, and herbs (save about a tsp of cilantro for later). Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Whip egg whites to soft peaks, add lime zest. Pour veggie bean base into egg whites with jack cheese. Blend gently, until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes uncovered or until cheese on top is bubbling and brown. In the meantime, put cucumber, avocado, cilantro, and about a tsp of lime juice in a food processor and whip to desired consistency. We chose light but still a little chunky.

Cool for 15 minutes before serving with a dollop of the whip. Beer helps put out those flames!

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Spinach Lasagna courtesy of inSHAPE

Lasagna is such a treat for a family meal. Creating this meat-free lasagna is pain free, and can be prepared on any work day. This tomato-free version includes a mixed blend of ricotta cheese, and whipped white beans with herbs. Along with spinach, it’s a total health meal! Just don’t eat it all in one sitting.

Spinach Lasagna
Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 6 lasagna sheets (boil free from Delverde pasta is our preference)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 6 cups fresh spinach or 3 cups frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup soft cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tso thyme
  • 1 egg
  • salt and papper to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and either spray a deep baking dish with non stick spray or lightly coat it with olive oil. Our Delverde lasagna noodles suggest a soak in warm water for a few moments before the preparation.

In a skillet over high heat, drizzle about 2 tbsp EVOO then saute garlic, celery, and onions for 4-6 minutes, until onions are almost clear. Set aside. Steam spinach if using fresh, drain and set aside. If using frozen, ensure that veggie is thawed and totally drained.

Whip beans, parsley in a mixing bowl, and once completely pummeled, add ricotta, herbs, egg, salt and pepper. Blend completely. Prep noodles as directed.

Spread sauteed onions and celery in the bottom of the pan, then set up a later of pasta, followed by a layer of spinach. Evenly dollop the cheese and bean mixture, then sprinkle mozzarella. Repeat two more times, ending with a heavier layer of mozzarella at the end. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered, or until cheese is bubbly. For some ovens, you might need to turn the oven to broil for the last 3-5 minutes.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Smart Heart Salad courtesy of inSHAPE

Sometimes, a warm, hearty salad is your best dinner option during the work week. An even better reason to honor Meatless Monday, this salad also celebrates foods that promotes heart health. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and will not leave you feeling like you need more.

Heart Smart Salad
Heart Smart Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups kale
  • 1 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Prepare quinoa on the stove according to packaging instruction, and pour into a salad bowl to cool. Wash then steam kale for about 2-3 minutes, and remove from pot to cool. In the meantime, start the dressing. Combine one half of the avocado, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon zest (about a teaspoon), and juice from the lemon (add gradually, so that you can taste it) in a bowl or blender pitcher. Liquify completely then adjust ingredients to taste. Add kale to salad bowl and toss with dressing.

Cube the remaining half of the avocado and dot the top of the salad, along with pomegranate seeds and kidney beans. Serve immediately.

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday on Super Bowl Sunday: Three Bean Chili with Mushrooms and Barley courtesy of inSHAPE

Chili on a winter Sunday is almost a given, and on Super Bowl Sunday, it may be a crime to go without. Why not give this veggie version a shot and treat your body to a healthy alternative to the traditional beef or turkey favorites?

Three Bean Chili with Mushrooms and Barley
Three Bean Chili with Mushrooms and Barley

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry, uncooked barley
  • 1 package crimini mushrooms, ground (about 2 cups)
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, minced
  • 1 cup celery root, minced
  • 5 medium tomatillos, cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 jalepeno, minced
  • 2 small red chili peppers, minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups kidney beans, tender
  • 2 cups pinto beans, tender
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, tender

Preparation:

Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Over medium heat, brown barley, stirring frequently, for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ground mushrooms. Set aside.

Drizzle remaining olive oil in stock pot and saute onion, garlic, celery, celery root, and tomatillos for 5-6 minutes. The heat should be medium-high, and you’ll know when it’s time to add the water (stir frequently and don’t let the onions burn). Also add the tomato paste, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. This next step isn’t mandatory, but we like the chunkiness of chili to come from the main ingredients, so we used a hand mixer to blend the base. Not completely, but now you really have a thick, stewy foundation for the remaining steps.

Add tomatoes, hot peppers, parsley, and check seasoning (add salt and pepper to taste once again). Stir in barley/mushroom mixture and cook for at least an hour over low heat. Check on it frequently.

Gently fold in beans and remaining peppers and serve yourself a little for fun! It’s perfectly fine to eat now. Made on Sunday for the Super Bowl, this dish will be even better on Monday when the flavors are truly married. We always top with a dollop of Fage yogurt in lieu of sour cream.

Enjoy!

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Meatless Monday Recipes: Chana Masala courtesy of inSHAPE

Indian food intimidates novice cooks, and our team at inSHAPE is no exception. But, with so many amazingly hearty veggie based options, Indian food seemed a natural choice for Meatless Monday! Paired with a basic basmati rice, Chana Masala is a nutrient rich party for your tummy.

Whether you opt for a curry powder or parse out the individual flavors that make up curry, have fun with this one. You really can’t screw it up!

Chana Masala
Chana Masala

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger (powder ok but fresh is best)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups chick peas (If they’re dry, they’ll need an overnight soak.)
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes (We used a big can.)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (can)

Preparation:

Drain and/or rinse your chick peas and set them aside while you begin the rest of the process. Drizzle oil in large pot and over medium heat, toast cumin seeds for about 3 minutes until brown. Add additional oil, onions and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add everything else. Cook for several hours. Adjust spices to your taste, and enjoy!

Find out more about inSHAPE Fitness. Be sure to check them out at www.inshape-fitness.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

A Boston Foundation: Getting to know Chef Barbara Lynch and about the First Annual Blizzard Bash

Update to the updated update: The Blizzard Bash has unfortunately been cancelled due to the continued difficulties stemming from the Blizzard of 2013. Considering the lack of public transportation and, lest we forget, the 2 feet of snow covering walkways and side walks, it seems the best decision. Disappointing, no doubt, but worth noting is that the Barbara Lynch Foundation won’t just be sitting back. In an email to ticket holders, Jeff  Macklin, President of the Foundation stated, “It [is] our absolute intention to honor all Blizzard Bash tickets – both VIP and General Admission – at a culinary event this spring.” It will, no doubt, be more fierce than the Blizzard Bash will have been! :) Stay tuned for info about the spring event.


Chef Barbara Lynch is Boston through and through. A bit of an edge, but a big heart underneath, her contributions to the city of Boston have been extensive, far beyond the economical impact a restaurant would have on a city. Just this past year she founded the Barbara Lynch Foundation, all with the hopes of helping the youth, families, and communities of Boston have a brighter future through food education. So, what better way to raise money for a young foundation than to throw a kick ass party?

That’s exactly what’s going down on February 7th, and 8th; The First Annual Blizzard Bash! I had the chance to touch base with Chef Lynch. We talked a little about how she got her start in the industry, food memories, and what people can expect at the Blizzard Bash.

Barbara Lynch - Photo by Toth
Barbara Lynch – Photo by Toth

Foodie Journal: Is there a moment where you really figured that you wanted a career in cooking? Was it something you always enjoyed?
Barbara Lynch: I really didn’t enjoy it in the beginning, mostly because I didn’t really know how to cook. For whatever reason I talked myself in to saying that, for my career, I wanted to be a chef, if that makes sense. So at age 12 or 13, I’d started talking myself in to the idea of being a chef. I didn’t really know what that would entail until I started cooking. I always thought that if I had a job in the food industry, as a chef, that I’d always have a job. Basically, that was the bottom line for me at the moment. But, as I started cooking, and being in charge of the dishes I was putting out, I noticed people liked it. That’s when I thought, “Oh my god. This is meant to be.”

FJ: What was it like when you were first starting out? Did you just learn by doing, or did the mentoring from the chefs and cooks you worked with help you along the way?
BL: I was always playing catch up. Just being self-taught, I had no idea what a head of radicchio was. I had no idea pâté was. Being in the kitchen was an absolute eye-opener. So, I would just grab copies of whatever I could get my hands on and would just read, and read, and read! Of course, I didn’t understand it all, but my brain managed to somehow take it all in and store it somewhere. I was just going with the flow and whatever the chef told me to make, that’s what I would make. I really just got the basics down of chopping right, getting my mise en place in place by 5 o’clock and all that. Once I mastered that part, then I could understand things a lot more, and start to think about what kind of foods I loved in order to start creating my own dishes.

FJ: Having learned the way you did, do you have an opinion on what the best way for someone to learn would be? So, if someone just coming up through high school walked up to you and said, “I want to be a chef,” what would your advice be?
BL: Before I gave them a definitive answer, I would tell them to actually check out what its like to work in a kitchen first. Spend a week in the kitchen. Take the time to see what the hours are like, and to see the discipline it takes. See the camaraderie and teamwork. That’s what it is. It takes teamwork, camaraderie, and discipline. If that’s what you think you need through school, then definitely go to culinary school. If it’s a passion though, and you eat, sleep and drink food, I’d say maybe hold off on school and step in to a kitchen. But, don’t step in to a [SALT] kitchen. You want to aim higher than lower. Accept a position in a kitchen, even if its just dishwashing to start. Observe, learn, and see what they do. If you’re passionate, you’re always going to be studying and trying to get better. I think culinary school is great to help some people learn how to become more disciplined.

FJ: So, clearly there are a lot of teaching opportunities in the kitchen, especially when you’re in charge. Do you enjoy the teaching aspect that comes with being a chef?
BL: At first I didn’t like it at all. I had so much in my head that it would take too long to write things down, and show them. They’d always have to rein me in. I think any young chef is always trying to put more on the plate, do as much as they possibly can. Then as I honed in on my craft, I suddenly realized I wanted to take things out. It’s almost like therapy, right? You’re peeling layers off now, and then you’re perfecting, and perfecting. So when I became more established, opening my second, then my third restaurant, I learned that I couldn’t do it all. I needed to come up with tools that I could give to my chefs so that they could carry my vision out.

FJ: Do you have a favorite food memory?
BL: I’d have to say it was when I was in Paris at this very avant-garde bistro. It was my first trip to Paris. I had ordered the lobster salad, and I can remember seeing this wonderful woman, Lulu, preparing the dish. I could see her in the kitchen with the live lobster, then her putting it in the pot, and then she chilled it. It was just perfectly cooked to order, covered with lemon juice, olive oil and fennel. It was the most incredible dish I’ve ever had.
FJ: It seems like simplicity sometimes can really go a long way.
BL: Yeah.  And, she had like a 13 year-old commis working for her in the kitchen. It was just the two of them in the kitchen, and there were like 80 people there. It was pretty great!

FJ: So let’s change gears and talk a little bit about you, and the Barbara Lynch Foundation. You grew up in Boston. Your foundation was established to help the community. What does it mean to you to be established like that here in Boston?
BL: Well, I never really moved away from Boston. I’ve always been a local girl, and I kind of always felt that the city was lacking some things. Take for instance an oyster bar. Before I had an oyster bar, I would always have to go to the north shore, to Essex, to get oysters or fried clams. I remember having fried clams at Kelly’s Landing in South Boston, but then all of a sudden we don’t have it any more. I always found it kind of disappointing when, in April, after a heavy winter, I’d have to go up to Essex just to have oysters and some great Chablis. I think pretty much everything I’ve tried to put in the city was always something I thought the city could use. And, it’s more nostalgia for me, than anything. Like, The Butcher Shop came from a memory I have of staying in Italy for two weeks. No. 9 Park was basically my first trip to Paris, and eating the restaurants there.

FJ: With the Barbara Lynch Foundation, what’s been your hope as far as the impact that the Foundation would have on the city?
BL:  The Foundation has amazing potential to become partners with larger companies. Over the last couple of years we’ve been able to work with some of the Blackstone Elementary School 3rd graders.  I was inner city kid. I didn’t know what a cow looked like, had never milked a cow, and didn’t even really understand that food actually came from the earth. So, I felt it was important to teach those kids exactly where a tomato comes from, and that it doesn’t come from a ketchup bottle. We’ve been documenting the whole process in hopes that it can become a pilot program. We’re not only teaching them agriculture, but how to eat. We’re showing them what nutrients are good, basic nutrition classics, and urban gardening. They really seem to be enjoying it!

FJ: A couple of weeks from now you’ll be throwing the First Annual Blizzard Bash, all the proceeds of which are going to the Barbara Lynch Foundation. Can you talk a little about what people can expect?
BL: The event is huge! It starts on Thursday, February 7th with the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef Gala Dinner at Menton. That will feature chefs like Daniel Boulud,
Mark Ladner, Michael Tusk, and
Joseph Lenn. Then, the next night, Friday, February 8th, the Blizzard Bash is being held at the Boston Children’s Museum. We have something like 35 chefs from all over the country coming. They’re donating everything, like their time and all that. It’s going to be one big fun party, but inside the Children’s Museum we’re going to have a lot of things going on, like, “How to Sharpen Knives” with Adam Simha. There’ll be areas for learning how to make honey, how to start a rooftop beehive, and all sorts of other interesting stuff. There will be a band too! So it’ll be one huge party. After that will be an after party at Villa Victoria, and there are separate tickets available just for that. The entire thing should be a lot of fun!

You can get tickets to the First Annual Blizzard Bash over at the Barbara Lynch Gruppo websiteAll proceeds benefit The Barbara Lynch Foundation and its first initiative, Meet the Worms!