Chef Richard Blais Shares Healthy Recipes with Room to Read Resolutioners
We’re onto month two of 2018, so it’s about time we ask: how’s your New Year’s resolution going? 80% of resolutions fail by February, so we want to help you succeed. For those committed to healthier routines, we’ve sourced inspiration from celebrity chef, Richard Blais. The Top Chef winner not only knows how to whip up delicious and nutritious meals, but has also lost more than 60 pounds over the last ten years with his running regiment.
“I was a chef and I wasn’t in a fitness state of mind until I revamped my plan and started training with my wife. The first race we ran was a 10k. At the end of that I proposed to her as a theme of training for the rest of our lives together,” says Blais.
Now a seasoned runner, Blais recently ran the New York City Marathon on behalf of Room to Read. With two daughters, he knows how incredible it can be to watch your child grow educationally.
"Running for Room to Read [was] just amazing because not every kid gets a great ticket in the lottery of life,” says Blais. “It also helps to know that when you're at mile 24, you're running on behalf of millions of children potentially. It helps to have that responsibility on your shoulders when you're tired at the end of a marathon."
Steps for Sucess
Want to follow Blais’s lead and get active for education? Big change starts with small steps.
- First things first, keep yourself accountable. Start a New Year’s resolution fundraiser for Room to Read. If running is new terrain, create little goals for yourself like working up to one mile without stopping, and keep track of your progress via Strava to motivate you on those sluggish days.
- Next step? Find a running buddy and register for a local 5k. This gives you a tangible goal to reach for. Use the race as a way to raise funds for the 250 million children who aren’t receiving basic literacy skills.
- How? Ask your friends and family to pledge $20 for every mile you run. That way when you finish those three miles, each person will have donated a total of $60, which brings 60 books to eager readers around the globe. If you get five people to contribute, then you’ve just raised $300 – enough for a teen girl to receive an entire year of mentorship and life skills courses through our Girls’ Education Program!
Delicious Post-Workout Meals
All that running is bound to stir up an appetite, so here are two tasty recipes from Richard Blais’s new book, So Good.
SNAP PEAS WITH FETA AND MINT
This simple side dish is popular at one of Blais's restaurants and is a great study in contrasts. The sweet, charred, crunchy snap peas play nicely with the salty, briny, crumbly feta.
3 cups mayonnaise (see Note)
¼ cup hot paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds snap peas, trimmed
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a mixing bowl, stir the mayonnaise with the paprika and all but 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate the aioli for up to 12 hours, or set aside to use very soon. If it is refrigerated, let it warm up to cool room temperature before using.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. When hot, pour in the oil. Add the snap peas and blister for about 30 seconds to char on one side. Turn over and char for about 30 seconds on the other side.
- Toss the snap peas with the aioli and mint. Serve topped with the feta and drizzled with the reserved 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Note: To make your own mayonnaise for the aioli, put 2 large egg yolks, the paprika, and the lemon juice in a blender. With the motor running, pour about 4 cups olive oil into the pitcher, blending until the mixture emulsifies to a mayo-like consistency. Season to taste with salt.
Snap Peas with Feta and Mint from So Good by Richard Blais. Copyright © 2017 by Richard Blais and Evan Sung. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
TUNA STEAK TATAKI AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO CRUDO
Despite the relatively long list of ingredients, this is about as easy a tuna first course as you can find. Plus, it showcases really good tuna—served nearly raw yet seared just enough to give the fish a pretty and tasty finish. The Asian hints are just right with the tuna and tomatoes. (For more on choosing the tuna, see the Notes at the end of the recipe.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon togarashi (optional)
4 saku yellowtail tuna blocks, thawed, if necessary
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (choose the ripest and most appealing tomatoes)
2 tablespoons yuzu juice
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 to 2 teaspoons white soy sauce (also called shoyu)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons torn or coarsely chopped fresh green shiso, basil, or cilantro, for garnish
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, sesame seeds, onion powder, togarashi, if using, and about 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle this seasoning mix on both sides of the tuna, gently pressing the mix into the tuna.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Sear the tuna blocks just until they brown slightly, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and slice the seared tuna into slices. These can be thick-ish, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Slice the tomatoes into pieces of similar size and put in a mixing bowl. Season aggressively with salt and then sprinkle with the yuzu, oil, and soy sauce. Season with pepper and toss gently. Add the shiso and toss again.
- Arrange the tuna slices on plates and spoon the tomatoes next to them. Serve immediately.
Notes: Any sushi-grade tuna can be used here; ask the fishmonger to cut it into bricks that weigh about 12 ounces each. You can also buy saku blocks, which are part of a sushi chef’s pantry: flash-frozen sushi-grade yellowtail tuna. The blocks weigh between 10 and 14 ounces and are cut so that all are the same size, approximately 6 inches long by 3 inches wide by 1 inch thick.
Tuna Steak Tataki and Heirloom Tomato Crudo excerpted from SO GOOD© 2017 by Richard Blais. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.