Family Style

Feed Zone Family Style

Sharing a meal with your tribe or team can boost your happiness — and performance.

I’ve always been interested in improving athletic performance, and early in my career I realized the power of healthy food and nutrition to help athletes break through plateaus. That’s what led to my teaming up with Chef Biju Thomas to create The Feed Zone Cookbook and our follow-up book, Feed Zone Portables.

An unexpected thing happened after those cookbooks were released: We started hearing about people using our athlete-focused recipes in shared meals with friends and family. For me, this called to mind my days on the pro cycling tour, when I’d noticed how much more united teams became when they shared meals together; the individual athletes seemed happier, as well.

It also reminded me of the meals I enjoyed growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown: Culturally, eating together was just what you did at every meal — and everyone shared.

Sharing a meal cultivates a deep sense of comfort and belonging. Eating together is community, whether you’re with a team of athletes, a group of friends, or family.

So Chef Biju and I collected our favorite family-style recipes in Feed Zone Table: Family-Style Meals to Nourish Life and Sports to foster and celebrate the feeling that comes with eating in a communal way. Enjoy these recipes at your next gathering.

Rustic Lemon Chicken

Roasted chicken is simple to prepare, and the herbs and lemon provide a bright contrast to its roasted flavor.

Rustic Lemon ChickenPhotography by Aaron Colussi
Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes

  • 6 chicken leg quarters, about 3 lbs. total
  • Olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Red-pepper flakes to taste
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of parsley, thyme, rosemary, and tarragon)
  • 1 lemon, half of it sliced

Drizzle the chicken thoroughly with olive oil and then rub it with the chopped garlic, red-pepper flakes, and salt. To enhance flavor, allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the broiler to high. Place the chicken skin-side up in a roasting pan. Top with half of the fresh chopped herbs and the lemon slices.

Transfer the pan to the oven. (Note that using the broiler will give the meat a nice color and texture, but it will also create smoke, so make sure to vent your kitchen or turn the fan on.) Broil for five to 10 minutes, until the chicken has a crisp finish.

Switch the oven from broil to bake and set the temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Let the chicken cool for at least 10 minutes. Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before serving.

Kabocha Squash Mash

Any seasonal variety of squash, including pumpkin, will work with this simple recipe.

Kabocha Squash MashPhotography by Aaron Colussi
Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

  • 3 lbs. kabocha squash
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 Anjou pear, peeled, cored, and diced

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Split the squash lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds; brush the cut sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Lay the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until soft to the touch.

Allow squash to cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh; transfer to a mixing bowl, sprinkle with nutmeg, and mash. Gently fold in the diced pears and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Broccoli Soup With Smoked Trout and Chives

Served hot or cold, this is a simple soup you can enjoy throughout the year. For a vegetarian version, skip the smoked fish and finish it with a splash of good extra-virgin olive oil.

Broccoli Soup With Smoked Trout and ChivesPhotography by Aaron Colussi
Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Soup

  • 2 lbs. broccoli crowns
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • 3 to 4 oz. smoked trout fillet, flaked
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, simmer the broccoli and onion in the salted water until just tender, about eight to 10 minutes. Don’t overcook the broccoli: It should still be a vibrant green color.

Transfer the cooked broccoli, onions, and liquid to a blender or a food processor and purée in batches until the soup reaches a smooth consistency. Season to taste with a squeeze of lemon, plus salt and pepper.

Return the soup to the pan and warm before serving, if desired. Serve in individual bowls topped with the smoked trout, fresh chives, and Parmesan.

Radicchio Slaw

This is a fresh, tart slaw that pairs well with rich chicken, beef, and pork. It’s also tasty on an omelet. The pickled green peppercorns and capers are readily available from Italian or Mediterranean markets, but you can add any salty pickled item that appeals to you.

Radicchio SlawPhotography by Aaron Colussi
Makes four to six servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

  • 1 small head radicchio, chopped
  • 1 tbs. thinly sliced shallot or red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped green olives
  • 1 oz. anchovies in oil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. pickled green peppercorns or capers
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 2 lemons

Combine the radicchio, shallot or onion, herbs, olives, anchovies, and pickled peppercorns or capers in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice to coat. Serve.

Warm German Potato Salad

People typically associate potato salads with summertime grilling, but a warm potato salad like this one belongs on the table with hearty meals in the fall and winter months, too.

Warm German Potato SaladPhotography by Aaron Colussi
Makes four to six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 lb. small red potatoes, quartered (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. coarse-ground mustard
  • 1 cup minced celery and celery leaves
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. coarse sugar
  • Juice from half a lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the potatoes. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool slightly.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and mustard in a large measuring cup or bowl.

Place the celery and celery leaves, onion, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Add the potatoes while they are still warm, and gently mash them with the other ingredients. Pour the whisked dressing over the potato mixture and add in the salt, pepper, and sugar.

Adjust flavor with additional salt and pepper as needed, and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve warm.

Excerpted with the permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table by Chef Biju Thomas and Allen Lim, PhD. Try more recipes at feedzonecookbook.com.

Why No Numbers?

Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need. — The Editors

Photography by Aaron Colussi

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Allen Lim, PhD, is an exercise physiologist who has worked with teams on the pro cycling tour as well as with the world’s best climbers, ultrarunners, and adventurers. Together with Chef Biju Thomas, he has written three cookbooks focused on using healthy food for better athletic performance.

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