Private Chef, Renee Avalos, has cooking in her blood. As the daughter of El Salvadorian immigrants to the United States, food played an integral part in her connection to family, culture and celebration. Her commitment to health through nutrition is coupled with a desire to infuse each dish with the flavorful spice of life and that is inherent in her spirit.
Chef Renee prepares roasted spaghetti squash, a sure-fire cure for that comfort-food craving. This wheat-free, gluten-free dish is delicious combined with the dandelion green salad. Halve the squash, remove and discard the seeds, and rub the flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and lay cut-side down in a roasting pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, heat 2T olive oil and 1T butter in a pan, cooking leeks for 3 minutes or until softened. Be careful not to let them brown.Add salt and red chili to the pan, along with the cauliflower, parsley, and a few tablespoons of water. Stir until thoroughly mixed, adding salt to taste. Turn the heat down to simmer, and cover for 10 minutes, adding water if necessary. When cauliflower has softened and the water has evaporated, remove from heat. In a second pan, add 3T olive oil. Heat and add the minced garlic, stirring to infuse oil, then quickly add mushrooms. Let cook for 2 minutes, then reduce heat, adding thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir to keep from sticking, until tender. Combine and gently mix the mushroom mixture with the cauliflower mixture. Use a fork to scrape the strands of squash out of the skin, and place the strands in a large bowl. Now add the rest of the parsley, the mushroom and cauliflower mixture and the parmesan cheese to the squash. Combine gently to fully incorporate, checking seasonings to taste. Add 1T of olive oil to make it shine, and pass more of the parmesan!