ZUCCHINI PASTA // A hydrating summer recipe

We like to remind people to eat water. The ultimate beauty food. Foods that are high in water content, hydrate and feed you on a level that is unique. There is a reason that nature provides these hydrating foods in the most dehydrating time of year. Melons, cucumbers, summer squashes, and summer fruits are all examples of the food that is most hydrating – and plentiful in minerals and antioxidants that keep you feeling good. Living foods, that are abundant and nourishing.

Summer is the perfect time to consume these foods that feed your cells, hydrate your organs, and make you feel better. While drinking water is great, there is no amount of water that can replace food that hydrates on a cellular level. Most of us don't think about what we eat in this way. The beautiful abundance of summer produce is the essence of hydrating – best to be consumed fully intact without any of the nutrients cooked out. This is the spirit of raw food, and this is why so many people feel great eating it.

From slow digestion, to moodiness, cramping, lack luster skin, and drowsiness, the list goes on of ailments that are caused by a simple lack of hydration. When we are dehydrated, we almost can't think clearly – and yet, most of the common things we consume are highly depleting.

Eating well, or eating foods that make you feel good isn't about a restrictive diet. It's about a course correction in how we think about food. How is it normal to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast, but sitting down to half a melon in the summer for a replenishing breakfast would be odd? What foods would we, or could we eat if we were left to our own devices without access to highly processed foods?

When you think about it this way you realize that the human animal is actually very equipped to eat a lot of raw fruits, vegetables, herbs and greens. Food in its most natural state. We love to complicate what is considered normal, and sell fads and food trends that are really too far away from a natural state to be considered anything more than a novelty. Fancy packaging and high pricing is a great decoy. Try eating a piece of fruit for a snack (not to mention giving that to your child) instead of believing a label. Though a modern approach to food can be fun, it isn't necessary.

Outside of eating foods that are in their most vibrant state, we recognize the importance of pleasure when it comes to food. "The dining experience" if you will. So much of how, and what we think about food is a product of culture and habit. Pleasure is important, and eating foods with familiarity and comfort is also an important part of feeling good.

While there is a lot to learn from tradition and culture when it comes to recipes, there is also a unique opportunity to discover a new way of thinking about a dish and how we create it. Going back to the basics.

This recipe for zucchini pasta is the ultimate expression of summer. With endless variety of herbs, greens, and heirloom tomatoes you can truly make it work however you'd like. I always think of recipes as a base idea rather than something firmly set in stone. Get creative! Thats what it's about. 

ZUCCHINI PASTA (with Tomato, Olive, Pin Nuts Relish) //

This is a more gourmet take on the classic “raw” zucchini pasta. This makes a great summery side dish or a light and satisfying entrée.

4 large zucchini, thinly sliced with a mandolin (should yield about 8 cups)
1 teaspoon sea salt

3 cups chopped tomatoes (heirlooms if possible) 
1⁄2 cup cured kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄4 cup basil, julienned
1⁄4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped Pine nuts (optional).

Shaved Zucchini:
Toss zucchini with sea salt. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry before tossing with sauce.

Tomato Relish:
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well com- bined, but still slightly chunky.

Toss noodles with relish. Garnish with fresh basil, chopped kalamata olives, and pine nuts, if desired.

Serves 2–4

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