There was a time, not too long ago, when the words “gourmet chef”
and “hospital food” would never be caught next to each other.
Now hospitals, including Torrance Memorial Medical Center, employ executive
chefs like Culinary Arts Institute grad Samuel U. Sellona, CDM, CFPP to
create menus for their patients and café goers alike.
After a tour as personal chef to his captain in the Navy, and a few restaurants
and hotels, Chef Sam began his career as executive chef (EC) for hospitals
and landed at Torrance Memorial about a year ago. Born in Honolulu, he
grew up on the island of Molokai and still paddles outrigger canoes out
of Newport Beach for fun.
When he started as an EC in the health care system 16 years ago, hospitals
were not known for their good food, “so it was a challenging transition
to make hospital food appealing in the taste, quality and freshness of
the food,” Chef Sam says. “Then we had to train the food handlers
to use fresh herbs, produce and meat— instead of frozen. The cooks
now accept that the bar has been raised.”
The holiday menus are being cooked up now, and with an eye toward Thanksgiving,
we asked Chef to give us some simple, nourishing recipes.
Basic Gourmet Turkey Broth calls on a trend that many Vietnamese and Japanese
soup makers use: bone broth, which is slow cooked using already-roasted
bones from a carcass. The result is rich not only in flavor, but also
in minerals (like calcium) and healing compounds such as glutamine, proline
and collagen. Experts say the collagen may heal your intestinal lining.
California Style Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffing is a modern twist using nutty,
nutritious quinoa along with butternut squash and avocado. “I love
the holidays, and I do all the cooking,” Chef Sam says. “One
of my favorite things is deboning a turkey, and I like to do my own desserts—classic
pumpkin and custard pies. For the hospital we have a cobbler.” Maybe
you can squeeze that recipe out of him yourself. THANKSGIVING
CALIFORNIA STYLE VEGETARIAN QUINOA STUFFING
Yield: 8 servings
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Method: Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium-size pot. Add quinoa
and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20
minutes. When the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, remove
from heat and fluff with a fork. Hold for next step.
12 ounces butternut squash (1/2 inch dice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 red onion (1/2 inch dice)
2 stalks celery (1/2 inch dice)
6 ounces red bell pepper (1/2 inch dice)
4 ounces kale (shredded) 2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 avocado (1/4 inch dice)
½ cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Jalapeno, small dice (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)
1. In a large bowl add diced squash, honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Toss to evenly coat. Place in 350º oven for 20 minutes or until tender.
Remove from oven.
2. In a large pot add 1 tablespoon olive oil; heat to smoke. Add onions,
celery, bell pepper, kale and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and continue
cooking until vegetables are tender and aromatic. Remove from heat.
3. Add cooked quinoa, cooked butternut squash, cilantro and cranberries.
Gently toss. 4. Add diced avocado, black pepper, (jalapeno optional) and
salt to taste. Gently toss.
BASIC GOURMET TURKEY BROTH
Yield: 1¼ gallons
6 pounds turkey bones (Thanksgiving leftovers)
1½ gallons water
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces onions (large dice)
6 ounces celery (large dice)
6 ounces carrots (large dice)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorn Salt to taste (optional)
1. In a large stockpot add olive oil and heat on high until it smokes.
Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Sauté until vegetables
are lightly caramelized. Add white wine to deglaze. Add turkey bones,
water, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorn. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower
heat to a slow simmer for 3 hours.
2. Season with salt to taste (optional). Strain broth through a strainer
or cheesecloth into another container.
Proper cooling procedures:
Step 1. Cool broth from 140º to 70º within 2 hours.
Step 2. Cool broth from 70º to 40º or below within an additional
4 hours. Store in refrigerator or place broth into portioned freezer ziplock
bags and freeze. Use as needed.