Welcome to October, which has served as Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1983. You’ll see the cause observed by athletic teams decked out in pink, by runners participating in various fundraising 5Ks and walks, and perhaps even by those with the means to bathe international landmarks in pink light. And you’ll see it in Harvest.
Studies have repeatedly suggested a link between consumption of good olive oil and a reduced risk of breast cancer, which will potentially affect about 1 in 8 American women (12%) over the course of her lifetime and will likely be found in over 300,000 women in the U.S. this year alone. With numbers like that, it’s important to protect yourself any way you can — by regular screenings with your doctor, by educating yourself, and perhaps even by upping your olive oil intake (and we’ll be more than happy to help with the last two).
But I’m a man. My risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is 1 in 1,000. I should be fine. Why should I care?
My mother, Polly, was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in 2010. Her diagnosis, and the voracious tenacity of her particular case, have changed our lives. But Mom has stayed sunny and positive through years of changing medications, stints of chemo, and more poking and prodding than anyone should ever have to undergo. (That isn’t a dig at her team of doctors and caregivers, which is made up of some of the most incredible individuals that this planet has to offer.) She has become an vocal advocate for and friend to countless breast cancer survivors around the country. She was the keynote speaker at the Komen Los Angeles Race for the Cure at Dodger Stadium, and helps Komen LA organize conferences to further shine the light on the disease she shares with so many.
And Polly is a wonderful cook, the likely source for much of the joy I find in being in my kitchen. Food, to me, is a vital piece of humanity — a way to share bits and pieces of what makes you, YOU. And because Mom already does an incredible job raising awareness in her own way, I’d like to raise awareness in mine. Below, you’ll find my take on two of Polly’s signature recipes; they’re quick, delicious, and excellent for entertaining. My mom is the best mother anyone could ask for. The least I can do is share some food.
- – Spring mix, baby spinach, or other light salad green
- – Ripe avocado, diced
- – Cherry tomatoes, halved
- – 1 can hearts of palm, drained and sliced into rounds about 1/2 inch thick
- – 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
- – 1/2 can whole-kernel corn, drained (or fresh, if you can get it)
- – Splash of orange juice
- – Equal parts Harvest Blood Orange Olive Oil and Harvest Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic
In a large serving bowl, combine all ingredients but Olive Oil, Balsamic, and orange juice. Season to taste with salt. In a small bowl or jar with a lid, combine Olive Oil and Balsamic and whisk or shake to emulsify. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add orange juice and toss again, taste and adjust seasoning if desired, and serve.
Salmon Linguine with Mushrooms & Capers
- – 1 1/2 lbs skinless salmon
- – 2 boxes (2 lbs) linguine
- – 2 bottles (8 oz each) clam juice*
- – 1/2 cup white wine
- – 1 cup 2% milk, plus more to taste
- – 1 bottle capers, drained
- – Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- – 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- – 1 bunch dill
- – Harvest Wild Anithos Dill Olive Oil, to taste
Warm Olive Oil over medium heat in a large frying pan, then sautee mushrooms until cooked through, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt and add the minced garlic, stirring frequently until fragrant but not browned. Remove mushrooms and garlic with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add more Olive Oil to re-coat the pan if necessary, and sautee the salmon until both sides are lightly browned, no more than a couple minutes per side. Season and remove from pan to cool; once it can be handled, loosely break it up into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, prepare linguine according to package instructions for al dente; drain and set aside in its cooking pot. Return the same frying pan you used for the mushrooms and salmon to medium heat and add clam juice and wine. Once heated through, add milk and capers. Heat while stirring — but do not boil — until flavors have melded, about three minutes. Pour liquid and capers over pasta and return pot to medium-low heat, stirring gently to incorporate flavors; add salmon, mushrooms and garlic, and dill. Check seasonings, adding salt if needed, and heat through (but not for too long, which will cause the pasta to absorb the sauce too quickly). Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
*Can’t find clam juice? It’s usually near the canned tuna, although my local grocery store keeps theirs by the other non-refrigerated juices. Grape, cranberry, and…clam? Sure, why not.