I recently spent five days riding (and eating) with Team Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking as a guest at their team training camp in Clermont, Florida. As one might imagine, a team sponsored by food and recipe companies would eat pretty well, but what impressed me most was the attention to detail that goes into every bite that fuels this elite champion team.
Under the care of soigneur and team chef Amanda Rose Shission (aka "the Shish"), every meal, smoothie, and snack is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as healthy carbs, fats, and protein. That means no plain salads and pastas but, instead, creative yet often shockingly simple dishes made from ingredients that are as common as they are unconventional.
Fair warning: They do use a few special tools to make their most nutritious meals. But none are super fancy or expensive. Here are a few of the team's favorites from the week.
Blueberry and Oat Polenta Pancakes with Blackberry SyrupEach morning, the team rolls out for a steady 50 to 60 miles on the road. There's coffee, fruit, yogurt and eggs accompanied by a short stack of power pancakes. Shish adapted this recipe from Colavita.com. Serves four.
Ingredients for Pancakes
1 3/4 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour or gluten free flour
3/4 cup instant polenta
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup fresh blueberries
Grated zest from 1/2 lemon
For the syrup:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh blackberries (or berries of choice)
Grated zest from 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt
Whisk the milk, egg, molasses and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, blend the oats, flour, polenta, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, chia seeds (if using them), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry then mix to combine. The batter should be thick, but if it's too much so, you can add a little more milk. Add in the blueberries then stir to combine.Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour some extra virgin olive oil over the griddle (about 1 tablespoon) to coat. Ladle the batter onto the griddle in 1/4 cup sized scoops. Cook for about 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping when bubbles start to appear in the middle of the pancake.
Turkey Bacon Rice CakesMultiple days of being buffeted by winds off the Central Florida lakes drains a lot of energy, and riders can only eat so many blocks and bars. So Shish feeds them simple, real food. These savory rice cakes inspired by Allen Lim's portables were a huge hit.
2 cups sticky rice
8 ounces turkey bacon
1/2 cup almond (or other nut) butter
Drizzle of maple syrup
Salt to taste