The Solana Chef Shares tips

| May 1, 2010

Chef Bradley’s Specialty: Meals that delight senior citizens

The Solana at Cinco Ranch is a senior living community that has put fine cuisine and excellent food service front and center in its list of amenities.  Chef Bradley Montgomery, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. And director of dining and culinary arts for the Solana, strives to provide interesting and nutritious meals for The Solana residents and guests.  Here are some of the questions he has been asked about meal preparation for seniors:
Q. How do you present “comfort” food in new and interesting ways?
A. Most of us ‘eat with our eyes’, which is why I love splashing flower petals on salads, or using different shapes of plates to accentuate the ‘look’ of a dish. On the other hand, there are some things better left alone…such as Chicken Fried Steak.  It may not be flashy, but served with mashed potatoes and gravy, this Texas staple can be quite attractive.
Q. Seniors are often health conscious as they may be dealing with various medical conditions.  How do you cater to different needs?
A.  At The Solana, the staff gets to know the individual likes, dislikes and requirements for each of our Residents. After-all, we see our Residents every single day! You would be surprised how the team becomes keenly aware of their individual needs and desires. As well we have a very active Food Committee which gleans comments and concerns from throughout the community, and brings them to our meeting each month. Aside from this we proactively offer a variety of menu items to suit low-salt, low-fat and sugar-free diets, but most of all we offer our Residents the ability to customize their dining experience to fit their own personal needs.
Q.  What are some of the best healthy snacks for seniors?
A. Fruits and vegetables are always first in line. Raw veggies with a dip of some kind are a great source of fiber, as well as important vitamins. Whole fruits, such as apples, oranges, pears & bananas, are always available for our Residents at The Solana in our Crescent Café. A real easy treat is fresh fruit, yoghurt & honey in the blender for a refreshing smoothie.
As director of dining at The Solana, Chef Bradley has initiated a way to make lunch more interesting by inviting not just family members of residents, but the whole Cinco Ranch community to dine at the Crescent Café.  The menu offers a healthy and affordable combo platter consisting of a side salad, croissant sandwich and soup du jour.  Teas and coffee, including cappuccino from a luxe new espresso machine, are complimentary with your lunch.
“Our Café is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 11 AM to 1 PM,” said Chef Bradley.  The colorful eatery seats between 30 and 40 including patio seating in the courtyard overlooking the fountain.  The Solana ( is located at 24001 Cinco Village Center Blvd. in Katy.  For more information, call 832-772-4467

Solana Salad
Mixed baby greens (2oz/person)
Chive sticks
Shaved parmesan
Cherry tomatoes, ½’d
Chopped crispy bacon
Candied pecans, crushed
Balsamic vinaigrette
Edible Flower petals

Toss all together with vinaigrette and splash with flower petals.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
4 oz aged balsamic vinegar
8 oz pure olive oil
½  Tbls dijon mustard
½  Tbls kosher salt
½  tsp pepper
1. Mix all but oil very well
2. Whisk in oil slowly.
3. Store at room temperature.

Heirloom Tomato Salad
Heirloom tomatoes, variety of colors/sizes
Herb salad; parsley, coriander, chive, dill,
chervil leaves (clean, dry & mixed)
Sherry vinaigrette
Sea salt, coarse
Freshly ground pepper
1. Cut tomatoes in asymmetrical shapes
and arrange on plate or platter.
2. Crush or sprinkle tomatoes with sea
salt and fresh ground pepper.
3. Drizzle with sherry vinaigrette
as desired.
4. Dress tomatoes with herb salad
and enjoy

Sherry Vinaigrette
4 oz sherry vinegar
8 oz pure olive oil
½  Tbls dijon mustard
½  Tbls kosher salt
½  tsp pepper

Belgian Endive – Smoked Salmon Salad
Belgian endive, julienne
Smoked salmon, julienne
Pencil asparagus, blanched,
cut long on bias
Chive sticks
Sea salt, coarse
Freshly ground pepper
Long chives for garnish
Red wine vinaigrette
1. Toss all with vinaigrette.
2. Garnish plate with long chives.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
4 oz Red Wine Vinegar
8 oz pure olive oil
½  Tbls dijon mustard
½  Tbls kosher salt
½  tsp pepper

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 3-6
From the kitchen of The Solana at Cinco Ranch, Chef Bradley Montgomery

2.5-3 lbs fresh butternut
squash, cleaned,
cut in large pieces
½  large onion, large dice
2-3 cloves garlic, whole
1 serrano pepper, whole
1 coin fresh ginger
2 slices white bread, crust removed
2.5 oz  honey
½  qt milk
½  qt stock
2 ½  Tbls kosher salt
1 small stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Category: Seasonal Recipes

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