Eating to Win
According to NFL.com, NFL offensive lineman, Geoffrey Schwartz, is a "naturally strong mountain of a man." The 6'6, 340lbs twenty-eight year old jokingly credits his size- at least in part- to a childhood diet that included an excess of matzah ball soup and latkes. His younger brother, Mitchell, also plays in the NFL, so it's either in the soup, the genes or a combination of both. Mitchell's entry into the league in 2012 made the Schwartzes the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923.
Geoff started playing football at age 13, but until his junior year at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, CA he thought his future would be in professional baseball. He credits his high school offensive line coach for making him take football seriously. "He really taught me the proper way to play the game and how it takes both a mental and physical attitude to dominate your opponent" he says. "He pushed me to be a better player."
From there, he went on to play at the University of Oregon, where he majored in political science and started at right tackle for three years. During his senior year as an Oregon Duck, he helped his team lead the Pac-10 in rushing for a second consecutive year. He also holds the Pac-10 record for rushing by a right tackle, at 3 yards.
In 2008, Geoffrey was drafted in the 7th round by the Carolina Panthers and began his career on their practice squad. However the determined athlete soon proved that he deserved to suit up on game day and played in all 16 games (starting in 3) of the 2009 season. Around mid-season in 2010, he was switched from right tackle to right guard and played 1,016 snaps. The next year, he suffered a hip injury and spent the 2011 season on the injured reserve list.
After a series of surgeries, Geoffrey was back on the field in 2012, this time in Minnesota Vikings purple and gold. He also donned a Kansas City Chiefs uniform for a season before making his way onto the NY Giants roster in 2014 with a four-year, $16.8 million deal. Today, he plays for the Detroit Lions.
At work, Schwartz is physically and mentally tough with a hearty work ethic. However, that all melts away and his heart goes soft when he's greeted at home by his wife, son Alex, dog, Oslo (German Shepherd/Boxer Mix), and Cotton (Maine Coon/Tabby Cat). A lifetime animal lover, he believes in treating animals with the same compassion and connection that he gives people. "I've had some ups and downs, and my dog has always been there for support. He seems to know when I'm sad or depressed and is there with extra love."
A Cuisine Aficionado
A self-proclaimed cuisine aficionado, Schwartz thoroughly enjoys making his way through New York's extensive selection of great food. Though he enjoys eating out, he finds the most pleasure in reinterpreting his favorites, making them healthier and adding his own special touches. He says, "There’s nothing better than sitting down to eat a healthy, flavorful meal at your own table after putting in the work to make it delicious." His post-football plans include TV hosting and his own cooking show.
The Man Makes a Mean Steak
It’s likely no surprise that offensive guard for the New York Giants, Geoff Schwartz, can put back a decently-sized piece of steak every now and then. Unlike most athletes, however, he likes to make his.
Geoff describes his steak dinner as a dinner fit for a steakhouse, made in your own backyard. What’s cooking in Geoff’s kitchen today? Marinated bone-in ribeye topped with a rosemary goat cheese butter and a side of pureed creamy carrots.
- Grab a bone-in ribeye from your nearest butcher. Make sure you get the bone in, adds much flavor to the meat. Marinate the meat lightly with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning. I love using my own seasoning. I combine equal parts salt, pepper, garlic, half part of parsley and just a tad of white sugar.
- Let the ribeye sit and marinate for a few hours.
- While the steak is getting happy, start on the goat cheese butter. Equal parts stick of goat cheese and stick of butter. You want to allow both to soften up a bit outside the fridge before starting. Once you combine both with a fork, add freshly cut rosemary. (You can use dry rosemary). Mix together well. Remove from mixing bowl, onto plastic wrap. Form the butter/cheese mixture back into a stick and put back into the fridge to harden.
- Bring a pot of water to boil with salt for the carrots. While the water is boiling, turn on your grill. Turn it on hot! I cook my steaks 550 degrees F and above! When the water is boiling, add 3 pounds of peeled carrots. Turn the heat down to medium and let the carrots soften up.
- Time to put the steaks on the grill. I like my steak medium rare so a thick cut bone-in ribeye needs to cook 5 minutes per side. After the steak is flipped and close to being ready, cut slices of the goat cheese butter to add on top of the steak. Let sit for about a minute, allowing the butter to slightly melt. Remove from the grill and eat!
To Make the Carrots
- At any point while the steak is cooking, the carrots need to be finished. Once they have softened, strain and add to a food processor.
- Add butter and sour cream, as much as you need for flavor. I like mine extra creamy, so I add more sour cream. Turn on the food processor and let it work. It shouldn’t take long.
- Add a pinch of salt, and let it run again for 10 seconds. The carrot puree should be creamy and ready.
- Add a huge spoonful onto the plate with the steak and you have a steakhouse quality meal at home.
Geoff Schwartz may be a big man who can cook up and put back a juicy steak, but Geoff also knows how to eat healthy. His take on tradition pizza is indeed on the healthier side. (Though be sure to limit the fats you put on top to make it a truly balanced dish). When you’re Geoff and you’re burning calories on the gridiron like he is, you can eat almost whatever you want!
Here’s Geoff’s spin on pizza made health(ier) for those who limit their carbs:
One large head cauliflower, stem removed and roughly chopped
1/3 stick goat cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or more to taste
3/4 cup sausage, sliced into small chunks
½ cup pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup pepperoni, sliced into thin rounds
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the cauliflower chunks into a blender and pulse the cauliflower until it turns into “rice”.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Lower heat to medium and add in the cauliflower rice. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the pot and strain and let cool for 10 minutes. Then towel or paper towel dry the cauliflower until it’s very dry. (You may need to squeeze it with a towel).
- Add the cauliflower “rice” to the bowl, along with the goat cheese, egg and seasoning. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until they’re well combined. Transfer the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten and shape the cauliflower dough. The dough should be about ¼-1/3 inch thick in order to properly cook. You want the edges to be raised just a bit to allow the toppings and sauce to stay.
- Bake the dough for 40-45 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.
- While the dough is cooking, brown the sausage in a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Once the dough is cooked, remove from oven and top first with pizza sauce, using a spoon to smooth it atop the pizza dough. Then sprinkle with cheese and top with the meats.
- Return the pizza to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has browned to your level of comfort.
- Slice and serve!