Herby Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas - The Clean Gourmet

Herby Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas

I’m SO EXCITED that spring is here and winter coats are officially put away!  Here’s a light meal that uses an abundance of all the spring veggies we’ve been waiting for (ramps! asparagus! peas!).

I love the little pillows of fresh mozzarella, but goat cheese crumbles, ricotta, or Parmesan would be great substitutes.

Herby Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 bundle asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 12-ounce package penne (or other short shape) pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1/4 cup fennel fronds

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

3 ramps, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons juice)

6 ounces ciliegine mozzarella, crumbled goat cheese, ricotta, or Parmesan

black or white pepper, to taste

salt, to taste

Procedure:

Bring a medium/large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Prepare an ice bath or large bowl of very cold tap water and set aside.  Place peas in the bottom of a colander and set aside.

Drop cut asparagus and sugar snap peas in boiling water and let cook 2 minutes.  Drain promptly in colander with peas.  Swiftly move drained vegetables to ice bath.

Refill pot with salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.

Drain cooled vegetables and return to large bowl.  Add olive oil, herbs, lemon zest and juice, and cooked pasta.  Season with salt and pepper, fold in cheese, and serve immediately.

(Pictured alongside milk poached salt cod with fennel pollen.)


Overnight Whole Grain Banana Bread - The Clean Gourmet

Overnight Peanut Butter Banana Bread and a few words about Grains

This banana bread is made with soaked whole grain flour for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. It’s slightly chewy with a hint of sourdough-like flavor for a surprising, addictive result.

Find out more about the importance of proper grain preparation in my featured write up on Evidence Of, a lifestyle platform seeking to acknowledge creativity and the sharing of diverse perspectives created by artist, Cora Kobischka.  EO’s philosophy is awareness, human connection and reverence for nature, and features artwork, handmade and unique objects and editorial content.

Get the recipe and more info here!


Lentil Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Tomato, and Pecorino

I think I could have a blog solely dedicated to pasta.  I am half Italian and lived in Italy for several years so, needless to say, pasta is my weakness.  I have it at least once a week and it takes effort to prevent this site from becoming overloaded with pasta recipes.  Pasta is texturally exciting, a perfect vehicle for any kind of vegetable/protein mix, and is quick to prepare.  All of the new varieties of pasta doesn’t hurt its case either.

Dried pasta has come a long way in the last few years.  Aside from durum wheat and gluten-free rice varieties that have been around for years, you can now get pasta made from red or green lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, or local rye, to name some of my favorites.  I always have a variety of pastas stocked in my pantry for lazy and last-minute meals.  This satisfying pasta dish is a result of me fervently throwing together a meal after coming home from work ravenous thus, it only requires a few pantry staples and some cauliflower to make.

My measurements here are approximations, as it’s such a simple recipe that is ideally adjusted to taste.  I don’t think we should always be bound to measurements when cooking, as we all have slightly different preferences, ingredients, and equipment.  In fact, I’m a big fan of Bon Appétit’s new campaign for cooking without a recipe.

Lentil Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Tomato, and Pecorino

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 box (12 ounces) lentil pasta (Tolerant brand is my favorite)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 head cauliflower

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

scant tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 cup broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable are all fine, plain water will do in a pinch)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

pinch red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

salt and black pepper, to taste

dollop (about 2 tablespoons) mascarpone (optional)

Pecorino Romano, to serve

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut cauliflower in 1/2-inch thick slices, core side down.  (You will end up with a few flat “steaks” in the middle.  Set those aside for later grilling or roasting).  Toss floret slices with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread flat onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil.

In an equal size or smaller pot, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  Add tomato paste and let brown for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly pour in broth, stirring to incorporate into tomato.  Season with dried basil, red pepper, salt, and black pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  Feel free to add more broth if the sauce gets to thick, or simmer longer if the sauce is too thin.

Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, and drain.  Return drained pasta to pot and toss with tomato sauce, roasted cauliflower, and mascarpone.  Serve with plenty of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and extra red pepper for the table.


Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust - The Clean Gourmet

Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust

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This tart is a showstopper.  For the crust I use leaf lard, which, believe it or not, is lower in saturated fat than butter (not that you should completely avoid saturated fats, as your body needs some, but an overabundance taxes the liver) and makes for the flakiest crust.  Also, the savory flavor of lard contrasts with the sweetness of the balsamic, giving the tart an almost meaty taste, especially combined with the texture of grated beets.  Of course, butter or olive oil will do if you haven’t come around to lard yet or don’t have any.

I think these would be really nice as mini tartlets for a party.  Just press small crust rounds into a mini muffin pan, blind bake with pie weights, and fill.  You’ll want to decrease the baking time by about half if you go this route.

I’m a fan of beets as a circulatory and workout recovery aid, so I think it’s wise to incorporate them into your meals at least once a week.

I streamlined the recipe to be quick enough to do on a weeknight.  Serve it alongside garlicky sautéed greens (such as the greens from the beets you use here) or an endive salad with mustard vinaigrette.

Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust

Makes 1 pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

150 grams whole wheat flour

50 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

100 grams leaf lard (butter or olive oil will do as substitutes), chilled (remove from fridge just before using)

1/4 cup very cold ice water

For the filling:

400 grams trimmed beets, then peeled and grated over large holes of grater

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium/large yellow or red onion, minced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

scant cup water

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish (a 1/4 teaspoon of wasabi paste dissolved in a teaspoon of water is a fine substitute)

pinch salt and black pepper, plus more to taste

150 grams feta, crumbled (double cream smooth is best)

2 eggs, beaten with 1/3 cup creamy almond milk or whole milk

1/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped, to serve

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375ºF and make the crust.

Whisk flours and salt in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle chilled fat over flour and cut in with a pastry cutter, fork or the tips of your fingers.  Keep going until flour looks like fine sand.  Incorporate cold water, using your hands, being careful not to overwork.  Form into a ball and flatten.  Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate 15-30 minutes (or up to overnight).

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment until 1/4-inch thick.  Remove top piece of parchment and place open side of pie dish onto rolled crust and flip, transferring crust onto pie dish.  Remove parchment carefully, pressing crust against pie dish.

Blind bake crust: Get a fresh piece of parchment and place on top of crust, then fill the cavity with pie weights or a pot that fits inside.   Bake 10 minutes, then remove parchment and pie weights/pot.  Bake another 5 minutes and remove from oven.

While the crust is chilling and baking, begin work on the filling:  in a large high-sided sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté a few minutes, until softened and about to brown.  Add grated beets and balsamic and sauté until balsamic has mostly evaporated.  Add thyme, smoked paprika, horseradish, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until beets are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

Taste to adjust seasoning, then transfer all but 1 cup of filling to baked pie crust.  Crumble feta over filling, then add remaining filling.  Top with beaten egg and milk mixture and bake 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and, just before serving, top with chopped toasted pistachios.

Adapted from: http://www.sugaretal.com/2014/07/09/beetroot-and-feta-tart/


Roasted Artichoke and Basil Hummus with Harissa - The Clean Gourmet

Roasted Artichoke Hummus with Basil and Harissa

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This will satisfy your craving for artichoke dip and hummus all at once.  I especially like it freshly made, while still warm from the roasted artichokes.

Harissa is the North African version of Sriracha.  A thick sauce made of different chiles, it has an earthy spice that I love to put on eggs, dips, pasta, and other Mediterranean dishes.

Roasted Artichoke Hummus with Basil and Harissa

Ingredients:

For roasting:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons harissa

3 whole garlic cloves (with skin)

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

black pepper

To make hummus:

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup packed fresh basil, roughly chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons tahini

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss roasting ingredients together and spread out on prepared baking sheet.  Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Once artichokes are done, remove skins from garlic and add, along with artichokes, to food processor.  Run until mixture is very smooth, pausing once or twice to scrape down sides.

Serve with pita chips or spread on toast.

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Venison and Juniper Shepherd's Pie with Juniper and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes - The Clean Gourmet

Venison and Juniper Shepherd’s Pie with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

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This is the time of year in which hunters begin cooking up their reserves.  Enter cozy venison shepherd’s pie with zingy horseradish mashed potatoes.  Juniper is a classic pairing with venison, so I couldn’t help but add it to the meat.  If you can’t find juniper, don’t let that discourage you from making this!  Simply omit it.

Venison Shepherd's Pie with Horseradish - The Clean Gourmet

Since venison is so lean, be sure not to overcook it in the first stage of cooking.  It’s ok to have some rare spots, especially since it will cook further in the later stages of making the pie.  Also, I only partially peel the potatoes, since the peel is full of nutrition and fiber.  However, leaving all the peel on would compromise the texture of the potato mash.

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

4 cups light bone broth or chicken broth

1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

pinch black pepper

5 tablespoons softened butter or olive oil

For the venison:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground venison (ground bison or grass-fed beef are good substitutes)

3 juniper berries, crushed and chopped (optional)

1 yellow onion, small dice

1 stalk celery, small dice

2 carrots, small dice

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

3 tablespoons reserved broth from potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve

1 tablespoon potato starch (or cornstarch) dissolved in 2 tablespoons broth

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Put potatoes and broth in a medium/large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook potatoes at a simmer until tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain potatoes over large bowl or measuring cup, reserving liquid for venison.  Return potatoes to pot, along with horseradish, salt, pepper, and olive oil/butter. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy, adding a few tablespoons of reserved potato broth if necessary.  Set aside.

Preheat a large (preferably cast iron) high sided skillet over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, ground venison, and juniper and let brown, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or metal spatula.  Once the venison is mostly cooked with a few rare spots, about 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.

With pan still hot, cook onion, celery, carrot, and bay leaf in venison drippings (add more oil if necessary) over medium high heat.  Once the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes, add garlic and cooked venison.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Deglaze pan with red wine and allow to evaporate.  Add broth, thyme, parsley, and dissolved potato starch.  Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaf.  If using a cast iron pan, top meat mixture with mashed potatoes directly in the pan.  Otherwise, scoop meat into into oiled casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.  Spread the potatoes evenly, allowing for a few peaks and valleys, and brush with olive oil or spray with a Misto oil sprayer.

Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, or until mashed potato peaks are browned.  If the potatoes need help browning, turn on the broiler for a few minutes before removing from the oven.  Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately with a fresh green salad and bold red wine.


Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce

This stew is essentially a cross between two Arab dishes, shakriya, a lamb and yogurt stew, and zahra bi leban, a cauliflower side with yogurt sauce. The creamy tang of yogurt, combined with warmly spiced lamb and cauliflower make this dish incredibly satisfying and unique.  Serve atop a bed of saffron rice with toasted almonds and you’ve got the perfect accompaniment.

As always, I used Maple Hill Creamery‘s third party certified 100% grass-fed yogurt.  Not only is the flavor of their yogurt superior to others and the health benefits of a higher omega-3 ratio hard to beat, but Maple Hill’s dedication to paying fair prices for grass-fed milk from small New York state farmers is a cause we should all support!

Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

For the cauliflower:

2 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil

1 small/medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

scant 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

salt and black pepper, to taste

For the stew:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1.5 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 cups bone broth (beef or chicken broth are best alternatives)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

freshly ground black pepper

16 ounces (2 cups) Maple Hill Creamery 100% Grass-Fed Plain Cream on Top Yogurt

2 tablespoons potato starch (or corn starch) dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water or broth

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

pinch coriander

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375ºF and pull 2 cups yogurt from fridge to allow to come to room temperature.  Toss cauliflower with oil, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and salt and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast until browned and tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a medium/large pot (I used a clay pot) over high heat.  Add oil and lamb.  Cook until browned on most sides (allow each side to brown before agitating).  Add broth, garlic, bay leaves, and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes, until lamb is done and tender.  Add roasted cauliflower and simmer another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine slurry and yogurt in a medium heat proof bowl or measuring cup (such as stainless steel, ceramic, or Pyrex glass).

Slowly add about 1/2 cup of hot broth from stew pot to yogurt mixture to temper. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.)  Add tempered yogurt to stew pot and reheat to just a simmer and continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Serve immediately atop cooked long grain rice with toasted almonds and a lemony green salad on the side.

**This is a sponsored post, but all content is honest and reflects my true beliefs.

 


Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter - The Clean Gourmet

Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter

Just three harmonious ingredients and a little technique make this deceptively simple side seem extra sophisticated.  Chestnuts enhance the nutty flavor of red kuri squash and toasty browned butter adds notes of burnt marshmallow to the lusciously smooth purée.  A perfect pairing for holiday roasts.

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This was actually my first time cooking with red kuri squash.  I’ve known about it for a few years, but have always gotten distracted by other winter squash varieties to try.  I didn’t know what to do with it until I roasted it and tasted the squash on its own.  Oh my goodness…  Sweet and nutty with a creamy texture, I almost ate it plain for dessert.  That said, if you can’t find red kuri squash, I would use half of a kabocha and half of a butternut to substitute.

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Browned butter sounds fancy, but it’s actually very simple and should be a part of everyone’s culinary repertoire.  Just melt butter (high quality, pastured butter) in a saucepan over a medium/low flame and just keep going until it turns caramel in color and fragrance.  Next, be ready to remove promptly from the heat so it doesn’t burn!

In this recipe, the warm butter poured over the chestnuts will help them to break down for puréeing.  Which, speaking of, I prefer to use a Vitamix for, as nothing compares to the smoothing capabilities of a good high speed blender.  It takes a little coaxing with the tamper and perhaps a hit of water, but I think it’s worth the effort.  Otherwise, a food processor will do just fine.

Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 medium red kuri squash, halved and deseeded (be sure to get all the stringy bits out)

3 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts (about 1 cup)

4 tablespoons butter (preferably pastured)

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Place squash halves on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut sides down.  Bake until a fork can pierce the skin without much resistance, about 50 minutes.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin into a bowl (if you get some skin in there, don’t worry too much.  It’s generally edible.)

Place chestnuts in a Vitamix or food processor and set aside.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium/low heat and simmer until it begins to brown and release toasty caramel aroma.  Immediately remove from heat and pour into blender or food processor with the chestnuts.   Pulse to break down the chestnuts.  Add cooked red kuri flesh and salt.  Process (be sure to have that tamper handy if using a Vitamix) until very smooth.  Feel free to add a bit of warm water to aid in this process.  Adjust for salt and serve immediately or at room temperature.

 

 


Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds - The Clean Gourmet

Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

In the midst of a season of holiday treats and decadence, this is what your body is craving.  Clean and colorful, this salad will fill you with nutrients without killing your holiday buzz (hey, it’s red and green!).

Another plus, this peppery and sweet salad requires minimal chopping and can be put together easily in less than 10 minutes.

For a Latin twist, replace the parsley with cilantro, the lemon with lime, and add a bit of minced jalapeño.

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Arugula and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4 as a side (serves 2 as a main)

Ingredients:

2.5 oz arugula, roughly chopped (unless using baby arugula)

3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 cup chilled cooked quinoa

1/2 cup pomegranate arils

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Toss arugula, lemon, olive oil, salt, and parsley together in a medium bowl.  Top with quinoa, pomegranate, and pumpkin seeds.  Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Alternatively, just toss all ingredients together so everything is evenly combined.


Harissa and Date Pan Chicken - The Clean Gourmet

Harissa and Date Pan Chicken

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Spicy and a little sweet, this is a meal for two that requires little chopping and prep.  It’s a beautiful date night (no pun intended) meal for the novice cook looking to impress ;).

Serve it over polenta, as I have here, or mashed Yukon potatoes.  The total active cooking time for the chicken is about 15 minutes, so I recommend getting the polenta or mashed potatoes going before you begin prep for cooking the chicken (unless you’re using instant polenta).  Even more fool-proof, simply serve with a hunk of crusty bread and a side salad.

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Harissa and Date Pan Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise, against the grain

1 1/2 tablespoons (a.k.a. 4 1/2 teaspoons) harissa paste

1/2 tablespoon (a.k.a. 1 1/2 teaspoons) avocado oil or olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 beefsteak tomato, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medjool date or 3 deglet noor dates, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/4 cup picked fresh parsley, minced

salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Marinate the chicken in harissa paste 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Heat a large pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.  Toss the marinated chicken with the oil and sear in pan, about 5 minutes.

Flip chicken thighs and arrange in a concentric circle towards the edges of the pan.  Add garlic, tomato, and dates to the middle of the pan and cook, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes while the chicken sears.

Reduce heat to medium and begin to toss the chicken with the tomatoes, which should be breaking down.  Add sherry vinegar, parsley, salt, and a couple grinds of black pepper and cook an additional 5-6 minutes, until the thighs are cooked through and the tomato has fully broken down.

Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes and be sure to include some sautéed greens or a leafy green salad to make it a complete meal.