“Mocha” Oat Bran Pudding (Budino di Crusca d’Avena al Caffè d’Orzo)

While living in Italy, I discovered “caffè d’orzo”, a barley-based coffee substitute that is by default caffeine-free.  It’s a very common drink there, but virtually unheard of in the U.S.  After doing some research, I found that it does exist here under the name “grain coffee”.  While it’s more difficult to find here than in Europe, there are a handful of brands available in health food stores and on the Internet.

Grain coffee is almost always barley based and sometimes has rye and chicory added for flavor as well.  I get the kind that dissolves when stirred into water, but some are meant to be brewed in a coffee pot, just like regular coffee grounds.  Not only does it have a similar taste and aroma as coffee, but grain coffee has a maltiness that reminds me of mocha- the combination of coffee and chocolate.  Try mixing it with warm almond milk on winter nights as a “grown-up” alternative to hot chocolate!

In the summer, I like to make this raw porridge as a cooling alternative to traditional oatmeal (perfect for an AC-free New York City apartment!).  If you don’t have grain coffee, the base of oat bran, flaxseed and nut milk can be the starting point for limitless other variations (mango-brazil nut, berry-almond, apple-walnut-cinnamon…)!

“Mocha” Oat Bran Pudding:

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 cup oat bran

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseed

1 cup nut milk of choice, preferably homemade

1/3 banana, thinly sliced

a few raisins

pinch salt

2 teaspoons grain coffee powder (water soluble kind)

1 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

walnuts, for topping

What to do:

Mix all of the ingredients (except for walnuts) in a mug or small bowl, cover and let sit 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove from fridge a few minutes before eating so it’s not ice cold and top with crushed walnuts.

"Mocha" Oat Bran Pudding - The Clean Gourmet

Budino di Crusca d’Avena al Caffè d’Orzo:

1 porzione

Ingredienti:

4 cucchiai di crusca d’avena

1 cucchiaio di semi di lino, macinati

ml latte di mandorle, preferibilmente fresco

1/3 di banana, tagliata a fette sottili

un pò d’uvetta

pizzico di sale

2 cucchiaini di caffe d’orzo in polvere (quello solubile nell’acqua)

1 cucchiaino di miele

piccolo goccio d’estratto di vaniglia

delle noci, per servire

Cosa fare:

Mischiate tutti gli ingredienti (tranne le noci) in una tazza o in un scodella piccola, coprite e lasciate in frigo per almeno quattro ore.

Tirate dal frigo qualche minuto prima di mangiare, così non è freddissimo, e sbriciolate le noci sopra.

"Mocha" Oat Bran Pudding - The Clean Gourmet


Grain-Free “Biscuits” (“Panini” Senza Grano)

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet

I’ve made these grain-free biscuits dozens of times and they never disappoint.  They pair great with sweet spreads, such as jam or lemon curd, and are perfect for savory accompaniments too, such as cheese or gravy.

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet

Since they are quite neutral, you can add a dollop of preserves in the middle before baking or fold in savory herbs and cheese.  Perfectly customizable.

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet

These require very few ingredients so they’re easy to whip up and are grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet

Ingredients:

3.5 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil (coconut oil works if ingredients are room temperature)

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

What to do:

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda and salt.  In a small/medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, oil, honey and vinegar together.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and combine with spatula.  Spoon batter into muffin tin to make 10 biscuits. Bake 15 mins in 325 degree Fahrenheit oven. Let cool in muffin tin for 5-10 mins before removing to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one day and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (they freeze very well also- just be sure to halve before freezing).

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet

 

Ingredienti:

350 grammi di farina di mandorle

3/4 cucchiaino di bicarbonato di sodio

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

4 uova

1 cucchiaio d’olio neutro, tipo olio d’avocado oppure olio di vinacciolo (va bene olio di cocco se gli altri ingredienti sono a temperatura ambiente)

2 cucchiaini di miele

1 cucchiaino di aceto di sidro di mele

Cosa fare:

In una scodella media, frustate assieme la farina di mandorle, il bicarbonato di sodio e il sale.  Dentro una scodella più piccola, frustate le uova, l’olio, il miele e l’aceto.  Unite gli ingredienti morbidi a quelli secchi e incorporate con una spatola.

Trasferite la pastella a cucchiaiate in uno stampo da muffin, facendo 10 muffin.  Infornate per 15 minuti a 160 gradi centigradi.  Lasciate raffreddare per 5-10 minuti prima di toglierli per farli raffreddare completamente.

Mettete via in un contenitore a tenuta d’aria per un giorno a temperatura ambiente o per 4 giorni in frigo (stanno benissimo nel freezer, basta che li dimezzati prima).

Grain-Free "Biscuits" - The Clean Gourmet


Pecan Milk…with Warm Mesquite Variation (Latte di Noce Pecan…con Variazione Calda al Mesquite)

Pecan milk has changed my life in a small, yet significant way.

I essentially stumbled upon pecan milk this weekend when I was making a Marsala mushroom soup and, rather than using 3/4 cup of half-and-half that the recipe called for, I thought I’d “clean” it up a bit and try it with nut milk.  Pecans sounded like they’d combine well with mushrooms and Marsala, so I figured, “why not?”  Even better, the higher fat content in pecans would make the milk less prone to curdling- a problem I often face with fresh almond milk, even when tempered.

I was ecstatic with the results!  Not only was the milk delicious on its own, it paired excellently with the flavors in the soup and didn’t curdle.  I’m not sure why almond milk gets all the spotlight.  While almond milk is delicious (especially mine 😉 ) and definitely more versatile than, say, pistachio or peanut milk, pecan milk is also quite versatile, yet it’s creamier, deeper in flavor and, because of a higher fat content, is less likely to curdle than almond milk.

One Medjool date and a pinch of salt lend the milk just enough of that sweet/savory balance you get from cow’s milk and the nuttiness is mild and bourbon-like.  Not bad :).

Health Benefits: A one ounce serving of pecans contains 60% of the daily value of manganese, which is especially good for brain function, heart health and metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.  You will also get 15% of the daily value of copper from a one ounce serving of pecans, which benefits your nervous system, cellular energy output and connective tissue.*

Step aside almond milk!

Yields 2 cups

What you need:

1 cup raw pecan halves (plus water for soaking)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Medjool date

2 cups cold water

What to do:

Place pecans in a medium bowl and fill with water two inches to cover.  Let soak at room temperature for 8-10 hours.

Strain and rinse soaked pecans and place in a blender with the salt, date and 2 cups of water.  Blend on HIGH until smooth and there are no more large specks of pecan meat.  This should only take 30 seconds in a high speed blender (A.K.A. Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja).  Allow 1-2 minutes for a normal blender.

Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or two layers of cheesecloth placed over a bowl or large measuring cup and squeeze to extract all of the liquid.  The consistency will be creamy and smooth.  Pour milk into desired storage cup and refrigerate.  Should last about four days in the refrigerator.

Mesquite variation:

You’ll also find that pecan and mesquite were meant to be together: for a cozy night cap or soothing breakfast, make this into a warm mesquite milk.  Place 2 1/2 teaspoons mesquite powder, 1 teaspoon raw honey and a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Slowly whisk in one cup of pecan milk and warm gently over a low flame, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Do not boil.  Pour warmed milk into a mug and serve immediately.  Mmm.

Pecan Milk (Latte di Noce Pecan) - The Clean Gourmet

Latte di Noce Pecan:

Rende 500 ml

Cosa serve:

100 grammi di noce pecan dimezzate (più acqua per mettere a mollo)

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

1 dattero Medjool

500 ml d’acqua fresca

Come fare:

Mettete le noci pecan in una scodella e coprite d’acqua con circa tre dita da coprire.  Lasciate ammollare per circa 8-10 ore a temperatura ambiente.

Colate e sciacquate le noci e mettete in un mixer col sale, il dattero Medjool e l’acqua fresca.  Fate frullare al livello max finché non siano più pezzetti visibili di noce.  Dovrebbero bastare solo 30 secondi in un mixer potente (come Vitamix, Blendtec o Ninja).  Per un mixer normale, fate frullare per 1-2 minuti.

Passate il liquido per due strati di stamigna sopra una ciotola media e stringete bene per fare sì che sia estratto tutto il liquido.  Troverete una consistenza cremosa e liscia.  Versate il latte in un bicchiere da conservazione e mettete in frigo.  Consumatelo entro circa quattro giorni.

Versione al mesquite: 

Troverete che noce pecan e il mesquite vanno benissimo assieme:  per una merendina prima di letto o come una prima colazione leggera, fate un latte al mesquite caldo.  Mettete 2 1/2 cucchiaini di polvere di mesquite, 1 cucchiaino di miele crudo ed un pizzico di sale in un pentola piccola.  Gradualmente unite 250 ml di latte di noce pecan e riscaldate leggermente sul fuoco basso, frustando frequentemente, per circa 4 minuti.  Non fate bollire il latte.  Versate il latte caldo in una tazza, preferibilmente riscaldata, e servitelo subito.

*Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/walnuts-vs-pecans-nutrition-1576.html

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html


Radish Top and Parsley Stem Pesto (Pesto di Cime di Ravanelli e Gambi di Prezzemolo)

No waste!  It’s satisfying to make a meal out of what is so often thrown away, especially one that tastes really good:).  All those green leaves attached to organic radishes and flavorful parsley stems should not be bound for the garbage!  I am all for “whole foods” cooking*, which means eating entire entities for optimal nutrition, and this recipe is no exception.

I use less oil than most people use when making pestos, as the oil can dilute flavor, make the pesto too runny and, not to mention, it’s expensive!.  Also, I prefer to get a greater proportion of fats from whole sources.  That means olives instead of olive oil, walnuts instead of walnut oil, etc.  This is because eating foods in their naturally occurring state promotes balanced nutrition.  When you eat a whole walnut, for example, you have a balance of fiber, oil and vitamins/minerals.  Eating walnut oil, on the other hand, just gives you the fat, which has been treated by manufacturing with heat, fissure, etc.  With theses processes, the oil’s delicate healthy chemical compounds (a.k.a. “phytonutrients”) have likely been destroyed or altered.

To clarify, I understand the need to use oils and other slightly processed items in cooking to make food taste good, but it’s best to use these in moderation and try to use their whole alternatives where possible.

This pesto is vegan, but you wouldn’t know it!  Miso and walnuts offer a “cheesy” umami flavor and the umeboshi vinegar and lemon give some salty tang.  It’s kind of addictive, actually.

*If you’re interested in the theory behind “whole foods” nutrition, I suggest reading “Food and Healing” by Annemarie Colbin.

What you need:

90 grams (about 2 bunches, picked over) radish tops, well rinsed

12 grams (about 3 cloves) garlic, minced

60 grams (one bunch) parsley stems, rinsed and torn

10 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) yellow or chickpea miso

70 grams (3/4 cup) walnuts

1 1/2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) black pepper

23 grams (2 teaspoons) lemon juice

15-20 grams (3-4 teaspoons) umeboshi vinegar

45 grams (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and run until smooth.  Store in fridge or serve immediately with pasta or other grain, spread on a sandwich or add a dollop to soup.

Radish Top and Parsley Stem Pesto (L) - The Clean Gourmet

Pesto di Cime di Ravanelli e Gambi di Prezzemolo:

Cosa serve:

90 grammi (circa 2 grappoli) di cime di ravanelli, ben sciacquate

12 grammi (circa 3 spicchi) d’aglio, tritato

60 grammi (un grappolo) di gambi di prezzemolo, sciacquati e strappati a grandi pezzi

10 grammi (1 1/2 cucchiaini) di miso giallo

70 grammi di noci

1 1/2 grammi (1/2 cucchiaino) di pepe nero

23 grammi (2 cucchiaini) di succo di limone

15-20 grammi (3-4 cucchiaini) di aceto d’umeboshi

45 grammi (60 millilitri) di olio extra vergine d’oliva

Cosa fare:

Mettete tutti gli ingredienti nel frullatore o nel robot da cucina e fate frullare finché non abbia una consistenza cremosa.  Conservate in frigo o servite subito con della pasta o altri cereali, su un panino o mettete un goccio nella zuppa.


Apple Peel Crisps (Croccantini di Bucce di Mela)

If you went apple picking like me and got a TON of apples, I’m sure you’re coming up with all kinds of uses for those apples.  I always to try to keep the skins on when I’m cooking and baking with apples, but unfortunately, some recipes just don’t work with the skins.  In my case, I wanted pectin-free creamy applesauce so I had to peel my apples.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to throw away the most nutritious part of all those apples!

While it is important to buy all or as much organic produce as possible, it is especially important to buy organic apples.  The Environmental Working Group, who puts together the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Lists, has put apples as the most chemical-contaminated produce this year!  Sure they cost more, but you’ll probably save on doctor’s bills in the long run anyway buy buying organic apples instead of conventionally grown ones.

Like most fruits and vegetables, the majority of the fiber, vitamins and minerals are found in the peel, which will help control blood sugar and protect you from various diseases.  Apple peel’s unique attribute is that it’s very high in ursolic acid, which promotes muscle growth and reduction of body fat, with a higher proportion of brown fat to white fat (which is beneficial for diabetes prevention and healthy aging).  For more information, check out the links below*.  If you want to enjoy these health benefits of the peel without a side of pesticides, I again stress that you buy organic.

This is probably the easiest recipe I’ve posted so far, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t try it!  Note that I put the apples into a cold oven and then turn the heat on, as this allows for some low temperature dehydration.  I then turn the oven off and wait for it to cool completely before taking the skins out for the same purpose.  I do not have a dehydrator and this method is working for me, but I imagine you could use a dehydrator to get similar results.

*Main Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/19/never-peel-apple_n_4791328.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2000392/Apple-peel-helps-build-muscle-control-weight.html

What to do:

Peel your apples and arrange the peels on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven.  Turn oven on to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 30-40 minutes, tossing once or twice.  When the skins are mostly dry and crisp, turn the oven off and leave pan in there until oven cools down to ensure full dehydration.

Enjoy alone for snacking, steeped in hot water as a “tea” or as a crunchy topping on salad, oatmeal or whatever you can think of!

Apple Peel Crisps (Croccantini di Bucce di Mela) - The Clean Gourmet

Come fare:

Sbucciate delle mele e spargete le bucce su una teglia foderata di carta pergamena e infornate (il forno deve essere freddo).  Accendete il forno e impostate a 150 gradi centigradi e lasciate per circa 30-40 minuti, girando una o due volte.  Quando le bucce sono abbastanza essiccate e croccanti, spegnete il forno e lasciate infornate le bucce finché il forno non sia raffreddata, così per essiccare bene le bucce.

Graditele da sole per spuntini, nell’acqua calda come una tisana oppure come un condimento sull’insalata, sui cereali caldi or qualunque cosa alla quale riuscite a pensare!


Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves (Conserva di Prugne alla Vaniglia con Kuzu)

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Plums are in season and we’ve been getting a lot of them through our CSA.  These Damsons have that quintessential “prune” taste, so they become very rich when reduced to a preserve and do not need much sweetener.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Instead of the usual 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar, I added a little blueberry juice (that’s whole organic blueberry juice, with no added sugar or preservatives) to get the plums going and to lend bit more depth of flavor, along with a touch of maple syrup.

Since I use very little sweetener and the fruit is quite juicy, I use kuzu to help set up the preserves, especially since plums are not particularly high in natural pectin.  If you are not familiar with kuzu, it’s a starch that’s also known as Japanese arrowroot and it looks like a white clumpy powder.  Kuzu is commonly used in macrobiotics for therapeutic purposes, including (but not limited to) the treatment of expansion headaches, upset stomach, blood circulation, skin disorders and fever.  (Perhaps a post on kuzu remedies is in order…) It’s good stuff.

If you’re not suffering from any of these ailments, it’s still not a bad idea to put some kuzu in your homemade preserves, if nothing else for culinary purposes.  Just be sure to make a slurry with the kuzu by dissolving it in a little water and then bring whatever fruit you’ve added it to to a boil, or else the kuzu won’t be able to work its magic.

If you can’t find kuzu or don’t want to wait to get it, reduce the preserve for a longer period of time over the heat.  Regular arrowroot powder is an option as well, but the consistency will get stringy-gummy, which I don’t find appetizing at all.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

I kept mine simple this time by leaving out any spices in order to let the vanilla stand out.  In the past, however, I’ve made it warm and spicy by adding cinnamon, star anise and clove.  See what suits you and feel free to play around with it.  I imagine fresh ginger would be a nice addition as well.

Makes about 16 ounces

Ingredients:

1 quart Damson plums, pitted and roughly chopped

1/3 cup good quality blueberry juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or half a vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vodka, lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Optional Spices: 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 4 cloves

2 teaspoons kuzu + 2 teaspoons water

What to do:

Place all ingredients, except for kuzu, in a medium pot (heavy-bottomed is best) over medium-low heat.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

 

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to very low and simmer for 1 hour, until the plums have broken down and the liquid has reduced.  Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure there is no sticking to the pot.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Make a slurry with the kuzu by dissolving it in the 2 teaspoons of water.   Add to simmering plums and mix thoroughly.  Bring plums to a low boil and let continue for about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until the liquid is thickened and reduced enough.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick and/or star anise, if using, and pour cooked plums into blender and run until smooth.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Pour into a sterilized jar (or several small jars), seal and refrigerate.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Spread on toast, grain-free biscuits (as pictured) or dollop onto local grass-fed yogurt.  Keeps for 2-3 weeks in refrigerator.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

Rende circa 450ml

Ingredienti:

800 grammi di prugne Damson, snocciolate e tagliate a cubetti

90 ml di succo di mirtillo

1 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia o metà d’un baccello di vaniglia, dimezzato

1-2 cucchiai di sciroppo d’acero

1 cucchiaio di vodka, succo di limone fresco o aceto di vino rosso

Spezie Facoltative: 1 bastoncino di canella, 1 anice stellato, 4 chiodi di garofano

2 cucchiaini di kuzu (oppure di amido di mais) + 2 cucchiaini d’acqua

What to do:

Mettete tutti gli ingredienti (tranne il kuzu) in una pentola media (meglio una pesante) sul fuoco medio-basso.

Fate bollire la miscela e abbassate la fiamma quanto possibile e lasciate sobbollire per circa un’ora, finché le prugne non siano molle e il liquido sia abbasstanza ridotto.  Girate circa ogni 15 minuti, stando attenti che le prugne non s’appiccichino al fondo della pentola.

Fate una malta fluida col kuzu ed i 2 cucchiaini d’acqua.  Aggiungete alle prugne cotte e mescolate bene.  Fate bollire lentamente per 5 minuti.  Riducete la fiamma un’altro pò e lasciate sobbollire per altri 20-30 minuti, giusto per far addensare e ridurre abbastanza il liquido.

Togliete dal fornello caldo la pentola e lasciate raffreddare 10-15 minuti.  Togliete il bastoncino di canella e l’anice stellato, se usando, e versate le prugne cotte in un frullatore e fate andare finché la consistenza non sia liscia.

Versate la conserva in un vasetto sterilizzato (o alcuni piccoli), chiudete e mettete in frigo.

Dura circa 2-3 settimane in frigo.

Vanilla Plum Kuzu Preserves - The Clean Gourmet


White Root and Pear Soup (Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera)

This soup is all about fall.  Right now, I am all about fall so this soup makes me happy.  I just spent the weekend in upstate New York among friends and we did all the quintessential fall stuff: apple picking, walks through the fall foliage, sitting by a wood-burning stove and making apple pie.  Fun as it was, by Sunday I was ready again for balance.  That means meals that are nutrient dense with low oil, light protein and complex carbs.  That does not mean, however, no yum.  Luckily when I came home I had some good produce in my fridge that came together really nicely.

The celeriac, turnips and pears are low starch, but have enough to make the soup creamy when blended.  I used light homemade chicken broth- just some chicken bones, celery leaves, garlic, onion and thyme.  If you use vegetable broth, make sure to use one that doesn’t have tomato added to it, not only because of its flavor, but because of its color as well.  I added tomatillos because they become citrusy when cooked, which meant I wouldn’t need to add lemon.  However, if you can’t get your hands on tomatillos, a little lemon juice at the end should be perfect.  I used two Seckel pears, which are small green and red pears that become very sweet and soft when fully ripe.  If you can’t find Seckel pears, Comice is a good substitute.  Fully ripe pears are key for flavor, as well as for lending texture to the soup.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

A note on nutrition: It’s important to eat a variety of colors for optimal nutrition.  White is part of that nutritional “rainbow”.  There are nutrients in white produce, such as quercitin in pears, vitamin C and calcium in turnips, vitamin B-6 and magnesium in celeriac, not to mention plenty of fiber.  I could go on.  Basically, you should eat all the colors, including white (I know…white is not a color, but you get what I mean).

Everything in this soup is seasonal and can be purchased at your farmer’s market (at least here in the Northeast).  If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this soup is very vegan friendly.

Serves 3-4

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil (can sub half with grass-fed butter)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1 medium head celeriac (5-6 inches in diameter), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

4 medium turnips, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

5 cups chicken stock or light vegetable broth

1/4 head green cabbage, light inner leaves, cut into 1 inch chunks

3 tomatillos*, quartered

2 Seckel or 1 Comice pear, well-ripened, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (reserve half for serving)

3 sprigs thyme

To serve:

5 leaves sage, very finely chopped

freshly ground black pepper

eggs, medium boiled (1 per person)

100% rye bread slices, toasted

grass-fed butter, for bread (optional)

What to do:

Sweat garlic and shallot in oil with salt over medium heat in a medium/large pot or dutch oven.  Stir frequently and cook until soft but not brown (lower heat if any browning begins to occur), about 3 minutes.

Add the celery, celeriac and turnips.  Sauté 4-5 minutes to soften the celery and the root vegetables.  Add some water (or white wine, if you have it!) if any browning or sticking begins to occur.

Add stock, cabbage, tomatillos, half the pear and thyme sprigs.  Cover, bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove thyme sprigs and transfer soup to blender.  Start on LOW speed, then gradually raise to high speed and let run until very smooth.  (Thirty seconds with a Vitamix or high-speed blender, about a minute with a regular blender.)  Transfer soup back to the pot and re-warm over low heat while you prep to serve.  Adjust for salt (*and add lemon juice if you didn’t use tomatillos).

Ladle soup into bowls, top with remaining pear chunks, black pepper and a sprinkling of minced sage.  Serve with rye bread and a light smear of grass-fed butter for omega-3s and drop in a medium-boiled egg for protein, aminos and more omega-3 if you’re not vegan.

Leftovers: This soup will last about three days in the refrigerator, but it will thicken.  Reconstitute with a little water and reheat over medium-low flame, stirring frequently.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera:

3-4 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva (potete sostituire metà col burro)

1/2 cucchiaino di sale marino, più altro a piacere

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 scalogno, tritato

1 gambo di sedano, tagliato a pezzi

1 sedano rapa media, pelato e tagliato a cubetti

4 rape medie, pelate e tagliate a cubetti

1,25 litri di brodo di pollo o di verdura leggero (sennò usate dell’acqua)

1/4 del cespo d’un cavolo verde

3 tomatillo, tagliati a quarti (*oppure del succo di limone fresco)

2 pere Seckel oppure 1 pera Comice, tagliate a cubetti (tenete da parte metà dei cubetti)

3 ramoscelli di timo

Per servire:

5 foglie di salvia, tritate

pepe nero

uova sode (uno a testa)

fette di pane integrale di segale (100%), tostate

burro grass-fed, per il pane (secondo la vostra dieta)

Cosa fare:

Saltare in una pentola media/grande l’aglio e lo scalogno nell’olio col sale su fiamma media.  Agitate frequentemente e fate cuocere finché non siano teneri (attenti a non far rosolare), circa tre minuti.

Aggiungete il sedano, il sedano rapa e le rape.  Fateli cuocere altri 4-5 minuti per far ammorbidire le verdure.  Aggiungete un pò d’acqua (o di vino bianco, se ne avete!) se comincino ad attaccare al fondo della pentola.

Aggiungete il brodo, il cavolo, i tomatillo, metà della pera tagliata ed i ramoscelli di timo.  Coprite, fate bollire, poi abbassate il fuoco e lasciate sobbollire finché la verdura non sia morbida, circa 15 minuti.

Togliete il timo e trasferite la minestra al frullatore.  Fatelo andare prima a velocità bassa, alzandola pianamente a velocità alta.  Fatelo andare finché la zuppa non sia liscissima.  (Circa 30 secondi col frullatore potente, 1 minuto col frullatore normale.)  Trasferite la zuppa alla pentola e riscaldatela a fuoco basso mentre preparate per servire.  Aggiustate il sale (*e aggiungete del succo di limone se non avete usato del tomatillo).

Servite la zuppa e guarnite con la pera rimasta, del pepe nero e la salvia tritata.  Se non siete vegani, spalmate le fette di pane col burro grass-fed per omega-3 e aggiungeteci un uovo sodo per proteine, aminoacidi ed altre omega-3.

Per le rimaste:  Questa zuppa dura circa tre giorni in frigo, ma s’addensa.  Ricostituitela con un pò d’acqua e riscaldatela sul fuoco medio-basso, agitando frequentemente.

White Root and Pear Soup - The Clean Gourmet


Simple Nights: Garlicky Arugula and Shaved Vegetable Salad with Poached Egg (Sere Semplici: Insalata di Rucola e Verdura Affettata all’Aglio con Uovo in Camicia)

Woo life got crazy!   Culinary school, work and exercise dominate my days, but I’m having the time of my life!  New York is amazing and I’m loving the people I get to see every day.  Indeed, I no longer dread Mondays :).

Dinners lately often consist of practicing recipes from school or utilizing leftovers from class to make new dishes.  I’ll also whip up something simple like tonight’s dinner.

Raw garlic, radish and celery are very cleansing and are a refreshing way to start the week.  Also, using a mandolin makes prep go twice as fast and makes cuts look beautiful without fail.  (I love OXO’s Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer, because it’s small and light, but you get three settings and it locks for safe storage.)  If you are vegan and don’t eat eggs, I would recommend some white beans cooked with minced fresh rosemary and black pepper.

Proportions are not terribly important here, but I’ve put suggested amounts based on what I used tonight.  Feel free to switch up the veg as well!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

For the Garlicky Arugula and Shaved Vegetable Salad:

4-5 cloves garlic

juice of 1 medium lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

pinch salt

arugula

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced*

1 6-inch piece daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced*

3 red radishes, thinly sliced*

2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal*

1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal*

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the poached eggs:

egg(s) (as many as you and whoever is with you prefers)

apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Organic whole wheat English muffin or whole grain bread, toasted

What to do:

Whisk together raw garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt.  Set aside.

Assemble the arugula, cucumber, daikon, red radish, carrot and celery on each plate.

Carefully crack eggs into individual cups, ensuring that the yolks don’t break.

Bring a small to medium pot (depending on how many eggs you’re poaching) of water to a boil.  Add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt.  Turn flame under water down to a low simmer and slowly lower eggs into water.   Use a spoon to gather the whites around their yolks.  Simmer 3-4 minutes, until whites are set.  Scoop eggs out with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plate in order to drain excess water.

Prepare toast and set on plates.  Top with poached egg and season with salt.  Give the dressing another whisk and drizzle over salad and egg.  Finish with some cracked black pepper.

*Use a mandolin to quickly make consistent and beautiful thin slices.

Garlicky Arugula and Shaved Vegetable Salad with Poached Egg - The Clean Gourmet

Insalata di Rucola e Verdura Affettata all’Aglio con Uovo in Camicia:

(2-3 porzioni)

Ingredienti:

Per l’Insalata di Rucola con Verdura Affettata all’Aglio:

4-5 spicchi d’aglio

succo di un limone

1-2 cucchiai d’olio di oliva extra vergine (aggiustate secondo le vostre preferenze)

pizzico di sale

rucola

1 cetriolo, pelato e tagliato a fette sottili*

1 pezzo di ravanello daikon, pelato e tagliato a fette sottili*

3 ravanelli, tagliati a fette sottili*

2 carote medie, pelate e tagliate a fette sottili al diagonale*

1 gambo di sedano, tagliato a fette sottili al diagonale*

pepe nero, a piacere

Per le uova in camicia:

uovo(a) (quante ne servono secondo gli appetiti)

aceto di mele o di vino bianco

sale e pepe nero, a piacere

pane integrale, tostato

Cosa fare:

Battete insieme l’aglio crudo, il succo di limone, l’olio d’oliva e il sale.  Mettetelo da parte.

Montate della rucola, del cetriolo, del ravanello daikon, del ravanello, della carota e del sedano su ogni piatto.

Delicatamente aprite le uova dentro tazze separate, facendo cura di non rompere i tuorli.

Fate bollire dell’acqua in una pentola piccola o media (secondo quante uova fate).  Aggiungete un goccio d’aceto e un pizzico di sale.  Abbassate il fuoco sotto l’acqua, giusto che si faccia poche bollicine.  Abbassate le uova e usate un cucchiaio per radunare gli albumi intorno ai propri tuorli.   Lasciate cuocere 3-4 minute, finché gli albumi non siano sodi.  Usate una mestola perforata per rimuovere le uova e fatele scolare su un panno da cucina pulito.

Tostate il pane e mettete una o due fette su ogni piatto con sopra le uova.  Metteteci del sale a piacere.  Battete l’olio e l’aceto all’aglio un’altra volta e gocciolatelo sull’insalata e sulle uova.  Finite con del pepe nero fresco a piacere.

*Usate il mandolino per fare velocemente le fette consistenti e belle.

Garlicky Arugula and Shaved Vegetable Salad with Poached Egg - The Clean Gourmet

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Winter Citrus and Escarole Salad (Insalata Invernale di Agrumi e Scarola)

This is a result of healthy/seasonal food cravings after having an heavy lunch this past Sunday.  It completely hit the spot…If you want to be “fancy” you can serve at as in the picture, but feel free to chop up the escarole and orange for easier communal serving.

This is a good side to accompany a white fish, cannellini beans or marinated tempeh.  I like the balance of multiple acids, which is why I use lemon juice over oranges with a touch of apple cider vinegar to balance the lemon.  However, if you don’t have any good apple cider vinegar on hand, I recommend you just use more lemon juice in its place.

I highly recommend that you mix the dressing before preparing the vegetables to allow the flavors to marry and to allow the dried mint to open up in the liquid.  Also, be sure to rinse the escarole well as it can be quite sandy.

I hope you enjoy my first NY recipe!

What you need:

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons walnut or extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or more lemon juice)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

juice from 1 tablespoon grated ginger (simply squeeze it in the palm of your hand or through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and discard the fiber)

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 1 shallot)

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

1 head escarole, leaves removed from core, well rinsed and dried in a salad spinner or on a clean dish towel

1 orange, peel and pith removed with your knife and sliced into 1/4″ slices

5 radishes, thinly sliced

chia seeds, for sprinkling

What to do:

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Assembly:*

Arrange in layers: escarole leaf, orange slice, radish slice.  Repeat three times per plate.

Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle chia seeds.

*You can also chop the escarole leaves and quarter the orange slices to toss in a communal bowl with the radish slices, dressing and chia seeds.

Insalata Invernale di Agrumi e Scarola:

Cosa serve:

Per la salsa:

2 cucchiai di succo di limone

2 cucchiai d’olio di noce o extra vergine d’oliva

1 cucchiaio d’aceto di mele

1 cucchiaio di sciroppo d’acero

succo d’un cucchiaio di zenzero grattugiato (semplicemente stringetelo tra i palmi e raccogliete il succo, scartando le fibre)

2 cucchiai di scalogno, tritato (circa un scalogno)

1/2 cucchiaino di menta essiccata

1/2 cucchiaino di sale marino

pepe nero macinato

Per l’insalata:

1 grappolo di scarola, foglie separate dal torsolo e ben lavate ed asciugate (consiglio di asciugarle in una centrifuga scolaverdure o in uno strofinaccio)

1 arancia, pelata (inclusa la parte fibrosa) e tagliata in fette da circa un centimetro

5 ravanelli, affettate sottilmente

semi di cia, per cospargere

Cosa fare:

Frustate gli ingredienti per la salsa in una scodella piccola e mettete da parte.

Preparazione:*

Mettete in strati su ogni piatto: una foglia di scarola, una fetta d’arancia ed una fetta di ravanello.  Ripetete tre volte per ogni piatto.

Fate cadere gocce di salsa e cospargete i semi di cia sulla verdura.

*Potete anche servire in un’insalatiera grande, tagliando la scarola e facendo pezzetti d’arancia per unire al ravanello, la salsa ed i semi di cia.

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Mexican Wild Rice Salad (Insalata di Riso Selvatico alla Messicana)

I finally made the move to NY to begin the Chef’s Training Program at The Natural Gourmet Institute and once again have INTERNET!  Here is the last meal I made pre-move…a whole foods approach to Ameri-Mex fare.   It is both winter and summer friendly…serve it warm in the winter (leftovers sauté nicely) or cold in the summer (great for picnics and barbecues).  Add the jalapeño if you like some heat.

Wild rice is especially high in fiber and vitamins compared to other types of rice (it’s not really a rice, actually) and yes, it’s gluten free.  I hear the Native American hand cultivated wild rice is the best in quality, nutrition and taste, but I have yet to try it.  In the meantime, I use the common black variety.

About the corn…if it’s summer, get it fresh, slice the kernels right off the cob and throw it in the water with the asparagus.  However, this time of year you’ll want to go ahead and get it frozen.  Don’t worry about cooking it, it will thaw as the rice cooks and especially once it’s tossed with the warm rice.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice, soaked for 2-8 hours and rinsed

3 cups light vegetable broth or well salted water

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 heads Belgian endive (red or white), cut into 1/2″ slices

1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 golden beet*, peeled and chopped into small chunks

1 bunch fresh asparagus, stems snapped off and the rest cut into 1″ pieces

juice of 1 large (or 1 1/2 small) lemons

salt and black pepper, to taste

avocado, to serve

cilantro, rinsed well and finely chopped

What to do:

Begin to cook soaked wild rice in the broth or water, covered, in a medium pot.

In the meantime, place olive oil, endive, corn (if using frozen), jalapeño, cumin and thyme in a medium bowl and toss together.

After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, add the beet chunks.  After 10 more minutes, begin to test the rice for doneness.  Once the rice is just a few minutes from doneness, add the asparagus (and corn if using fresh) and let steam with the rice.

Test the rice, asparagus and beet chunks to ensure doneness.  Pour into a strainer to allow everything to cool and to let any excess water drain off (about 10 minutes).

Add cooled rice, lemon juice, salt and pepper to bowl with vegetables.  Toss gently and serve with sliced avocado and cilantro.

Great alongside roasted tomatillos and “refried” black beans :).

*Unfortunately, I didn’t have yellow beet for this photo and had to use turnip instead.

Mexican Wild Rice Salad - The Clean Gourmet

Insalata di Riso Selvatico alla Messicana:

4-6 porzioni

Ingredienti:

200 gr di riso selvatico, impregnato per 2-6 ore e sciacquato

700 ml di brodo leggero oppure d’acqua salata

2 cucchiaini di olio d’oliva extra vergine

2 indivie, tagliate in pezzi a 1 cm

175 gr di mais fresco o 200 gr di mais surgelato

1 peperoncino fresco, tritato coi semi tolti (facoltativo)

1 cucchiaino di cumino in polvere

2 cucchiaini di timo fresco, tritato

1 barbabietola gialla, pelata e tagliata in cubetti

1 grappolo di asparagi, tagliati in pezzi da 2 cm coi gambi rimossi

succo di un limone grande

sale e pepe, a piacere

avocado, per servire

coriandolo fresco, tritato

Cosa fare:

Fate cuocere il riso selvatico nel brodo o nell’acqua, coperto, in una pentola media.

Intanto, metteteci l’olio, l’indivia, il mais (se congelato), il peperone piccante, il coriandolo, il cumino ed il timo in una scodella media e mescolate.

Dopo 15 minuti di cottura, aggiungete i pezzi di barbabietola al riso.  Dopo altri 10 minuti, cominciate a controllare il riso per la cottura.  Poco prima che sia pronto il riso, aggiungete i pezzi d’asparagi (ed il mais se usando fresco) e fateli ammorbidire col riso.

Controllate il riso e l’altra verdura per la cottura.  Scolate e lasciate raffreddare per una decina di minuti nel colino.

Unite il cotto al crudo ed aggiungete il succo di limone, del sale e del pepe.  Agitate e servite con delle fette d’avocado.

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