Pumpkin Creamed Kale - The Clean Gourmet

Pumpkin Creamed Kale

Get ready for the holidays, because they’re basically here!  If you want a to “healthify” your holiday a bit, this is a superb way to add some virtue to the spread of candied yams, sugared cranberry sauce, and stuffing.  While those each have a well deserved place on the Thanksgiving table, there should be room for a bit of greenery as well.

Don’t get me wrong; this doesn’t taste “diety” and will certainly hold its own next to the candied yams, stuffing, and the like.  Another bonus, you won’t need more than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Rather than making a traditional roux with butter, flour, and cream, I brown the pumpkin with the shallot and garlic, then I gradually add in the broth until emulsified.  The toasted pumpkin purée, combined with a touch of cashew cream or milk creates a much healthier and nutrient dense alternative to the white béchamel used in most creamed dishes.

Pumpkin Creamed Kale

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons grass fed butter or olive oil

1 medium shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole

1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (ideally from scratch, but canned is fine)

2/3 cup broth (chicken, bone, or vegetable)

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon white pepper  and/or a dash of cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 bunch kale (any kind), stems removed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup cashew creamalmond milk, or grass fed whole milk

Salt, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)

What to do:

Warm a large high sided pan over medium heat.  Add butter or olive oil, shallot, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  Continue to cook, stirring, until shallot is pale and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add pumpkin purée and cook, stirring, until thickened and beginning to darken.  Slowly whisk in broth, stirring constantly, until emulsified with the pumpkin.

Add bay leaf, nutmeg, pepper, and kale.  Mix thoroughly and cover.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until kale is soft, about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat, stir in cashew cream or milk of choice and adjust for salt.  Serve immediately.

(Optional: top with toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish and a little bit of crunch)


Sweet Surrender Grape Preserves

Sweet Surrender Grape Preserves - The Clean Gourmet

I haven’t had a classic PB&J in years because, honestly, I’m not into grape jelly.  Any jelly, really.  Preserves, which contain the whole fruit, are much better.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find grape preserves anywhere.

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Small fruits like grapes, figs, and berries are my favorite, since I prefer to graze on fruit a bit at a time and can never eat a whole apple, pear, or citrus in one sitting.

When I tasted Sweet Surrender grapes after purchasing them for the first time, I was blown away by their flavor and sweetness.  To be honest, it was a bit much for me, as I’m pretty sensitive to sweet.  There was no way that I could get through the whole bag before they spoiled and I will never waste anything if I can help it.  So, with all that natural sweetness in the flesh and pectin in their super thick skins, I figured they’d be perfect for preserves!  No added sugar needed, with just an apple to provide extra pectin for natural gelling power.

The grapes’ robust flavor is further intensified when reducing it to a preserve, which makes it stand up really well to complementary flavors.  I chose to use clove, star anise, and bay leaf.  If you don’t have such spices on hand, I’m sure classic cinnamon and clove would be delicious as well :).

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I don’t know if this recipe is appropriate for canning, as there is no added sugar.  That said, in regards to flavor, the variety of grapes has so much sweetness that you don’t need any added sugar, and the pectin from the apple provides all the thickening you need.

Makes about 1 cup preserves

Ingredients:

2 pounds (1 bag) Sweet Surrender grapes, or other dark, thick skinned sweet grape varietal, such as Concord (see note if using grapes with seeds)

1 small apple, small dice (do not peel)

2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1/2 medium lemon

1/4″ piece bay leaf

2 whole cloves

1/2 star anise

Procedure:

Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium heat.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low, preferably over a flame tamer, and simmer, uncovered, 45-60 minutes.  Stir occasionally and poke the grapes with a fork to help them break down.  When ready, the grapes will be broken down and the liquid syrupy.

Remove bay leaf, cloves, and star anise (unless using a food mill).  Blend with an immersion blender or in a food processor until uniform, but not completely smooth (unless you like that, in which case you should use a blender).  If you are using Concords or other grape varietal with seeds, pass the stewed grapes through a food mill.  You won’t need to remove the spices prior to using a food mill.

Pour into sterilized glass jars, seal, and refrigerate.  I do not know if this recipe is appropriate for shelf stable canning.  Just keep refrigerated for up to one month, or portion and freeze in airtight plastic containers for later use.

 


New Year, New Name (Nuovo Anno, Nuovo Nome)

Happy new year!  I just want to clarify/announce that I’ve decided to rename Pulito e Saporito (“Clean and Flavorful” in Italian) as The Clean Gourmet.  While I loved the name and what it means, it was simply too difficult for anglophones to understand or remember (with good reason).  Since many Italians speak at least some English, I hope that this new name is easily remembered and understood by both nationalities :).  Also, I will continue to translate most of my recipes into Italian and I plan on translating some of the ones that were initially posted without translations.

Have a happy, healthy new year!

 

Buon anno nuovo!  Vorrei giusto chiarificare/annunciare che ho deciso di rinominare Pulito e Saporito come The Clean Gourmet (cioè Il Buongusto Pulito, più o meno…).  Nonostante amassi il nome di prima ed il suo significato, era semplicemente troppo difficile da capire/ricordare per gli anglofoni.  Visto che tanti italiani parlano almeno un pò d’inglese, spero che questo nuovo nome sia facilmente ricordato e capito da tutt’e due le nazionalità :).  Sappiate pure che continuerò a tradurre la maggior parte delle mie ricette in italiano e che ho intenzione di tradurre alcune di quelle che sono state pubblicate senza traduzioni.

Auguri per un anno nuovo di felicità e salute!