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.


Creamy Indonesian Split Pea Curry with Lime Scented Yogurt

I love a good curry and I always have a variety of legumes on hand.  Indonesian curry is milder than Indian curry, so if you think you don’t like curry, you might actually like this.

To brighten up the curry, I add a dollop of zesty lime scented yogurt to each bowl just before serving.  For this, I use the best quality, grass fed yogurt made by Maple Hill Creamery.  Not only is the flavor of their certified 100% organic grass-fed dairy superior, but the nutritional benefits can’t be beat. Rather than grazing on a diet based on grain, corn, soy, or other feed which is not ideal and can cause the cows myriad health problems stemming from general inflammation, Maple Hill’s cows graze on a natural diet of meadow grasses, which keeps them in optimal health.  This means their bodies are not acidic, inflamed, and unhealthy.  Why does this matter to you?  Dairy from a healthy certified organic 100% grass-fed and antibiotic-free cow means the milkfat is very high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s (the stuff salmon, flax, and walnuts are prized
for) and also has higher levels of beautifying beta-carotene and ALA.

Bottom line: grass fed dairy not only means happier, healthier cows, but it also means happier, healthier you :D.

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Creamy Indonesian Split Pea Curry with Lime Scented Yogurt

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup dried yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed

1 1/2 cups water + 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1/2-1 lime)

2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (vegetable is fine for vegetarian version)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 large carrot, medium dice (about 1 cup cut)

2/3 cup Maple Hill Creamery Grass Fed Plain Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil

zest of 1 lime + 1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from about 1-inch piece

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 turns black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)

1 medium onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic, well smashed and peeled

1/3 cup unsweetened grated coconut

4 scallions, thin bias cut, to serve

cilantro or micro cilantro, to serve

Instructions:

Soak split peas in salted water with lime for about an hour. Add peas to 2-quart pot with broth and chopped carrot.  Simmer peas until soft and breaking apart, about 30 minutes.

Mix Greek yogurt with lime zest and juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a medium pan over medium low heat and sauté the ginger, onion, and garlic until soft, about 4 minutes.   Reduce heat to low and add the turmeric, cumin, and cayenne and sauté another 30 seconds.  Stir in coconut milk and grated coconut and let meld in the pan five minutes. Add the sautéed mixture to the split peas.

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To make extra creamy, use an immersion blender to partially purée the peas.  Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender and run until smooth; stir back into pot with the unblended soup.

Serve over jasmine rice and top with a dollop of lime scented yogurt and a sprinkling of scallion and cilantro.

Indonesian Split Pea Curry - The Clean Gourmet

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

 

 


Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini + Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Bison (or Buffalo) is a sustainable alternative to beef, as bison don’t graze nearly as intensely as cattle and, since they are native to North America, are adapted to the American climate and natural food sources.  This means less land and energy needed for shelter/heating and we don’t need to spend gallons of water growing their food.

Aside from the ecological bonuses of eating bison rather than beef, the health benefits of bison meat include lower saturated fat, more omega 3s, more protein, and fewer calories. Another plus, it’s illegal to administer growth hormones to bison in the U.S and antibiotics are rarely needed since they’ve evolved to survive in North America.

So choose bison next time a recipe calls for beef!  Bison’s flavor is similar to, if not better than, beef and it’s becoming more and more readily available.

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Before you start working on the noodles, do the Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber.  It takes five minutes to prepare and it’ll be perfect within 30 minutes, just when you’ve finished your colorful bowl of noodles.

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This answer to take out is a fun way to enjoy ground bison, but feel free to substitute the meat with tempeh for vegetarians.

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Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 pound wide rice noodles

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 pound grass fed ground beef or bison (or tempeh if vegan)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut aminos, or 1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1 large carrot, thin matchstick cut or bias cut

1 large zucchini, medium matchstick cut

1 ounce Thai basil or regular basil (about 1 cup picked leaves), stemmed and left whole

juice of 2 limes

3 scallions, bias cut (reserve some of the green cuts for garnish)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, to finish

What to do:

Cook wide rice noodles 9 minutes (may vary depending on the brand you buy- check package directions), and toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Sauté ground meat in oil in a large high sided skillet over high heat.  Break it up as it cooks, but be careful not to agitate too much- you want to allow the meat to brown.  Season with salt and remove from pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and add to noodles, trying to keep drippings in the pan.

In the same pan you used to cook the meat, sauté onion, ginger, and garlic in drippings and remaining 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.  Deglaze pan with coconut aminos and fish sauce. Add carrot and zucchini and continue to cook, tossing frequently, about 5-8 minutes or until softened.  Add vegetables to noodles, along with basil, lime juice and scallion.  Toss and serve.  Garnish with reserved scallion and more sesame seeds or some roasted peanuts.

Great with sesame roasted broccoli and spicy quick pickled cucumber (below).

Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients:

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarter moons

1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

pinch red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

What to do:

Combine all ingredients, cover, and let marinate 20 minutes or overnight.

 


Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie - The Clean Gourmet

Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie

Cucumber is actually a melon so, technically, the name is redundant, but no one probably cares.  I love a good theme, and cucumber and cantaloupe fit the melon theme perfectly.

I love cantaloupe (like other melons) for smoothies because its mellow sugar and flavor let you still appreciate a good homemade nut milk, while the low acidity makes for a super creamy smoothie that could almost pass off as a milkshake.

If you can’t have dairy, sub the yogurt with coconut cream.  You can either buy a can of it or open a can of regular coconut milk and scoop out the solids (a.k.a. the cream) that have separated from the liquid.

Note: If your cantaloupe and cucumber aren’t frozen, I recommend adding a few cubes of ice or frozen nut milk.

Cucumber Melon Mint Smoothie

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients:

⅔ cup nut milk (I love almond sesame milk from scratch for this smoothie) or grass fed cow’s milk

1 ½ cups cantaloupe chunks (ideally frozen)

½ medium cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks (ideally frozen)

1 teaspoon cold milled flaxseed

4 fresh mint leaves

½ teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder

⅓ cup yogurt or 1/4 cup coconut cream

1 Medjool date

Optional: 1 scoop protein powder (I use Tera’s Whey Grass Fed Plain)

What to do:

Place all ingredients in blender and run at high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

 


Greek Summer Vegetable Gratin - The Clean Gourmet

Greek Style Summer Vegetable Gratin (Plus a Bonus: Greek Style Lemon Potatoes)

I live in a very Greek neighborhood of Queens, but rarely go out to eat.  That’s not to say I’m not piqued by what I see in the specialized grocery stores in my area.  Seasonal produce, an entire wall of olive oils, SIXTEEN kinds of fresh feta, and ready meals that are not fried chicken and mushy macaroni salad, name a few examples.

This is usually a quick mid-week dinner, served alongside sautéed broccoli rabe or a simple salad with oregano and red wine vinaigrette.  However, if we want something heartier, I’ll also make some classic Greek style lemon potatoes.  Bonus! I’ve included said recipe below- no photo, but trust me, they’re delish ;).

Greek Style Summer Vegetable Gratin

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

⅓ cup quinoa (or ½ pound ground lamb, turkey, or beef for grain free/high protein version)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp sweet paprika

¼ tsp ground allspice (ground clove is a good substitute)

¼ teaspoon crushed coriander

¼ teaspoon dried dill

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper (I do about 6 turns on a pepper mill)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small/medium yellow onion, small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds (cut on the bias if your carrots are skinny)

⅓ cup vegetable or chicken broth

14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp honey

2 medium zucchini or summer squash

1 small eggplant (I like white, Japanese, or Italian varieties)

Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

For the topping:

2 eggs

½ cup grated Parmesan

⅔ cup 2% Greek yogurt

A few grinds black pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook quinoa in 2/3 cup water with a pinch of salt.  If using meat, brown in a pan with a bit of oil over medium/high heat until fully cooked, breaking it up with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks.  Scoop out with slotted spoon and set aside.

Assemble spices (salt, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, coriander, dill, black pepper) in a small bowl or cup and set aside.

Meanwhile, sauté carrots, onion and garlic with olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once soft, add spices and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add broth, zucchini, and eggplant, cover and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.

While the zucchini and eggplant cook, mix eggs, Parmesan, yogurt, and black pepper for topping in a small/medium bowl and set aside.

Add tomatoes, cooked quinoa (or meat), and honey and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, covered, until vegetables are just tender.

Pour into casserole dish and spread yogurt topping over stew.  (If your pan is oven safe, skip a step and pour the yogurt topping right over stew in the pan you’re cooking in.)

Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, until topping is set.  Sprinkle with a generous amount of parsley and serve.

Inspired by: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/health/nutrition/11recipehealth.html?ref=kale

Greek Style Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss all ingredients together in a baking dish and bake one hour, or until potatoes are fork tender.

 

 


Baharat Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers - The Clean Gourmet

Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Sorghum is a gluten free grain that has yet to gain in popularity, but should be.  It’s a round grain that looks a lot like Israeli cous cous and has a mild enough flavor that it makes a seamless whole grain alternative.  Sorghum does take a while to cook, so I recommend soaking it overnight, like you would beans, before cooking.  If you have a pressure cooker, use it to prepare perfectly tender sorghum in a fraction of the time.

Of course, if you’re not into exotic ingredients or can’t conveniently access sorghum, cous cous or rice will sub just fine in this recipe.  But PLEASE, try the sorghum!  Like most things, you can buy it online.

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Since I cannot stand wasting food, I macerated the tomato guts with a bit of balsamic vinegar and salt to make a dressing/topping for a side salad, along with some ribbons of zucchini, which is so abundant this time of year :).

Spiced Lamb and Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 bell peppers, cut vertically in half, gutted and blanched 3 minutes in boiling water

4 beefsteak tomatoes, tops removed and gutted

1 cup sorghum, soaked overnight (or 2 cups cooked Isreali cous cous or rice are fine substitutes)

1.5 pounds ground lamb

½ medium red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch broccoli rabe, well cleaned and roughly chopped

1 ¾ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

1 tablespoon Ground cumin

1 tablespoon Baharat spice mix

½ teaspoon Garlic powder

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

Panko mix:

⅔ cup panko

1.5 tablespoons harissa paste or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a baking dish with oil or parchment.  Arrange tomatoes and peppers in the dish, hollow side up.

Cook sorghum in boiling water 40 minutes, until tender, and drain. (I like to use a pressure cooker at 10.5 psi for 9 minutes.)

Brown lamb in skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Remove meat with a slotted spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.  Discard grease, but do not wash out the pan.

Add onion and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes, then add garlic and broccoli rabe and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt, cumin, and baharat.  Add lamb, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley.

Combine panko mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Stuff peppers and tomatoes with lamb mixture and top with panko.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

 


Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup

This soup is a celebration of summer corn- with few ingredients the creamy, sweet corn flavor really is what it’s about.  Adaptable for a fancy first course, a simple summer dinner, or a side for summer grilling, Creamy Corn Soup is a handy chameleon to have in your recipe bank.

This weekend, it was a simple Sunday dinner, accompanied by a Boston leaf, radish, and walnut salad.  I also made a quick sea bean chutney to dollop into the soup, as well as seared tempeh cubes for light protein.

For another winning dinner, drop in some seared okra chunks and serve it alongside this pork dish.

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Creamy (Creamless) Summer Corn Soup 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or avocado oil (or better yet, half of each- butter for flavor, avocado oil for cooking properties)

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot

1 whole clove garlic, peeled and quartered

2 ears corn

1/3 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1½ cups florets)

⅛ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cups water

¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

⅛ teaspoon white pepper or finely ground black pepper

Fresh thyme, for serving
What to do:

Remove kernels from corn cobs.  Do not throw out the cobs!

Sweat onion and garlic in butter/oil. Add corn kernels, cobs, cauliflower, thyme and water.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Remove corn cobs from soup, as well as thyme sprigs if using fresh.  Blend soup in high speed blender until very smooth.

Pour into soup bowls and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Serving suggestions:  Top with a dollop of green bean chutney (pictured); chili seasoned seared tempeh cubes; seared okra chunks; or make it a side for roasted/grilled pork loin.

 


Breakfast Beets with Yogurt - The Clean Gourmet

Breakfast Beets with Yogurt

This is the sweet breakfast for savory breakfast fans, but a healthier, yet satisfying alternative for those who prefer a sugary start to their day.

Personally, I don’t tolerate much sugar, including fruit, first thing in the morning, but beets have a low/moderate effect on blood sugar (a.k.a. glycemic load).

If you exercise often, then I highly recommend regularly incorporating beets into your diet, as they’ve been shown to aid in muscle recovery, thereby boosting future performance.

For a dairy-free version, replace the yogurt with a drizzle of cold-pressed flaxseed oil.

Breakfast Beets with Yogurt

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 medium beets, steamed until tender and cut into quarters

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 teaspoon unhulled sesame seeds

Juice of 1 lemon

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup whole Greek yogurt (dairy-free version: 1 tablespoon cold-pressed flaxseed oil)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Chopped toasted nuts and seeds (pictured: pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds)

What to do:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve immediately.