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!


Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote

My family and I wanted a festive way to end the Thanksgiving holiday that didn’t involve wheat or a ton of saturated fat, especially after all of the heavy, inflammatory food and drink of the holidays.  Also, there was a bag of flax in the fridge that I wanted to use up as flax, unlike chia, is very perishable and should not be used more than a few months after it’s been purchased.  These old stand-bys are wheat-free (and gluten-free if you use gluten-free oat flour) and full of fiber and omegas, thanks to the ground flaxseed and nutrient-rich oil, and so they called my name.

Alone, these pancakes have a slightly nutty taste, which makes them a tasty canvas for adding different toppings according to the seasons.  To add an autumnal twist, I whipped up a spiced apple compote, which was perfect.

If the apple compote alone is not sweet enough for your pancakes, a drizzle of grade B maple syrup, which is more nutrient-dense and flavorful than grade A, is a good way to sweeten things up.  I also suggest swapping out the saturated fat for protein by using a creamy dollop of 2% Greek yogurt in place of butter.

I hope you enjoy this decadent, yet healthful way to end the fall!

Serves 6

For the Spiced Apple Compote:

Ingredients:

3 apples, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons cinnamon

5 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons maple syrup, preferably grade B

What to do:

Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote - The Clean Gourmet

Place all ingredients in a small-medium pot, cover and bring to a gentle boil.  Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and tilt lid.  Continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until apples are soft and liquid has reduced to a syrup.

While the apples simmer, prepare the pancakes:

For the Oat and Flax Pancakes:

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour (preferably gluten-free)

1/2 cup cold milled flaxseed

1/2 cup potato starch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1/4 cup flax, olive or grapeseed oil 

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups almond milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)

butter or avocado oil, for cooking

2% Greek yogurt, to serve

grade B maple syrup, to serve

What to do:

In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, ground flaxseed, potato starch, baking powder, and cinnamon.

Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote - The Clean Gourmet

In a separate large bowl, beat eggs with whisk.  Next, add sugar and oil and whisk well to make fluffy.  Finally, add buttermilk or almond milk-lemon mixture.  Whisk until frothy.

Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote - The Clean Gourmet

Pour dry ingredients into the large bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (do NOT overmix- a few flour clumps are fine).  Don’t worry if the batter seems thin.

Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote - The Clean Gourmet

Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat for five minutes (yes, five minutes) to ensure thorough heating.  In the meantime, let the batter stand.  The ground flaxseed will congeal and cause the batter to thicken a bit.

Oat and Flax Pancakes with Spiced Apple Compote - The Clean Gourmet

Pour 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil in the pan and swirl to cover.  Grab a 1/4 cup measure or ladle and use it to scoop drops of batter into the pan.  Once each drop of batter is bubbling (about 2 minutes), flip and cook for another minute or two.

Serve pancakes immediately or place in a 200F degree oven on a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet.  Top pancakes with apple compote, yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Downloadable/Printable Version


Gingered Fennel, Pea and Apple Slaw (Insalata di Finocchio, Piselli e Mela allo Zenzero)

I’m trying to incorporate more raw vegetables into my diet, as well as learn to use sumac, a lemony spice that is common in Persian cooking.  I came up with a bright and refreshing slaw that utilizes some seasonal fall produce: apples and fennel.

While it’s best to let the dressing sit so the ginger and lemon flavors develop, the slaw is best served immediately while the vegetables are brightly colored and crisp.

A last-minute way to thaw the peas is to put them in a strainer and run warm water over them for about 1-2 minutes.

For the salad:

1 head fennel, halved, cut into thirds and thinly sliced

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 small apple, quartered and thinly sliced

For the dressing:

1/4-inch piece peeled ginger, grated

2 teaspoons lemon oil or EVOO with zest of one lemon

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sumac

salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl and let rest for about an hour.  Toss with salad and serve immediately.

Gingered Fennel and Apple Slaw - The Clean Gourmet

Insalata di Finocchio, Piselli e Mela allo Zenzero:

Per l’insalata:

1 finocchio, dimezzato e tagliato in terzi e a fette sottili

1 tazza di piselli scongelati

1 mela piccola, tagliata in quarti e a fette sottili

Per il condimento:

un pezzo (circa 2-3 cm) di zenzero fresco, pelato e grattugiato

2 cucchiaini d’olio al limone oppure di olio extravergine d’oliva con la scorza di un limone

1 cucchiaio d’aceto di vino rosso

1 cucchiaino di sommacco

sale e pepe a tuo piacimento

Cosa fare:

Frustate in una scodella le ingredienti per il condimento e lasciare riposare per circa un’ora.  Unite con l’insalata e servitela subito.


Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal (Avena Semi-Intera alla Mela Selvatica)

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Yes!  You can eat crab apples!  They’re super cheap and, despite their super tartness when raw, are sweeter than regular apples when cooked.  The best place to find these is at your local farmer’s market (or on your neglected apple tree).  If you can’t find crab apples, one or two regular apples work too :).

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup steel-cut oats

4 cups water

pinch salt

1 banana, mashed or thinly sliced

4-5 crab apples, cored and small/medium dice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup raisins and/or goji berries

about 1/2 cup chopped pecans or whole pumpkin seeds

Milk or almond milk, to serve

What to do:

Bring water, oats and salt to a boil in a covered medium-sized saucepan.  Once to a boil, uncover and cook at boiling for about 2 minutes and then turn heat to low.

Add the crab apples apples and banana.  Cook for 15 minutes, then and add spices and raisins.

Cook another 10 minutes, or until oats are cooked and most of the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and stir in nuts.

Serve with milk or almond milk and enjoy warm.

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Avena Semi-Intera alla Mela Selvatica:

4-6 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1 tazza di avena semi-intera

4 tazze d’acqua

pizzico di sale

1 banana, passata o tagliata in pezzi sottili

4-5 mele selvatiche, snocciolate e tagliate in pezzi piccoli

1 cucchiaino di cannella

1/2 cucchiano di chiodo di garofano

pizzico di noce moscato

pizzico di pepe della Giamaica

1/2 tazza d’uvetta e/oppure di goji

circa 1/2 tazza di noci pecan o noci, a pezzetti

Latte o latte di mandorle, per servire

Cosa Fare:

Fate bollire acqua, avena e sale in una pentola media.  Appena bollente, scoprite e continuate a far cuocere per circa 2 minuti prima di abbassare la temperatura.

Aggiungete le mele selvatiche e la banana.  Fate cuocere altri 15 minuti quindi aggiungete le spezie e l’uvetta.

Dopo 10 minuti, o quando la maggior parte dell’acqua sia assorbita, sarà pronta.  Spegnete il fuoco e aggiungete le noci pecan.

Servite con latte o latte di mandorle, oppure lasciatelo raffreddare prima di mettere in frigo.  Dura 5-6 giorni.

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Downloadable/Printable Version