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!


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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Chili Tempeh with Rainbow Chard and Mesquite Mash (Tempe al Peperoncino con Bietole Colorate e Purea al Mesquite)

This recipe has a somewhat long list of ingredients, but is actually very simple to prepare.  You can prepare the spices for the marinade the night before and just mix the spices with the liquid and the tempeh in the morning.  The pumpkin seed sprinkle, however, I recommend preparing shortly before serving, so it’s nice and warm.

Mesquite flour is not really a flour, but a meal from the bean pods of the mesquite tree.  Mesquite is commonly used by Native Americans in the southwest part of North America and is very nutrient dense.  It is 25% fiber, 13% protein and is gluten free.  The taste is mildly smoky and somewhat sweet.  Don’t worry, it does not have the strong flavor associated with mesquite barbeque, whose flavor is derived from smoking the wood from the mesquite tree, rather than from ground bean pods.

I hope you like this vegan southwestern take on autumnal food :).

Chili Tempeh with Rainbow Chard and Mesquite Mash - The Clean Gourmet

Serves 4 

What you need:

For the Chili Tempeh:

1 8-oz package tempeh (I used 3-grain)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 T lime juice (from about 2 limes)

1 T apple cider vinegar

2 T grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp smoked paprika (or chipotle chili powder)

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1-2 dashes cayenne pepper (depending on how fresh it is and how much spice you like)

For the Mesquite  Mash:

2 acorn squash, halved

5 oz cooked (about 2/3 cup) chestnuts (could also try pecans, soaked for 2-3 hours)

2 tsp mesquite flour

Cilantro, coarsely chopped, to serve

For the Rainbow Chard:

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped, keeping stems separate

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

salt and pepper, to taste

For the Pumpkin Seed Sprinkle:

2/3 cup RAW pumpkin seeds

1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt (Himalayan or Celtic are great)

What to do:

Prepare the marinade for the tempeh either in a shallow bowl or quart-size plastic bag.  Fillet the tempeh into two flat rectangles.  Cut each fillet into eight strips.  Toss with marinade and place in fridge for 3-8 hours.

For the mesquite mash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place squash halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the flesh.

While the squash is baking, prepare the pumpkin seed sprinkle.  Add raw pumpkin seeds and salt to a small foil-lined baking sheet or oven-proof pan and place on top rack of oven with the squash.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, checking for a light toast (I recommend using a timer, as they burn quickly).  Remove promptly once toasted and lift foil from the pan, to prevent them from burning.

Allow the seeds to cool for a few minutes, then add to food processor.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside.  Simply wipe out the food processor, as you’ll need it for the mesquite mash.

Once the squash is cooked, remove from oven and flip halves cut side up to cool a bit.  Meanwhile, place the chestnuts in the food processor and pulse until you get a small crumble.  Add the mesquite flour and pulse once or twice.  Scoop squash flesh into food processor and pulse until mashed, but not completely smooth.  Pour into bowl, cover with foil and set aside.

For the rainbow chard, heat oil over medium heat in a medium pan and add garlic.  Sauté garlic for 1 minute, add chard stems and sauté another minute.  Add the rest of the chard, broth or water, salt and pepper.  Cover, turn heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the chard is cooking, turn oven to broil setting and place tempeh on a small baking sheet (do NOT use parchment paper, as it will burn under the broiler).  Place on highest rack and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, until slightly crispy (I would use a timer for this as well).

Now you can serve!  Place a dollop of the mesquite mash on a plate, top with rainbow chard and then 2 or 3 strips of chili tempeh.  Garnish with pumpkin seed sprinkle and cilantro.

Tempe al Peperoncino con Bietole Colorate e Purea al Mesquite:

4 porzioni

Cosa Serve:

Per il Tempe al Peperoncino:

1 confezione di tempe (io ho usato quello ai cereali)

3 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

2 cucchiai di succo di lime (da circa 2 lime)

1 cucchiaio di aceto di mele

2 cucchiai d’olio di vinacciolo o d’oliva

1 cucchiaino di sale marino

1 cucchiaino di paprica dolce

2 cucchiaini di paprica affumicata

2 cucchiaini di peperoncino in polvere

1/2 cucchiaino di pepe nero

1-2 pizzichi di peperoncino di Caienna (o a piacere, specialmente se è poco fresco)

Per la Purea al Mesquite:

2 zucchine, dimezzate

150 gm di castagne cotte (oppure di noce pecan, impregnate per 2-3 ore)

2 cucchiaini di farina di mesquite

coriandolo fresco, tritato, per servire

Per le Bietole Colorate:

2 cucchiaini di olio d’oliva extra vergine

4 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 grappolo di bietole colorate, tagliate coi gambi da parte

100 ml di brodo di verdura o d’acqua

sale e pepe, a piacere

Per il Condimento di Semi di Zucca:

1 manciata generosa di semi di zucca crudi

1/2 cucchiaino di sale

Cosa Fare:

Preparate la marinata per il tempe dentro una scodella oppure una sacchetto a gelo.  Tagliate il tempe in due filetti piatti.  Tagliate ogni filetto in otto pezzi.  Unite il tempe con la marinata e lasciate in frigo per 3-8 ore.

Per la purea al mesquite preriscaldate il forno a 200 gradi.  Metteteci le zucchine coi lati tagliati in giù in un vassoio da forno coperto di carta da forno.   Lasciate cuocere per circa 40 minuti, finché una forchetta non lo perfora facilmente.

Mentre le zucchine si cuociono, preparate il condimento di semi di zucca.  Mettete i semi di zucca e il sale in un vassoio da forno piccolo, coperto di carta stagnola e mettetelo in forno con le zucchine, ma sul ripiano più alto.  Lasciate i semi in forno per 5-8 minuti, giusto per tostarli (consiglio usare il contaminuti, dato che si brucino facilmente).  Appena tostati, rimuoverli subito dal forno e sollevate la carta stagnola dal vassoio per prevenire la bruciatura.

Fate i semi raffreddare un pò, poi metteteli nel robot da cucina.  Pulsate giusto per fare una polvere granulare.  Versateli in una scodella piccola e mettere da parte.  Non lavare il robot, perché servirà per la purea al mesquite.

Appena cotte le zucchine, rimuoverli dal forno e rovesciateli per raffreddare un pò.  In tanto che si raffreddino, mettete le castagne nel robot da cucina e pulsate per fare una sbriciolata.  Unite la farina di mesquite e pulsate altre due volte.  Aggiungete la polpa della zucchina e pulsate finché non sia una poltiglia (attenzione che non diventi troppo liscia).  Versate in una ciotola, coprite con carta stagnola e mettete da parte.

Per le bietole, scaldate l’olio in una pentola media sul fuoco medio e aggiungete  l’aglio.   Fate cuocere l’aglio per circa un minuto, aggiungete i pezzi dei gambi e fate cuocere un altro minuto.  Unite gli altri ingredienti.  Coprite, abbassate il fuoco e fate cuocere per 10 minuti, agitando ogni tanto.

Mentre le bietole si cuociono, preriscaldate il forno alla temperatura massima e ponete il tempe su un vassoio da forno piccolo (non usate la carta da forno, perché potrebbe bruciare).  Mettete sul ripiano più alto e fate cuocere per 5-7 minuti per ogni lato.  Dovrebbero essere scuriti, appena prima di bruciati (consiglio di usare il contaminuti).

Ora puoi servire!  Su un piatto mettete un mucchietto di purea di mesquite, delle bietole e 2 o 3 strisce del tempe.  Guarnite col condimento dei semi di zucca e con del coriandolo.

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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.

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“Cheesy” Kale Chips

Yes, I know there is a ton of recipes out there for these, but here is one similar to the version that Trader Joe’s produces, except a little less spicy and less “powdery.”  If I leave anyone with this unattended there won’t be any left for me, so it must be good! Right?

This is one of the very few times that I prefer to use a bagged vegetable over the fresh version.  I prefer the pre-torn, pre-washed kale in this case, as it’s key that the leaves are super dry in order to crisp up efficiently.  You could also use a salad spinner if you’re working with fresh kale, but sometimes I’m just lazy or short on time.

Also, I’m sure that if you have a dehydrator, you could use that instead of the oven, but I don’t have one and am pretty satisfied with the results from using the oven.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1-2 hours in cold water (or hot water for 30 mins if you’re in a bind)

1 small red, orange or yellow bell pepper (4.5 wt oz)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Amino Acids

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil

2 bunches of kale, torn into large pieces, rinsed and spun in a salad spinner

What to do:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Blend all ingredients except for the kale in a mini food processor or high-speed blender for about a minute, until a purée forms.  The purée should not be completely smooth- visible cashew “crumb” is desirable.

Toss mixture with kale in a large bowl until thoroughly coated.  Spread the kale onto the two baking sheets.

Place in oven and bake about 90 minutes, until dehydrated and slightly crispy.  I like to toss halfway through cooking to promote even crisping.


Braised Fennel with Oil-Cured Olives (Finocchio Brasato con Olive)

This is a super simple snack that I whipped up, but would be a great complement to some simply baked or sautéed fish, poultry or tempeh.

I love fennel and I love that it’s good for you, as well as low in calories.  Luckily, it’s a fall/winter vegetable so it’s currently in season!  Unfortunately, my jaw has trouble with it lately in its raw form, so I can only enjoy it cooked.  This was a good way to satisfy my craving in a way that I can enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large head fennel (outer parts removed), halved, cored, cut into fourths and sliced

1 large shallot, quartered and sliced

2/3 cup vegetable broth

6 oil-cured olives (the wrinkly kind)

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

What to do:

Heat oil with a bit of salt in a medium pan over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes, until it begins to soften.

Add fennel, broth and olives.  Cover and turn heat to medium-low.  Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and the broth is reduced.  (If the broth is cooked off before the fennel is soft, add more.)

Once the vegetables are soft, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon and add salt and pepper.  Cook an additional 2 minutes and serve immediately.

Finocchio Brasato con Olive:

Ingredienti:

2 cucchiaini olio d’oliva

1 finocchio, dimezzato, torsolo rimosso, e tagliato in quarti e affettato

1 scalogno grande, tagliato a quarti e tritato

175 ml di brodo di verdura

6 olive (quelle sgualcite)

metà di un limone

sale e pepe

Cosa fare:

Scaldate l’olio con un pò di sale in una padella media sul fuoco medio.  Aggiungete lo scalogno e fate cuocere per 2 minuti, finché cominci ad ammorbidire.

Aggiungete il finocchio, il brodo e le olive.  Coprite e abbassate un pò il fuoco.  Lasciate cuocere per 10-15 minuti, agitando ogni tanto, finché la verdura sia tenera e il brodo sia ridotto.  (Se il brodo si riduca prima della cottura, aggiungete un pò di più.)

Appena tenera la verdura, spruzzateci il limone e insaporite di sale e pepe a piacere.  Fate cuocere altri 2 minuti e servite subito.


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.


Gluten-Free Ricotta Dumplings (Ricotta Gnudi senza Glutine)

These are an adaptation of a recipe I found in Bon Appétit Magazine.  They are great topped with a light tomato sauce, pesto, or just plopped into vegetable purée soups.

In the past I’ve done a spinach version, which is delicious, but this time I just made the plain ones.  In parentheses you’ll see the modifications for the spinach version.

Gluten-Free Ricotta Dumplings

Serves 

Ingredients:

2 cups ricotta (for spinach version sub 1/3 cup of ricotta with mozzarella)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for spinach version)
2/3 cup rice flour or all purpose flour, plus more as needed
(For spinach version add 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and wrung dry.)

What to do:

Mix ricotta, egg, egg yolk, pepper, 1/2 cup Parmesan, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl until well combined.

Add flour; stir just until combined (mixture will be soft and moist, but add more flour by the tablespoonful if it feels really wet).

Dust a rimmed baking sheet or large plate generously with flour. Using a soupspoon, shape heaping spoonfuls of dough into ovals; place on baking sheet and dust with more flour.  Should make 15-20.

Let set in fridge for 15 minutes, or up to a few hours.

Cook dumplings in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring delicately a couple of times, until cooked through and tender, 5-6 minutes (a few minutes after they’ve floated to the surface).

Cooked dumplings will still bounce from the touch, but still be tender.  They should not be mushy.

Strain very slowly or remove from pot with a large slotted spoon.

Ricotta Gnudi Senza Glutine

Porzioni

Ingredienti:

2 tazze di ricotta (se volete fare la versione agli spinaci, sostituire metà tazza con mozzarella grattugiata)

1 uovo intero + 1 tuorlo, sbattuti

1/2 cucchiaino di pepe nero

1/2 tazza di Grana grattugiata

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

2/3 tazza di farina di riso (oppure farina 00)

(Per la versione agli spinaci, circa 200 g di spinaci surgelati, scongelati e torti

Come fare:

Mischiate tutti gli ingredienti, tranne la farina, in una ciotola.

Unite la farina e mischiate, ma non troppo.  Se troppo umida, aggiustate con ancora della farina, poca alla volta.

Infarinate un piatto grande e tenetelo vicino.  Usando un cucchiaio, modellate degli ovali dell’impasto, quindi ponendogli sul piatto infarinato.  Dovreste averne 15-20.

Metteteli in frigo per riposare tra 15 minuti e qualche ora.

In tanto, fate bollire dell’acqua salata in una pentola di taglia media.  Fateli bollire per 5-6 minuti (qualche minuto dopo che inizino a galleggiare), agitandoli delicatamente qualche volta.

Gnudi cotti saranno morbidi ma sodi al tocco.  Non devono essere molli.

Scolateli pianissimo, oppure rimuoverli con un mestolo perforato.


Millet Tabbouleh (Tabbouleh di Miglio)

This is a gluten-free version of the usual bulgur tabbouleh and is great for hot days as it’s served at room temperature or even cold.  I made this without oil to keep it clean, but if you like a richer flavor, you can add a touch of good, preferably unfiltered, olive oil.  I recommend eating with Clotilde Dusoulier’s “Lentil Croquettes” from her cookbook, The French Market Cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 cup millet, sorted for rocks

1/2 onion (white, yellow or red), quartered and thinly sliced

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup mint, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

handful cherry or baby roma tomatoes, sliced

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

unfiltered or flavorful olive oil (optional)

What to do:

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot.  Pour in millet and cook about 20 minutes.

When done, strain and let cool.  (If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, then toast millet with a bit of oil and add about 2 cups of boiling water and simmer for about 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, assemble remaining ingredients and place in medium bowl.  Add millet and toss.  If you prefer a richer flavor, you can drizzle in a bit of good olive oil here.  Serve immediately or place in refrigerator if making ahead of time.

Ingredienti:

1 tazza di miglio

metà cipolla, divisa in quarti e tritata

1 tazza di prezzemolo, tritato fino

1/3 tazza di menta, tritata fina

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritato fino

1 manciata di pomodorini, tagliati a pezzetti

succo di un limone

sale e pepe

olio d’oliva buono, preferibilmente crudo (se vuoi)

Cosa Fare:

Fate bollire dell’acqua salata in una pentola.  Versateci il miglio e fate cuocere per circa 20 minuti.

Appena cotto, scolate e fate raffreddare un pò.  (Se non avete un colino di rete fino, fate tostare il miglio per due minuti nella pentola con un pò d’olio, poi aggiungete 2 tazze d’acqua e fate cuocere per 20 minuti.)

In tanto, mettete gli altri ingredienti in un’insalatiera e girate leggermente.  Unitevi il miglio e l’olio (se lo volete usare) e girate.  Servite immediatamente o mettete nel frigo se lo preparate in anticipo.

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