The Best Green Goddess Dressing

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Spring is here and it’s time to celebrate all things green! Herbs, lettuces, and green alliums are all to be celebrated for the next few months and Green Goddess salad is the perfect way to enjoy all of those things.

Green Goddess Dressing is Caesar’s herby cousin that makes even salad-phobes LOVE salad.  Creamy, herby, and slightly umami, Green Goddess makes your spring lettuces satisfying and far from austere.

This recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, so if you’re not feeding a crowd, make a batch for the week and use as needed.

The Best Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 1 3/4 cups dressing

For the dressing:

2/3 cup fabanaise or regular high quality mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain grass-fed kefir or yogurt
1/4 cup chopped chives or scallions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley or chervil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 small garlic clove (or 1/2 regular clove)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients in blender until uniform and smooth, about 1 minute.  Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

For the salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped or mixed spring greens

1 head endive, sliced

1 greenhouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

1/4 cup packed sun-dried tomatoes, small dice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toasted sunflower seeds

Croutons (optional)

Toss salad ingredients with as much dressing as you’d like and serve immediately.  Keep any unused dressing in an airtight container and store for up to one week.


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.

 

 


Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

If you have tons of tomatoes, this is a great way to preserve them.  I make this sauce every August/September when I’m drowning in tomatoes and peppers, picked ripe from local vines.  None may go to waste!
Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Simmering tomatoes with olive oil makes the naturally occurring lycopene and carotenoids much more available for absorption by the body.  The longer, the better!

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Use this as a dipping sauce, pasta sauce or eat is alone as a soup.

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce:

Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon high quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

2 large heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (include skins and guts)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 turns black pepper

1/2 cup creamy homemade almond milk or walnut milk (whole milk if you’re okay with dairy)

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Start by roasting your pepper:  Place pepper on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in your broiler.  Once you see dark browning/blackening, turn the pepper and repeat once or twice until blackened all over (should take about 10 minutes per side).  Remove pepper from oven and place in closed paper bag or covered bowl for 15 minutes to steam.  Remove blackened skins.

Sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan until golden.  Add roasted pepper, tomatoes and salt.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

Blend simmered ingredients on high in blender until smooth.  Add nut milk and black pepper.  Continue to purée until silky smooth.  Transfer to a container or bowl and stir in basil.

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet


Quinoa Pilaf with Strawberries, Jalapeño and Mint

Quinoa Pilaf with Strawberries, Jalapeño and Mint - The Clean Gourmet Strawberry season ends quickly after it arrives, so when it’s here I try to enjoy strawberries in every way possible- sweet or savory.  This salad is probably my favorite way to enjoy them.  A hint of jalapeño for kick, pistachio for crunch and the tang of lime and mint perfectly round out the strawberries.  I do recommend chilling a bottle of white wine before you get this going… Since quinoa is a complete protein, as well as a source of low glycemic carbohydrates, and the nuts/feta provides fat, this dish qualifies as a complete meal on it’s own or as a satisfying accompaniment to lean proteins or grilled vegetables. I’ve provided detailed instructions on how to get fluffy pilaf-style quinoa.  If you aren’t a perfectionist or are in a hurry, feel free to cook the quinoa as you normally would. Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa 1 3/4 cups hot water sea salt 1/2 quart strawberries, small/medium dice (I like to quarter a few for presentation 🙂 ) 1 shallot, fine dice/mince 1 jalapeño pepper, fine dice/mince handful fresh mint, chiffonade handful fresh parsley, basil or tarragon, finely chopped zest and juice of 1 lime (a little more than a tablespoon of juice) 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for kale 4 cups baby kale, or cut lacinato kale fresh lemon juice, for kale 2 ounces goat cheese or feta, crumbled 1/4 cup whole pistachios What to do: Rinse quinoa to remove the bitter-soapy coating called saponin (unless your quinoa says “pre-washed”).  Drain thoroughly and toast in 1.5 quart saucepan until dry and starting to smell toasty.  Pour in hot water and a pinch of sea salt, stir and cover.  Reduce heat to low and cook about 15 minutes, until a fork scraping the bottom shows no water.  Turn off heat and let steam, covered, for 10 minutes and then uncovered for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and you’ve got perfect quinoa! Perfect Quinoa for Pilafs - The Clean Gourmet While the quinoa cools begin to prep other ingredients. Add strawberries, shallot, jalapeño, herbs, olive oil, lime zest/juice and a pinch of salt to quinoa and toss gently.  In a medium bowl, toss kale with a little olive oil, lemon and salt.  Top with quinoa mixture and garnish with pistachios and goat cheese.  Here you can either serve it nice and pretty with strawberry quarters and a little mint or just mix it all together. Strawberry, Mint and Jalapeno Quinoa Pilaf - The Clean Gourmet


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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Summer Cold Green Bean Salad

This is a pretty simple salad but I thought I’d share it anyway.  You can easily play with this by adding things like walnuts, goat cheese or olives.  I’ve kept it clean by leaving out oil, but feel free to add some.

The picture is of Version 1, but I thought I’d include the recipe for Version 2 as I did it a while ago and really enjoyed it.

Serves 4

What you need:

10 oz FRESH green beans, ends trimmed

2 heirloom tomatoes, diced

Salt and Pepper

Version 1:

Handful sweet basil, torn into pieces

2 endives, chopped in thirds and leaves separated

Balsamic

Version 2:

Handful fresh dill, minced

1-2 oz goat cheese

Fresh lemon juice

Red wine vinegar

What to do:

Trim green beans and blanch in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes.  Strain and let cool.

While green beans are cooling, put tomatoes in medium-sized bowl and add the acid ingredients (Version 1: balsamic; Version 2: lemon juice and red wine vinegar) and oil, if using.

Once beans are cooled, add to bowl along with endives and basil for Version 1 or goat cheese and dill for Version 2.  Season salt and pepper and toss to coat.

You can either serve immediately or let marinate for a few hours.

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