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.


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.

 


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.

 


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


Matcha Chia Pudding with Toasted Coconut

Matcha is green tea for people who think they don’t like green tea.  It’s bright, fruity and slightly grassy.  While, personally, I like it all- sencha, silver leaf, gunpowder, genmaicha, etc., matcha is special.  Matcha is a powdered form of green tea, which dissolves in water, milk or any other liquid, which means you get more nutrients since you’re eating the whole leaf.  Also, it’s easy to cook with!

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

I like matcha in my morning chia pudding because not only do I get an extra boost of energy on top of my morning cup of brewed green tea, I reap more of the tea’s benefits, because I’m ingesting the whole leaf.  Some of the purported benefits include, but are not limited to: lowered cholesterol, strengthened immune system, increased metabolism, stress reduction and sustained energy that does not end with a crash.

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

With matcha, quality is especially important if you want that bright, zingy flavor.  It should be very bright green and organic. Do not use “culinary” grade, even if you do plan to cook with it (junk in, junk out).  Instead, look for “ceremonial” or “imperial” grade organic matcha.

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon honey (you can always add more if you need to)

1 teaspoon matcha powder

pinch salt

6 fresh raspberries, cut into small pieces OR 2 dried apricots, cut into smaller pieces

1 cup coconut milk, whole cow’s milk or fresh almond milk

2 tablespoons dried coconut flakes, toasted

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

What to do:

To toast the coconut flakes: In a small pan over low heat toast coconut flakes, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.  Do not walk away.  Remove flakes from pan to cool, as there will be carry over heat in the pan, which can cause them to burn.

Combine all ingredients, except for coconut flakes, in a small bowl or cup and refrigerate 6-12 hours.  You should end up with a pudding-like consistency.  Top with toasted coconut flakes before serving.

Make the night before if you want a healthy and satisfying breakfast or midday snack.  Best consumed within 24 hours, but will keep for three days.

 

Matcha Chia Pudding with Coconut - The Clean Gourmet

Mise-en-place bowl courtesy of OK Ceramics.


Pecan Milk…with Warm Mesquite Variation (Latte di Noce Pecan…con Variazione Calda al Mesquite)

Pecan milk has changed my life in a small, yet significant way.

I essentially stumbled upon pecan milk this weekend when I was making a Marsala mushroom soup and, rather than using 3/4 cup of half-and-half that the recipe called for, I thought I’d “clean” it up a bit and try it with nut milk.  Pecans sounded like they’d combine well with mushrooms and Marsala, so I figured, “why not?”  Even better, the higher fat content in pecans would make the milk less prone to curdling- a problem I often face with fresh almond milk, even when tempered.

I was ecstatic with the results!  Not only was the milk delicious on its own, it paired excellently with the flavors in the soup and didn’t curdle.  I’m not sure why almond milk gets all the spotlight.  While almond milk is delicious (especially mine 😉 ) and definitely more versatile than, say, pistachio or peanut milk, pecan milk is also quite versatile, yet it’s creamier, deeper in flavor and, because of a higher fat content, is less likely to curdle than almond milk.

One Medjool date and a pinch of salt lend the milk just enough of that sweet/savory balance you get from cow’s milk and the nuttiness is mild and bourbon-like.  Not bad :).

Health Benefits: A one ounce serving of pecans contains 60% of the daily value of manganese, which is especially good for brain function, heart health and metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.  You will also get 15% of the daily value of copper from a one ounce serving of pecans, which benefits your nervous system, cellular energy output and connective tissue.*

Step aside almond milk!

Yields 2 cups

What you need:

1 cup raw pecan halves (plus water for soaking)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Medjool date

2 cups cold water

What to do:

Place pecans in a medium bowl and fill with water two inches to cover.  Let soak at room temperature for 8-10 hours.

Strain and rinse soaked pecans and place in a blender with the salt, date and 2 cups of water.  Blend on HIGH until smooth and there are no more large specks of pecan meat.  This should only take 30 seconds in a high speed blender (A.K.A. Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja).  Allow 1-2 minutes for a normal blender.

Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or two layers of cheesecloth placed over a bowl or large measuring cup and squeeze to extract all of the liquid.  The consistency will be creamy and smooth.  Pour milk into desired storage cup and refrigerate.  Should last about four days in the refrigerator.

Mesquite variation:

You’ll also find that pecan and mesquite were meant to be together: for a cozy night cap or soothing breakfast, make this into a warm mesquite milk.  Place 2 1/2 teaspoons mesquite powder, 1 teaspoon raw honey and a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Slowly whisk in one cup of pecan milk and warm gently over a low flame, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Do not boil.  Pour warmed milk into a mug and serve immediately.  Mmm.

Pecan Milk (Latte di Noce Pecan) - The Clean Gourmet

Latte di Noce Pecan:

Rende 500 ml

Cosa serve:

100 grammi di noce pecan dimezzate (più acqua per mettere a mollo)

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

1 dattero Medjool

500 ml d’acqua fresca

Come fare:

Mettete le noci pecan in una scodella e coprite d’acqua con circa tre dita da coprire.  Lasciate ammollare per circa 8-10 ore a temperatura ambiente.

Colate e sciacquate le noci e mettete in un mixer col sale, il dattero Medjool e l’acqua fresca.  Fate frullare al livello max finché non siano più pezzetti visibili di noce.  Dovrebbero bastare solo 30 secondi in un mixer potente (come Vitamix, Blendtec o Ninja).  Per un mixer normale, fate frullare per 1-2 minuti.

Passate il liquido per due strati di stamigna sopra una ciotola media e stringete bene per fare sì che sia estratto tutto il liquido.  Troverete una consistenza cremosa e liscia.  Versate il latte in un bicchiere da conservazione e mettete in frigo.  Consumatelo entro circa quattro giorni.

Versione al mesquite: 

Troverete che noce pecan e il mesquite vanno benissimo assieme:  per una merendina prima di letto o come una prima colazione leggera, fate un latte al mesquite caldo.  Mettete 2 1/2 cucchiaini di polvere di mesquite, 1 cucchiaino di miele crudo ed un pizzico di sale in un pentola piccola.  Gradualmente unite 250 ml di latte di noce pecan e riscaldate leggermente sul fuoco basso, frustando frequentemente, per circa 4 minuti.  Non fate bollire il latte.  Versate il latte caldo in una tazza, preferibilmente riscaldata, e servitelo subito.

*Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/walnuts-vs-pecans-nutrition-1576.html

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html


Saffron and Ginger Kabocha Soup with Black Salt and Sesame Seeds

I made this when I was visiting family in California and found some fun ingredients in the pantry.  Stuff like crystallized ginger, this World Salt Tower and black sesame seeds.  Not to mention an excellent spice selection and hyper local produce from New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.

Warm and hearty, this soup tastes like a decadent cream soup, but is actually more of a detox soup in that there is no dairy, little oil and is lightly spiced.  You’ll also get lots of carotenoids (great for the eye health) from the squash and extra minerals from the black Cyprus salt, which is Mediterranean sea salt mixed with volcanic charcoal, a natural detoxifier.

Serves 6

What you need:

1 kabocha squash (about 2.5 pounds), halved and deseeded

2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 small (4-inch diameter) celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

3 cups chicken broth or light vegetable stock

pinch saffron

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

To serve:

crystallized ginger, very fine dice

black sesame seeds

black Cyprus salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Rub kabocha flesh with olive oil or avocado oil and place cut sides down on parchment.  Pour orange juice into pan and place in oven.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium sauce pot, sauté the ginger, onion, celery and garlic in the coconut oil, along with the salt, over medium heat.  Stir frequently to prevent browning.  Once the onions are translucent, add the celeriac, broth, saffron and remaining spices.  Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and add to the soup.  Raise heat to high, bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Ensure that the celeriac is fork tender and turn off the heat.  If time permits, allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Put contents in blender, working in batches if your blender is small, and blend on high (though starting at LOW) until silky smooth.  Return to pot and rewarm over low heat, adding water if necessary.  Adjust for salt, keeping in mind that you will be topping with black salt just before serving.

To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with crystallized ginger (they will sink), black sesame seeds and a few flakes of black Cyprus salt.


Radish Top and Parsley Stem Pesto (Pesto di Cime di Ravanelli e Gambi di Prezzemolo)

No waste!  It’s satisfying to make a meal out of what is so often thrown away, especially one that tastes really good:).  All those green leaves attached to organic radishes and flavorful parsley stems should not be bound for the garbage!  I am all for “whole foods” cooking*, which means eating entire entities for optimal nutrition, and this recipe is no exception.

I use less oil than most people use when making pestos, as the oil can dilute flavor, make the pesto too runny and, not to mention, it’s expensive!.  Also, I prefer to get a greater proportion of fats from whole sources.  That means olives instead of olive oil, walnuts instead of walnut oil, etc.  This is because eating foods in their naturally occurring state promotes balanced nutrition.  When you eat a whole walnut, for example, you have a balance of fiber, oil and vitamins/minerals.  Eating walnut oil, on the other hand, just gives you the fat, which has been treated by manufacturing with heat, fissure, etc.  With theses processes, the oil’s delicate healthy chemical compounds (a.k.a. “phytonutrients”) have likely been destroyed or altered.

To clarify, I understand the need to use oils and other slightly processed items in cooking to make food taste good, but it’s best to use these in moderation and try to use their whole alternatives where possible.

This pesto is vegan, but you wouldn’t know it!  Miso and walnuts offer a “cheesy” umami flavor and the umeboshi vinegar and lemon give some salty tang.  It’s kind of addictive, actually.

*If you’re interested in the theory behind “whole foods” nutrition, I suggest reading “Food and Healing” by Annemarie Colbin.

What you need:

90 grams (about 2 bunches, picked over) radish tops, well rinsed

12 grams (about 3 cloves) garlic, minced

60 grams (one bunch) parsley stems, rinsed and torn

10 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) yellow or chickpea miso

70 grams (3/4 cup) walnuts

1 1/2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) black pepper

23 grams (2 teaspoons) lemon juice

15-20 grams (3-4 teaspoons) umeboshi vinegar

45 grams (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and run until smooth.  Store in fridge or serve immediately with pasta or other grain, spread on a sandwich or add a dollop to soup.

Radish Top and Parsley Stem Pesto (L) - The Clean Gourmet

Pesto di Cime di Ravanelli e Gambi di Prezzemolo:

Cosa serve:

90 grammi (circa 2 grappoli) di cime di ravanelli, ben sciacquate

12 grammi (circa 3 spicchi) d’aglio, tritato

60 grammi (un grappolo) di gambi di prezzemolo, sciacquati e strappati a grandi pezzi

10 grammi (1 1/2 cucchiaini) di miso giallo

70 grammi di noci

1 1/2 grammi (1/2 cucchiaino) di pepe nero

23 grammi (2 cucchiaini) di succo di limone

15-20 grammi (3-4 cucchiaini) di aceto d’umeboshi

45 grammi (60 millilitri) di olio extra vergine d’oliva

Cosa fare:

Mettete tutti gli ingredienti nel frullatore o nel robot da cucina e fate frullare finché non abbia una consistenza cremosa.  Conservate in frigo o servite subito con della pasta o altri cereali, su un panino o mettete un goccio nella zuppa.


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!