White Root and Pear Soup (Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera)

This soup is all about fall.  Right now, I am all about fall so this soup makes me happy.  I just spent the weekend in upstate New York among friends and we did all the quintessential fall stuff: apple picking, walks through the fall foliage, sitting by a wood-burning stove and making apple pie.  Fun as it was, by Sunday I was ready again for balance.  That means meals that are nutrient dense with low oil, light protein and complex carbs.  That does not mean, however, no yum.  Luckily when I came home I had some good produce in my fridge that came together really nicely.

The celeriac, turnips and pears are low starch, but have enough to make the soup creamy when blended.  I used light homemade chicken broth- just some chicken bones, celery leaves, garlic, onion and thyme.  If you use vegetable broth, make sure to use one that doesn’t have tomato added to it, not only because of its flavor, but because of its color as well.  I added tomatillos because they become citrusy when cooked, which meant I wouldn’t need to add lemon.  However, if you can’t get your hands on tomatillos, a little lemon juice at the end should be perfect.  I used two Seckel pears, which are small green and red pears that become very sweet and soft when fully ripe.  If you can’t find Seckel pears, Comice is a good substitute.  Fully ripe pears are key for flavor, as well as for lending texture to the soup.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

A note on nutrition: It’s important to eat a variety of colors for optimal nutrition.  White is part of that nutritional “rainbow”.  There are nutrients in white produce, such as quercitin in pears, vitamin C and calcium in turnips, vitamin B-6 and magnesium in celeriac, not to mention plenty of fiber.  I could go on.  Basically, you should eat all the colors, including white (I know…white is not a color, but you get what I mean).

Everything in this soup is seasonal and can be purchased at your farmer’s market (at least here in the Northeast).  If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this soup is very vegan friendly.

Serves 3-4

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil (can sub half with grass-fed butter)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1 medium head celeriac (5-6 inches in diameter), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

4 medium turnips, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

5 cups chicken stock or light vegetable broth

1/4 head green cabbage, light inner leaves, cut into 1 inch chunks

3 tomatillos*, quartered

2 Seckel or 1 Comice pear, well-ripened, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (reserve half for serving)

3 sprigs thyme

To serve:

5 leaves sage, very finely chopped

freshly ground black pepper

eggs, medium boiled (1 per person)

100% rye bread slices, toasted

grass-fed butter, for bread (optional)

What to do:

Sweat garlic and shallot in oil with salt over medium heat in a medium/large pot or dutch oven.  Stir frequently and cook until soft but not brown (lower heat if any browning begins to occur), about 3 minutes.

Add the celery, celeriac and turnips.  Sauté 4-5 minutes to soften the celery and the root vegetables.  Add some water (or white wine, if you have it!) if any browning or sticking begins to occur.

Add stock, cabbage, tomatillos, half the pear and thyme sprigs.  Cover, bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove thyme sprigs and transfer soup to blender.  Start on LOW speed, then gradually raise to high speed and let run until very smooth.  (Thirty seconds with a Vitamix or high-speed blender, about a minute with a regular blender.)  Transfer soup back to the pot and re-warm over low heat while you prep to serve.  Adjust for salt (*and add lemon juice if you didn’t use tomatillos).

Ladle soup into bowls, top with remaining pear chunks, black pepper and a sprinkling of minced sage.  Serve with rye bread and a light smear of grass-fed butter for omega-3s and drop in a medium-boiled egg for protein, aminos and more omega-3 if you’re not vegan.

Leftovers: This soup will last about three days in the refrigerator, but it will thicken.  Reconstitute with a little water and reheat over medium-low flame, stirring frequently.

White Root and Pear Soup (M) - The Clean Gourmet

Zuppa di Radici Bianche e Pera:

3-4 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva (potete sostituire metà col burro)

1/2 cucchiaino di sale marino, più altro a piacere

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 scalogno, tritato

1 gambo di sedano, tagliato a pezzi

1 sedano rapa media, pelato e tagliato a cubetti

4 rape medie, pelate e tagliate a cubetti

1,25 litri di brodo di pollo o di verdura leggero (sennò usate dell’acqua)

1/4 del cespo d’un cavolo verde

3 tomatillo, tagliati a quarti (*oppure del succo di limone fresco)

2 pere Seckel oppure 1 pera Comice, tagliate a cubetti (tenete da parte metà dei cubetti)

3 ramoscelli di timo

Per servire:

5 foglie di salvia, tritate

pepe nero

uova sode (uno a testa)

fette di pane integrale di segale (100%), tostate

burro grass-fed, per il pane (secondo la vostra dieta)

Cosa fare:

Saltare in una pentola media/grande l’aglio e lo scalogno nell’olio col sale su fiamma media.  Agitate frequentemente e fate cuocere finché non siano teneri (attenti a non far rosolare), circa tre minuti.

Aggiungete il sedano, il sedano rapa e le rape.  Fateli cuocere altri 4-5 minuti per far ammorbidire le verdure.  Aggiungete un pò d’acqua (o di vino bianco, se ne avete!) se comincino ad attaccare al fondo della pentola.

Aggiungete il brodo, il cavolo, i tomatillo, metà della pera tagliata ed i ramoscelli di timo.  Coprite, fate bollire, poi abbassate il fuoco e lasciate sobbollire finché la verdura non sia morbida, circa 15 minuti.

Togliete il timo e trasferite la minestra al frullatore.  Fatelo andare prima a velocità bassa, alzandola pianamente a velocità alta.  Fatelo andare finché la zuppa non sia liscissima.  (Circa 30 secondi col frullatore potente, 1 minuto col frullatore normale.)  Trasferite la zuppa alla pentola e riscaldatela a fuoco basso mentre preparate per servire.  Aggiustate il sale (*e aggiungete del succo di limone se non avete usato del tomatillo).

Servite la zuppa e guarnite con la pera rimasta, del pepe nero e la salvia tritata.  Se non siete vegani, spalmate le fette di pane col burro grass-fed per omega-3 e aggiungeteci un uovo sodo per proteine, aminoacidi ed altre omega-3.

Per le rimaste:  Questa zuppa dura circa tre giorni in frigo, ma s’addensa.  Ricostituitela con un pò d’acqua e riscaldatela sul fuoco medio-basso, agitando frequentemente.

White Root and Pear Soup - The Clean Gourmet


Herbed Quinoa and Kale Casserole (Casseruola di Quinoa e Cavolo Nero alle Erbe)

This is what I make when I need to whip up something quick during the week.  We always have quinoa, alliums (i.e. onions, garlic, leeks, etc.) and eggs, and the kale can be swapped with another vegetable such as, zucchini, spinach or eggplant.  The one thing you should not swap is the white quinoa for other varieties (trust me, I’ve tried it.  There’s something about the fluffiness of the white quinoa that holds together and tastes much better in this than the red and black varieties), but feel free to play with the seasonings as well!

Herbs and Parmesan lend plenty of savory “umami” to this dish, so it’s a vegetarian (though not vegan) meal that your carnivorous friends will love too.  A dash of cayenne not only tastes great, but warms you up and strengthens those lungs and  blood vessels…perfect for battling nasty winter viruses.

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients:

grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil, for the baking dish

For the vegetables:

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 head Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

2/3 cup white wine (or broth)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the quinoa:

1 cup raw WHITE quinoa, rinsed and cooked in 1 cup broth + 1 cup water

1 1/2  teaspoons garlic powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp dried ground thyme

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling

2 large eggs, beaten

cayenne, to serve

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 2 quart baking dish (preferably with grapeseed oil, due to its high flash point).

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-to-large pot and add the onion, garlic, carrot and rosemary.  Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about five minutes.  Add the bell pepper, cook for about a minute, and add the white wine.  Add the kale, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes, allowing the leaves to wilt and get relatively tender (do not overcook).  Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat.

Fold spices, parsley and Parmesan into cooked quinoa.  Add to cooked vegetables.

Fold the eggs into the vegetable and quinoa mixture.  Scrape into the greased baking dish (don’t smooth top if you like browned peaks, which I recommend), sprinkle with parmesan and place in oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden.

Serve while hot with a dash of cayenne!

Herbed Quinoa and Kale Casserole - The Clean Gourmet

Casseruola di Quinoa e Cavolo Nero alle Erbe:

4-6 porzioni

Ingredienti:

olio di vinacciolo o extra vergine d’oliva, per ungere

Per la verdura:

2 cucchiaini d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

1 cipolla gialla, spezzettata

4 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 grappolo di cavolo nero, tagliato coi gambi buttati

1 peperone rosso, spezzettato

1 carota media, pelata e affettata

2 cucchiaini di rosmarino fresco tritato

175 ml di vino bianco (o di brodo)

sale e pepe, a piacere

Per la quinoa:

170 grammi di quinoa bianca, sciacquata e cotta in 250 ml di brodo + 250 ml d’acqua

1 1/2  cucchiaini d’aglio in polvere, 1/2 cucchiaino di pepe nero, 1/2 cucchiaino di sale, 1/2 cucchiaino di timo in polvere

piccola manciata di prezzemolo fresco, tritato

manciata di grana, più dell’altro per spargere

2 uova, sbattute

peperoncino di Caienna, per servire

Cosa Fare:

Riscaldate il forno a 200 gradi e ungete una teglia da forno da 2 litri (preferibilmente con olio di vinacciolo, dato il punto di fuoco alto).

Riscaldate una pentola media-grande con l’olio d’oliva e aggiungete la cipolla, l’aglio, la carota ed il rosmarino.  Fateli cuocere, agitando spesso, finché le verdura non sia tenera (circa 5 minuti).  Quindi, uniteci il peperone, fate cuocere circa un minuto, e aggiungete il vino bianco.  Unite il cavolo rosso, coprite e fate cuocere per 3-5 minuti, facendolo avvizzire e tenerizzare (non scuocere però!).  Insaporite con sale e pepe, a piacere.  Spegnete il fuoco.

Incorporate le spezie, il prezzemolo ed il grana con la quinoa cotta.  Unite con la verdura cotta.

Mettete le uova insieme alla miscela di verdura e quinoa e mischiate, ma non troppo.  Versate tutto dentro la teglia da forno (non spianate se vi piacciono dei picchi rosolati, che consiglio fortemente), spargete con dell’altro grana grattugiato ed infornate.  Fate cuocere per 15-20 minuti, finché non sia rosolata.

Servite caldo con un pizzico di peperoncino di Caienna!

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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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