01.06.2016

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If you are not on a January food cleanse you probably know someone who is or has, at the least, made some resolution about food. I have mixed feelings on winter cleanses (I write this while I am on day 4 of one – ha!). The benefits are pretty clear – from reestablishing healthy eating patterns to zapping that steady steam of holiday alcohol consumption. The tough part is that it is winter. Sure, there are fresh vegetables to be found but the offerings pale in comparison to warmer months.

If you are in some eating state between vegan, gluten-free, raw, dairy free, or some creative combination of these, here are my favorite cleanse recipes that fit most programs. But really, when it comes down to it, simply cutting out packaged and processed foods does 95% of the work.

I’m off to make a kale salad and hide the final half bottle of pinot under the sink.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado & Pumpkin Seeds

serves 6

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and leaves separated
2 tablespoons raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Whisk together lemon zest and juice and mustard in a bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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Winter Juice

makes 2 small glasses

6 carrots
1/2 a cucumber
2 apples
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
4 celery stalks

Simply juice the fruits and vegetables according to your juicing machine’s instructions. We start with the softest produce and work our way up to the hardest (typically carrots). Pour into glasses and enjoy.

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Spinach & Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes

makes about 15

1 cup quinoa

2 eggs

1/4 flour of your choice

3 tablespoons tahini, almond butter, or peanut butter

1 tablespoon red or white vinegar

1 package (10-ounces) frozen spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup finely grated sweet potato

1/4 cup finely diced onion

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper

Olive oil, for the baking sheet

Start the quinoa cooking immediately so it can cook white you are prepping the other ingredients. Combine the quinoa and 3 cups water in a pot and boil it until it is soft, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

Transfer the quinoa to your favorite mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, tahini, vinegar, spinach, sweet potato, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir, knead, and smoosh all the ingredients together until they are one tight-knit family. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 400 F with the rack in the middle. Oil a baking sheet. To shape the cakes, first wet your hands. For each patty, scoop up 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture with your hands and form a 1/2-inch-thick patty, firmly patting it so it stays together (loosie-goosies will fall apart). Arrange the patties on the baking sheet.

Bake until the cakes are lightly browned and crisp, flipping them over once halfway through the baking time, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with a dipping sauce.

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Farro Kale Salad

From Kale, Glorious Kale by Catherine Walthers

5-6 cups kale leaves, stripped off of stalks and torn or chopped into small pieces (1 small bunch)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, minced (or in my case sliced thin)
1 cup of farro
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 tart apple, diced, or 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries (or any combination)
4 ounces feta cheese

Dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash and spin dry the kale. Chop into small pieces. Add to a large bowl, lightly salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Vigorously toss and massage the salt and oil into the kale until well coated.

Place farro in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes. Farro has a similar texture to barley when cooked, and has a nice toothy texture. Drain well, and combine with the kale. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Chop the onion, dill and parsley, and add to the kale and farro along with the pomegranate seeds, and apple or dried fruit, if using. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and gently toss. Place in a serving bowl or platter and top with the feta cheese.

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Winter Muesli

makes about 4 cups

2 cups classic rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
5 dates, pitted and chopped
Milk (hemp, nut, coconut, cow) or yogurt for serving

Using your hands, simply toss everything together in a large bowl. Be mindful of the sticky dates as they tend to clump together but once everything is in contact with the oats the clumps will loosen up. Muesli can be eaten with milk like a traditional cereal, sprinkled over yogurt, or soaked in milk overnight to soften up its texture. I like it all three ways. For those who like a little sweetness, simply drizzle over some honey or maple syrup.

A large mason jar filled with muesli, tied with a ribbon, and small recipe card attached would make a great gift for those left on your list (especially beloved teachers and neighbors). Because muesli is gluten free (if you purchase certified GF oats), vegan, and easily adapted to be nut free (substitute walnuts for pumpkin or sunflower seeds) it works for everyone. If you want to make a few personal mixes some additions that I especially enjoy are dried unsweetened cherries, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and dried blueberries.

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Detox Smoothies

Choose between a sweet or tart green smoothie.

 

Sweet Green Smoothie

1 pear, roughly chopped

2 cups baby spinach

1/4-1/2 a lemon, peeled (depending on how sour you like it)

1 cup water or coconut water

Tart Green Smoothie

3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped

1-inch piece peeled ginger root

1 grapefruit, peeled and roughly chopped

3-inch piece of cucumber

1 cup water or coconut water

Blend everything together until smooth.

12.01.2015

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We arrived back home last night after five days on the go. Our adventures included ferry rides, long car rides, hotel rooms, hotel pools, cousins, grandmothers, creamed spinach, pumpkin cheesecake, Central Park, and (at the end of it) a very “lived in” looking family car. Off-island trips always make me think and notice things – about where we are but even more about where we come home to. Let me explain. Over Thanksgiving the cousins played a lot of games. One was a take on “red light, green light” but with silly dance moves instead of running. I was wondering why Dylan looked lost, glancing around trying to pick up on the rules. Then it hit me – he has no idea what a red light or, for that matter, a green light is. There are no traffic lights on Martha’s Vineyard, not one. This also explains why, every time we stopped at a red light, Gray would scream from the back seat GOOOO!. At first I took it as general long trip annoyance but there it was again – he is not used to stopping in the car for anything more then a parade of wild turkeys.

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I am not saying that a quiet island life is better or worse then a lively city one. I am just always surprised when I see our home so obviously show itself in our kids. I for one was reminiscing about the beautiful grocery store we visited in New York as I went shopping this morning and found that we (as an island) are out of dill. I’m sure there are dill plants growing somewhere out there but don’t go looking at the grocery store.

Long story short, I think this Smoky Black Bean Chili is a good meal to transition out of last week’s travel and gluttony. It is filling, full of flavor, and fun to make but does not call for any butter or sugar. Although the recipe itself is extremely straightforward it does take time (overnight bean soaking and about 2 hours on the stove) so plan accordingly. The chili’s spice was a bit strong for the kids the day I made it but the next day it seemed to have mellowed out. You can always adjust the chili powder to please your crowd (or double up on sour cream).

Smoky Black Bean Chili from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon

serves 6

1/2 pound dry black beans

1/2 pound dry kidney beans

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or ghee

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

3 to 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 1 1/2 pounds fresh, diced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Cilantro, avocado, and sour cream for garnish

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

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Pick through the beans, then rinse them well. In a large bowl, cover them generously with water, and soak overnight on the counter. The next day, drain the beans and transfer to a large pot. Cover them with fresh water by a couple of inches and bring them to a boil with the bay leaves. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the beans for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until cooked through. Stir in a pinch of salt at the end and set aside.

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Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onion over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, chipotle powder and cook 5 minutes longer. Add 3 cups of the broth, the tomatoes, and the tomato paste, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the beans of excess water and add them to the onion mixture. Add the rice, stir, and simmer on low for 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with the vinegar, additional broth, salt or spice, if needed.

Garnish each serving with cilantro, avocado, and sour cream. *We ate it with baby arugula, shallots, and sour cream. Chili will keep covered in the fridge for 1 week.

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08.25.2014

Last summer when Dylan would ask me when his baby brother was going to be born I would always answer “after the fair“. It’s a huge annual mark for everyone here – telling us that it is soon back to school and the end of another summer. This year, the excitement started early. We would be driving someplace and out of nowhere I’d hear from the back seat “first I’m going to go on that motorcycle ride then in the ball pit”.

We rode all the rides, ate the local food, won ribbons for baked goods and scarecrows, visited the new piglets, and watched the horse pull. There was a planned ride on the carousel with both boys and an unplanned ride on Dizzy Dragons with both boys. I don’t have a single photograph from anything over the four days because, let me tell you, taking two kids to a summer fair solo is not a “let me wander with my camera” type of thing. I think we will all sleep well tonight.

So…sandwiches. It feels like sandwich weather here and this is a delicious and simple one. I hope you enjoy it.

Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Sandwiches
serves 4 to 6
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

4 whole roasted peppers (either homemade or jarred)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons drained capers

For assembling
1 large ciabatta bread, halved horizontally
1 (11-ounce) goat cheese, at room temperature
2 cups baby arugula
3 thin slices red onion

Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Toss peppers and capers in, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the bottom half of the loaf with the goat cheese. Add a layer of peppers and then a layer of separated onion rings. Sprinkle with arugula and top with the top half of the ciabatta and cut into individual servings.

08.12.2014

We have had close to two dozen almost perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes on the plant growing outside the kitchen window. A couple of times Dylan has spontaneously picked an orange one and taken a bite but other than that we’ve been patiently waiting for ripe, perfectly red, summer tomatoes. And then it happens – time after time. The new turkey mom in the neighborhood and her three little ones come and eat breakfast. They show up every morning and pick away until we bang on the windows or run chasing them from the yard.  They can jump, climb, and move fast. This morning they took about twelve tomatoes and left a huge turkey feather behind. There are still bunches of green ones but I have a feeling all of our summer tomatoes will be coming from the Farmer’s markets and stands – not our own backyard.

Tomatoes have been a part of many meals these past few weeks but these two dishes – Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes and Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint have been the favorites.

Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried pasta (I used spinach fettuccine)
1/2 pound baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds, then add the cream, the zest and juice of the lemons, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

3. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl and add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes.

4. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add a few slices to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint
From The Nourished Kitchen

2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used my cast iron skillet in place of a lined baking sheet and loved the results!).

2. Toss the tomatoes and onions with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt then arrange them in a single layer in the pan.

3. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken to the consistency of maple syrup and the tomatoes wrinkle. Spoon the roasted tomatoes and onions into a mixing bowl, toss in the mint, and serve immediately before the mint wilts in the residual heat of the tomatoes.

05.20.2014

This is the new go-to dinner at our house. It all started when Nick took out the griddle and started tossing pizza dough on it. After 9 years together I know his kitchen creativity almost always turns out well. As usual, his technique worked like a charm.

The idea is to roll out mounds of pizza dough, cook them on a hot griddle until bubbly and crisp, then top the warm dough with favorite fresh ingredients. I highly recommend using pesto as a sauce base and layering on shaved raw vegetables. Just think – if you like it on a salad then you’ll love it on flatbread.

Here is a short flip-book of our favorite topping combination:

Flatbread:

1 ball pizza dough at room temperature
pesto
1/4 of a red onion
handful of button mushrooms
handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups baby arugula
1/2 a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a griddle pan over high heat. While the pan warms, roll out dough on a floured counter. Toss dough on dry griddle and cook until browned. Flip and repeat.

When dough is ready, spread one side with pesto. Using a mandoline (or very sharp knife) shave red onion and mushrooms right over top. Add sliced tomatoes and arugula. Squirt everything with lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle over salt and pepper. Slice and dig in.