Dirty Desserts: Simple Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Dirty Desserts: Simple Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

A funfetti request has prompted this one.  This cake is perfect to make in a cinch, and can easily multiply to feed...a wedding crowd.  Made for my sister Samantha's wedding this past September in Montauk, this cake was able to be made a few days ahead and traveled to the shore unharmed thanks to the use of vegetable oil over butter.

 

While I chose to fill this beauty with blackberry jam, lemon lime curd and lime buttercream, I highly suggest having some fun for Easer with rainbow sprinkles in the batter and some fluffy buttercream with coconut.

 

Vanilla Cake

320 grams all-purpose flour

200 grams cage free eggs, room temp
400 grams sugar

225 ml buttermilk

160 grams vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Optional: 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles 

1. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine sugar and eggs.

2. Whip on high for 5 minutes until ribboned.

3. Add vegetable oil and continue to whip  to combine.

4. Sift flour with baking powder and salt two times.

5. Alternating buttermilk with vanilla and flour, add 1/3 of each at a time with the mixer running on low speed scraping in between.

*add sprinkles now for funfetti

6. Portion the batter between two 8 inch cake pans lined with parchment and sprayed or alternatively one half sheet tray.

7. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until golden.

*In a convection oven bake at 325F for 18-20 minutes.

Clean Eats: Braised Chicken with Sweet Vegetables and Miso

Clean Eats: Braised Chicken with Sweet Vegetables and Miso

Random winter storm had my under house arrest.  In between calls and work I had this chicken going for hours.  This can easily be done in a slow cooker, but I truly enjoyed being able to do this in my Le Creuset in the oven for 4 hours.

This chicken is sweet from the carrots, onions, butternut squash and miso.  The fresh mint and lemon at the end livens it up.  I hope that you enjoy!

4 each Chicken Thighs

5 each Carrots, peeled and cut in half

1 each Butternut Squash (small) peeled and cubed

1/4 cup Mint, chopped

1.5 Tbsp Mustard Seed

2 Tbsp Miso

2 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Sea Salt

Juice, One Lemon

1 each Sweet Onion

1 knob Ginger (3 inches) peeled and sliced thinly into disks

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1. Heat half  coconut oil in Le Creseut. Sear chicken thighs on both sides well and remove from dutch oven, set aside.

2. Cut onion in half and into slices and add remaining coconut oil to dutch oven, sautee onions on medium with ginger until golden and transluscent. *I like to keep all of the chicken fat but you can discard the chicken fat before adding the second half of coconut oil and onions.

3. Add mustard seed, turmeric, salt pepper and miso to onions. Stir to combine.

4. Add carrots and squash, stir to combine. Add about 3 cups of water and using a wooden soon remove any caramelized bits (flavor!) from the bottom of the dutch oven.

5. Place chicken amongst veggies and broth and bring to a simmer.

6. Transfer to an oven at 300F with the lid on for four hours.

7. Remove lid and allow to simmer on the stove to reduce slightly. Add juice of one lemon and mint to finish.

 Serve with coconut oil Persian Rice (tah dig) YUM!

 

Clean Eats: Lentils and Eggs

Clean Eats: Lentils and Eggs

Simple soothing lentils can take twenty minutes of your time and you can reap the rewards as a meal base perfect for a poached egg (and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil).  Good digestion rules and this will surely support.

Another straightforward recipe with my miso of the moment. 

 

2/3 cup Red Lentils, (washed and soaked in water for as little as 15 minutes or as much as 4 hours)

1 2/3 cups Water

1 Tbsp Miso Paste

1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree

1/2 tsp Turmeric

pinch Cardamom 

pinch Black Pepper

1 to 2 Pasture Raised Eggs

Toasted Sesame Oil

 

1.  Combine soaked lentils with water, miso, turmeric, pumpkin cardamom and black pepper.

2. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes until soft.

3. Season with a squeeze of lemon as needed.

4. In a small saucepan bring water to a simmer and add a tsp of vinegar.

5. Reduce heat to just below a simmer and carefully drop in an egg.

6. Allow to poach for about 4 minutes until the white is firm and encases the yolk while remaining runny.

7. Serve the egg on top of the lentils with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Clean Eats: The Everything Egg Sandwich

Clean Eats: The Everything Egg Sandwich

How to satisfy: make a runny egg sandwich.  How to really drive home a low key supper: make a runny egg sandwich.  How to take a break from eating out of a bowl: make a runny egg sandwich.

 

This magic sandwich has a crave-able spread on it that might end up on all of your toast in the future.  

Miso is going to show up in the next three recipes- cravings...

Protein, probiotic and omega-3 packed perfect meal package.


The miso, pumpkin tahini can also be made even sweeter by subbing the pumpkin for apple butter- a gift from me to you :)

 

Pumpkin Miso Tahini

2 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp Miso Paste

(squeeze of lemon if you please)

Sandwich

2 each Pasture Raised Eggs

1/4 Organic Avocado (much tastier than conventional *)

2 Slices Whole Wheat Rustic Bread

2 basil leaves

1/2 tsp Coconut Oil

Crushed Red Pepper, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

1. Toast bread until very crispy

2. In a small bowl mix together pumpkin ,miso and tahini until well blended.

3. Slice avocado into thin slices.

4. In a cast iron skillet heat 1/4 tsp coconut oil. Crack two eggs and fry side by side.

*TIP use a plate to cover the cast iron to allow steam to circulate creating a perfect fried egg

5. Spread 1/4 tsp coconut oil on toasted bread.

6. Schmeare spread on one piece of bread and top with thinly slices avocado sprinkled with chili flake.

7. Place two (or one) fried eggs on top of avocado and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

8. Tear basil and sprinkle on eggs. 

9. Top with remaining slice of bread and enjoy!

 

Dirty Desserts: Perfect 3.14 Pie Dough

Dirty Desserts: Perfect 3.14 Pie Dough

Pie dough so perfect it looks like puff pastry. Just remember 3 - 2 - 1

Vinegar for texture (and flavor!)  Make it with delicious butter and you will win.

 

335 grams All-Purpose Flour

225 grams Unsalted Grassfed Butter

122 grams Water, ICE COLD

1.5 tsp Maldon Salt

1 tsp White Vinegar

2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

1. Cube cold  butter and store in freezer (1/2 inch cubes) temporarily.

2. Meanwhile, place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

3. Paddle for 30 seconds on low to blend dry ingredients.

4. Add cold butter and paddle until butter is the size of walnuts.

5. Strain ice water measuring 122 grams. Add vinegar and add to dough in one shot.

6. Pule machine on and off until the mixture is "shaggy"

7. Turn out onto a counter. pat pieces of dough stacking on top of each other to form one shaggy rectangular dough pack.

8. Roll out dough slightly so that you can fold in it half (use a piece of parchment underneath to help you fold dough.

9. Pat dough/ roll dough out slightly and fold in half again using parchment to assist.

10. Turn dough and roll/pat out and fold into one more half a final time.

11. Tap dough with rolling pin and form even rectangle.

12. Wrap dough in parchment and store in fridge for 4 hours minimum.

Divide dough in half and roll out to make apple pie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Eats: Make Your Own Tonics

Clean Eats: Make Your Own Tonics

Tomorrow it is going to snow, almost 2 feet.  Rather than downing a grapefruit, orange and turmeric drink I plan on continuing to make my own tonics. 


The recipe is easy and flexible.

I love to combine my favorite juice: right now it includes (carrot, orange, ginger and turmeric) cold pressed and add it to hot water in a 50/50 ratio or sometimes with a bit more hot water.  

4 ounces Orange, Carrot, Turmeric and Ginger Juice

6 ounces Boiling Water

pinch, cinnamon

1. Combine in a hot mug and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

 

Why?  The juice is more soothing, sure this heats up the juice- but I much prefer the soothing hot juice tonic to chugging an ice cold orange juice.

 

What else can I do?

Add tea!  Brew a bag of your favorite tea: chamomile for example.  Add this hot chamomile tea to a delicious green juice loaded with apple.  You have an excellent hot tea tonic.

Chai tea?  I love adding this to a ginger based juice or shot for a powerful warming tonic.

Carrot juice?  This tastes excellent with hot water and a bit of cinnamon.  

Beet juice?  Beet, pineapple and the like all taste excellent mixed with 50 percent boiling water.

How about matcha?  I love hot water mixed with matcha, apple juice and lemon. It is heaven sent.

Go ahead, make your own soothing beverages that are soothing and nutritious (and hey your juice will last twice as long)

 

 

Miracles: Real Talk: Seasonal Transitions

Miracles: Real Talk: Seasonal Transitions

Acknowledge that what was working for you last month may not work right now.  Transitions bring up all the issues- pay attention and get know your your gut. I talk about it on my YouTube channel. I hope that it inspires some thought! Tune into you.

Take your dosha quiz here  - it is definitely relevant right now.

Disclaimer- I am vatta-pitta and am tuned into a vata pacifying diet to get my to Spring.

Be kind to yourself- be flexible and take a nap when given the opportunity.

I like to make my own tonics and I really like to buy them at Juice Press! 

 

Clean Eats: Kashk-e Bademjun

Clean Eats: Kashk-e Bademjun

I love this spread. Everything about it.  Baba Ganoush is delicious, this spread's Lebanese cousin, but there is something new and perfect about this Persian eggplant spread.

Eggplant, turmeric, toasted walnuts, dried mint and caramelized onions are blitzed together with kashk to create a flavor combination to remember.

What is kashk? I have spoken about it before and it is surely delcisious. Kashk is fermented whey that has a very unique flavor.  Sometimes kashk refers to dried buttermilk and often when you look up homemade kashk recipes it has you slowly cooking yogurt that has sat out overnight on a stovetop until it is caramelized and reduced. 

Kashk comes in dried or liquid form.  Dried is usually easier to find and is easy to reconstitute with a bit of water until it is the consistency of thin sour cream.  Absolutely unable to find kashk, or unwilling, greek yogurt may be substituted.

There are also a few different types of eggplants out there. The large classic Italian eggplants have a seedier interior and are slightly bitter. That is why you sometimes see recipes calling for them to be salted and rinsed to pull out the bitter water.  Japanese or Chinese eggplants are long and thin and have fewer seeds and a less bitter flesh.  I think that these eggplants are perfect for this eggplant spread.

Do not be intimidated by the methodical nature of this spread!

3 each Japanese Egglants

1 small Yellow Onion

2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 heaping teaspoon Dried Mint

3 each Garlic Cloves

1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1/3 cup Walnuts 

2 heaping TBSP dried Kashk 

1. In a cast iron skillet caramelize peeled and halved eggplants lengthwise.

2. Once the eggplants are caramelized remove them from the pan and set aside.

3. Dice onion and mince garlic. Sautee on medium until onions are transluscent and caramelized golden.

4. Season onions with turmeric, black pepper, mint and salt. 

5. Add eggplant to onions with 1 cup of water and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Meanwhile finely chop walnuts and add to a sautee pan to toast.

7.  Take kashk and add a 1/4 cup of water to reconsitute.

8. Add kashkl and walnuts to pan and allow to simmer  to thicken.

9. Using an immersion blender. Blend the spread to be homogenous yet chunky,

Serve room temperature.

 

 

Do

Dirty Desserts: Goats Milk Truffles

Dirty Desserts: Goats Milk Truffles

I love these truffles that are in no way "healthy" but are definitely happiness packed, easier on the digestion, easily refined sugar free magic bites.

Evaporated goats milk lends an almost caramel like flavor to these truffles and when paired with raw honey, you end up with a bit of magic.

Dark Chocolate is all the rage- I often suggest going for 70% cocoa solids as darker can end up a bit chalky and 64% I reserve for other baking endeavors outside of chocolate truffles.  

20% butter is the common go-to ratio for chocolate truffles.  The butter lends an incredible mouthfeel and melt to the truffle ganache.   I utilizing goat's milk butter instead of grass fed cow's milk buter.  Did I mention goat's milk is easier to digest than cow's milk?

Let's not overthink this one and make a tray of treats that are excellent gifts, perfect for designer edible arrangements and great for a chocolate fix.

 

Goats Milk Truffles

360 ml Evaporated Goats Milk

480 grams Dark Chocolate- 70% (I love Guittard chocolate disks now available at WholeFoods

180 grams Raw Honey (orange blossom is great)

120 grams Goat's Milk Butter Unsalted

Cocoa Powder Brut (don't bother using alkalized cocoa powder. invest in this)

Additional Chocolate For Coating

Maldon Sea Salt

Truffle Ganache

1. In a small saucepan bring evaporated goats milk to a boil.

2. Add honey to hot milk and pour over chopped dark chocolate.

3. Allow to sit for one minute to melt. Add softened goats milk butter and salt.

4. Using an immersion stick blender, emulsify mixture making sure to keep the blender wand

completely submerged as to not incorporate air into the mixture.

5. Pour ganache into a Pyrex dish or a plastic wrap lined tray and allow to sit at room temperature

for 8 hours to set and crystalize.

6. Do not put the ganache in the fridge at this point! The smooth mouthfeel from the ganache is

in part due to the slow process of the ganache setting slowly.

To Coat

7. Melt additional dark chocolate in a glass bowl.

8. Place a generous pile of cocoa powder at one end of a tray.

9. Scoop tablespoons of ganache and roll slightly to make round.

10. Coat your hand in dark chocolate and roll the ganache balls in chocolate to coat.

11. Toss the truffles in cocoa powder and allow the finished truffles to roll to the cocoa free side of

the tray.

12. Store in the freezer for 3 weeks or at room temperature

clean eats: za'atar and tahini crusted broccolini

clean eats: za'atar and tahini crusted broccolini

Everyone is making veggies into flavor bomb bites these days. I had brussels sprouts over the holidays with my favorite (and only) brother Matt that tasted exactly like chicken wings. I am pretty sure they were deep fried too. #healthiswealth

I am a big fan of broccoli, and a big fan of the delicate, young and tender broccolini.  Not to be mistaken for broccoli rabe, which is delicious in its bitterness.  Broccolini is  a young and flowering long stemmed broccoli cousin that is perfect for this early Spring transition. 

Broccoli is the best because it is great simply steamed, does so well sauteed and has so many nooks and crannies if you want to dress it up to bake.

This one is simple.  Tahini and za'atar (a fantastic spice blend of sour sumac, sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and lemon) coat the baby broccolini with lemon zest salt and pepper for some extra zip. On to a baking sheet and into a very hot oven.  10-15 minutes and you have flavor crusted broccoli bombs.

To Make

1 bunch baby broccolini, stems trimmed (about 1.5 inches)

2 tablespoons Organic Tahini

2 tsp Za'atar spice blend

Zest 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 tsp Black Pepper

1. Massage tahini, za'atar, 1/4 lemon zest, salt and pepper into the trimmed baby broccolini.

2. Place on a silpat lined sheet tray.

3. Bake at 475F for approximately 15 minutes until crispy.

4. Zest the remaining 1/4 lemon after removing from the oven.

Serve with lemon wedges for added zip

 

 

Clean Eats: Winter Grain Bowl- pesto and citrus

Clean Eats: Winter Grain Bowl- pesto and citrus

The weather is surfing between Spring and snow day by day.  Easing me into an early spring transition (I think he saw his shadow) are light (yet hearty) veggie packed grain bowls for dinner. Sorry Sweetgreen, I just need to express myself.

This darling dinner stemmed from one ingredient and took a dance from there.  Blood orange is showcased with kumquats, raw and roasted fennel, bitter radicchio, baby kale, simply cooked farro, feta if you please and a side of avocado. This is all made possible by my favorite pistachio mint pesto that is so good, you will want to use it on everything.

 

Pistachio Mint Pesto

1-1.5 cups Mint Leaves

1 Tbsp Fennel Frawns 

1/3 cup Tarragon Leaves

3/4 cup Pistachios

1 tsp Dried Rose Petals

1.5 Tbsp Tahini Paste

1 lemon

Olive Oil

2 Garlic Cloves

Salt

Pepper

1. In a 350F oven toast pistachios for 7 minutes.

2. Zest 1 lemon on top of pile of fresh herbs.  

3. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and add garlic cloves to herbs.

4. Once pistachios have cooled add to herb pile and begin to chop the entire mixture.

 5. Continue chopping until mixture is fine.

6. Place in a bowl and add the juice of one lemon, tahinni and  1/3 cup olive oil to start.

7. Stir together and taste for seasoning. Add additional salt, pepper or olive oil.

Cooking Farro

3/4 cup uncooked Farro

2.25 cups Water

1. Bring water and farro to a boil.

2. Continue to simmer on low for ten minutes.

3. Turn heat off and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

 

Grain Bowl

1 Fennel bulb

2 Blood oranges

1 head radicchio

2 cups cooked Farro 

Feta Cheese

1 Avocado.

1 Kumquat, sliced into thin disks.

2 cups Baby Kale

1. Cut fennel bulb in half removing stalks. Cut one half of bulb into wedges, the size of an apple wedge.

2. Toss in olive oil and place under broiler for 5 minutes each side.

3. Meanwhile remove the skin of the blood orange with a sharp knife and cut supremes.

4. Cut radicchio in half removing white core. Cut each 1/4 head of radicchio into thirds.

5. Toss baby kale with pesto. 

6. Place 1 cup cooked grains at bottom of bowl. Pile dressed kale on top. 

7. Place a handful of radicchio on top with raw fennel slices, roasted fennel, kumquats and blood oranges.

8. Place a generous dollop(s) of pesto on top and sprinkle feta if you please.

Serve with a half an avocado because that is always a good idea.

ENJOY!

 

 

Clean Eats: Crispy Caesar Brussel Sprouts

Clean Eats: Crispy Caesar Brussel Sprouts

Flavor packed brussels sprouts that anyone can make.   Roasted until ultra crispy and tossed in a herb packed caesar inspired dressing.  

No cheese no problem. 

The dressing combines lemon juice and zest, olive oil, dijon and tahini (for a bit of creaminess). Worcestershire and garlic lend a caesar nod.  Freshly chopped parsley and basil come alive when tossed with the hot roasted brussels sprouts.

Your dinner side (or main event) is served.

 

 

Crispy Caesar Brussels

1 pound Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered.

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Salt

Pepper

Juice and Zest of 1 lemon

1. Toss brussels sprouts in a drizzle of olive oil.

2. Place on a baking sheet and into a 475F oven.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, zest, Worcestershire and chopped garlic. Whisk in dijon and tahini. 

4. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Whisking, drizzle in olive oil and finally chopped herbs.

5. After 15 minutes toss brussel sprouts on pan and allow to roast for about ten more minutes.

6. Once brussels sprouts are crispy, dark and roasted remove from oven and toss with vinaigrette.

Serve Immediately!

 

Clean Eats: Khoresht Fesenjan

Clean Eats: Khoresht Fesenjan

Khoresht Fesenjan:

Attractive in its muddy brown embodiment of wonder

 I talk a lot about clean and healthy eating through the lens of what has already been thoughtfully created.  Without denying myself the trendy clean eats that crop up, yes turmeric latte I see you, I always ground myself with the food and knowledge that comes from the way people have classically sourced and thoughtfully prepared meals.  Just like the approach of Clean Eats | Dirty Desserts does not deny me life’s pleasures included beautifully made treats, the real grounding and focus comes from unadulterated clean foods that nourish. Never put baby in a corner.

I have been learning about Persian food and am fascinated by the use of ingredients, the subtle flavors and the incredibly mindful approach to preparation.  A beautiful Khoresht does not just include slowly caramelized onions, rather they are layered in at just the right moment the bring about a harmony of flavors in the finished product.

The use of fresh herbs, nuts, antioxidant rich fruits, anti-inflammatory spices and a thoughtful approach to preparation (I do not consider this slow cooker food) results in food for your mind, your soul and definitely to share.  There is a slight flexibility in the measurements, when paired with the thoughtful approach, is not as strict as my pastry preparation requires but nonetheless fully immerses me in the experience.

Fesenjan is magic in your mouth. A dish I really believe I can say is the best thing I have ever tasted. Granted my version will differ slightly in flavor and color from one household’s recipe to the next, especially since I am a newcomer, this stew truly is everything to your palate and more.  Ancient superfood preparation on a Broadway stage: this is true brain food.  Omega-3 rich walnuts laced with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory cinnamon and turmeric.  Concentrated pomegranate juice lends a sweet and sour antioxidant rich one, two punch.  Grated butternut squash packs in vitamin A with slowly cooked pasture-raised chicken for a responsible protein choice, bone-in for all of the added benefits of  collagen, calcium and other minerals.  

There is a quite a bit of complexity in the simplicity of this dish and I hope to break it down for you so that you make this amazing meal.

 Makes a large pot of stew for 4 (or more)

1 each 3 ½ # Bell and Evan’s Chicken, quartered with wings.

32 ounces Pomegranate Juice (reduced to 16 ounces) OR 10 ounces pomegranate molasses

1 cup Butternut Squash, grated

2.5 cups Walnuts, toasted and ground into powder

2 large strips Tangerine Zest

1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder

3 Garlic Cloves

1 medium Onion, diced fine

1 tsp Black Pepper

1-2 tsp Sea Salt

Olive Oil

1.     Place quartered chicken in a zip lock bag and add 4 ounces of reduced pomegranate juice to chicken. Shake bag and throw in fridge overnight.

2.     In a Le Creseut, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil. Remove chicken from bag, rinse and pat dry.

3.     Brown chicken skin side down.

4.     Remove chicken pieces and place on a plate to the side.

5.     Add toasted walnuts to pot with olive oil and chicken fat. Add 3 cloves of smashed garlic and stir on medium heat to coat nuts. Add three cups of water and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

6.     Meanwhile, sautee diced onion in olive oil until translucent and slightly caramelized, but not burned.

7.     After twenty minutes of walnuts simmering, add onions to pot with 10 ounces of reduced pomegranate juice (or 10 ounces of pomegranate molasses), grated squash, tangerine peel, black pepper, salt, turmeric and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer.

8.     Place chicken pieces carefully back in pot and place lid on.

9.     Simmer on medium low for 2 hours gently agitating.

10.  Carefully remove the chicken pieces as they will be tender wanting to fall off the bone.

11.  Remove the tangerine strips.

12.  Using a high speed Vitamix blender, puree the sauce until smooth and creamy.

13.  Adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, pomegranate concentrate and water) and place back in pot.

14.  Remove chicken skins and discard. Place chicken pieces back in pot. Return to a simmer, being careful to not burn the sauce at this point as it will be thick!)

15.  Allow to cool if not serving immediately.

16.  To reheat- place on very low heat, tasting the Khoresht for seasoning before serving.

I love to serve this with Persian Rice, Tahdig (more on those later),  Yogurt, Cubed Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Arils

 

Clean Eats: Butternut Squash Smoothie

Clean Eats: Butternut Squash Smoothie

Sometimes when you buy a big ole butternut squash you may not be sure what to do with the whole thing.  Batch cook it, yes.  Cubed and roasted butternut squash will keep your breakfast, lunches and dinners happy all week long. Make a big pot of soup, sure.  There is nothing better than easy to digest soup all winter long.  Grate it and add the squash to some super secret recipes, more on that later.

Now how about about a smoothie?!  

This smoothie is super simple, filling, naturally sweet and PACKED with vitamins.

Butternut Squash

  • one cup contains only 82 calories!
  • Vitamin A rings in at 437% of your daily value- A is an antioxidant an fat soluble vitamin,  great for healthy vision, skin, bones and other tissues in the body. Vitamin A often works as an antioxidant, fighting cell damage
  • Vitamin C packed with 52% of your daily value. Vitamin C benefits  may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
  • Vitamin E. Fat soluble and helps balance cholesterol, fights free radicals and repairs damaged skin.
  • Folate. A tremendous activator, Folate has a positive action on cardiovascular, neural and psycho-emotional health.
  • Magnesium. The natural calmer, magnesium relieves muslces aches, supports regular digestion, calms nerves and boosts energy
  • Vitamin B-6. Metabolize fats and protein for energy!
  • Pantothenic Acid. Anti-inflammatory that aids in metabolism, reduces stress and promotes heart health.
  • Thiamin. Balance your nervous system
  • Niacin. Can prevent hardening in your arteries. Reduce pain and stiffness
  • Manganese. For maintaining and improving your thyroid function. Essential.

Coconut Oil

  • Lauric Acid wonder
  • Antimicrobial 
  • Increases HDL (good) Cholesterol

Cinnamon

  • Antimicrobial

Turmeric

  • Anti-inflammatory wunderkind

Bee Pollen

  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids.

  • Antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral

Ginger

  • Anti-inflammatory immune booster

Banana

  • Potassium rich. Relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system
  • Pre-biotic fiber

Black Pepper

  • Ultimate Turmeric activator

 

Butternut Squash Smoothie

1/2 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed. 

2 tsp Coconut Oil

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4-1/2 tsp Turmeric

1/2 tsp Ginger

pinch black pepper

1 banana

1 tsp Bee Pollen

6-8 ounces water

4 large ice cubes

1. Combine water and squash and blend in a Vitamix on high speed for 40 seconds.

2. Add spices and banana and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.

3. Add 4 large ice cubes and blend.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

Dirty Desserts: Ina's Chocolate Cassis Cake

Dirty Desserts: Ina's Chocolate Cassis Cake

Posting a recipe that is not my own seems ridiculous, but I proved myself wrong twice this past weekend so I think I should just throw in the towel and try something different here.

Ina Garten has forever been an idol of mine and it is something I don't often own. I think that every woman I know loves Ina and has spend countless hours glued to the couch watching The Barefoot Contessa. I remember my friend Luis once saying, "oh another girl saying her dream would be to be Ina Garten", rolling his eyes. That stuck with me and for some reason I have had a hard time owning the fact that I do indeed embody and aspire to be an Ina or a Martha.  There are plenty things with both women that I do not relate to, however there are a million things that I do. Long live the Renaissance Woman!  (and a healthier one to boot)

This Chocolate Cassis Cake from Ina Garten is divine. Gluten free, because it is supposed to be, dead simple and delicious.  I made it for the Ina cook off hosted by my sister Sam Mellor as well as for a very Grand Raclette Dinner hosted by Stephen and Puja Clarke as well as Michelle and Augustin Pasquet.

It is important to re post this recipe because I had a few procedural tricks with the cocoa and highlighting the importance of the quality of ingredients is vital. This cake "won" the cookoff (where desserts rarely do!) because I used excellent: Chocolate, Cocoa, Butter and Eggs. That's it, that IS the secret!  

Chocolate: Go 64% , darker and the cake is too rich with too many cocoa solids.  I used Barry Callebaut of Belgium.  Valrhona 64 percent is great as well as well as Guittard.  Avoid orange or cherry notes and go for a smooth standard 64%

Cocoa: Extra Brut Cocoa is another secret.  Alkalized light brown cocoa is a mistake with this cake.  Extra Brut cocoa can be found online from Valrhona or sometimes in the cheese section at Wholefoods

Butter: Plugra European Unsalted Butter. A lower water content and intense flavor that sometimes seems almost fake because it is so concentrated.

Eggs: Pasture raised, Give me those European eggs!

 

Ina's Chocolate Cassis Cake

Makes One- 9 inch Cake

Preheat oven to 350F

Cake

12 Tbsp Unsalted Plugra Butter

5 Eggs, Pasture Raised

1 Cup Organic Cane Sugar

1 tsp Tahitian Vanilla Extract

1/2\4 tsp Sea Salt

10 ounces 64% Dark Chocolate

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder, Brut

6 Tbsp Cassis Liquer

Glaze:

1/4 cup Heavy Cream

6 ounces 64% Chocolate

3 Tbsp Cassis

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the cake:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.
2.  Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder, cassis, and vanilla and set aside. *Mixture will be thick!
3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the room temp eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume.

4.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.


For the glaze:

1.melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.
2. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
 

 

 

Clean Eats: Khoresht Dal Adas (Lentil Stew)

Clean Eats: Khoresht Dal Adas (Lentil Stew)

I might be obsessed with this Khoresht that is vegan, comforting, full of flavor and fantastic.

Khoresht is the Persian name for stew and there are more varieties than I could even name or know.  This is my second attempt at Khoresht. This time I wanted to go clean, lean and...happy.

 With the world upside down, the only thing i wanted to do on Sunday night after returning from vacation was make this stew....and watch tennis too.

I took a bit of artistic license here and subbed the potatoes that are usual found in this lentil stew with zucchini. The results were tremendous.  You can keep this batch of stew for an entire week of feasting off of this single recipe. Or give it a freeze.  Serve with steamed kale, wilted spinach, yogurt if you desire and rice if you please.  The method for Persian rice will come at a later date, as I prepared it with coconut oil (amazing) and will need the results vetted by an official board before offering a change to the already perfect preparation of Persian rice.

 

Khoresht Dal Adas

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 each medium yellow onion, diced

2 each garlic cloves, minced

8-10 ounces White Button Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

3 tsp Turmeric Powder

3 Zucchini halved and cut into odd shaped chunks

1 1/2 cups Red Lentils, rinsed

1/2 Lime

1 each 15 ounce can Chopped Tomatoes

1 each 15 ounce can Organic Tomato Puree (not from concentrate)

16 ounces Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium low with garlic and onions.

2. Cook until softened, ten minutes.

3. Increase heat to medium/medium hight and add mushrooms. Sautee until soft.

4. Add salt, pepper and turmeric.

5. Add zucchini and sautee to begin cooking.

6. Add lentils and the juice of 1/2  a lime as well as the lime shell to the pot and stir to coat the lentils.

7. Add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and stir to incorporate.

8. Finally, add the vegetable stock and place heat on medium low.

9. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently from the bottom until lentils are cooked and the mixture is thick and rich.

Serve with extra lime and plain yogurt.

Miracles: Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy- real talk

 

Living in a state of fight or flight, where your parasympathetic nervous system is activated, cue adrenaline, can result in adrenal fatigue when misused or in a repetitive state of misfiring.  Yes I am talking about being in a constant state of stress, anxiety, negative self-talk and worry.  Perpetual stress and stressful thoughts are often correlated to adrenal fatigue as well as issues with your nervous system.  When your neural networks land in a negative loop, having a real-time effect on your ability to process information.  Now cue feelings of being “down” or more seriously, clinical depression.  Your brain chemistry being off (low levels of serotonin and noradrenaline) is considered depression, clearly directly linked to how and what you think, as information processing also impacts the activity of your neurotransmitters in your brain.  What I am trying to say It isn’t all chemistry that medication can fix, it is you and your thoughts too!  

With a constant state of fight or flight, almost an inability to process information, your neural networks or pathways are affected and the way they interpret and process information is impacted, which inevitably can lead to mood disorders and depression. Think about having a panic attack if you have ever had one, cognitive functioning almost halts.  Now how about some good news here:  The fantastic part is that your neural networks are plastic and can be rebuilt. With a process of changing your thoughts, your thought patterns and healing your information processing, you can make real time lasting changes on your neural networks and happiness (or state of being). Improved neural networks are thought to improve or change the chemistry of the brain.  As a living professional, not a medical professional, I have two abilities here: the ability to read and study information as well as study myself!

One of the first tough parts of change is recognizing the unhealthy thought pattern loops and the next difficult part is actually changing the thought patterns. One must remove themselves or make an external change to the situations that illicit a fight or flight response in them. It could be the wrong relationship, or the wrong relationship at the wrong time, the wrong job, and I am not speaking about a bad day at work! These are prolonged situations in which your nervous system is in constant or regular crisis mode. 

Now don’t be afraid of a bit of stress! The ability to go from a sympathetic response to a parasympathetic state of being is healthy. That is the point of your nervous system, it allows us to respond and take action. The key is identifying healthy responses and placing giving ourselves as many opportunities to express healthy, peaceful and grounding responses on a daily basis.

Now where on earth does jumping fit in here! 

Rebounding, jumping, jumping jacks, you name it, these are all things that I have been incorporating into my life regularly with some fascinating results.  I have to believe, from first-hand experience, that jumping has an effect on my body energetically, my nervous system, my thought patterns and as an added benefit my lymphatic system. I often have pockets of what I can describe as “stuck energy”.  This may be a feeling of fatigue that is unwarranted, a bit of a temporary mental block in my mind, a heaviness in my body.  I have found that the shear act of jumping does so much for me.  My brain is required to move and think at the same time as well my body experiences moments of weightlessness, which immediately shifts any stuck thought patterns, heaviness or blocked energy. Jumping feels like a full body mental, physical and emotional workout.  Blocked or stuck energy also seems to manifest itself in my lymphatic system.  Which is essentially your body’s system for the movement of fluid and the elimination of toxins. When your lymphatic system gets clogged, you will experience inflammation in your lymph nodes which slows down the total body flow.  When your lymphatic system is flowing, you have a general feeling of lightness and energy which could have a big impact on your mood and ability to be present.  Jumping ignites the lymphatic system, igniting your ability to eliminate toxins and enjoy the happy “feels” of energetic flow.  All of this impacts me both physically and mentally. My thought patterns are immediately shifted and the more and more I incorporate a jumping routine into my week, as I am not saying I jump every day, the more and more I am able to reset and new thought patterns that do not serve me.  My ability to stay healthy and show up is a top priority of mine and lately what seems just as important is my ability to tap into my joyful state of being at any moment.  That joyful state of being is childlike, which I happen to think is most individuals actual nature before the life clutter settled in.  The blend of basic joy and being able to show up (be present) seems to allow someone (me) to grow more or evolve. This isn’t a sedentary state of forgetting your worries and being a kid again, this is jumping for joy!

 

Jumping Tips:

 

Simply rebound up and down in bare feet or sneakers.

 

Do jumping jacks for 5 minutes straight. You will be mentally and physically exhausted.

Pause for 60 seconds and repeat for another 3-5 minutes.

 

Get on a trampoline at a kid’s gym, backyard or fitness class for 15 minutes of weightless bliss

 

References:

HUFF POST

Nature Reviews Neuroscience- Is Mood Chemsitry

 

 

Dirty Desserts: Essential Chocolate Mousse

Dirty Desserts: Essential Chocolate Mousse

This essential recipe a few days late, unchanged.  Elaborate desserts can be a fun project, as long as you know the back pocket items that make complicated desserts and dinner guests swoon.  

Steak dinner? Offer a perfect dollop of chocolate mousse.  Perfect roast chicken? How about some chocolate mousse?  Simple pasta arrabattia?  Chocolate mousse. Grilled caesar salad on a lighter yet flavorful evening? Chocolate. Mousse.

 

I have seen many mousses in my day and think that three things are important in the process:

Choose chocolate you like to eat on it's own and melt it carefully.  Don't grab chips or a bar that you woulnd't savor on its own.  Instead spring for that semi-sweet or dark chocolate that you think is divine.  The dessert will thank you.  Melt it slowly too, chocolate is a sensitive structure of cocoa solids, fat and sugar that needs to be melted slowly and gently until it reaches about 95F.

Don't over-whip your eggs.  This mousse calls for whole eggs, but many call for egg whites.  Overwhipped protein does not add a glossy lightness yet strength to your melted chocolate.  If the eggs are too runny from either under whipping or over whipping, when you have exhausted the protein structure, it is better to grab a few more and start again. Remember, the chocolate is your greatest investment here.

on that note

Don't over-whip your cream (or fold it into a hot chocolate base!).  Another fine line between soft, medium and strong peaks.  The cream adds strength and lightness to your chocolate base as well as that amazing creamy mouthfeel.  Under-whipped cream with a very soft peak will create a more dense mousse once set.  Over whipped cream will be hard to fold into your base to create a uniform mix.  Go for medium peaks to allow the cooled chocolate base to be folded into the cold cream to create a light and rich mousse.

Chocolate Mousse

600g Heavy Cream, whipped to medium peaks

4 each Large Organic Eggs

150g Granulated Sugar

50g water (for pate a bombe)  pate a bombe 120C

500g  Dark Chocolate 60-70%

1. In a Kitchen-Aid mixer, whip eggs on medium high.

2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine sugar with enough water to create wet sand.

3. Cook sugar on medium high heat until it reaches 235F, soft ball.

4. With the mixer on low, slowly stream in sugar into whipping eggs.

5. Return mixer to medium high to whip eggs.  Once eggs are light ribbons, turn mixer to low.

6. Melt chocolate in a glass bowl either on a water bath or in the microwave on low.

7.  Chocolate should be warm, not hot and eggs should be room temperature.

8. Fold half of eggs into chocolate to lighten. Fold remaining eggs into chocolate.

9. Add a scoop of cream to chocolate to fold and lighten.

10. Transfer chocolate to remaining cream bowl and fold together until smooth.

11. Place bowl in fridge to allow chocolate to set. 

TIP: I love serving mousse straight from a ceramic bowl! *With a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts

 

Clean Eats: Bone Broth Kale and White Bean Stew

Clean Eats: Bone Broth Kale and White Bean Stew

Bone broth has been all the talk, all the rage, over the last year or so. I find it funny that it has taken me this long to really synthesize bone broth and think about how it can relate to me and my needs right now, in this season.

 

I have somewhat grown up in kitchens, surrounded by large stock pots and steam kettles of varying stocks, stews, soups, broths, and various jams in my case. I always had access to large tubs of this magical bone broth substance. The beauty of bone broth’s jelly like, collagen rich consistency is in the time it takes to slowly cook. Time is a magical thing when it comes to cooking. If you haven’t watched Michael Pollan’s Netflix episode about slow cooking on his series Cooked, I highly recommend it. He explores the beautiful process our food goes through when being prepared gently and thoughtfully over time.  The ability to slowly break down fibrous meat, hard bone, root vegetables and the like, to create a vitamin and mineral rich glorious substance, is quite fascinating. You truly cannot rush this process. Boiling is a harsh act, perfect for al dente pasta or a quick blanch and shock of broccoli, but purposeless when you hope to extract all of the goodness found deep inside bones.

 

Bone health is all the rage. Sure collagen is one of the key attributes to bone both, healing for your gut and fabulous for your skin. What I am after is bone health. The sleeper issue for so many of us out there. Lack of calcium shows up in our bodies when it is too late and we are already fragile, yet you wouldn’t necessarily feel a lack of calcium in your diet during your younger years like you would an iron deficiency. Calcium is essential to strong bones and most of us do not get enough of it. How much is enough? 1000 milligrams a day is what is recommended. I consume very little dairy on the regular, a very calcium rich food.  In order to retrieve 1000 mg of absorbable calcium a day from dairy, I would be sending myself into a digestion and hormone imbalanced nightmare. When I do go for dairy, I have been loving a bit of greek yogurt lately where I get a bit of calcium, probiotic, satiety and protein that my body has been craving.  My dirty dessert adventures do not count either towards my daily calcium needs.  The occasional and very much savored and appreciated cone of gelato just doesn’t do the trick for my mineral needs!


So how do you get calcium?  I have learned, that many of the calcium supplements that we take are not absorbed.  We are basically taking supplements from calcite or stone that simply passes throughi our system. So, put down that Viactiv and think again about where you can get real calcium.  A little yogurt is a great start.  Where to next? How about actual bones!  Calcium supplements made from bone meal are a clean and very smart way to get more of your daily dose. I have been taking Cardio Tabs calcium supplements and I am very pleased with the results! I am getting real calcium, from bones, without any apparent side effects on my gut.  What about broccoli and kale? Absolutely, dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium, but you would have to eat A LOT of this roughage to reach the 1000 mg mark. What else?  I am landing on bone broth.  This calcium rich broth gives 30% of your daily calcium needs, straight from bones in an 8 ounce cup.  Nutritionals vary bone broth to bone broth, but I am loving BrothMasters.  A bird has told me that this bone broth was researched to be nutritionally dense, and one of the best on the market. BrothMasters also tastes amazing and I am left feeling satiated but not overwhelmed with a protein and collagen heaviness that some have described when consuming bone broth.

outside of calcium, BrothMasters touts their product to be a great anti inflammatory resource, aids in muscle recovery and more


I have been adamant to not boil this broth when cooking, as I do not want to boil off the vitamins and delicate collagen structure developed during the 48 hour simmering process.  Just like beautifully steamed or blanched broccoli is packed with life, overcooked broccoli does little for the palate or your nutritional needs.  Since this is in fact a broth and by nature you are going ot want to boil it in order to prepare foods, I highly suggest taking alternative culinary routes and adding this broth after the inclusions are cooked.


In this case I am making a thick and hearty stew, that is comforting yet very easy to digest!  Onions are sautéed with garlic and parmesan rind in luxurious olive oil until fragrant and tender.  A combination of lacinto and red kale is added to soften with rinsed great northern beans.  Use any bean you like but I love the size and texture of this bean with the onions, kale and broth. Once the mixture is soft and harmonious (the parmesan rind is a gift in here) add the bone broth and allow to warm on low.  Slow and low is the name of the game!

 

When you are done, you are left with a hearty stew that is protein, fiber, vitamin and flavor rich!  Enjoy!

 

Bone Broth, Kale and White Bean Stew

(This recipe is doubled and can easily be halved or increased!)

1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed.

16 ounces BrothMasters Bone Broth

2 Cups Lacinto Kale, washed, de-stemmed and cut into 2 inch ribbons

2 Cups Purple Curly Kale, washed, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

1 Small to Medium White Onion, diced

4 cloves Garlic

2 Parmesan Rinds, about 2-3 inches each

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

1.     In a soup pot or large flat bottomed skilled, heat olive oil on medium low.

2.     Add minced garlic and diced onion and begin to soften.

3.     Season with salt and pepper and add parmesan rind. Continue to soften about 15 minutes.

4.     Add kale and white beans, increase heat to medium high to heat and cook the kale and beans.

5.     Turn the heat off (the pan will be quite hot!) and add the broth.

6.     Turn the heat back on low and warm the broth throughout, allowing the flavors to merry.

Enjoy this as is or with a slice of whole grain sprouted bread

 

Clean Eats: Roasted Tomato and Sunchoke Pasta

Clean Eats: Roasted Tomato and Sunchoke Pasta

Roasted tomatoes strike again! Alternative pasta is against my religion yet I have been curious about all of the new varieties out there.  Anything can be made into a "pizza like" crust, just like many things can be made into something that resembles pasta. This time around I gave red lentil pasta a whirl. The results?  Nothing is as magical as perfectly al dente pasta, but this could work for this super simple toasted tomato ragu in a pinch.

This sauce is vitamin packed! Roasted tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, sunchokes with inulin and potassium, bone broth bringing the calcium, mineral and collagen hit, olives with their omega divinity and parmesan to keep it real.

Sauce Breakdown:

  • Roasted tomatoes from earlier this week are the perfect base. Alternatively you can roast a few more plum tomatoes or grab a can of organic fire roasted tomatoes from the store.
  • Bone broth was the perfect enricher for this quick ragu of roasted tomatoes, sunchokes and olives. Boiling bone broth is not advised, so add it at the end just before you toss the pasta.
  • Parmesan adds a salty and indulgent bite to the sauce.  
  • Sunchokes are awesome! (Also known as Jerusalem Artichokes) Find them near the celery root in the produce section. Wash and peel, this great root vegetable doesn't need to be saved for restaurant salads only. Packed with inulin, we have pre-biotics covered.

Roasted Tomato and Sunchoke Pasta

1-13 ounce can, fire roasted tomatoes

or

5 plum tomatoes roasted*

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion

3 each Sunchokes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch disks

1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated

1/3 cup Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp Basil, dried

1/2 tsp Parsley, dried

sea salt

black pepper

1/2 cup Bone Broth

1 box Lentil Penne Pasta or 10 ounce Classic Penne Pasta

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

2. Dice onion and sweat with garlic until caramelized.

3. Add basil and parsley to onions.

4. Add sunchokes and sautee for 5 minutes. 

5. Add chopped roasted tomatoes and olives to sauce. Bring to a simmer to reduce.

6. Cook pasta according to directions.

7. While pasta is cooking, add bone broth to reduced sauce.

8. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Toss with parmesan and additonal salt and pepper.