The Perfect Kale + Brussels Sprout Salad (gf)

So… I’m a huge fan of this healthy restaurant we have here in Phoenix called Flower Child. I LOVE the concept of this restaurant because it allows even the busiest of people to have a  healthy meal. I wouldn’t call this a fast-food restaurant because I feel like that gives off the sense that there is unhealthy, crappy, unsustainable food involved… but you can order your meal and have it sitting in front of you in under 10 minutes. Another added bonus? They use fresh, local produce in all of their dishes!

Unfortunately, if you don’t live in Arizona, California or Texas… you won’t be able to bask in the glory that is Flower Child. However, I recently took a stab at recreating one of my favorite salads from there dubbed The Organic Kale. It’s simple. It’s colorful. It’s delicious. It’s filling. It’s literally amazing. So if you’d like to chow down on this at home, try out this recipe. I added some crumbled bleu cheese on top, but you can easily make this vegan by omitting it. 🙂

The Perfect Kale + Brussels Sprout Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (gf)
makes 4 dinner-sized salads or 8 side salads

the ingredients:
for the dressing:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard (I use this simply for texture)
1 shallot bulb, finely diced
salt & pepper to taste

for the salad:
1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded*
1 bunch dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and shredded*
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded*
1 apple, cored and diced (I used Pink Lady apples)
3/4 cup dried cranberries/cherries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
crumbled bleu cheese to top, optional
salt & pepper to taste

*For convenience, you can also purchase the “Cruciferous Crunch” salad mix at Trader Joe’s!

the method:
make the dressing: throw the vinegar, oil, maple syrup, dijon, salt and pepper together in a mason jar along with the chopped shallot. Give it a shake to mix all of the ingredients together. I like to make this dressing the night before I use it to give the ingredients a chance to meld. However, you can use this dressing as soon as 10 minutes after making it.

make the salad: Shred the brussels sprouts, kale and red cabbage. Add dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, diced apple, bleu cheese (if using), and dressing. Toss to combine. You can eat this immediately, or you can make it ahead of time. If you store this salad in an air-tight container in the fridge, it will last for 1 day.

Happy eating, y’all!

 

 

Advertisements

Brussels Sprouts + Mushroom Penne (gf)

mushroom brussels sprouts pasta

Brussels Sprouts + Mushroom Penne (gf)

ingredients:
serves 4

8oz gluten-free penne pasta (I used quinoa/lentil pasta)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 jumbo shallots, diced
8oz sliced mushrooms
12oz whole brussels sprouts, trimmed then shredded
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup gluten-free veggie broth
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 fresh lemon
romano cheese, for topping

the method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add the shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring often and being careful as the oil may spatter a bit at the beginning.
  3. Add mushrooms and saute until they begin to shrink and release some of their liquid, 3 minutes. Add brussels sprouts then turn heat up to medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until brussels sprouts are cooked but still have a tiny bit of bite, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 30 more seconds. Add veggie broth then simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in chopped dill, ghee and juice from 1/2 lemon. Taste then add salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice and then combine mixture with pasta and stir well. Scoop pasta into bowls then top with freshly grated romano cheese.

Notes:
A vegetarian take on this Cooking Light recipe.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Pasta

zuccZucchini Noodles (V)(GF)
2 zucchinis, peeled
1 tablespoon coconut oil/olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Homemade Marinara Sauce or your favorite jarred brand

the method:

  1. To make the noodles, you have multiple options. You can use a vegetable spiralizer, a food processor, a julienne peeler – or if you’re REALLY patient and don’t have any of these tools, you can slice really long strips with a sharp knife. Personally, I do not recommend a knife. I have a julienne peeler and it is, by far, my favorite kitchen tool. It cuts the zucchini into perfect noodle strips. You can use it for stir fries, salads, slaws… everything! I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma and it was only $10 (it is in the picture). I even like it more than my Kitchen-Aid Mixer – I never thought I would love anything as much as my mixer.
  2. When making the noodles, make sure you don’t use any strips that have seeds in them… you will want to throw away “the core” of the zucchini. The reasoning for this is due to the high water content in the middle. Too much water = mushy, squishy noodles. Yuck!
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir zucchini in the hot oil for 1 minute. Add water and cook until zucchini is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. I served my noodles with homemade marinara, but these noodles would be great with any sauce. I am going to try a lemon-garlic sauce next! 🙂

Whole-Grain Artisan Loaf

Sometimes, the best way to spend a weekend is by doing absolutely nothing. Okay, so maybe we did go to the Diamondbacks and Giants game but the other two days were pleasantly lazy – especially Sunday. One of my favorite and most relaxing things to do is to make bread. There really is nothing better than that fresh bread smell blanketing every room and that first bite into crusty goodness J.

One of my new favorite snacks is a slice of homemade wheat bread, toasted with a dollop of ricotta and a smear of agave nectar/apple butter. YUM.

Other than running errands and pretending to watch football with the boy, this is what my Sunday amounted to.  Recipe below:

Whole-Grain Artisan Loaf:

The Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 4 cups lukewarm water

The Method:

1. Use dry-ingredient measuring cups (avoid 2 cup measures, which compress the flour) to gently scoop up flour, then sweep the top level with a knife or spatula. Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Lidded (or even vented) plastic buckets designed for dough storage are readily available.

2. Heat the water to slightly warmer than body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Add to the dry ingredients and mix without kneading, using a spoon, food processor (with dough attachment), or heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You may need to get your hands wet to get the flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine. Don’t knead! It isn’t necessary.

You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields a wet dough that remains loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.

3. Cover with a lid (not airtight) or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flatten on top), which will take about 2 hours. Longer rising times — even overnight — will not change the result. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method, it’s best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours) before shaping a loaf.

After it’s been refrigerated, the dough will seem to have shrunk back upon itself. It will never rise again in the bucket, which is normal for our dough. Whatever you do, do not punch down this dough! With our method, you’re trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks gas out and will make your loaves denser.

On Baking Day

4. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal (or lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat) to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Dust the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife or kitchen shears. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter-turn as you go to form a ball. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it’s not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the ball may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 20 to 40 seconds. If you work the dough longer than this, it may make your loaf too dense.

5. Stretch the ball gently to elongate it, and taper the ends by rolling them between your palms and pinching them.

6. Allow the loaf to rest — covered loosely with plastic wrap — on the pizza peel for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

Alternatively, you can allow the loaf to rest on a silicone mat or greased cookie sheet. Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period. More rising will occur during baking.

7. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other rack that won’t interfere with the rising bread.

8. Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top of the loaf with a little water. Sprinkle with the seed and nut mixture. Slash the loaf with quarter-inch-deep parallel cuts across the top, using a serrated bread knife.

9. After a 30-minute preheat, you’re ready to bake. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone. If you used parchment paper instead of cornmeal, it will slide onto the stone with the loaf. If you used a silicone mat or cookie sheet, just place it on the stone. Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is richly browned and firm to the touch (smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time).

If you used parchment paper, a silicone mat, or a cookie sheet under the loaf, carefully remove it and bake the loaf directly on the stone or an oven rack when the loaf is about two-thirds of the way through baking.When you remove the loaf from the oven, it may audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room-temperature air. Allow the bread to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.

10. Store the remaining dough in your container in the refrigerator and use it over the next couple of weeks. You’ll find that even one day’s storage im¬proves the flavor and texture of your bread. The dough ferments and takes on sourdough characteristics. When your bucket is empty, don’t wash it! Mix another batch in the same container. The aged dough stuck to the sides will give you a head start on sourdough flavor. To take it even further, incorporate up to 2 cups of your old dough.