Search This Blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

This spring, I'm supporting patients participating in a seasonal cleanse by offering detox-friendly recipes and menus. Every week for 4 weeks, I will post a hypoallergenic recipe. Together, the recipes will create a four-course menu that is simple and satisfying, nutritious and delicious.

Portabella Paté
Leek Pea Soup
Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

Spring Cleanse Menu: Dessert

This dish is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, hypoallergenic and detox-friendly. It can be eaten as breakfast or dessert, and it contains a healthy balance of nutrients. Quinoa contains more protein than any other whole grain. Coconut milk provides healthy fats that are more likely to be burned as energy than stored as fat. And whole dried fruit provides fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

I used dried cherries but you can use any unsweetened dried fruit - raisins, currants, chopped apricot or fig - alone or in combination. Or use any fresh fruit and stir it in once the quinoa has cooked (also decrease the amount of water by 2 tablespoons).

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
4 tbsp water (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries

Add all of the ingredients to a medium sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid. Warm the mixture over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, until the grains are tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes.

If you find that the grains are tender before all of the liquid has been absorbed, remove the lid and continue cooking until it has reduced to the desired consistency.

If you find that you need more moisture, add a splash of boiling water. (If the liquid looks low, have a tea pot on standby.)

Serve immediately in 1/2 cup portions, as is or drizzled with a few drops of honey or maple syrup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

This spring, I'm supporting patients participating in a seasonal cleanse by offering detox-friendly recipes and menus. Every week for 4 weeks, I will post a hypoallergenic recipe. Together, the recipes will create a four-course menu that is simple and satisfying, nutritious and delicious.

Portabella Paté
Leek Pea Soup
Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

Spring Cleanse Menu:  Salad Course

This food is medicine.

Bitter-tasting, dark green leafy vegetables are tonics for the liver and dandelion leaves are no exception. They are good for detoxification because they stimulate the production and secretion of bile (one way the body removes waste) and their diuretic and mild laxative actions enhance elimination.

Young dandelion leaves are curly and tender, unlike older dandelion greens that tend to be more straight, tough and bitter. If you are harvesting your own, pick them from plants that have not yet flowered, have not been sprayed, and grow in areas away from traffic and other sources of pollution.

The tart and sweet flavors in the vinaigrette pair well with the bitter dandelion greens. Young dandelion greens are more mild than leaves collected mid-season. To reduce bitterness, soak them in plenty of cold water for several hours. Or mix in some other salad greens.

To make the Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1 cup fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries, thawed with juices
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey (optional)
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn

If using fresh berries, set some aside to garnish the salad.

Mash the raspberries and any juices with the vinegar. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Or puree all ingredients in a mini food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

To make the salad:

Wash and roughly chop the dandelion greens. Or, if the leaves are small, leave them whole.

In a big bowl, toss them with enough vinaigrette to coat.

Garnish with fresh raspberries, if available.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Leek Pea Soup

This spring, I'm supporting patients participating in a seasonal cleanse by offering detox-friendly recipes and menus. Every week for 4 weeks, I will post a hypoallergenic recipe. Together, the recipes will create a four-course menu that is simple and satisfying, nutritious and delicious.

Portabella Paté
Leek Pea Soup
Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

Spring Cleanse Menu:  Soup

This soup tastes like spring: fresh, light, green.

If you have fresh herbs on hand, add chopped leaves to the soup when you purée it, and use a few for garnish. Basil and cilantro work well.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
2 leeks, thinly sliced in cross section and rinsed twice, about 6 cups
1 lb fresh or frozen green peas, about 4 cups
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
Fresh ground peppercorn

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot,. Sauté the sliced leeks until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the peas and stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. As soon as fresh peas are tender or frozen peas are thawed and warmed through, remove it from the heat. Do not overcook. Stir in the sea salt and peppercorn. Cool slightly.

Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Leek pea soup may be served hot or cold. For hot soup, return it to the pot and warm it gently over low heat until hot. For cold soup, cool it to room temperature, transfer it to an air-tight container, and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Portabello Paté

This spring, I'm supporting patients participating in a seasonal cleanse by offering detox-friendly recipes and menus. Every week for 4 weeks, I will post a hypoallergenic recipe. Together, the recipes will create a four-course menu that is simple and satisfying, nutritious and delicious.

Portabella Paté
Leek Pea Soup
Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

Spring Cleanse Menu:  Appetizer

This dish disappeared before I could even take a picture. But I took that as a compliment from my husband, who is French and highly suspicious of any meatless paté.

Technically, because it contains no meat, this is not a paté. But the name still seems appropriate, given the meaty color and complex flavor imparted by broiled portabella mushrooms. Red beans make it thick and creamy, while balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions make it rich and slightly sweet.

Full of protein, fiber and nutrients, this healthy first course is vegan and detox-friendly.

1/3 pound portabella mushrooms (1 large portabella)
Extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
Sea salt to taste
Ground peppercorn
½ cup cooked red beans (adzuki or kidney)
½ cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced,crushed or grated
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the broiler. Place the portabella mushroom cap(s), gill-side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and ground peppercorn. Broil until the gills become brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, brown and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and turn off the heat. Stir and continue cooking with residual heat until the garlic becomes aromatic, about one minute more. Stir in the red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Cool slightly and transfer to a food processor with the beans. Purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (The amount of salt you will need will depend on whether the cooked beans were salted.)

Serve with thinly sliced rounds of cucumber, zucchini and radish, sticks of carrot or celery, or thin brown rice cakes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicken Liver Paté with Cognac

GLUTEN-FREE  |  DAIRY-FREE  |  DETOX-FRIENDLY

 Paté is a perfect food for spring. Days are warmer but nights are still cool, so richer dishes are still seasonal. Served in moderate portions, paté is a healthy appetizer that pairs well with other, lighter courses, like soups and salads.

Spring is a natural time for a cleanse, and liver contains the nutrients our bodies need for detoxification. It's a good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin A, and minerals like iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc.

Paté has gotten a bad reputation as a fattening and unhealthy food. However, more and more studies are exonerating saturated fats as culprits behind chronic disease. When they come from animals who ate their natural diet, saturated fats are healthy. Stable at room temperature, they are unlikely to oxidize and cause the production of free radicals that promotes inflammation and damages cells.

Like any animal product, heavy metals and environmental contaminants can accumulate in liver, but it's not due to the nature of the organ. The liver acts as a filter for the body but it's not a sponge; it changes toxins in the blood into excretable compounds. Contamination can be a result of the way the animal was raised, so always choose livers (and eggs, meat and dairy products) from animals raised on pasture, fed their natural diet, and never exposed to pesticides, antibiotics or hormones.

This paté is simple and satisfying. Ideally, it should be made ahead and allowed to firm up in the fridge overnight. But, in pinch, you could serve a warm, soft version as soon as you make it.

To seal the paté and prevent it from browning, you’ll need to top it off with a healthy fat. I use duck fat but you can use butter if need be. (Whenever I make duck breast, I start by cooking it skin-side down over low heat to render some of the fat which crisps the skin and reduces the fat to a soft and creamy layer. I strain the rendered fat and save it for cooking.)

Serve paté with cornichons (small pickles) and toasted slices of whole wheat baguette. If you're avoiding gluten, grains, or flour, serve it with cucumber slices instead.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound livers from pasture-raised chickens
  • Whole milk, about a cup
  • 6 tbsp organic butter from grass-fed cows, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • Ground peppercorn to taste
  • 6 tbsp cream
  • 4 tablespoons duck fat

Directions:
  1. Rinse the livers and trim them of any veins or connective tissue. Put them in a bowl and cover them with milk. Cover the bowl and set it aside in the fridge for 30 minutes or several hours.
  2. When ready to make the paté, strain and set aside the livers. Discard the milk.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of sea salt and sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onion to a food processor with 4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces.
  4. Return the skillet to the stove and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the drained livers, sprinkle with sea salt, and sauté until golden brown on one side. Turn them over and brown on the other side, cooking only until they become firm, but not hard or rubbery, about 5 minutes total. Do not overcook the livers; they should be slightly pink inside when done. Transfer the livers to the food processor.
  5. Return the skillet to the stove and add the cognac. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, stirring occasionally to incorporate any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat, cool slightly, and add the cognac to the food processor.
  6. Add the cream to the food processor along with freshly ground peppercorn. Purée until smooth, then taste for seasoning. Add more sea salt if necessary. Transfer the paté to a 3-cup terrine or bowl, or divide it between smaller ramekins, filling them no fuller than 1/4 inch below the rim (this recipe yields approximately 2 and 3/4 cups). Smooth the top of the paté and set it in the fridge for 20 minutes. (Optional: For an even smoother and more velvety version, push the paté through a stainless steel fine-mesh strainer before you transfer it to the terrine/bowl/ramekins.
  7. Melt the duck fat. (If you are substituting butter, skim off any milk solids that rise to the top). Once the paté has set in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (but not more than 30), spoon the melted butter or liquified duck fat over the top of the paté to seal it and prevent it from discoloring. Cover tightly and return it to the fridge to finish setting, ideally overnight.
  8. When ready to eat, remove the duck fat from the top (it's easy to break and remove it in pieces) and serve it with sprouted whole wheat toast (cut each slice into 4 triangles if you wish) and cornichons (small gherkin cucumbers pickled with tarragon and garlic) or dill pickles.