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the sweet scoop
We can all use a little spring cleaning in the kitchen. And no, I’m not talking about organizing your pantry, but incorporating clean eating as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nutritional Consultant and Clean Plates founder, Jared Koch, makes it easy with his newly released, The Clean Plates Cookbook, which continues his mission to educate people on how it can drastically pay off to eat cleanly. “Clean eating, as I define it, means eating high-quality real food as often as possible, based on what is right for your body and what stimulates your taste buds.” Jared shares. “In other words: healthy, sustainable, and delicious.”
This cookbook is particularly near and dear to my heart because I was honored to contribute to it and work with celebrated participating chefs including Jamie Oliver, Marc Forgione, Michael Anthony, Bill Telepan, Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, Sarma Melngailis, Ed Cotton, Jeremy Bearman, Ann Gentry, and more. It’s a truly incredible resource packed with tons of inspiring information and simple, healthy, delicious recipes—from meat- and seafood-based dishes to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. There’s really something for every body and every palate. Here’s a taste of some the recipes you’ll discover.
Hungry to dive in and get cooking? Find out where to grab yourself a copy here or enter my giveaway below for the chance to win a special signed cookbook!
What does clean eating mean to you? Just comment with your answer below, on Facebook, or tweet me @ThisGirlCanEat. I’ll be picking a winner next week to receive a copy of The Clean Plates Cookbook personally signed by Jared Koch. Wishing you the best of luck & cheers to a clean, mean 2013!
Images courtesy of Clean Plates
Besides stunning scenery and super-friendly locals, the one thing that Grand Cayman Island clearly doesn’t fall short on is flavor. While visiting this tropical paradise during the Cayman Cookout, I was fortunate enough to savor some of the very best that the isle has to offer. From just-caught Ahi tuna and Wahoo fish, to locally grown breadfruit and cassava, to small batch rum that’s barrel aged under the ocean, the island-inspired cuisine of Cayman is undeniably distinctive, fresh and vibrant.
Cayman Cookout headlining chefs Eric Ripert, José Andrés and Dean James Max have shared a few of their recipes that capture authentic island flavor, yet can be easily created using ingredients found Stateside. For a true taste of the Cayman Islands at home, try the zesty chicken and mushroom paella that José fired up during his beachfront cooking demo, Eric’s grilled swordfish that he served at the Barefoot BBQ event, or Dean’s refreshing tuna coconut ceviche from the Harvest Dinner at The Brasserie. Bon appétit!
Chicken and Mushroom Paella (serves 6)
Recipe by José Andrés, as served during his Cayman Cookout Demo
Slice tomatoes in half, and grate each on a box grater over a bowl. Discard skins; set pulp aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Lightly season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides until deep golden. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Fry mushrooms until browned in oil and chicken fat. Set aside. Set 18-inch paella pan over two burners at high heat on the stove top, and heat 1/3 cup olive oil. Add tomato pulp and cook until darkened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and saffron, and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken pieces and mushrooms; add sherry and cook until evaporated. Add chicken stock; bring to a boil.
In a food processor or mortar, puree parsley, garlic and almonds, with a tablespoon or two of water until smooth and stir into pan. Sprinkle rice across the pan and stir until the grains are submerged, then don’t stir again. Cook on high heat for 10 minutes, rotating the pan on the two burners to distribute heat. Using a small spoon, test rice and stock and add salt as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Test rice again. If it is still hard, continue cooking for 2-4 more minutes.
In the final 2 minutes, sprinkle frozen peas over the top and return heat to medium-high, listening for a crackling sound to ensure the bottom is toasting but not burning. Remove from heat, cover with paper towels and let sit for 5 minutes. Use a metal spoon to scrape toasted rice from bottom of pan and serve.
Image courtesy of Creations Unlimited, Cayman Islands
Grilled Swordfish with Fennel & Tomato Vierge (serves 6)
Recipe by Eric Ripert, as served at the Cayman Cookout’s Barefoot BBQ
Grilled Swordfish & Fennel
Season the swordfish fillets with salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, and olive oil. Reserve. Grill to desired temperature.*Swordfish can be replaced by Striped Bass or Halibut
Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl; dress with lemon vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Top fish with this mixture before serving.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over fish of choice.
Trim and cut tuna into smaller workable portions. Slice tuna into thin strips and small dice.
Dice the peppers (keep seeds for extra spicy) and ginger. Add to the pot with the coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a low simmer for about 10-15 min. Take off the stove and let sauce completely cool. Strain and refrigerate.
Chop the cilantro; thinly slice the bell pepper and Serrano peppers. Slice the green onions and combine all the ingredients together.
To Serve: In a bowl, add the diced tuna, the ceviche mix and coconut sauce. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve in coconut shells over ice!
Sauté onions and leeks with butter in a small stockpot until soft. Add the chopped garlic and lightly sauté. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the squash and add it in the mixture with the honey and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a boil. Season with clove, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Blend the soup in your bar blender, strain, and reserve. The soup can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cayman Land Crab
Brown butter in sauté pan, once golden remove most of the oil and leave browned butter solids. Heat pan on medium heat and sauté seasoning pepper and chives for 3 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add land crab quickly sauté crab for 2 minutes. And season with salt and pepper.
Place the warm land crab equally in 6 serving bowls. Spoon a tablespoon of cream next to the crab. Pour the hot soup in the bowl and garnish with the chives.
Image courtesy of The Brasserie
Since appearing on season 4 of Top Chef, life has been pretty hectic for Spike Mendelsohn. Besides opening an empire of restaurants in the Washington, DC area—including Good Stuff Eatery, We, the Pizza and new Capital Hill French bistro Bearnaise (slated to debut in late February)—the celebrity chef can be seen delivering funny one liners on Bravo’s Life After Top Chef and competing in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef.
As if his plate wasn’t already full, Spike has recently teamed up with Captain Morgan to create unique recipes featuring the spiced rum and their newest signature liquor, Black Spiced Rum—a bold flavored Caribbean rum blended with natural spices. So how’d this new partnership come about? “I’ve always been a fan of Captain Morgan, so for me it was an exciting opportunity to partner with them. As a chef, it was kind of an adventure to create these new food and cocktail recipes for the brand. It’s been really interesting and a very fun campaign.” Spike shared with me.
And how he got creatively inspired? “Literally, I pictured myself in a pirate’s outfit on a pirate ship, sailing around the Caribbean and being inspired to create some really delicious food and drinks that incorporate Captain Morgan.” he mentioned. Aye aye, Captain Spike.
Spike was kind enough to share a few of his exclusive recipes, which are sure to spice up all your holiday celebrations. Enjoy!
Captain Morgan Spiced Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole
Bake sweet potatoes on 375°F for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove pulp with a large spoon and place in a large bowl. Stir together the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg allspice orange juice and Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Salt and pepper to taste. Next, butter a casserole pan and layer sweet potato mixture then marshmallows. Do as many layers as you can, finishing off with the remaining marshmallows. Lastly, sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350°F for 20 – 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Black Apple Harvest
In a shaker, add ice and shake it like your momma taught you. Fill a rocks glass with ice, take a lemon rind and rim the glass. Next, take a thin slice of ginger and rim the glass and then put both garnishes in the glass. Pour cocktail through holes of the shaker. Cocktail should still have some apple sauce texture, but shouldn’t be thick. Lastly, drizzle with honey.
Note: If you don’t have apricot liquor on-hand or don’t want to make a run to the store, feel free to try without it.
Port Royal Punch (serves 25)
In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the above ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass – or glass of your choosing.
Additional recipes can be found on Captain Morgan’s Facebook page.
Images courtesy of Taylor Strategy and Kraut Rocks
‘Tis the season for sweets! Since some of you have asked about the chocolate covered Oreos I make for the holidays, I’m sharing my original post from 2010 (below). Enjoy & hope your holidays are the sweetest! xo
For a delicious twist on a cream-filled classic, milk’s favorite cookie gets spiffed up and smothered in chocolate. Cocoa-covered cookies are surprisingly simple to make and are as easy on the eyes as they are the palate. Get creative with a mixture of toppings—like festive sprinkles, peppermint snow and chopped nuts—or unleash your inner Jackson Pollock by splattering each indulgent Oreo with drips of multi-colored chocolate. These impressive-looking confections are melt-in-your-mouth decadent and make a great homemade gift idea.
Chocolate Smothered Oreos
*one 1-1/2 lb bag of melting chocolate is enough to cover one bag of Oreo cookies
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. A time to give thanks for all of life’s blessings and share a bountiful feast with loved ones. As a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection, I was invited to a special Thanksgiving-themed live taping of The Chew, that will air on ABC at 1PM on Wednesday, November 21st. Be sure to look for me at the Tasting Table, gobbling up dishes from all the co-hosts :)
Throughout the taping, the entire cast and production crew made the experience a complete blast, while co-hosts Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly also provided incredible holiday mealtime inspiration and helpful entertaining tips. All the wonderful Thanksgiving recipes and ideas that The Chew crew shared can be found at ABC.com/TheChew.
One of the show’s recipe standouts was Carla’s cranberry pear relish, which she generously scooped over her brined carved turkey. It was perfectly tart, sweet and zesty all in one—and complimented the poultry beautifully. The below is Carla’s recipe to a tee, with my additions of nutmeg and cloves (two of my favorite fall flavors), some mandarin oranges for extra sweetness, and grated lemon peel garnish. Enjoy!
Cranberry Pear Orange Chutney (adapted from Carla Hall’s recipe)
Place onions, sugar, red wine, ginger, lemon zest, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cranberries and pears to the pot, and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the cranberries and onions have softened, and the color is a rich scarlet.
Remove lemon zest strips. Mix in mandarin oranges; allow relish to cool. Serve at room temperature. May be made two days in advance. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with grated lemon peel.
TIP: Prick each cranberry with a pin or needle before cooking them. This will keep the cranberries from bursting and getting mushy as they cook.
Hungry for more from The Chew? Tune in weekdays on ABC at 1PM EST for flavorful recipes, easy-to-make crafts, and tons of fun with the show’s multi-talented celebrity hosts.
A heartfelt thank you to ABC and Cooking Light for sending me to the show. And I wish you all a safe, healthy & happy Thanksgiving! xoxo
Happy one year anniversary to Alobar! Since opening in November 2011, this cutting-edge dining destination in Long Island City has taken “pub grub” to new heights, and has become renowned for serving rustic nose-to-tail American fare paired with carefully selected craft beers, whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails. Alobar even earned a coveted place on Michelin Guide’s 2013 Bib Gourmand List.
To celebrate its first anniversary on November 15th, Alobar is hosting a week of especially delicious events:
Whiskey Tuesday with Four Roses Bourbon | Tuesday, November 13th: To kickoff the celebrations, Beverage Director Chess Lankford presents a complimentary tasting of Four Roses Bourbon, along with a brand rep to share insights on each variety of the Kentucky spirit.
Alobar Charcuterie Night | Wednesday, November 14th: Paying homage to its favorite meat curing styles, Alobar is offering one large platter of eleven of the tastiest house-made delicacies ($50; serves 2-3), with varieties including: Pig Ear Terrine, Duck Breast Prosciutto & Foie Gras-Apple Terrine.
Anniversary Beer Dinner | Thursday, November 15th: Commemorate Alobar’s one-year with an indulgent 5-course menu (including Smoked Trout, Grilled Quail & Rosemary Sausage, Roasted Rack of Lamb & Braised Shoulder, and more) paired with beers from San Diego’s Stone Brewing Company ($50 for dinner & pairings, view the full menu here).
Weekend Pig Roasts | Friday & Saturday, November 16th-17th: Kick up your heels and get ready to pig out at Alobar’s weekend-long pig-filled feast served family-style ($30 per person for mains & sides).
Reserve your spot today! AlobarNYC.com | 718.752.6000 | 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, LIC NY
And to savor the flavor of Alobar at home, mix up their addictive Maple Bacon Popcorn recipe:
Maple Bacon Popcorn | Recipe from Alobar (serves 6)
Preheat an oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon strips and cook until crisp, turning occasionally. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.
Crumble bacon. Toss bacon, drippings, maple syrup, black pepper, and salt with popcorn. Spread popcorn mixture in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, rotating trays halfway through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Images courtesy of Alobar Restaurant