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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
In Provincial France, a Mas is known as a country farmhouse that grows all the products to nourish the estate onsite. Though located in the heart of the West Village, Mas (la grillade) seeks out seasonal ingredients from small, organic and sustainable farms in communities surrounding New York City—thus forming its “estate.”
Since 2004, chef Galen Zamarra has been a leader in farm-to-table dining at Mas (farmhouse), his first WV establishment. Utilizing his years of experience, farmer connections and sustainable approach to fine dining, Galen opened Mas (la grillade) in late 2011. He showcases a seasonal menu of locally grown, sustainably raised foods cooked solely over fires of oak, apple and other hardwoods. When you open the Seventh Avenue South doors, you’ll be greeted by the sweet fragrance of smoky, burning wood. A small bar and glass-walled wine room open into an elegant split-level dining room filled with wood tables, white tablecloths and a bright skylight ceiling.
The prix fixe and à la carte menu debuts fresh starters, like a salad of sliced roasted beets, pickled onions, marinated cucumbers and velvety smoked ricotta. Precise fire-grilled preparations let the flavors and beautiful qualities of the ingredients shine in each dish. An entrée of grilled duck presented succulent smoky medallions, rimmed with a thin layer of fat beneath the skin, plated over tender Swiss chard. Perfectly seared scallops laid atop a bed of grilled fennel and spring greens, drizzled with vibrant saffron-dill aioli. A subtle smokiness permeated every element on the plate; it was lovely.
Grilled vegetables, like wild ramps and hen of the wood mushrooms, along with fruit-based desserts, artisanal cheeses and house-made ice creams complete the menu. Creamy ricotta and local honey ice creams were already melting when placed on our table; nonetheless, they provided a tangy, refreshing finish to an overall wonderful meal.
My review as published in the Clean Plates Manhattan 2013 Restaurant Guide Book (purchase it here) and on CleanPlates.com. Photo courtesy of Mas (la grillade).
After working in high-profile NYC kitchens including Gotham Bar & Grill, Le Bernardin and Judson Grill, chef Bill Telepan opened New American restaurant Telepan in late 2005. Since then, the elegant Upper West Side eatery has been widely celebrated by diners and critics for its seasonal menu and use of fresh, local ingredients. “We buy locally, we buy as much organic as we can,” Telepan says. “It’s important because seasonal and local means you’re getting the freshest ingredients that are really well grown by someone I know. It’s just a better product.”
I recently spoke with chef Telepan about his passion for seasonal cooking, helping make schools healthier, and more.
Why has the philosophy of sourcing local ingredients been so important to you over the years?
It’s very simple — when things are seasonal and local, they taste better. When a carrot is pulled out of the ground that day from less than 100 miles away, it’s going to taste better than a carrot that was pulled out of the ground a week ago and flown in from another part of the country.
What type of meals do you cook at home with your family?
We try to keep things quick and simple, but it changes. If I want to try something new, like something with Chinese ingredients, I’ll mess around with that at home. My daughter and I love to make our own pasta, but it’s all about keeping things simple–and we use the crock pot a lot!
So your daughter is a little chef-in-training?
Yes, she likes to cook and she loves to bake—she has officially become the family baker.
What are some of your favorite dishes on the menu right now at Telepan?
Wow, that’s a tough one because I love them all! Right now, we are pulling our own mozzarella to order. Through Murray’s Cheese, I found a great grass-fed milk producer that makes curds that we pull into the mozzarella—it creates an amazing cheese. I also recently started buying whole veal from a farm in upstate New York. We feature it in a dish on the menu, which is amazing, but we also make sausage with it for pasta. I obviously love everything on the menu, but those are definitely a couple things I am very excited about!
Sounds like there’s a bit of Italian influence in there…
Yes, well, I was trained in France and have visited Italy many times, but I’m from New Jersey. France and Italy are so hyper-seasonal, so it has been nice to gain influences from there, but given my background, I am able to take it a few steps further.
What inspired you to get involved with Wellness in the Schools?
Very simply, my daughter is in a public school and I had met some parents who were trying to make some changes, and given that I am a cook, I figured I could help them move it a long a little quicker. 70% of the kids in public schools are getting a majority of their calories in a day by eating school lunches—and this mostly includes breaded chicken, hamburgers, french fries and nuggets. I figured this could be something I could help with by making those calories healthier. Over the last four years, we have been able to eliminate types of food like this from the Wellness in the Schools menu.
Has getting the school system to make change been a challenge?
Well, it’s really just about getting back to cooking and getting rid of the processed foods. It’s that simple. The school system has a large selection of food that they are able to buy, and it’s all about what foods they should be buying and how they should be preparing it. It’s not local, organic or even seasonal, which is fine, but we made it a point to get rid of the processed foods and get cooking again. This is the first step–and hopefully 50 years from now, everyone will get back to buying local.
Congratulations for being named one of the top ten chefs in Food & Wine’s recent Chefs Make Change campaign! How did it feel to participate?
That was so exciting! And such a surprise because we’re such a small organization. To be recognized in the same light as Emeril, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, José Andrés and Alice Waters—we were extremely honored. It was a great feeling to be included in that team of chefs. And it created such a big awareness and raised a lot of money for all of our charities.
Inspired by Ingredients was a fantastic first cookbook. Do you plan on publishing another?
Yes, I am always putting down outlines and thoughts, so hopefully by this summer I will have something in the works.
In the meantime, you can follow chef Telepan on Telepan TV (which, he tells me, is shot entirely by camera phone) and on Twitter at @billtelepan.
Interview featured on CleanPlates.com. Photos courtesy of Neil Samson Katz for CBS.
Hello, my friends! So, it’s been a really big year thus far for Clean Plates—they’ve launched an awesome iPhone app, expanded from New York to Los Angeles and unveiled a brand new website. I’m thrilled for everyone who’s played a part in the brand’s continued success, and I’m honored to be part of the Clean Plates community.
To celebrate all the exciting news, Clean Plates has put together a Healthier 2012 Contest to reward all their loyal followers. From February 1st—14th, you have the chance to win close to $7,000 worth of prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, a nutrition program scholarship, gym memberships, a consultation with Clean Plates founder Jared Koch, and so much more!
For details and to enter, visit the official contest page on Facebook.
The chance to win big by supporting this incredible brand is a no-brainer. What are you waiting for?
Here’s to a healthier 2012!
A tiny, unassuming kitchen attached to a downtown Brooklyn grocery isn’t the typical location for a three Michelin-starred restaurant. Yet, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare continues to break the culinary mold. Since opening in late 2010, snagging one of the eighteen seats at this exclusive supper club has become one of the city’s most coveted reservations. If you happen to be lucky (or mighty persistent) enough to attend a nightly dinner seating, you’ll enter an intimate room filled by a stainless steel U-shaped communal table facing hanging copper pots and a state-of-the-art open kitchen.
Focusing on seasonal ingredients, chef Cesar Ramirez and staff gracefully prepare a well-paced procession of 18-20 small plates, varying daily based on produce availability. Flavorful amuses awakened my taste buds, such as succulent king crab meat wrapped in delicate shredded phyllo atop chilled cucumber dill yogurt, and a cube of flaky Japanese fluke that arrived under a sliver of tart pickled daikon. After about a dozen singular bites (the majority fish-based), seven larger courses followed, including a lightly seasoned rouget over Japanese risotto in foamy saffron bouillabaisse and the most beautifully cooked duck I’ve ever had—tender with thinly fat-laden crispy skin, balanced by earthy chanterelles and silky miso purée. Succeeding an onslaught of savory, I welcomed a creamy fromage blanc sorbet melting into a pool of sweet cherries laced with yuzu rind.
No detail went overlooked, down to the attentive service and exquisite handmade china collection. With a BYO policy, don’t forget your favorite bottle (no corkage fee) and be prepared to eat whatever’s put in front of you—the chef’s not known for customizing the menu. Worth the price and hassle to get in, this truly is a dining experience of a lifetime.
Manhattan-based restaurateur Taavo Somer set across the river to open his first solo venture, Isa (meaning “father” in Estonian) in Williamsburg. The gorgeous space feels like an airy, modern barn with a large hearth, exposed kitchen, a wall of logs for the wood-burning stove and doors opening to the street. In a style called “primitive modernism,” chef Ignacio Mattos (formerly of Il Buco) executes rustic, seasonal fare with produce hailing from the restaurant’s rooftop garden.
The printed daily menu only featured about a dozen dishes (the eatery was still in its soft-launch phase) with minimal descriptions, yet no detail seemed overlooked. Even the trio of freshly baked bread came alongside soft butter dusted with peppercorns and fennel seeds. A start of peppery horseradish shavings awakened our palate and added sharpness to coins of pickled daikon and kombu ribbons, while our Treviso salad tossed with creamy nut cheese and pistachio granola was a much milder appetizer. Adventurous eaters can get their hands dirty with cylinders of chewy, fat-laden pig’s tail glazed with chili and garlic (intended to be eaten sans silverware) or try to brave the sardine. Two large, meaty filets sitting in olive oil surround the fish’s crisped full skeleton and head—all meant for nibbling. On the refined side, our delicate cod filet performed beautifully when accompanied with silken cauliflower puree, fresh dill flowers and a dollop of tart orange confit. To finish, we blissfully spooned smoked yolk (which came cradled in an egg shell) over sliced rib eye and sweet glazed carrots.
At the time, Isa was BYO (waiting for their liquor license) and cash only, but the knowledgable staff affirmed that change was on the horizon. The vibe here is approachable and friendly, a warm neighborhood spot that I look forward to cozying up to again.
After a successful two year stint as chef de cuisine at Manhattan’s Mercadito Cantina, Ivan Garcia headed across the river to open up his first restaurant—Mesa Coyoacan in Williamsburg. Named for the area of Mexico City where he grew up, this authentic Mexican cocina honors the region’s culinary classics with time-honored recipes handed down by Garcia’s grandmother.
The restaurant’s industrial-looking Graham Avenue facade disguises a warm inviting interior that features dim filament light fixtures, a seating medley of cozy booths, high-tops and communal tables, and pop music bouncing off the walls. On the night of our visit, patrons packed into the bustling bar area to sip fresh fruit sangria and margaritas made with house-infused tequilas.
With a focus on organic ingredients and quality proteins, the menu offers excellent Mexican fare and street-food staples. There are plenty of healthier choices, including my ceviche of tender octopus, grilled corn, avocado, pico de gallo and orange slices in a spicy jalapeño citrus infusion, and tiny handmade tortillas (three tacos to an order) topped with spit-grilled chunks of marinated grass-fed beef, chopped onions and cilantro. The roasted organic chicken arrived smothered in a flavorful pipian (traditional Mexican verde sauce) of pumpkin seeds, tomatillo, chiles and zucchini. However, the chiles en nogada entrée—a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with shredded Berkshire pork, pears, apples, peaches and almonds, covered with luscious walnut sauce—was the dinner’s clear high point. The balance of sweet, savory, creamy and nutty was absolutely exquisite.
By delivering high-caliber ethnic eats in a swanky space, Mesa Coyoacan has quickly become a neighborhood hotspot. So grab a date or a group of friends and settle in for some delicious comida that does granny proud.