sweet potato with sautéed tomatoes and figs

Eating clean is an experiment in texture and flavor. You experiment with combinations you wouldn’t usually try because usually you’d have a Everything bagel slathered with cream cheese. Eating clean takes discipline.
mmmm. cream cheese . . . 

Ahem. Right. Clean eating.

It’s September second and the inter-webs are flooded with words about and recipes for pumpkin spice. I was initially thrilled, (because PUMPKIN SPICE!) and then amused, and then alarmed. My thoughts of adding to the glut here at EatWriteRepeat dissipated because of the overwhelming backlash. I had no idea pumpkin spice was such a heated topic! I mean, I know it’s all about rushing the season and what not, but good grief. No one grows this worked up over Christmas decor before Thanksgiving. The injustice!

Anyway. I’ll spare us all the drama. Here’s a sweet-potato recipe instead. Be warned though, I’m working on a savory pumpkin soup recipe for as soon as the temperatures dip a bit. And there’s a good possibility I’ll run by Starbucks this afternoon. *wink*

BAKED SWEET POTATO WITH SAUTÉED BABY TOMATOES AND FIGS

2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons clarified butter
1/2 cup baby tomatoes—halved (the Constellation mix is my fav)
6-8 fresh figs—halved
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cinnamon

Bake sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Until the skin is slightly crisped and the potato pierces easily with a fork.

In a pan, over medium heat, melt 2 teaspoons clarified butter. Toss tomatoes and figs into the pan with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Sauté until soft and the juice from the fruit is beginning to caramelize.

Spoon over baked sweet potato and serve warm.

• Makes two servings

tomato basil salsa over chicken breast

I wish I could say something poetic about the glut of tomatoes in my garden this year. But alas, I can not. Because I got a harvest totaling six tomatoes. Six. I had twelve plants of all different varieties, but between the unnaturally cool spring, the obnoxious amount of rain we’ve had, and my lack of attention to the garden as of late, the tomatoes plants all bit the dust.

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So. The six fruits I managed to grow are precious to me.
I felt like I needed to prelude with this because there are a myriad of ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes. (Tomato sandwiches are one of my favorite!) And yet I have chosen to take four of my six and blend them into a sautéed tomato and basil salsa.
But fear not. It’s that good and worth each precious fruit I spent. In addition to which, this recipe is whole 30 friendly.

I mixed up the salsa one morning in about twenty minutes (before I made coffee even!) and stuck it in the fridge for later use. Tonight it was simmered over medium heat until it began to resemble a sauce more than a salsa, and poured lavishly over grilled chicken breast. Summer in its zenith.

The key to eating clean is simplicity and preparedness. If a recipe takes too long to make or is too fussy, then I’m liable to cram fistfuls of chips or thick slices of cheese into my mouth while I’m making dinner because I’m too ravenous to wait. There goes Whole 30. Oops.
So:
Be prepared.
Keep it simple.

This recipe does both. I used a food processor to finish the dicing process for me and pulsed the ingredients below a few times before tasting and adding salt and pepper. You can use a knife and dice each item on its own as well, combining everything in a mixing bowl. Either way, this recipe is diverse, keeps well in the fridge, can be used hot or cold, and is worth the expenditure of four precious garden tomatoes.
Enjoy!

TOMATO BASIL SALSA

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4 medium tomatoes, cubed.
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 whole onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
dash of salt
dash of pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Cauliflower-Rice Stuffed Peppers

Well, the time has come.
I must lay aside my mixing cups, my sugar and flour, the almond and vanilla flavoring—it’s time to set aside the pastry and fruit, the chocolate, and cinnamon glaze. It is nearly September and this summer saw a bakery style transformation occur in my kitchen.
And somehow my closet also transformed.
All of my clothing shrunk.

Ahem.

But cooling evening temperatures and achingly blue skies are bringing out a desire for roasted root veggies and sage, soup, baked eggplant and zucchini, and a cleaner approach to life in the kitchen. It’s time.

Last September I did my first round of Whole 30. —For those unfamiliar with this, Whole 30 is essentially a month’s reprieve from processed food, grain, sugar, and alcohol. A reset. A month of whole-food eating. A gastronomical rest. It was the best thing I did for myself last fall. And I’m ready to do something good for myself again.
If you’re interested in jumping on that sort of bandwagon for a short period of time (read: do-able period of time) stick around. Most of the recipes you find here for the next thirty days will be Whole 30 compliant. But even if that’s not your jam, I promise the food you find here will be nourishing, tasty, and not overly-complicated, as always.

To get things off to a rolling start:

CAULIFLOWER-RICE STUFFED PEPPERS

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1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to your taste preference
3-4 chicken thighs, cooked and diced fine
2-3 cups of baby greens
3-4 sweet peppers, color of your choice

Start with a batch of cauliflower rice.
I use a food processor for this, but you can also use a hand grader.
When whirled in a food processor or run over a grade, cauliflower transforms into ‘grains’ that resemble rice in texture, but of course, without the grain aspect Whole 30 and other clean eating methods avoid.

Take one head of cauliflower and whirl, or grate one small batch at a time, until the entire head has been transformed into “rice.” In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and cook diced onion and diced garlic until transparent. Add the cauliflower rice and work gently with a soft spatula over the heat until it cooks through. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the rice and then add the diced chicken thighs (or omit, if you prefer to avoid meat), and finally, add the baby greens. Continue mixing over heat until the greens begin to wilt and all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Remove from heat.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove seeds from inside. Fill each pepper with cauliflower rice, place in a baking dish, and bake at 350-degrees for 25 minutes.

Serve warm.

buttermilk ranch dressing

I have the distinct pleasure of weekly access to fresh raw milk from a local farmer friend of mine, and it has been so much fun figuring out all kinds of new ways to use it, besides yaknow, just drinking it. I’ve made yogurt, Kiefer, butter, and I skim off the rich heavy cream for my coffee. I’ve yet to try cheese, but it’s on my list, and today I’m using up the last of the buttermilk from my butter-making this week, in a salad dressing recipe.

If you’ve not made butter before, it’s as easy as (literally) whipping heavy cream. And it doesn’t even have to be raw. Take pint (or quart if you prefer) of whole cream and dump it into a mixing bowl. I use my stand mixer for this job but you can use a hand mixer, or even a glass jar with a tightly sealed lid to shake the cream rather than whip it. Add a bit of salt for flavor and whip on medium high until the cream thickens—first to whipped cream, and then past that to butter—which will separate, leaving behind buttermilk.

You’ll need about a cup or more of buttermilk for this recipe, which you can buy in your local grocery store’s dairy department. Or you can make your own butter, and use the leftover buttermilk. Either way is fine.

Enjoy!

BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING

This recipe starts with a base of mayo, and I’ve linked to this whole30 recipe before, but it truly is the most fantastic mayo recipe I’m aware of. It’s the one I return to over and over again. So go ahead and whip up a batch.

Once the mayo is ready, add to it:

1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon fresh pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves (or fresh if you have them!)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dry dill weed (or fresh if you have it!)
2 tablespoons white cooking wine
1 cup buttermilk

Blend well and store in an air tight container.

deviled eggs

I didn’t color Easter eggs with my kids this year. I am one third raging Mom guilt, one third relief (I didn’t have to clean up the chaotic mess!), and a final third healthier for not having to digest the dye which somehow manages to seep through the shells into my boiled eggs.
Emotions in thirds.
I love fractions.

So, when it comes to logical conclusions, it made sense to boil all the eggs I had left post Easter, and devil them. Is ‘devil’ a verb? To devil. Yes. Okay. The grammar girl in me is satisfied.

For your own satisfaction: Deviled Eggs, traditional style (and Whole 30 friendly!).

Enjoy!

DEVILED EGGS
 

6 eggs (or more if you’re serving a crowd)
Mayo (this is my favorite recipe!)
a dash of salt
a sprinkle of paprika

Boil eggs until hard. About 1.5 minute per egg, so for a batch of six eggs, 8-9 minutes. Adjust your time accordingly.

Once your eggs are boiled, drain off the hot water and cool them down ( I flood my pot and freshly boiled eggs with cold tap water) and then peel them.

Slice the cooled, peeled eggs in half, the long way, and scoop the yoke into a small mixing bowl. And then using a fork, (or if you prefer your deviled egg filling extra smooth—a hand mixer) mash the yokes until smooth. Add about 1 part mayo per three parts egg yokes. So if you end up with about 1 cup of mashed yoke, add 1/3 cup mayo. Blend well, add a dash of salt until the flavor is to your liking, and then with a small spoon (I use a baby spoon because I have a whole bunch of those on hand), scoop a dollop of yoke back into the empty egg. Do with with all of the eggs—you may have yoke filling left over (perfect for a slice of toast!). Top with a sprinkle of paprika and serve chilled.

 

easy egg-drop soup

Sometimes you need a bowl of soup. A quick one.
But soup is notorious (or is nefarious a better word?) for being best when cooked for all the hours over low heat.
Whatever.
I don’t have time for that when I’m hangry. (My auto-correct keeps trying to change that to “hungry” but I really do mean hangry).

So here you go. A soup that takes literally five minutes, one sauce pan, and an egg to whip up. “Easy” seems too descriptive a word. But “tasty?” Now that word doesn’t even come close.

Enjoy.

EASY EGG-DROP SOUP

 In a saucepan heat 2 cups of chicken stock to boiling. Add a dash of salt. Turn burner off.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg until frothy and then gently and slowly pour the egg into the hot (but no longer boiling) stock. stir gently with a soft spatula and then let sit for three minutes. Serve topped with diced scallions or other favorite herb blend.

carrot and parsnip mash

Sometimes mashed potatoes are the best thing in the history of ever. And sometimes they aren’t. —Like when you’re doing Whole30. Mashed sweet potatoes are a nice substitute, but they are so . . . sweet.
So.
Here’s a savory substitute to gorgeous, fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes that is not only better for you, but also fluffy and gorgeous, pretty to look at, and entirely vegetable-based. I threw in a little coconut cream to make things extra decadent.
Want to make it more of a meal? Throw on a soft egg or a steak. BOOM.
Enjoy!

CARROT AND PARSNIP MASH

6 carrots, peeled, and chopped
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon onion flakes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot boil chopped carrots and parsnips until fork-tender, just as you would potatoes. Drain and return veggies to pot. Add coconut cream, onion flakes, salt and pepper, and using either a hand-held beater or immersion blender, whirl until the veggies begin to soften and blend together. I like my mash a little chunky. A few pieces of vegetables mixed in with mash give this dish texture and color. But if you prefer them light and cloud-fluffy, continue whipping/blending until smooth.
Serve as a side with a pat of butter or a dollop of Greek yogurt.