The Art of Eating Clean

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I’ve enjoyed getting to know Terry Walters, well, at least virtually at this point.  We’re planning to meet in person some time next month in Chicago.  Terry is the author of  Clean Food and the newly released Clean Start — two beautiful books that were designed by a terrific Chicago graphic design firm MacKenzie Brown Design. In fact, it was my friend Andy Brown who helped make the virtual introduction.  He’s quite proud of the books and is a big fan of Terry’s work.  I can see why.  Thanks for sending me the book.

There’s one amazing recipe after another in Clean Start.  I love how the book is organized seasonally.  The emphasis is on whole, local foods — especially the foods we need more of, including whole grains, fresh produce and healthy fats. There are two winter recipes that I have my eye on.  I haven’t made yet, but thought you might be interested in trying too.  They both contain some of the trendy ingredients that I predict will be big in 2011 — squashes, ancient grains and bitter greens.  Reprinted with permission from Clean Start © by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.  Photography by Gentl & Hyers.  Design by MacKenzie Brown Design.

French Lentils with Roasted Roots, Caramelized Onions and Thyme

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Lentils are a perfect complement to winter’s colorful and sweet roots and squashes. Not only are they a great source of protein, but their somewhat earthy and savory taste enhances a variety of winter meals.  Although there are three main steps required to make this recipe, the prep time is minimal.  This dish goes great with sauteed mustard greens, kale or collards.

1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and diced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry French lentils
3 cups vegetable stock or water
Sea salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large red onion, diced
4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (variety of choice), about 1 pound
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place rutabaga and celeriac in 8 x 8 baking dish, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast 20 minutes. Remove from oven and toss.  Return to oven and roast an additional 20 minutes or until soft.  Remove from oven and set aside.

While vegetables are roasting, rinse lentils and place in pot with vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until just tender (about 20 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain well.  Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and set aside.

In large skillet over medium heat, saute onion in remaining tablespoon olive oil until it starts to brown (5-7 minutes).  Add mushrooms and mirin and continue sauteing.  Add remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time to deglaze and caramelize vegetables.  Add thyme and saute 2 minutes longer, for a total saute time of 12-14 minutes.  Fold in lentils and roasted vegetables and saute to heat through.  Season to taste with salt, toss with parsley and serve.


Deep Dish Greens with Millet Amaranth Crust

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I thought this was an interesting combination of kale and frozen vegetables that’s topped with a whole-grain crust. And the photo is gorgeous. In the book, Terry writes: When my children were young, I made this one-dish meal with frozen veggies and a more traditional pie crust.  As they became more adventurous eaters, I added more dark leafy greens, and eventually exchanged the crust for this hearty whole-grain topping.  I’m not sure my family even remembers the original version, but they definitely love what it has become.

3/4 cup combined millet and amaranth
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2 tablespoons mirin
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, chopped
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Place millet and amaranth in pot or rice cooker with vegetable stock and salt.  Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In large Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion in oil 3 minutes or until soft.  Add carrots, peas and corn and continue sauteing to heat through.  Add mirin, fold in kale and collards, and saute until tender and bright green.  In small mixing bowl, whisk together water, tamari and arrowroot.  Pour over vegetables, stir until sauce starts to thicken and remove from heat.  Transfer to pie plate or casserole and set aside.

Turn on broiler.  When grains are done, fold in dried parsley and season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper.  Stir to combine and spread evenly over vegetables.  Drizzle with olive oil and broil 5 minutes to yield a creamy grain topping with a crisp crust.  Remove from oven and serve hot.


Variation:  Substitute polenta for grains and 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juices for 1 cup water and tamari.

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