Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Your new favorite Autumn/Winter pasta dish is here! Serves 4 to 6, but you may want to just serve a couple people and have plenty for leftovers…

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Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Ricotta, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 bunches cavolo nero (also known as black, dinosaur, Lacinato, or Tuscan kale)

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

2 (6-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs, bruised with your fingers

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

½ pound fresh spicy Italian sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links

½ cup golden raisins

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted, if possible

1¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 ounces gemelli or penne pasta

2 cups ricotta salata, drained and crumbled, or grated Pecorino Romano, not pre-grated

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, for serving

  1. Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop finely.
  1. Combine 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  1. Add the garlic, rosemary, and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  1. Add the sausage to the pot. Cook for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until the sausage has browned, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  1. Add the chopped kale, golden raisins, drained diced tomatoes, and stock to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.
  1. Turn the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to continue simmering and cover with a lid. Continue simmering until the kale is soft, and less than a third of the liquid remains, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Remove the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
  1. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
  1. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).
  1. Drain the pasta without rinsing, then immediately return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta and stir to coat.
  1. Add the pasta to the warm sausage-kale mixture, gently stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. Serve in shallow pasta bowls, topped with the ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano. If using ricotta salata, shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving with a vegetable peeler. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted pine nuts.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Purée

This Thanksgiving, forgo the marshmallows, lighten your mash and make my Sweet Potato Puree. Your stomach, taste buds and guests will thank you! (Okay, if you still want those marshmallows, I can attest that they do pair well with this dish ;-))

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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Purée

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

3 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds), peeled and diced into 2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place the potatoes in a small pot filled halfway with cool water.
  1. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, then drain well.
  1. Add the drained potatoes to a food processor with a metal blade attachment (for a super smooth texture) or large bowl (for a more rustic texture).
  1. Process in the food processor or mash with a potato masher, then add the remaining ingredients and continue processing or mashing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots

Today I did a Facebook LIVE from the Clean Eating Magazine Facebook page and made my Sustainable Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots. In case you missed the LIVE, you can still watch me cook (or cook alongside me) the tacos here:

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And for those of you who want the recipe, I’ve included it for your dining pleasure!

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Spiced Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Pickled Shallots
Yield: 8 tacos

Pickled Shallots
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ pound shallots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
½ cup + 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Place shallots in a medium bowl.

Heat water, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over shallots and add vinegar. Stir together.

Let sit until taco time!

Chipotle Crema:
¼ cup organic sour cream
1½ teaspoons adobo sauce
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix to combine ingredients together in a small bowl.

Catfish:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless catfish fillets (approximately 6 filets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided.

In a small bowl, mix to combine the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.

Pat catfish fillets dry with a paper towel. Season the fish on both sides evenly with the spice mix.

Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the butter bubbles up, turns brown and perhaps even smokes, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl the pan so the butter coats the bottom of the pan.

Gently add three of the catfish fillets to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove fillets from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined sheet tray or plate. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and repeat the process with the remaining fish. Flake the fish into bite-sized pieces.

Assembling the Taco:
8 corn tortillas, warmed through
2 avocados, pitted and sliced
½ cup shredded purple cabbage
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, quartered

Smear a dollop of chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. Top with a few slices of avocado. Add some catfish, cabbage, pickled shallot and cilantro. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime. Eat. Repeat.

Braised Spiced Chickpeas 
with Swiss Chard & Sweet Potatoes

Check out my 1 pot wonder dinner, Braised Spiced Chickpeas with Swiss Chard and Sweet Potatoes, in the latest issue of Clean Eating magazine – hey it’s the cover photo – and it’s available online!

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If you like this recipe, you’ll love what we’ll be cooking up in my new online course, “Mastering Sustainable Seafood, Poultry and Meat!”

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Check out the course trailer and syllabus and enter NLYON75 when you register for $75 off!

Honey Vanilla Ricotta with Fresh Berries

It’s summer! Make use of your stash of berries with this simple and super quick dessert. Sure to be a crowd pleaser (for kids and adults)… Enjoy! Recipe is below (and in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, page 110) AND you can also watch me make this on my youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvHnOrIlE

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Fresh Fruit with Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fruit: (feel free to make your own berry combo!)

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 pint blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination

5 large fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (2 tablespoons) plus 4 large whole mint leaves for garnish

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Whipped Ricotta:

1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

 

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the fruit salad ingredients.

Put the ricotta, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Process or whip until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time for dessert.

To serve, divide the fruit into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of the Honey Whipped Vanilla Ricotta and garnish with a mint leaf.

Vegan Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff – Enter Aquafaba

This recipe is pretty darn amazing! Not just because it gives a vegan alternative to marshmallow fluff (something usually made with gelatin), but because it uses the liquid found in a can of chickpeas (which, let’s be honest, is commonly tossed out). This liquid is called aquafaba and it’s like magic. Whip it up and it will form stiff peaks like a meringue. The aquafaba has properties akin to egg whites and the taste is so similar, you probably won’t even notice the difference. That makes this the perfect Drought Friendly Recipe. And when you pair the fluff with the Drought Friendly Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies and a slathering of some more peanut butter, you have a fluffernutter cookie sandwich that is knock ’em out of the park delicious. So, next time you open a can of chickpeas or other white beans (yes, you can use other canned bean brine!) reserve that liquid and whip up something deliciously cool.

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Whipped Aquafaba Fluff

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Looks just like the “real” thing!

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Fluffernutter cookie sandwich, anyone?

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Overhead shot of deliciousness

vegan cookies fluffernutter torched

Get crazy and torch that marshmallow for a fluffernutter s’mores cookie sandwich – WHAT?!

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This is taking your cookie sandwich to the next level…

 

Vegan Vanilla Marshmallow Fluff

Yield: 5 cups

 

½ cup garbanzo bean brine (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans)

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup organic powdered sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup organic corn syrup

½ cup organic granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Add the brine to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle over the xanthan gum and using a hand whisk, whisk vigorously until fully combined. Add the salt and powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until fully combined. Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer to medium-high and let whisk until it looks like whipped meringue, white in color and holds a medium peak. Turn off the mixer.

In a small saucepan add the water, corn syrup, then the sugar. Place over medium heat and cook until an instant thermometer reads 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn the stand mixer to medium speed and very slowly stream (the slower the better!) in the hot syrup aiming for the space between the whisk and the inside of the mixer bowl.

Add the vanilla extract, a few drops at a time, aiming for the space between the whisk and the inside of the mixer bowl.

Turn the mixer to high and mix for an additional minute.

Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies – Drought Friendly – aka vegan

In the mood for something a little sweet and chocolatey? But healthy, right?!, because chocolate is an antioxidant and peanut butter is full of protein… right… YES! Try these Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies. Another recipe from our continuing Drought Friendly Recipe project.

Choc PB Cookies Drought Friendly

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies

Yield: 14 cookies

 

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground flax seed)

5 tablespoons water

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix to combine the flax seed and water. Stir and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix to combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix the peanut butter with the brown sugar on low speed in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment for approximately 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla and flax/water mixture. Mix to combine. Add flour/cocoa mixture and mix until just combined, approximately 1 minute. The texture should be like play-doh. (Do not over mix.)

Using your hands, form cookies into 1½-inch sized balls and place, evenly spaced, on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place no more than 9 per sheet tray.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Using the back of a flat spatula, gently press cookies down to form a disc shape.

Let cool completely on sheet pan so cookies firm up before eating.