Sunday, December 28, 2014

Epic Pear Seed Bread

We get it from all sides these days.  That wheat belly guy insists that bread and pasta are going to be the death of us pronto.  The Paleo divas claim that grains do not soothe the savage beast. Those notions seem extreme, but it is true that we should reduce our white flour and overly chemically processed foods asap.  Common sense indicates that we should give our bodies regular breaks from repeated bombardment. And yet, no one can deny that we humans love our breads.  All Western cultures have breads of every ilk.  Our brothers and sisters who left us behind when they crossed the Bering Straight to set up culture in the New World found ways to create breads from the new ingredients they found there such as acorns & maize.  The Persians have their dilly flat breads, the Indians their nan, the Chinese their rice buns, the Japanese their 'pan' & their okoge, the crispy rice as the bottom of each okame rice cooker.  And that brings us to crackers.  Every culture known to human kind, brings it's cracker creations to the world plate.  

So, when it's time to take a break from wheat and grains for moment, let us turn to the mighty seeds at hand.  This Epic All Seed Bread does take a full day to proof & sprout, but doesn't really need much prep time or babying.  Here's how to do it.  

Start w/ a bunch of flavorful seeds.  Beautiful indeed.  
Epic Pear Seed Bread
Amount
Measure
Ingredient
Prep Method
1
Cup
Sunflower seeds

½
Cup
Flax seeds

½
Cup
Pepitas

1
Cup
Buckwheat groats

½
Cup
Quinoa

¼
Cup
Chia seeds

¼
Cup
Flax meal

1
Teaspoon
salt




Directions:

Combine the seeds in a large oven safe pyrex bowl
Meanwhile heat the following to just melted

2
Tablespoons
Honey

¼
Cup
Coconut oil

1 ½
Cups
Water


Add to the bowl w/

¾
Cup
Pear
Just ripe, grated, with juice

Stir well, let sit w/ a light cover (light tea towel or cheese cloth) for 24 hours. 

Put into a cold oven, set at 325.  When it reaches temp, set timer for 30 mins.  Turn off oven and cool completely. 

Scrape sides to loosen, turn oven back on to 325.  Bring to temp, set timer for 45 mins.  Turn out onto sprayed pizza pan.  If some sticks to the bowl, pat it back into place.  Cook for an additional hour until it feels firm and solid when tapped.  

It's easy to melt the coconut oil in the water & honey

It's the pear that makes this bread sweet/savory and unique.


After it has blended and proofed over night, here it is ready for the oven
And it transforms to this lovely loaf once cooked
And sliced
Once sliced, it freezes very well.  It's such a hearty flavorful bread, you can use it in any way that those classic hard dense German and Scandinavian breads are used. Here's our suggestions w/ avocado, caper & black pepper crema & Avanti Poached Garlic & Green Peppercorn Harissa

Eating Healthy & Delicious is a Win Win Win Situation!

Eat, Live & Party Well
Blog post by Chef Mark Cleveland

Avanti is the longstanding leader in organic, sustainable, local, flavorful cuisine in Orange County, CA.

Meaning 'forward' in Italian, Avanti Natural is a culinary philosophy that integrates the best of traditional European and Asian healthful eating with the latest nutritional information for optimum health.

Our successful restaurant Avanti Café was located on 17th St in Costa Mesa from 2005 through 2014.  Follow us on social media to see what is new and in store for Avanti in our culinary futures.

At Avanti Natural, we believe that you don't have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy; you can Eat Well & Live Well

We are Whole Foods Experts  It’s time to take Avanti Natural to restaurant menus & kitchens everywhere.

Post photos of your versions of Avanti Natural recipes on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  Check our blog on the website for how to recipe blogs.  We’re excited to see and share your culinary creativity!






Poached Garlic & Green Peppercorn HARISSA

Any master list or top 5 roster of the best and most enduring HOT sauces in all of human history, certainly notes the mighty North African Harissa.  In its basic form, it's a clean and simple preparation, dried chiles reconstituted in hot water, then ground to a paste w/ fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.  With origins in Tunisia, Algeria & Liberia, there are many variations out there.  Naturally it's made and used in the south of France as well.  A wide variety of recipes abound and quite frankly all are worth a try in our opinion.  This version was inspired by a particularly succulent crop of late summer freshly picked garlic from South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano.  Steeping them in boiling water allowed the skins to slip off easily.  Using fresh garlic makes for a particularly flavorful harissa, but it does take a bit of time to skin the cloves.  Here's the set up.
Look how plump, slightly golden and beautiful they look, lightly poached in boiling water and sea salt.  

Poached Garlic & Green Peppercorn Harissa


In a medium saucepan w/ a lid, mix together


Amount
Measure
Ingredient
Prep Method
2
Cups
Dry red chilies
Arbol, bird, Japanese
1
3.5 oz Can
Green peppercorns
Rinsed and drained
6
Cups
Brewed Genmai Tea
Or green tea, veg broth or water
½
Cup
Dry vermouth

¼
Cup
Champagne vinegar



Let sit overnight.  Then bring to a boil over high heat, covered.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temp.  Several hours. 

Meanwhile, in a glass bowl or measuring cup combine

1 ½
Cups
Whole garlic cloves
Unpeeled
½
Teaspoon
Salt

2
Cups
Boiling water


Let sit until the water cools, then peel the garlic.  Reserve the water to use if needed

2
Cups
Evoo

½
Cup
Paprika

¾
Cup
Sumac

1
Heaping Tabelspoon
Sea salt

 

Stir together the chili mix, the lightly poached and peeled garlic and the evoo spice mix.  Vitamix in batches until smooth.  You’ll likely use most or all of the reserved garlic water too.  Use that to adjust the consistency to your liking. 

Ok, let's hit the Vitamix!

video
Every harissa lover knows that this uber versatile HOT sauce makes every food group zestier & fuller of flavor.  We've cooked up a storm of options for y'all to savor
Some like it HOT for breakfast
And brunch
Classic HOT breakfast and brunch w/ a basil & ricotta omelet, 
roasted taters & lots of harissa to fire up those eggs
Hearty seed bread w/ caper crema, harissa & avocado.  The earthy buckwheat gluten free seed bread holds its own w/ the harissa fire.  Epic Seed Bread
Roasted portobello & tarragon caramelized onion sliders w/ harissa rouille.

Keep this delicious harissa handy, it freezes well, and when you're in the kitchen, finishing a dish and wondering what it needs to take it right up on over the top, well, the answer is clear :: Poached Garlic & Green Peppercorn HARISSA ::
Eating Healthy & Delicious is a Win Win Win Situation!
Eat, Live & Party Well
Blog post by Chef Mark Cleveland

Avanti is the longstanding leader in organic, sustainable, local, flavorful cuisine in Orange County, CA.

Meaning 'forward' in Italian, Avanti Natural is a culinary philosophy that integrates the best of traditional European and Asian healthful eating with the latest nutritional information for optimum health.

Our successful restaurant Avanti Café was located on 17th St in Costa Mesa from 2005 through 2014.  Follow us on social media to see what is new and in store for Avanti in our culinary futures.

At Avanti Natural, we believe that you don't have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy; you can Eat Well & Live Well

We are Whole Foods Experts  It’s time to take Avanti Natural to restaurant menus & kitchens everywhere.

Post photos of your versions of Avanti Natural recipes on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  We’re excited to see and share your culinary creativity!




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Beet Greens :: YES :: How To ::

The only thing not much good for eating on a bunch of beets is the rough skin on the beets themselves.  There's much flavor and nutrition to be had in both the stems and the greens.  Almost all the time at the green grocer we hear the produce & check out staff asking customers if they want to keep the beet greens.  And more often than not, they say no.  Well, Avantiacs always say yes.  Now, if they are bug eaten, wilted and tired as they often are in the summer, keep them for your back yard chickens or to compost.  And if you have neither a chick nor a compost bin, then do discard them.  But from early fall until late spring the mighty, organic beet greens are usually plump, rich and full of flavor potential.  

Indeed, they must be washed well, especially those that are organically grown.  It's easy to do.  Fill your sink or a wash tub w/ cool water, cut the greens and stems from the beets, just above the beet itself.  Put the greens and stems into the cool water and soak for about 15 mins.  Pull them out of the water and into a colander.  Rinse out the sink or tub and repeat.  I find that the lucky number 4 works best when washing the dirt off the greens and stems.  It's a little time consuming cutting the stems.  But hum a song, say a prayer and find your mojo as you tackle the task.  Here's what the stems and leaves look like when separated and the stems are cut nicely.
Next add the stems to a skillet along w/ a few cloves of minced garlic, your favorite sea salt blend, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil and a bit of liquid.  I prefer Japanese sake or an Italian dry white vermouth.  A little minced ginger and onion add flavor and healthful properties too.  See The Mighty Trinity Roots.  
We've added salt to the cold pan, since the beet stems are fibrous and we plan to sweat them.  Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently.  Once most of the liquid has cooked down, add a splash of water, then add the chopped beet leaves.  Stir once, put a lid on the skillet and turn the heat off.  Allow to steam and cool for about 15 mins.  Now these gorgeous flavorful greens are ready to use in any culinary way you can imagine.  Try them in pasta, on pizza, in risotto, w/ polenta, to flavor your favorite tagine.  Chicken and seafood adore them, savory rice porridge and oatmeals are enlivened.  Serve them w/ some capers or with the roasted or boiled beets as a dish on their own.
Once done, they look like this.  Ahhhh, scrumptious indeedy!
Voila!  A serving suggestion of the lovely golden and red beet greens paired w/ sauted mushrooms, whole roasted garlic cloves, whole wheat penne, brown & wild rice & basil blossom & organic homemade crema garnish.  Bon Apetit!


Eating Healthy & Delicious is a Win Win Win Situation!
Eat, Live & Party Well
Blog post by Chef Mark Cleveland

Avanti is the longstanding leader in organic, sustainable, local, flavorful cuisine in Orange County, CA.

Meaning 'forward' in Italian, Avanti Natural is a culinary philosophy that integrates the best of traditional European and Asian healthful eating with the latest nutritional information for optimum health.

Our successful restaurant Avanti Café was located on 17th St in Costa Mesa from 2005 through 2014.  Follow us on social media to see what is new and in store for Avanti in our culinary futures.

At Avanti Natural, we believe that you don't have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy; you can Eat Well & Live Well

We are Whole Foods Experts  It’s time to take Avanti Natural to restaurant menus & kitchens everywhere.

Post photos of your versions of Avanti Natural recipes on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  We’re excited to see and share your culinary creativity!




Monday, December 22, 2014

Avanti Everyday Miso Soup

At some point most every day, a delish and healthful cup of miso soup always hits the spot.  Here's the easy way to get your probiotics, vitamins and fresh garlic & onions all at once.  I start w/ a cup or bowl that holds about 2+ cups of liquid.  Use a small whisk to scoop out a generous tablespoon of your favorite organic miso.




Add in a small clove of minced garlic, about a teaspoon or two of any handy minced greens.  Pictured are golden and red beet greens w/ some chives & a whisper of minced ginger.  Sometimes I mince the ginger, and sometimes I put coin sized slices in and munch on them as I go.  I also like a little pickled minced onion.  No more than a teaspoon.  I make mine by finely dicing a large yellow onion and adding in about a teaspoon each of sea salt and honey.  Combine in a glass jar.  I add some spices like turmeric, fenugreek or curry powder.  Then I top it off w/ living champagne or apple cider vinegar (with the Mother of vinegar).  I let it cure for a few days at room temp.  And what's left goes into the fridge until it gets used up.

On top of your miso mix add about 3/4 cup of cool, best quality water.  I let this mix sit and cure for an hour or overnight.  
When you're ready to enjoy this living food probiotic flavor treat, boil up some quality water.  Once boiling, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 mins or so.  Top off your soup w/ about 3/4 cups hot water, stir again and drink it up w/ gusto.  You don't want to boil the miso or you'll damage the beneficial probiotic bacteria.

Itadakimashyo!  So tasty!!


Eating Healthy & Delicious is a Win Win Win Situation!
Eat, Live & Party Well
Blog post by Chef Mark Cleveland

Avanti is the longstanding leader in organic, sustainable, local, flavorful cuisine in Orange County, CA.

Meaning 'forward' in Italian, Avanti Natural is a culinary philosophy that integrates the best of traditional European and Asian healthful eating with the latest nutritional information for optimum health.

Our successful restaurant Avanti Café was located on 17th St in Costa Mesa from 2005 through 2014.  Follow us on social media to see what is new and in store for Avanti in our culinary futures.

At Avanti Natural, we believe that you don't have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy; you can Eat Well & Live Well

We are Whole Foods Experts  It’s time to take Avanti Natural to restaurant menus & kitchens everywhere.

Post photos of your versions of Avanti Natural recipes on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.  We’re excited to see and share your culinary creativity!