Two meals, two mocktails, and a whole ton of flavor to get your healthy on.
We’re over a month into the new year, and it’s time to give ourselves an honest assessment. The belly: not as taut as possible. The workout regime: not the pinnacle of consistency. That quick hop in our step knowing we’ve eaten well, exercised, and haven’t spent the last 72 hours on the couch watching Sochi: no comment.
February, we think, is for going back to the drawing board — giving ourself a second chance, because, you know what — it’s our health — and we owe it to ourselves to try again. Supporting the cause are Timmy Malloy of Local’s Corner and mixologist Vince Toscano of Rye. They’ve put together some healthy options, that haven’t compromised on flavor.
Mocktails and kale salad may not sound like the tune to a good time, but allow yourself to to be surprised. Chef Timmy hasn’t deprived your taste buds, and he doesn’t believe in restrictive diets. His belief: “eating healthy isn’t cutting out everything you like, it’s everything in moderation … It’s eating less — making a serving, not a giant bowl.”
In your fight toward health, Timmy believes the biggest obstacles are big portions and processed foods. So with these recipes he’s given us two single servings of healthy, seasonal, foods.
Beets and apples are staples of the winter culinary tradition, and kale — that nutritional powerhouse — is readily available throughout the cold months. The meals Timmy put together aren’t abstaining from everything good — there’s crème fraîche with the beets and apples, and the roasted garlic caesar dressing’s not compromising anything.
The caesar salad is an improvement on what you’d expect, with the roasted garlic giving the sauce extra nuance, and the kale taking the dressing in stride (it doesn’t get soggy). The beets and apples mix is something of of a vegetable tartar, and with crème fraîche like luscious mortar to hold it all together, it’s a smooth, healthy option that won’t weigh you down.
As for the non-alcoholics (NA’s), Vince’s approach is simple: make drinks equally as delicious as your favorite cocktail and make them easily adaptable. “When you decide to give up on yourself and start drinking again, all you have to do is add in your favorite spirit.” They’re light, refreshing, and as good a mocktail as you’ll find. The only downside: with flavors this appealing, we found ourselves adding in the bourbon pretty quick (usually around the third sip). Why not make a good thing better?
Beet and Apple Salad with Pumpkin Seed and Cumin
3 large Red Beets, roasted (directions below) and diced
2 Pink Lady Apples (sub: Granny Smiths), diced
1 large Shallot, minced
1/2 zest of a small Orange
2 tablespoons Crème Fraîche
1/2 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Cumin, ground
Toss beets with some olive oil and sea salt, then place them in a baking dish with water at the bottom (this will help the peeling process later on). Cover with tin foil and bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender. When done, take out and slightly cool. When they are cool enough to handle (they’re much easier to peel when warm), peel them and then dice them into small cubes. Dice apples into small cubes and combine with the beets, shallots and orange zest. Then toss with crème fraîche. Season with salt and a splash of red wine vinegar.
Combine pumpkin seeds and oil in a pan. On medium high heat, bring everything up. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. When the seeds start to turn slightly brown, turn off heat. Strain off oil (you can save the oil for garnishing the plates or making a vinaigrette). In a bowl, toss together seeds, cumin and salt, then sprinkle over salad.
Kale with Roasted Garlic Caesar
1 bunch Lacinato Kale
Hard Goat Cheese or Parmesan to grate over the top
4 Slices of Rustic Bread
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic
6 Anchovy Fillets (optional)
1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Water
To clean kale, remove the leaves from the stem and tear into smaller pieces.
To make croutons, set oven at 400°. Tear bread into 1 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil and a little salt. Lay out on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, turning half way through baking.
Place roasted garlic, anchovy (again, optional), lemon zest, egg yolks, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and Dijon into food processor. Blend until all is incorporated. SLOWLY add in oil. Half way through, add water and the rest of the lemon juice. When the oil has all been incorporated, season to taste with salt/pepper and add more lemon juice if needed. And, if the dressing gets too thick, add in water.
To serve: toss kale and croutons with about a tablespoon of the dressing. Grate cheese of choice on top.
Vince Notes: The idea for the mocktails was for them to be refreshing, and for the lack of spirit to be unnoticeable. They’re best described as coolers (from Dalton of Roadhouse—if you haven’t seen it, watch it now) or non-alcoholic Collins.
Both drinks are easy to make and won’t send you wandering through farmer’s markets to find rare and obscure items. Just as in cocktails, mocktails should have ingredients that you can recognize and have an idea of what you are getting in the drink. And, when the time comes, just add booze.
The Simple Nectar
1 ounces Pineapple Gum Syrup*
2 ounces Lemon juice
Top with New Orlean’s Bitters and soda
Note: Pineapple Gum Syrup can be usually found at specialty liquor stores (if you’re in SF, Cask carries it). But call ahead just to make sure it’s in stock.
Muddle a basil leaf in the bottom of a shaker. Add in Pineapple Gum Syrup and Lemon Juice. Strain over crushed ice. Top with soda and New Orleans Bitters and garnish with basil.
Vince Tip: Don’t make any resolution more hard on yourself. If you’re not drinking already, making a mocktail should be easy, not complicated. Mix it up, and then you’re good to go with NA deliciousness.
Not Your Grandpa’s Tea
1 ounces Black Tea Syrup* (sub: whatever tea you like [green tea, lavender tea, etc]).
2 ounce Lime juice
Topped with soda
Note: To make tea syrup, make the tea and then add a 1:1 amount of sugar to tea, then mix.
Muddle two leaves of mint in the bottom of a shaker. Add in Black Tea Syrup and Lime, then shake and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with soda, then add mint for garnish.
Tasting Notes: You’ll get the basil flavor as well as the pineapple syrup. It’s a touch sour, and a touch sweet (but not overly so), as you’d expect from a lime and pineapple combo.
For more, visit Chef Timmy at Local’s Corner and visit Vince Toscano at Rye.
Images by Jeff Masamori. ©Huckberry.