Look no further than the fat-free food boom of the late 20th century to know that the prevailing wisdom about what constitutes healthy food has been, at times, dead wrong. It turns out that a fat-free Entenmann’s raspberry danish is bad, while a high-fat avocado is good. Of course, as food fads come and go there are always people who have advocated for eating whole, nutrient-dense foods that haven’t been processed; that wisdom, thankfully, is mainstream at the moment, and some of the biggest advocates are athletes for whom food is fuel — and the cleaner the fuel, the better the system runs. Cafe Clover in the West Village of New York City has taken this to heart, serving a menu of new American cuisine designed in collaboration with Peak Performance, a nearby gym that focuses on personal training and nutrition. Cafe Clover’s brunch menu is exactly the way we like to fuel on days that we’re working out, so we asked them to share a few recipes. Feel free to follow the basic instructions and skip the garnishes — or double the serving if your training requires bigger meals.
With baby beets and peas
It doesn’t get any easier than smashing an avocado on toast in the morning. And avocados are super healthy, filled with monounsaturated fat, carotenoids, fiber and a handful of vitamins. Add the rest of the ingredients for flavor and presentation, or skip them if you need a breakfast in two minutes.
2 slices organic multigrain toast
2 baby candy cane beets
1 radish shaved into rounds
Micro cilantro or picked cilantro leaves
Fresh English peas out of the shell
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. In a bowl toss baby beets in olive oil, salt and pepper. 2. Wrap together in tin foil and roast in oven at 325°F for 30 minutes or until tender. 3. Cool beets and then rub skin off with a clean kitchen towel. Cut each beet into four pieces. 4. Toast bread. 5. Blanch peas in boiling salted water and cool. 6. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Place each half of avocado cut side down on cutting board and smash, then squeeze remaining avocado out of skin. Smear toasted bread with smashed avocado. 7. Cut off crust and cut each slice of bread into two triangles. Top each triangle with two beets beets, sliced radish, a few peas, salt and pepper, and micro or picked cilantro. 8. Drizzle with olive oil.
With roast apples, cashews and maple syrup
We don’t plan on giving up pancakes anytime soon. This hearty version adds everyone’s favorite superfood, quinoa, to a buttermilk pancake recipe and substitutes lesser oils for coconut oil and regular sugar for agave. It’s certainly not diet food, but if you’re planning a post-work brick workout you’ll need all the calories you can get.
1 1/4 cups skim milk
3 1/3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 2/3 cups organic unbleached flour
5 tablespoons agave syrup
1 2/3 teaspoons baking powder
4/5 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4/5 cup cooked quinoa
4/5 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
3 apples peeled cored and diced (fuji or honeycrisp)
1/10 cup agave syrup
1/3 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. 2. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, agave syrup, vinegar and oil. 3. Whisk eggs and milk mixture into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Then fold in the quinoa. 4. Separately, mix apples, syrup and cinnamon and bake in the oven on 350°F until soft. 5. Heat pan or griddle to medium-high and put a small amount of butter or oil on it. 6. Using a cup, pour pancakes onto the cooking surface and cook until bubbles start to break through the top. Flip and cook until golden brown. 7. Serve with cooked apples, chopped cashews and maple syrup.
Soft Baked Eggs
With avocado and roast chili salsa
Eggs, avocado and rye berries combine for a dish that’s high in calories and good fats, tastes indulgent and won’t weigh you down. Unprocessed and/or sprouted grains offer real nutritional value in the form of fiber and minerals, which the refined flour found in most packaged breakfasts lacks.
1 cup rye berries
4 organic beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 dried chipotle
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup of lime juice
4 organic eggs
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup salted corn nuts
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 2. On a baking pan, place the whole tomatoes, small onion cut in half, jalapeño cut in half (seeds removed). Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes or until beginning to brown. Let cool on the side. 3. Rinse rye berries and cover with three cups of salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until beginning to split open. (Cooking time can be reduced by soaking rye berries over night.) 4. While rye berries are cooking, blend roasted vegetables in a food processor with chipotle, 1/2 of the bunch of cilantro and 1/4 cup of lime juice. 5. When the rye berries are cooked drain and put back in a pan. Mix two teaspoons of olive oil and remaining lime juice into rye berries, and cook over medium heat to warm. Place on the bottom of 2 oven-proof pans or mini cast iron skillets. 6. Cover rye berries with salsa. Quarter the avocado and place two pieces on top of the salsa. Make two small wells in the salsa with a spoon and crack eggs into each. 7. Bake at 450°F until eggs are cooked to desired temp. 8. Remove from oven and top with salad of sliced jalapeño, sliced radish, picked cilantro, corn nuts and lime juice.
David Standridge is the Executive Chef at Cafe Clover. Before that he was the Executive Chef at Market Table and the Sous Chef at L’atelier de Joel Robuchon.