2012/09/05

RECIPE: LAHMACUN


I'm not a big fan of meatzas (dare I say, too much meat?), and I haven't tried the cauliflower crust yet (but I'm also not a huge fan of the cauliflower taste), so what is a hungry girl to do? I'm so glad I found this recipe; the dough turned out so fluffy. I can see a lot of pizza variations in my future. As for the toppings, I really enjoyed adding the tomatoes on top instead of combining it with the lamb. It gave the dish an extra pop of fresh flavor.

Lahmacun (Turkey)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cinammon
4 oz ground lamb
1 small onion, grated or finely minced
1/2 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Mini heirloom tomatoes, halved (I got these from Trader Joe's - plum/grape/cherry tomatoes is fine)
Salt, to taste

1. Mix oil, tomato paste, parsley, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and cinamon; whisk vigorously.
2. Add lamb, garlic, onions, and chiles. Season generously with salt.
3. Spread on top of flatbread; finish baking per flatbread recipe below.

Adapted from Saveur

Coconut Flatbread

2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup coconut cream, chilled
1 tsp baking soda
1 garlic clove, minced

1. "Coconut cream" is just coconut milk in a can that has been chilled. The milk separates, and when you open the can, there is a bunch of stiff cream at the top. I like to chill my can for at least a day. The recipe I referenced just called for coconut milk, but I found that using the cream made the mixture thicker and easier to work with.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place wax paper onto a baking sheet, and grease it with coconut oil.
3. Mix the eggs, coconut cream, and eggs. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Combine the two mixtures thoroughly. It was be thick, but nearly as dry as regular dough.
4. Pour the mixture onto the greased parchment, and spread thin (about 1/4" or thinner, if possible).
5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes; keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't start browning too much.
6. Remove from oven and from sheet, lay a new piece of parchment, and flip the dough onto the sheet. Carefully peel the used parchment off the dough; it's okay if a little dough comes off but do it slowly because it tears easily.
7. Add your toppping, and return to the oven for about 10 more minutes. Again, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

Adapted from Caveman Strong

RECIPE: SPICY LAMB KEBOBS


This is the kind of dish that convinces me that I can eat this way forever, that I'm not "dieting", and that homemade meals are the best. I've been hankering for some gyros, and this is a more than suitable replacement. Don't be scared of the lamb meat! It was super easy to prepare.

Spiced Lamb Kebobs (Middle East/Mediterranean)

1 1⁄4 lbs. ground lamb
1/4 onion, grated or finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp crushed red peppers
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried mint leaves, crumbled into small pieces
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1. Combine lamb and grated onion in a bowl.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add all of the spices to the skillet, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Don't skimp on the salt - the lamb needs the seasoning love! Mix the spices thoroughly into the lamb/onion mixture, trying not to overwork the meat.
2. Divide the mixture into 4 portions, and roll each portion into a long and thin cylinder (a kebob) about 1" thick. Stick the skewer in each kebob, and pack the meat around it. Place kebobs on a sheet of aluminum foil, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes so they firm up.
3. Fire up the broiler or grill, and cook the kebabs for about 4 minutes per side, turning only once (about 8 minutes total). The kebob should be slightly charred/crispy on the outside, and medium (I made mine medium-well) on the inside.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup homemade mayo
1 small cucumber
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp dried dill
1 tsp salt

1. Squeeze all the moisture out of the cucumber; try to get a lot of the moisture out so the sauce won't separate when chilled (but you can always stir it, and it will be fine). You can do this with a paper towel.
2. Throw all the ingredients into a blender, and blend until thoroughly mixed and liquified.
3. Sauce will store in fridge for up to a week.

2012/09/04

RECIPE: PISTACHIO SAUCE


Can we all agree on one thing? Paleo can get a little boring sometimes. How many different combinations of meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds can there be? Sure, I mixed it up a bunch during my Whole30 by drawing inspiration from different countries, but that took a lot of time and planning. In reality, a lot of people eat grilled meat with veggies on the side. That's maybe fun for the first week, and then not so much. This pistachio sauce is sooooo easy to make, and it will really change the dynamic of your meal. Just add it to your favorite grilled meat (I used steak; I wanted to use quail or another type of game bird), and you've got yourself a fabulous not-so-boring meal.

Pistachio Sauce (Morocco)

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and coarsely ground
3 tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
1 red Fresno or Holland chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 
1. Combine pistachios, parsley, mint, garlic, chiles, and lemon zest and juice in a medium bowl. Add oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly with a fork until the sauce is well combined; season with salt and pepper.

2. Cover sauce and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Sauce will keep, refrigerated and covered, for up to 3 days.
 
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
 
From Saveur

RECIPE: SHAKSHUKA


Man, this dish was a real pleaser. I have been getting so sick of eating eggs, but apparently I fall back in love with them everytime I prepare them a different way. Can't stand them fried (over-medium) or scrambled anymore. But hard boiled? Poached? Yes, PLEASE! Saveur claims that this dish originated in Libya, but I got some Instagram comments from users saying that they know this dish from Israel and Egypt. How cool! I was super rushed for time this morning, and didn't wait very long for the tomato sauce to thicken; still tasted perfect!

Shakshuka (Libya)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
8 eggs
1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
2. Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
3. Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce's surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with parsley, and serve warm.

Adapted from Saveur

2012/09/03

RECIPE: FLAMMKUCHEN


I wanted some dessert to go with my roulade and knödel; what better than flammkuchen? Ok, that sentence is so ridiculous and full of fun words. A flammkuchen pretty much a tarte. It is usually savory with creme fraiche, bacon, and onions on top but you can also make it sweet. I opted for apple butter, apples, and cinnamon.

Flammkuchen (Germany)

1 cup coconut flour
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
1 egg, beaten
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp apple butter
1 apple (I used Gala)
Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Mix flour, oil, egg, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Add water until mixture has the consistency of dough. I found that mine fell apart easily, but I got it wet enough to retain its form.
3. Place dough on a greased baking sheet. Form into a thin rectangle.
4. Spread apple butter all over the top of the dough.
5. Thinly slice the apple, and place slices neatly on top of the apple butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

AROUND THE WORLD IN WHOLE30 DAYS: WEEK THREE DONE!


Week 3 is history! Captain Drumstick and I spent the entire week with Italian inspired meals. I know what you're thinking - isn't Italian cuisine pasta, pasta, and pasta? Actually, there is WAY more to Italy than pasta, but zucchini noodles (or spaghetti squash) make a great pasta substitution. I decided to post each recipe individually; makes it easier to archive and keep track of!






 

RECIPE: ROULADE AND KNÖDEL


I was going to shyly tiptoe around Germany on my journey through the Whole30 but when an Instagram user asked me about a Paleo German meal, it got me thinking. I am SO glad I decided to do this because this meal turned out way better than I could have ever imagined. I don't know what it is about German cuisine that I find so aggresive and bold, but I like it... a lot.

Roulade (Germany)

1/2 pound flank steak
German stone ground mustard
2 1/2 ounces thick sliced bacon
1/2 white onion, sliced
4 dill pickle slices
2 tsp butter
2 1/2 cups beef broth

1. Cut flank steak into think filets; about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches wide.
2. Generously spread one side of each filet with mustard. Place bacon, onions, and pickles on each filet, and form into a roll. Use string or toothpicks to hold the roll together.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Place the rolls in the butter and saute, turning til browned.
4. Pour beef broth into pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer rolls for an hour, turning every 15 minutes.
5. Serve roulade with broth "gravy".

Knödel (Germany)

2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and washed
2 cups almond flour
Salt and nutmeg, to taste
1 egg

1. Boil sweet potatoes in water for about 30-35 minutes, until fork tender. Peel potatoes and pres through a potato ricer or mash really well with a fork while still hot. Let cool.
2. Add flour, egg, salt, and nutmeg. Stir loosely with a fork. Dough will be a little mushy, but should still retain it's form. Form mandarin sized balls.
3. Bring water to a boil, season with salt. Place dumplings inside; the water should not boil harshly, just gently. Simmer for about 10 minutes until they start floating to the top (mine started floating after 5 minutes, and I allowed them to simmer for a few more minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon.

RECIPE: CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA


Easiest chicken recipe ever. Seriously, you would have to try to mess this up! I got back from SLC, went grocery shopping (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, duh), picked up Jimi, and got real lazy. I wanted to lay around and skip dinner (Ah! Pretend you didn't read that), but I took one look at this recipe and realized that I'd be a real piece of crap if I couldn't spend 10 minutes making this.

Chicken Saltimbocca (Italy)

2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
Proscuitto
Herbs of choice (I used sage and basil)
Vegetables of choice (I used broccoli)

1. Lay chicken breasts flat, and place herbs on top. Spread herbs out so you can get some with each bite.
2. Wrap chicken breasts with proscuitto. No need to season the chicken; the saltiness of the proscuitto will take care of it!
3. Heat pan with olive oil. Place chicken breasts with ends of proscuitto down (so you can seal the proscuitto and it doesn't come apart on you). Fry chicken for about 4 minutes per side.
4. Meanwhile, sautee your veggies.
5. Plate, and eat! Voila!

RECIPE: CRABS AND SPAGHETTI


I'm not sure why I get freaked out by shrimp, mussels, clams, crawfish, and countless other species of seafood; but I LOVE me some crab legs. My bf and I have been steaming our own crab legs for about a year; it is SO easy to do, and costs about half what it would to eat at a restaurant. After flying into Salt Lake City on Friday, we steamed a little over 3 pounds of snow crab legs, and devoured it all (well, I set aside a few legs for this recipe).

Crabs and Spaghetti (Italy)

1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. snow crab legs
1 tsp. celery seed
3⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
8 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 lb. lump crabmeat
Kosher salt, to taste
2 zucchini squash

1. Pick out a pot large enough for your steamer basket.Heat oil in a 6-qt. pot over high heat. Fill the pot about 1/3 of the way full with water. When the water starts boiling, pile crab legs on to of the basket (you should be able to fit about 2 or 3 clusters). Put the lid on the pot, and let the crab legs steam for 10 minutes. Take clusters off steamer basket, and place more clusters on. Repeat until you've steamed all the legs.
2. Take a julienne peeler, and make zucchini strands ("pasta"). Wash with water in a colander, salt, and let sit for 20 minutes.
3. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add celery seed, chile flakes, basil, onions, and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 9 minutes. For a smoother texture, you can transfer this mixture to a blender along with tomatoes and purée. Transfer purée back to pot over medium heat. I left my mixture chunky. Cut crab legs into 3" pieces, and add to pot, transfer any juices from plate and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add lump crabmeat and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt, cover, and set aside.
4. Rinse zucchini thoroughly, and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss the strands in with the sauce, and let heat for about 3 minutes. Serve garnished with torn basil. Crack crab leg pieces to get at the meat inside.

Adapated from Saveur

2012/08/31

FOODIE PENPALS: AUGUST


Hey fellow Foodie Penpals and/or curious readers!

Last month, I joined the Foodie Penpals program through The Lean Green Bean.
I was super excited to do this; what better way is there to share your love of food with incredible people? Basically, you are assigned a person whom you will send a box of goodies to, and another person will have the task of sending YOU a box of goodies!
This month, I received a box from Ashlyn Cowan. Check out her blog, On My Road to You. If you have been following my blog, you would know that I'm currently doing the Whole30 challenge. That means no sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy; this really puts a lot of limitations on what I can eat, especially something that has to be packed and mailed to me. Ashlyn was more than up for the challenge - I was SO pleased with the goodies she sent me. She's a vegan, so she challenged herself even further by combining our diets, so my box was filled with Paleo AND Vegan foods!
I have been growing bored with my usual snacks (Larabars, nuts, jerky), so I was super happy to see packages of dried fruit in flavors that I have never tried (pears and persimmons!). The Veggie Squares aren't Paleo, but they look delicious and I can't wait to try them after my challenge is over; I bet they would go great with some guac and fresh salsa! I did open (and inhale/devour) the YogaVive popped apple chips - holy cow, these were insane! I have never tried popped chips, much less popped fruit. It is crazy to me how light and crispy these were, I will definitely be looking to buy this in the near future! I'm a huge coffee drinker and am always looking to convert to tea; the mango green tea sounds like a delicious starting point! She also included a recipe for her favorite vegan pizza crust. Let me tell ya, I have been craving some serious pizza. After my Whole30 is done, I will definitely be putting this recipe to good use (I'll post about it when I do!).
Thank you, Ashlyn! Thank you for being so considerate of my diet (as challenging and frustrating as it might have been). I really appreciate the thought you put into your package!
If you aren't a part of the Foodie Penpals program, click here for more details on how to sign up!














2012/08/30

RECIPE: CHICKEN CACCIATORE


When I think of Italian food, I automatically think of pasta, bread, and cheese. I thought I would have trouble Paleo-fying an Italian recipe to fit the Whole30 guidelines, but it has been surprisingly simple! I have had a fun time cooking (and eating) these tomato and chicken based dishes.  This one is no exception. It would be excellent on a cold winter night.

Chicken Cacciatore (Italy)

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 3-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1 28-oz. can peeled whole san marzano tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, continuing to stir, for about 2 minutes more. Push onions to sides of pan, then add chicken and fry, turning pieces several times to brown evenly, about 4 minutes per side.
2. Add vinegar and 1 cup stock, and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, with their juice, to chicken. Stir in bay leaf, rosemary, and parsley (reserving 1 tbsp. or so for garnish) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, adding chicken stock gradually as tomato juice evaporates, for 45 minutes. Garnish with reserved parsley. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower rice!

Adapted from Saveur

RECIPE: STUFFED TOMATOES


I added sweet Italian sausage to this dish to make it more of a meal. My tomato got too soft in the oven and fell apart, but it was still so good.

Stuffed Tomatoes (Italy)

3 large firm-ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.), halved crosswise
2 tbsp. chicken broth (or vegetable, beef)
Kosher salt, to taste
3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. salted capers, soaked, drained, and chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. almond flour
Salt

1. Heat oven to 500˚. Using your fingers, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Pour broth into an 8" x 8" baking pan and place tomatoes on top, cut side facing up; season with salt. Combine parsley, capers, oregano, and garlic and sprinkle over tomatoes.
2. Heat olive oil over med-high heat on the stove. Toss almond flour and salt in pan, stirring often until "crumbly".
3. Sprinkle crumbs over tomatoes and drizzle with oil; bake until soft and golden brown, 10–15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from Saveur

RECIPE: CHICKEN VESUVIO


There was a time when I first started following the Paleo diet, that I didn't know sweet potatoes were Paleo-legal. That was sad time in my life, and I am so glad to say that sweet potatoes and I are friends once more. This dish really hit the spot - can't go wrong with sweet potatoes and chicken!

Chicken Vesuvio (Italy)

1 cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic
4 large sweet potatoes potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 3–4-lb. whole chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a roasting pan set over two burners over medium-high heat. Add garlic and potatoes; cook, turning, until potatoes are golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer potatoes and garlic to a plate; set aside.
2. Add chicken to pan; cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add vinegar and 1 cup chicken broth; cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
3. Return potatoes and garlic to pan; season with parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add remaining broth; transfer pan to oven. Bake until cooked through, about 45 minutes.
Adapted from Saveur

RECIPE: SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS


This was super easy to make, and so convenient for packed lunches. After some crazy French and Spanish recipes, I was more than happy with Italy's simple yet savory meals.

Sausage and Peppers (Italy)

3 sweet Italian sausages
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½″ strips
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½″ strips
1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1. Bring sausages, 2 tbsp. oil, and ⅓ cup water to a boil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; cover, and simmer until sausages are half-cooked, about 8 minutes. Uncover and cook, turning, until sausages are browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 4 pieces each; set aside.
2. Return skillet to heat along with remaining oil. Add onions and bell peppers; cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add chile flakes and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
3. Return sausages to skillet along with stock, oregano, and salt and pepper; boil. Cover and cook until sausages are cooked through, about 10 minutes; uncover and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes: 2 servings

From Saveur

RECIPE: ROMA EGGS


Messed up on my first meal, and forgot the pesto. The second time, I just slopped everything together on the plate. I hadn't poached eggs in awhile; it was a nice change from the usual scramble or over-medium.

Roma Eggs (Italy)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup homemade pesto
8 slices prosciutto
2 Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into ¼"-thick slices
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and fry, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. In same pan, add tomato slices and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Place tomatoes on top of prosciutto.
3. Bring a 10" skillet of salted water to a simmer over medium heat; add vinegar. Crack eggs individually into 4 small dishes. Slip eggs into simmering water; turn off heat, cover, and cook until whites are just firm, 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove eggs from water, and place on top of tomatoes and prosciutto; top with pepper and pesto.

Adapted from Saveur


2012/08/26

AROUND THE WORLD IN WHOLE30 DAYS: WEEK TWO DONE! (& DAYS 12-14)


Week 2 is history! Captain Drumstick and I spent the week exploring the cuisines of Spain and France. I have to admit, these two countries really tested my commitment to this challenge. The recipes took time and attention; there were times when I felt too lazy to cook, but I dragged my butt off the couch and got it done! I pushed through a killer running WOD on Friday, so I spent all weekend hobbling around, cleaning, and catching up on 'Breaking Bad' episodes. I'm embarrased to say that I just started watching it a week and a half ago, and I'm already done with Season 4. Yes, I am a big piece of doo doo.

Anyways, catch up on the rest of my Week 2 meals (and recipes) below. We're off to Italy next! I love their cuisine so much, we are spending the entire week there!

DAY 12


Breakfast: Croque Madame (France).
Verdict: The picture looks blah, but this was yummy. I remember my first Croque Madame, which was actually in Belgium, not France. I was at a restaurant 'In de Vrede' across from the Westvleteren monestary that brews the only 100/100pt beer in the world. I sampled all 3 beers, and ate a Croque Madame sandwich, and proclaimed that I must have pineapples/ham/dijon mustard everyday for the rest of my life (that was probably the beer talking).

4 oz ham steak
1 egg
1 pineapple, cut into rings or chunks
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil

1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil.
2. Fry ham steak until crispy, about 1 minute on each side. Remove and plate.
3. Fry egg to your preference, season with salt and pepper. Remove and place on top of ham.
4. Arrange pineapple slices on top of egg.
5. Top pineapple with dijon mustard.


Lunch: Cucumber and Salmon Roll Ups (France).
Verdict: Not sure why I wasn't hungry for lunch, but I went home anyway and made this quick and fresh snack. I really need a mandoline; the cucumbers were a little thick and wouldn't roll up very easily.

1 package of the thinnest smoked salmon you can find
1 cucumber
Homemade mayo
Mint
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper

1. Place 1/2 cup of mayo, garlic clove, and a few mint leaves in a blender. Blend well until the ingredients are well mixed.
2. Cut cucumber in half crosswise. Then cut the halves into thin slices.
3. Lay cucumber flat, squirt a thin layer of mayo sauce, and lay a slice of smoked salmon on top. Roll up.
4. Repeat with remaining ingredients.


Dinner: Trout Meunière Amandine; Trout with Brown Butter and Almonds (France).
Verdict: This was so yummy. I accidentally got bass instead of trout, but I was not disappointed. The crust was perfection, and the brown butter sauce was devine. Please try this at home.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Olive oil, for frying
2 eggs
2 cups almond meal
4 8-oz boneless, skinless sea trout, redfish, or red snapper filets
Salt and pepper
3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp minced parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into slices, for serving

1. Heat butter in an 8" skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring, until solids turn dark brown, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in vinegar and lemon juice; set sauce aside.
2. Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2"; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. In a shallow dish, whisk eggs; put flour into another shallow dish. Season fish with salt and pepper. Working with one filet at a time, dip fish in flour, shake off excess, and then dip in egg and shake off excess. Return filets to flour; transfer to a rack over a baking sheet. Working in two batches, fry fish until golden brown, 5–6 minutes, then drain on paper towels. To serve, divide fish between 4 plates; sprinkle almonds on top. Whisk sauce and spoon over fish. Garnish with parsley; serve with lemon slices.

DAY 13


Brunch: Mini Chipotle Pork Quiches (France).
Verdict: I'll make the crust a little thinner next time; I think it was too thick - the almond meal flavor overpowered the pork, and it didn't taste as savory as I wanted. I'm really happy with how well it came out though.

For the Tart Crust:
1 1/4 cups almond meal, sifted
11 tablespoons (5.5 ounces) butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
6 ounces lean ground pork
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

1. For the Tart Crust: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, butter, egg, and salt together with a wooden spoon, or with a hand mixer on the lowest speed. Mix until the dough comes together into a cohesive mixture, rather than lots of individual lumps, and can be formed into a ball.
2. Grease the wells of a regular size muffin tin . You will need 20 separate muffin wells, so it will take multiple tins. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a log about 15 inches long. Cut the log into 20 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten it slightly with your palms. Place the dough into a greased muffin tin and use your fingers to press the dough out and up the sides of the muffin well to shape the sides.
3. For the Filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a skillet, cook the ground pork over medium heat until no longer pink. While it is cooking, season it with the ground chipotle chile and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
4. Sprinkle the sausage, and chives into the tart shells. In a bowl, beat the eggs, coconut milk, and remaining salt together until combined. Pour the mixture into the quichelette crusts until it reaches the top edge of the crusts.
5. Bake the quichelettes for 26-28 minutes or until slightly browned. Let them cool for about 10 minutes and then very gently lift them out with a butter knife and serve warm.


Dinner: Salmon à la Nage (France).
Verdict: Ooo, I really really really liked the broth. The salmon was also super nice, and the mussels... well, the mussels... well, you see, I've never had mussels before, and I get really freaked out with some seafood... so, I may have put a mussel in my mouth and chewed a couple times before panicking and spitting it out... I'm so ashamed. I was trying to be adventurous but I think I went too far with it.

6 stalks asparagus
9 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 6-oz skinless, boneless salmon filets
Salt and pepper, to taste
24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup string beans
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

1. Heat oven to 225°. Snap off and discard ends from asparagus. Thinly slice stalks on the bias; leave tips intact. Set aside. Grease a 10" straight-sided skillet with 1 tbsp. butter. Sprinkle skillet with shallots. Season filets with salt and pepper; arrange in skillet. Scatter mussels around filets; pour in wine/broth with 1 1⁄2 cups water. Boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until mussels open, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside, covered, to let steam, until fish is just cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer fish to a baking sheet; transfer mussels with a slotted spoon to sheet, leaving broth in skillet. Keep fish and mussels warm in oven.
2. Place skillet over high heat; bring broth to a boil. Whisk in remaining butter, 1 tbsp. at a time, until smooth. Add asparagus and string beans; cook until tender, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tarragon, chives, parsley, and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Divide fish and mussels among 4 bowls; divide broth between them.

DAY 14


Brunch: Vivaneau Rouge Rôti avec Fenouil et Tomates; Red Snapper Baked with Fennel and Tomatoes (France).
Verdict: Tasty. I wish I hadn't burnt the veggies under the broiler, but the fish more than made up for that. It was flaky and juicy and just wonderful. I need to work with whole fish more often (this was my first time.

3 plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed, cut into 12 wedges
1 medium yellow onion, cut crosswise into 12″ slices
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp. lightly crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp. lightly crushed black peppercorns
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 (1-lb.) whole red snappers, cleaned and scaled
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 400°. Place tomatoes, fennel, and onion evenly in a large oval baking dish; set aside. Mince garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle heavily with salt; using a knife, scrape garlic and salt together to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in juice, oil, coriander, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves; pour half of this dressing over the vegetables. Place in oven and bake until vegetables are tender, about 35 minutes.
2. Heat broiler to high. Season inside and outside of fish with salt and ground pepper, and place over vegetables in dish; pour remaining dressing evenly over fish. Place under broiler and cook, turning fish once, until fish are cooked through, about 18 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Side Dish: Ratatouille (France).
Verdict: I love this dish; I think it's a perfect side dish, but could even be a good main dish if you added some sausage or chorizo to it. I had Ratatouille in Nice at a small restaurant that I went back to two days in a row because it was so lovely. This dish takes me back to my dinners there, where I felt free, alive, and happy.

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
3. Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
4. On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
5. Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables (If you look at my picture, I layered each vegetable without alternating for no other reason than that I thought the colors were prettier that way). You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
6. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.
7. Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
8. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.


Dinner: Pork Chops Piquant (France). Served with Ratatouille.
Verdict: Oh yum, you can't go wrong with the pork and mustard combo. The onions also got real soft to the point they were almost caramelized.

5 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. thin-cut pork chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
6 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
8 cornichons, sliced
2 tbsp. dijon mustard

1. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Generously season chops with salt and pepper. Working in batches, fry chops until browned on each side and just cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Transfer chops to a plate, loosely cover with foil to keep warm, and set aside.
2. Add the remaining 3 tbsp. oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring often, until soft and just beginning to brown, 3–5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of skillet, until reduced by three-quarters, about 1 minute. Add white wine vinegar/broth and cook until reduced by half, 5–6 minutes. Stir in cornichons, mustard, and any accumulated juices from chops. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return chops to skillet and baste with sauce until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

2012/08/24

AROUND THE WORLD IN WHOLE30 DAYS: DAYS 8-11

I apologize for how lazy I've been. I haven't been showing the edits I made to the original recipes to turn them Whole30-friendly. I'll try to be better about that now.


During the half-day I had in Omaha between Dallas and Salt Lake, I packed a big ziploc bag full of spices and sauces. I needed to go prepared to SLC, otherwise I would have used every excuse in the book to stray from the Whole30.

DAY 8


Brunch: Customized Omelette at IHOP - Spinach, Sausage, and Peppers/Onions.
Verdict: A safe choice. I almost forgot ketchup was a no-no, but I poured some hot sauce on instead.


Dinner: Roast Chicken with Saffron and Lemons (Spain).
Verdict: Yummy in my tummy! I used drumsticks instead of a whole chicken since I was only making dinner for myself. I threw these on the grill, and they crisped up very nicely while retaining their juices.

1 3-lb. chicken 2-3 chicken drumsticks
1 large pinch saffron threads, toasted
2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. black peppercorns
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Sprigs of rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wash, then dry, chicken.
2. Grind toasted saffron threads, salt, and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the flesh of the chicken. Rub spices over and under the skin, and inside the cavity. Place lemon slices and rosemary under the skin and inside the cavity.
3. Tuck the wings under the back and tie the bird with a kitchen string to hold the legs together for even cooking. Place in a baking pan and roast for 1 hour. NOTE: If using an outside rotisserie, follow manufacturer's directions on cooking whole chicken. Grill on high heat for about 20 minutes, turning chicken every 5 minutes.

DAY 9


Breakfast: Ham and Pesto Frittata (Spain).
Verdict: I don't like mushrooms, so I left those out. It was good, but I don't think frittatas are the same without cheese...

4 organic eggs
1/4 cup of milk
a dollop of basil pesto (homemade paleo version)
salt and pepper to taste
a good splash of olive oil
2 grated zucchini
8 slices of Virginian leg ham, finely shredded
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Whisk your eggs with the milk, basil pesto and a little salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and when the oil is ready add the zucchini and cook until softened.
3. Add the ham and mushrooms and continue to stir until everything is cooked.
4. Add your whisked egg mixture to the pan, ensuring it covers everything well.
5. The frittata is ready when the egg mixture begins to “set” on the sides of the pan. When you achieve this “half cooked” consistency add your grated Parmesan cheese ensuring it covers the whole top of the frittata.
6. Place the pan in a pre heated 180 deg C oven and cook for about 7 mins.


Lunch: Mixed Paella (Spain).
Verdict: The broth was very flavorful, I would like to sear the chicken next time to give it a cripsy texture. I'm not a big seafood eater, so I left those out.

30 5 threads saffron, crushed (a scant 1⁄2 tsp.)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
1 tbsp. 1 tsp smoked paprika
3 2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1 dried bay leaves
3 2 medium tomatoes, minced
1 small onion, minced
7 3 cups chicken broth
2 1⁄2 cups short-grain rice, preferably Valencia or bomba
1 9-oz. box frozen 1/4 can artichoke hearts, thawed
8 oz. fresh or frozen peas bunch string beans
3 1 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
12 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1. Put saffron and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 16"–18" paella pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving meats in pan. Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add reserved saffron mixture and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add artichokes, peas, and peppers. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes. (If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly.) Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and nestle in mussels hinge side down; cook, without stirring, until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Dinner: Potatoes Stewed with Paprika and Chorizo (Spain).
Verdict: Can't go wrong with sweet potatoes and chorizo! Loved this dish.

1 medium russet sweet potato, peeled
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 1/4 lb. lamb riblets shoulder, separated
6 oz. pork shoulder, cut into 2" chunks
Salt
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded, and diced
8–10 oz. Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/2"-thick pieces
3 tbsp. sweet Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
1 dried guindilla or other dried red hot chile
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Leaves from 6 sprigs parsley, chopped

1. Insert the tip of a knife into each potato far enough to begin splitting it in half, then wedge your thumbs into the crack and break potato apart. Repeat the process with potato halves, quartering them. Heat 3 tbsp. of the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 5–7 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
2. Heat remaining oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb and pork with salt, add to pot, and lightly brown all over, about 2 minutes. Add onions, peppers, chorizo, paprika, bay leaf, and chile and cook until vegetables are soft, 2–3 minutes. Stir in garlic and parsley. Add 6 cups boiling water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, potatoes are soft and sauce has thickened, 45-60 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Discard bay leaf. Transfer to a warm tureento serve at the table, if you like.

DAY 10


Snacks: Day 10 consisted of the same meals as Day 9. I knew I was going to be busy (and flying back to Omaha that evening), so I made sure I had enough leftovers. I was outside for most of the day, so I packed some plaintain chips, nuts, a Larabar, and a packet of almond butter. I like to squirt the butter on top the the Larabar for some extra flavor.

DAY 11


Lunch: California Burger with a side of fruit.
Verdict: No theme today because I have no groceries to cook with. After a weeklong hiatus from burgers, this became appetizing to me again. The fruit salad was AMAZING with strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and dried cranberries!

 

It was hard leaving Titan behind in Utah, but I was really anxious to see Jimi. I wish we could just be one big happy family again. I bet they miss each other.