Whole 30: Day 16

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This morning I made time to pre-cook some scrambled eggs with scallions and fry up some bacon. Another perk of the make your own bacon project is that it also provides me with bacon fat in which to cook my eggs, and other goodies. Yay!

Lunch was leftover curry, which is maybe more amazing the next day.

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Anything to perk you up in the middle of a work day is awesome. Also I’ve been finding that on this diet I never have that post lunch sluggishness that I get after many lunches. Instead I feel energized and happy.

After work I had to babysit my niece for a couple hours, which proved challenging when I showed up and she informed me that she had ordered us pizza. Which is like, my favorite. The good news was, her mom is from California, so she had ordered us Dominoes…which if you live in NYC is pretty much not acceptable as pizza. I still wanted it, though. Instead I ate another apple, and then stole a tangerine from my brother’s fruit bowl. I was a little later than I thought I would be getting home, so dinner was made for me!!! Totally worth being late. My honey sautéed some hake in some ghee with garlic and thyme, steamed some chard and whipped up some potatoes. It was great. And I was so happy that I didn’t cheat, particularly in the form of Dominoes. Day 16 success.

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Whole 30: Day 15

Man, this project is taking forever. I can’t say I won’t be happy when it’s finally time to move on to my next project.

The thing is, though…I’m feeling really good. Like, really really good. So, the project continues. Also, what’s the point in getting this far along if you aren’t going to get the answers that you’re looking for? So, pressing on.

This morning we had an early morning work thing at our local food coop. Yes, the infamous Park Slope Food Coop. So, we decided to grab some apples and jerky and make that breakfast.

Of course, the best part of working at the food coop is shopping at the food coop afterwards. I thought I did really particularly well this time around.

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Out of this, came an inspired and simple lunch:

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Made up some tuna salad, plopped it on a bed of salad greens, threw on some cherry tomatoes and splashed some Ume vinegar on the greens. Delicious.

For dinner I went a little more complicated. I had some gorgeous monk fish, and my favorite thing to do with it is make it into a mustard curry. So, I did that. I got the recipe from Mermaid’s Garden, where we have a weekly fish share. It’s pretty terrific. I alter fish for what’s on hand and also sometimes will do okra instead of cauliflower or swap out jalapeño for whatever hot peppers I have. If I’m in the mood for spicy I’ll up the amount of those hot peppers, and if not I’ll keep it as written. Usually I like to eat it with naan…but since that’s out this time around I opted for slightly less spicy since there was no starch to help numb the spice. I thought it turned out perfect. Also! This is a recipe that seems intimidating: it is really not! Pretty simple as long as you have everything prepped and ready to go. And you need the curry leaves. That’s pretty much what makes the whole dish. Recipe below:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound firm fleshed fish fillet, cut into two inch chunks
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onion
  • 4 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (or 4 tablespoons of ghee)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1 each dried arbol chile
  • 12 each  curry leaves
  • 1 tsp.garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine (I subbed this for extra chicken stock cause Whole 30)
  • 2 cups fish or chicken stock or 1 cup bottled clam juice mixed with 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. coriander Seed, toasted & ground
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp. allepo or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 cup okra or cauliflower, sliced in ½” pieces
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Warm a sauté pan over medium heat. Add half of the oil or ghee and the onions. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes dry out and darken in color, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in a blender.
  2. Heat the remaining oil or ghee over medium heat in a deep heavy pan such as a dutch oven. Add the cloves and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and arbol chile and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  3. Add the curry leaves, garlic, ginger and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the white wine (if using), tomato-onion puree and stock. Bring this to a low simmer for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the coriander, tumeric, Allepo/cayenne pepper and mustard powder to the pan.
  5. Season the fish all over with salt and pepper. Add the okra or cauliflower to the pan and cover. One minute later add the fish. Re-cover the pan and increase the heat to high for two minutes, then turn off the heat and allow it to sit covered for 6 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and add the cilantro.

I have made this a number of times and it is always outstandingly delicious.

Whole 30: Day 14

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So, as you might expect, I ate some bacon today. I took the block of it to my local bodega and they sliced it up for me, so nice and saved me SO much trouble. I’m going to freeze most of it, I swear! 😀

Anyhow, today was good for a few things. First of all, I suddenly was able to make a perfect poached egg. I’m pretty good in the kitchen but I’ve always struggled with the poached egg. And yet somehow, today, I woke up able to do it.

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I give you Exhibit A. Breakfast. Simple, elegant, tasty. Mix the eggs with the arugula and you have a masterpiece.

The second part of my learnings today: I realized I don’t always have to make things complicated, and I can always just have a big salad. So, I did a lot of that today.

For lunch, a BLT&A salad on a bed of arugula. Um, it was easy to make, and also incredibly yummy!! Also, I felt incredible after I ate it. So, there’s that.

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I enjoyed it so much, and was so impressed with my newfound poached egg skillz, that I decided to combine the two for dinner. I added apples to the dinner salad, too, and it was everything I ever wanted in a meal. Feeling like I can last six more weeks. Maybe.

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Whole 30: Day 13

So, still having a bit of a rough time with this day. I knew I had a really busy morning, and I really wanted to exercise before the day got away from me, so I opted to run instead of eat before it all began. Fortunately, the “busy” entailed going to the farm and running the CSF (community supported fishery) pick up, so I got to pick up my veggies and fruit and chomp on amazing apples before I had a chance to get too hungry.

Also, I knew my bacon would be ready today. Which keeps any girl happy.

When I got back from the farm I was starving, so I warmed up the leftover stuffed squash and we split that for lunch.

Then I got the cured pork belly in the oven and some jerky in the dehydrator. Running out of things to grab and go is detrimental.

In the afternoon I made up some chicken salad (and some Whole 30 Mayo) to have around the house.

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I was so excited about the bacon that we decided to do a breakfast dinner.

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It was beautiful. Also I didn’t have to cook it. Also. My bacon is ready. 🙂

Whole 30: Day 12

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Potatoes save the day. Actually they really do.

So, it serves me right for being cocky. But of course it caught up with me. This was a tough day! It’s not really that I’m craving anything in particular, it’s just that I’m wanting a break from the constant prepping and cooking and planning. Also I’m a little broke this week and it’s expensive to prep everything yourself!

Anyway, that said, it turned out to be a better day than I thought it would be. But I’ve been a little under the weather and grumpy, so I started out a little pissy.

We made up a breakfast scramble of smoked salmon, tomatoes and egg.

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It was good but I’ve still been feeling a little over it all. For lunch we had those delicious potatoes (featured above) with some leftover chili. I was really feeling over the leftovers, though, so I chopped up an heirloom and an avocado and made this deliciousness below:

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…and actually that made my day turn around. It was so good. And so easy. I didn’t have to dress it with anything. Just a little sea salt.

I totally got inspired by that salad and by dinner was feeling much happier and back on track with the whole 30 in general, which I had been cursing up till that point in the day.

And then I busted this out for dinner, which pretty much ended the food day on a super high note:

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Kobocha Squash Stuffed with Curried Turkey and Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 kobocha squash
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 4 – 5 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbls. curry powder
  • sea salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 425
  2. Cut squash in half and seed. Sprinkle with olive oil. Once oven is hot, roast at 425 for 40 – 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a skillet over medium high heat. Ince brown, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the potatoes to the same skillet and add water to cover.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Drain, and mash.
  6. Add potatoes to bowl with ground meat, along with curry powder and salt.
  7. When the squash is ready, fill with potato turkey mixture and serve immediately.

This dish was life affirming. Also we shared one half and kept the second for leftovers.

 

Whole 30: Day 11

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I managed to squeeze in frying up an egg before I left home today, and I popped it in a tupperware with this half avocado. Why does an avocado make everything delicious?!? And again, these pears are really good, too.

Lunchtime brought the chili that cooked in the slow cooker overnight. Recipe is below.

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Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, buffalo or venison, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound white onions, chopped
  • 3 tbls. ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 ancho chiles, stems removed

Preparation:

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, stir the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Working in small batches, add the beef cubes to the pot and cook, stirring, until well browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a bowl.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and sauté until lightly browned.
  4. Transfer everything to your slow cooker and add the cumin seeds, chili powder, paprika, oregano, black pepper, thyme, salt, garlic, broth, tomatoes, 1 cup water, anchos and the browned beef. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
  5. Stir well, and serve.

If the bacon that’s been curing in my fridge was ready, I would have included frying up some bacon before the beef, and crumbling that into the whole ordeal as well…which only makes me cry to think about so let’s move on.

For dinner I sautéed some black bass in clarified butter and fresh thyme. Also made up some garlic chips (lightly fried in butter as well). I then removed them from the pan and in the same pan sautéed some collard greens in the garlic-y butter. Meanwhile I roasted an eggplant at 425.  Bing bang boom.

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Whole 30: Day 10

Woot! 10 days in! This is easy. 😀 Of course, we’re really on a Whole 60, so we’ll see how easy it is by then.

Anyway, day 10 was pretty low maintenance on the food stuffs. I had two pears in the morning, one right after exercising and the other mid-morning.

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Lunchtime was the winner of the daily meals. Leftover steak and potato nik, with a salad of avocado, tomato and lettuce topped with oil and vinegar. Could an avocado be any more perfect?

For dinner I pulled out some of those frozen fish cakes and ate them while I prepped a chili con carne for an overnight trip in the slow cooker. More on that tomorrow.

That’s it! Again I stress: leftovers. Extremely important.

Whole 30: Day 9

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Things are progressing smoothly. I’ve also been feeling really good, with a lot of energy, despite this cold that I’ve definitely been fighting from the season change. Another work day! But this time I had time to cook up a little breakfast (above) before I left home and just re-heated once I got to work. Also, that pear was delicious.

Lunch was leftover chicken tikka masala. I also brought in some salad greens and a whole tomato that I chopped up into the greens at lunchtime, and topped it with a little olive oil and some vinegar. Yum.

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All that was left was dinner. I had a steak prepped from my meat share, a 60 day aged Dominico steak. So, that was a no brainer. I also still have a bunch of potatoes so I decided to whip up a sort of potato nik. Super easy. Also something different and really yummy. And then I steamed some chard to make it all come together.

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For the potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • About 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • Cooking fats (I used beef tallow)

Preparation:

 

  • Grate potatoes and onion by hand or with grating disk of a food processor; drain in colander or strainer. Combine potatoes and onions in a large bowl with eggs, salt, pepper and almond flour.
  • Put a good chunk of cooking fat in a large, deep skillet, either nonstick or seasoned cast iron; turn heat to medium-high. When fat is melted and shimmering, put all the batter in pan, and smooth the top. Cook, adjusting heat so mixture sizzles but does not burn. Continue until bottom is nicely browned, at least 15 minutes.
  • To turn, slide cake out onto a large plate, cover with another large plate and invert. Add a little more fat to pan if necessary, and slide pancake back in, cooked side up. Cook 15 minutes or so longer, until nicely browned.

Yum.

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Whole 30: Day 8

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How gorgeous is this breakfast?!? I didn’t even have to make it!! It was made FOR me!! VERY impressed. I was told that pressure was felt to make a delicious meal…and one was definitely made.

Also, I am SO HAPPY to learn that my very favorite breakfast sausage patty of all time has no added sugar or anything bad for you!! They’re from The Piggery, in Ithaca; I am lucky enough to be able to buy their wares at The Park Slope Food Coop. But if you AREN’T lucky enough to live somewhere you can find their stuff, they sell online here. It looks like their deli meats have no sugar, too. Glory day.

Anyhoo, we ate a little later than usual, and so again, lunch mostly became picking here and there. Leftovers, fruit, etc.

Dinner, on the other hand, was a production! I made chicken tikka masala, mostly. I was gonna pair it with cauliflower rice but was out of cauliflower, so I decided to roast up an eggplant and make a salad. And I’m so glad I did, the eggplant was maybe the best part of the meal. Well, at least it went really nicely with the tikka masala.

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Here’s how I done it:

Chicken Tikka Masala, Whole 30 style:

Ingredients:

For the chicken tikka:
4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup coconut yogurt
1 tbsp pureed ginger (use a pestle and mortar)
1 tbsp crushed garlic (about 3 cloves)
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika

For the sauce:
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter2 small onions, chopped
6 green cardamom pods
2cm cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 tbsp pureed ginger (use a pestle and mortar)
8 garlic cloves, crushed to a puree
1 lb. chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 small chilies, split
2 tbls. coconut yogurt or coconut cream
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp fenugreek leaves, ground
1 tsp garam masala

Preparation:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and stir in the lemon juice and salt. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes. Stir the remaining marinade ingredients together and add to the bowl. Stir well to coat, cover and chill overnight, or several hours, then bring to room temperature before cooking.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the ghee or other fat in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the onions. Fry until soft and golden brown, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, grind the seeds from the cardamom pods, the cinnamon stick and cloves to a smooth powder using a pestle and mortar.
  3. Stir the pureed ginger and garlic into the onions and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring, then add the powdered spices and fry for a minute or so. Tip in the tomatoes and tomato puree plus 1 1/2 cups of water, bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to medium and cook until the oil starts to pool around the sides of the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the broiler, and thread the chicken on to metal skewers, pushing the pieces well together. Put on a lined baking sheet and broil for six to eight minutes on each side, until nicely charred at the edges.
  5. Puree the sauce until smooth, then, once the chicken is done, return the pureed sauce to the pan on a medium heat. Stir any remaining marinade into the sauce, along with the chilies, yogurt or cream and paprika. Add the chicken, fenugreek and garam masala and cook for about five minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt or lemon juice if you like, then serve.

I started the eggplant off at 425, but then just decided to see what happened with the broiler on. And you know what happened? Magic. The eggplant turned out charred on the top and creamy inside. I turned the oven back down to 425 when the chicken was ready.

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Super yummy. And we ate a little perfectly ripe honeydew for dessert. #cantsayimnoteatingwell.

** This recipe is a variant of the one from The Guardian, found here.

Whole 30: Day 7

One week in! Woot! I’m still feeling good. Had a light breakfast on day 7 as we were both busy, just some fruit and a hard boiled egg. Wanted to prep my dinner before I had to leave, so kept it simple.

And I was out well past lunchtime — side note — picked up an Epic bar while I was out, and, yuck! Those are gross — so when I got home I was hungry. I had some leftover spiralized zucchini, so I whipped up a quick Whole 30 friendly pesto using what I had on hand.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups cilantro
  • 3 tbls. thyme
  • sea salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Preparation:

  1. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown. Transfer to a blender
  2. Add herbs, sea salt, garlic, and 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  3. Pulse to combine
  4. With blender running slowly, add remaining olive oil until completely combined
  5. Add to zucchini noodles and fold in to mix.

I totally did not miss the cheese in this at all. It tasted the same as any other pesto!!IMG_5128.JPGDinner had to be prepped in advance but was worth it. I made hake fish cakes, my Whole 30 friendly version of Melissa Clark’s recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 pound firm white fish fillets
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small lime
  • cup  and ½ cup almond flour, divided
  • ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ cup Whole 30 mayonnaise

Preparation:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden brown at the edges, about 2 minutes.
  2. Season fish with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper, add to pan and let cook for 1 minute. 4 tablespoons water. Turn heat to low, cover and cook until fish is just barely cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Move fish to a plate, keeping any liquid and garlic in skillet.
  3. In the same skillet over high heat, add potatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and water to just cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Flake fish. Drain potatoes and garlic, and place in a large bowl. Roughly mash potatoes and garlic, then add flaked fish, eggs, cilantro, basil, scallion, chile, cayenne, lime zest and 1/3 cup almond flour, and combine. Season with salt if needed. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours, longer if possible.
  5. Place remaining flour on a plate. Form generous 1/4 cup fish patties about 1/2 inch thick. Dip patties into flour to lightly coat each side.
  6. In a large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter over medium heat. Cook fish cakes until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes each side, adding more cooking fats as needed. Move to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  7. Serve fish cakes with dollops of mayonnaise.

These are really good. We ate a bunch of them, and then froze the rest for easy quick meals in the coming week.