Pork Collar Stew with Cauliflower Rice

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I’ve totally been having a love affair with cauliflower rice on this diet…it is so much more delicious than I ever would have imagined. But! I never really thought it would be an adequate replacement for rice in things like stews. I imagined it would be too soggy, and just make the stew a sad and soggy mess. I was wrong!! Completely wrong, to be honest. It totally worked, and make this stew into a meal. I will never again be afraid to sub it for rice in any number of meals. (Think: stuffed squashes, yum). Anyhoo, here’s how I made this:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pork collar
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 daikon radish, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, riced
  • 1 quart pork stock
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a skillet over medium high heat, sear pork collar on both sides.
  3. Transfer pork collar to preheated oven and cook through until internal temperature is 180 F, about 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the collar to a cutting board and allow to sit for no less than 1/2 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, add the ghee to a large, heavy pot. Once it’s melted, add onions, radish, peppers, and celery and sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pork stock, a quart of water, a sprinkle of salt and the cauliflower rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour.
  5. Slice the pork in thin, bite sized pieces. Add to the stew and simmer another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Or serve the next day: it tastes even better after the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other a little bit.

Yellow Shakshuka

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I got these amazing yellow tomatoes that I couldn’t stop staring at. So I decided to make them into a Yellow Shakshuka. It was glorious. You should definitely make this.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color will do), thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 -4 cups of chopped tomatoes (in this case, yellow tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ghee for cooking
  • sugar free hot sauce for serving
  • cilantro for serving

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

I served this with the greatest sausage ever. I also recommend that. Eat this with sausage.

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Broiled Sardines with Stewed Tomatoes and Eggplant

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Ingredients:

  • About a pound of gutted, head on sardines
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • a handful of thyme
  • 1 large eggplant, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • ghee or olive oil
  • fresh mint for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Arrange eggplant slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Cook in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and fold foil over itself, sealing the edges to create a package. Set aside and allow to steam for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Turn oven up to broil.
  5. Meanwhile, add ghee or oil to a large heavy pot, melt and bring to a shimmer.
  6. Add tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, until tomatoes darken in color and cook down quite a bit.
  7. Add eggplant to the tomatoes along with the molasses. Cover and stew for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. While the mixture is stewing, wrap a slice of lemon around a couple of thyme sprigs and stuff inside a sardine. Repeat with all the sardines.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over a high flame. Once the skillet is hot, add sardines and transfer to broiler. Broil 6 – 8 minutes until nicely browned.
  10. Transfer everything to platters; garnish the tomatoes and eggplant with fresh mint and squeeze fresh lemon and sprinkle fresh thyme over sardines.
  11. Eat immediately.

Whole 30: Days 29 & 30!

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So, 30 days are up!! Featured above is dinner from night 29: a turkey burger wrapped in romaine with tomato, onions and mayo and mashed potatoes. My honey made the whole thing which always makes everything taste better.

Since this is a 60 day thing for us, and we’re only at the halfway mark, we decided to celebrate the end of 30 days by ordering from a place called Umi Kitchen. They have a Whole 30 chef who is really awesome…in fact there were many days that I wanted to order from them but it’s a little on the pricey side , and I’m glad I saved it for a special occasion. Stay tuned for more on Umi…they may well be my next project. 😉

Anyhow it was totally delicious, we ordered Shrimp and “Grits”, and maybe it’s not having to cook it yourself, but it was super yum.

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It came with this sweet side salad, too:

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And the whole thing was glorious.

So, I think I’m gonna change up the format for the next 30 days of Whole 30…I’m sure people must be sick of this project (I know I am).  I think for the second half I’m just gonna feature individual recipes worth eating no matter what diet you’re on, and unless I have some crazy epiphany or extra thoughts I need to put down in writing some day or other, I’m mostly gonna stick to that. Otherwise, you know, it’ll just be more of the same compliant eating for the next 30 days.

I WILL feature my Thanksgiving menu, after the fact, since we’ll still be on this for the holiday. And I will totally re-visit during the 10 days of reintroduction, since I’m sure that will be interesting. (For me, anyway). 😀 But in general I won’t be posting my every thought.

So, a final summation of where things are after 30 days of Whole 30: I feel really, really amazing. I have more energy than I’ve ever had and I am dropping pounds daily. I hope I have some clothes left that fit me after another 30 days of this! I also can’t wait to eat a pizza. But I really don’t think another 30 days will be too much of a problem.

I could be wrong though. Keep you posted.

Whole 30: Days 27 & 28

It’s the countdown! To…halfway. Meh. Anyways, days 27 & 28 both actually had fantastic breakfasts and dinners, both. Simple salads and picking at lunchtime both days. But seriously, those breakfasts and dinners.

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Example A. Simple. Elegant. Delicious. Perfection. Roasted the baby brussels sprinkled with salt and olive oil at 425 for about 40 minutes; meanwhile fried up bacon and poached some eggs. Boom. I could eat this every day.

IMG_5364.JPGExample B. I will be so sad when my local farm closes for the season. Right now, I’m just throwing in whatever’s lying around from it; peppers, mostly, but the most beautiful peppers…and this breakfast got some of their collard greens thrown in with some eggs and ham and scallions. The peppers went in the potatoes with some red onion and some farm thyme, and it was all magical.

The thing about these breakfasts is, I can’t really get into a full sized lunch, I’m really just in the mood to pick till dinner time after such a big feast. Still, they’re awesome.

Dinners!

Day 27: Sous Vide Squid Stuffed with Tomato Salsa

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This was outrageously delicious. Firstly I know, why do you have to sous vide squid, but I’m telling you, it makes squid like, the best food out there. It’s like butter melting on your tongue. And the whole thing is easy, only takes about 1 1/2 hours total even with the sous vide.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. squid, tubes and tentacles 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ghee

Preparation:

  1. Heat sous vide to 136 F. Meanwhile, salt and pepper squid and place in a vacuum seal bag. Pour olive oil over and seal.
  2. Add squid to sous vide and cover. Sous vide for 1 hour.
  3. A few minutes before the squid is ready, mix tomatoes, cilantro, scallion, lime juice and fish sauce together in a bowl.
  4. Remove squid from sous vide. Pour off any cooking juices and pat dry.
  5. Stuff tubes with salsa
  6. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium high heat. When melted and shimmering, add the stuffed tubes and tentacles. Cook until lightly browned; about 2 minutes on each side. Turn out onto a plate and top with more salsa.

Day 28: Prosciutto Wrapped Striped Bass with Mint and Steamed Chard

IMG_5372.JPGPretty simple meal. Really you just need to concern yourself with the quality of your ingredients, and you’re pretty much set.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. striped bass fillets
  • 3 oz. prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup mint, 2 tablespoons chopped, the rest whole leaves
  • 1 large bunch of chard, trimmed, and cut in 1/2 pieces, both ribs and leaves
  • Ume vinegar to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ghee

Preparation:

  1. Lay slices of prosciutto down on a plate. Lay mint leaves on top of them. Place a fish fillet diagonally on each, and wrap.
  2. Heat ghee in a large skillet. When melted and shimmering, add fish and cook through, flipping once halfway, about 3 – 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
  3. Meanwhile, heat an inch or so of water in a large pot.
  4. Place chard in a steamer. Once water is boiling, place steamer in pot and cover. Steam for 2 – 3 minutes until the chard is bright green but the ribs are still crispy.
  5. Transfer everything to serving platters. Pour the ghee the fish has been cooking in over the plated fish, and sprinkle with chopped mint. Pour Ume vinegar and salt and pepper to taste on chard. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Whole 30: Days 25 & 26

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I feel like this blog post should be titled “More of the Same”. I mean, even that breakfast looks uninspiring. (Although the leftover nik was delicious. I overdid the egg in the microwave trying to re-heat the nik…the egg was perfect when I left home). But still, the last few days I have been down on the diet. I’ve never been one not to break rules. I’m still feeling amazing, I’m just bored and want to change it up.

Also, I think the fact that this is called “Whole 30” and I’m not stopping after 30 days has been bumming me out. It’s some sort of mental thing, even though I’ve always known I was going 60 days with this I feel like, I should be super excited to be done with this right about now, and instead I’m like, hmmm, only half way through. I mean, I’ll get over it, and last night’s dinner was incrediballs, but I’m not there yet. So, meh.

I had some yummy things, but mostly boring things, like a canned Alaskan salmon salad and other salads. Breakfast yesterday was good:

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And last night’s dinner was great. Now that I have sugar free fish sauce life is way simpler.

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Thai Basil Chicken with Red Shishitos:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint shishito peppers
  • 1 – 2 cups thai basil
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. guar gum
  • sesame oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat a tbls. sesame oil over high heat in a wok. When it shimmers, add the garlic and peppers and stir fry until the peppers are charred.
  2. Add the chicken and cook through.
  3. Add fish sauce and mix well, turn heat to medium and cook down a few minutes.
  4. In the meantime, add guar gum to 1/4 cup of water and dissolve fully.
  5. Add that mixture to the stir fry and stir to combine.
  6. Once the sauce thickens slightly, transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.

So? I just have to get it up to keep things creative. Also, the time has been going fairly quickly…so I’ll just keep hoping it flies on by.

Whole 30: Day 24

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So, that pork sugo scrambled egg mixture was too yummy, and I had to make it again today. This time, I paired it with 2 breakfast sausage patties from The Piggery and some of the best grapes in town. Yeah!

Lunch was leftover lemongrass broth. I brought it to work…and I’ve got to say, I’m so impressed with how it looked while traveling that I’m gonna post a photo just to show how pro this looks. Like, I would totally be fine if this was a delivery from an actual restaurant.

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Right? How good does that look?!? And, more importantly, how good does it TASTE. Seriously, make this.

For dinner I wasn’t feeling too fancy, and we had a bunch of leftovers in the house. I need to shake up my potatoes, so I decided to make another nik. (Recipe here). Then I took the broccolini from a couple of days ago and added the remainder of the pork sugo; sautéed that for a couple of minutes and it turned into a whole new meal. Yay! Repurposed food.

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Whole 30: Day 23

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This morning I was able to make me some eggs before I went to work. I scrambled them in bacon fat and then mixed in a couple tablespoons of pork sugo, which was the special item I got from this week’s meat club. I can not stress enough how great meat club is. Live in Brooklyn? Join it. I would say more, but the first rule about meat club is never talk about meat club.

For lunch, I packed a mason jar with salad greens and cherry tomatoes. Then I packed a half an avocado and a tin of mackerel. Boom. Lunch, done.

For dinner I had some wild Alaskan salmon sitting around, and it was super cold, so I decided to go quick and dirty with a lemongrass and ginger broth with salmon, shiitake and tatsoi. It was the perfect meal for a chilly evening.

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Lemongrass and Ginger Broth with Salmon, Shiitake Mushrooms and Tatsoi:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh or canned chicken stock or fish stock or beef stock
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, trimmed and halved lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 4-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely julienned
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (I used Red Boat, which is the only sugar free one I’ve found. It’s delicious…but if you know of others please let me know!!)
  • 1 lb. of salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed
  • 2 cups sliced tatsoi

Preparation:

  1. In a large wide saucepan into which a steamer will fit, combine stock and 5 cups water. Place over high heat to bring to a boil. Add lemon grass, scallion, ginger, lime juice and fish sauce, and reduce heat to low.
  2. Put salmon in a steamer over simmering broth. Cover and cook just until salmon has turned pale pink. Remove steamer from pan, and add mushrooms and tatsoi to broth.
  3. Return broth to a simmer. Remove lemon grass and discard. Add salmon cubes to broth. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Yum!!!

Whole 30: Day 22

Oh, my god, if only I was doing this for only 30 days!!! I would be so psyched right about now. Well, I guess I can take solace in the fact that 30 days is almost up, and I’ve been able to do it. So? The next 30 will be cake. And then, afterwards, I will eat cake. Like, a giant, sugary cake with lots of icing. And I will eat it alone. 🙂 In the meantime…

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Breakfast. This was a really good one. I just e-heated some roasted veggies…popped a tablespoon of ghee into a skillet and re-heated that way so they’d still be nice and crispy. Then I fried up a couple slices of bacon and poached some eggs. The eggs worked beautifully on the roast veggies, it was a match made in heaven.

Lunch! I went with the tried and true:

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Simple salad with arugula, avocado, cherry tomatoes and smoked mackerel. Used the oil from the canned mackerel for dressing. Always yummy, always simple and quick.

For dinner I got a little complicated. I had some broccolini that was totally beautiful and longed to be eaten. So I steamed it and marinated it with some water chestnuts while I made the rest. Pollack curry and roasted delicata squash with pomegranate seeds and a pomegranate molasses coconut yogurt for dipping. The whole thing was glorious.

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Here’s how I worked it, in the order I worked it:

Marinated Broccolini and Water Chestnuts:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads broccolini (or broccoli, sliced in thin slices)
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped in half
  • 1 tbls. coconut aminos
  • 3 tbls. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. monkfruit extract (optional)
  • 3 tbls. sesame oil

Preparation:

  1. Mix coconut aminos, vinegar, ginger, monkfruit and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Boil 1 – 2 inches of water in a large pot. Place the broccolini in a steamer. Once the water is in a full boil, add the steamer full of broccolini, cover and steam for about 4 – 5 minutes. The broccolini should be bright green and still crisp.
  3. Drain, and place broccolini in a large bowl with the water chestnuts.
  4. Pour marinade over vegetables, mix well, cover, and allow to marinade for at least a half hour, but preferably more.

Next, Roasted Delicata Squash Rings with Pomegranate Seeds and a Pomegranate Molasses Coconut Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 delicata squashes, sliced and seeded
  • 3 – 4 tbls. pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbls. pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place squash slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place into the oven and roast for 40 minutes, until the squash slices are nicely browned. Keep in mind the underbelly will be more browned…I prefer not to flip them as it kind of caramelizes the bottoms, which I find delicious. Alternatively, you could flip them halfway through for even browning.
  4. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over.
  5. Mix pomegranate molasses with the yogurt, and serve alongside the squash.

While the squash is roasting;

Pollock Curry:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pollock or other white flakey fish, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 zucchini, chopped into chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbls. ginger
  • 1 tbls. curry powder
  • cilantro to garnish
  • ghee

Preparation:

  1. Sauté onion, zucchini and cauliflower in ghee until soft, about 5 minutes
  2. Add 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste). Cook for a minute, then add fish, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water.
  3.  Bring to a boil and cook through for about 5 – 8 minutes, until mixture has thickened up a bit.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

This all sounds way more complicated than it was. It was an incredibly satisfying dinner. You should definitely make this.