The Sugar Fix

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Featured above: Delmonico Steak with Baked Potato Chips and Baby Brussels Sprouts with Homemade Bacon

So, I’ve been eating relatively healthy since the end of my Whole 60. Mostly I’ve just been keeping the diet up, adding things like legumes and some grains, but more or less sticking with it.

But I’ve noticed, the one thing that kept sneaking in: desserts. It’s odd, because sugar has never really been my thing. My thing is bagels, and pizza. Like any good New York Jew. But here’s the thing about my life post Whole 60: I haven’t been craving bagels or pizza anymore. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had them and totally enjoyed them, but I haven’t been thinking about them the same way I used to. It’s sugar that’s been a constant desire.

Not even all day, just really after a nice meal at the end of the day. I’ve been massively wanting dessert. And actively disappointed if I don’t get it.

It got me thinking about what a job the sugar industry has done on us, really! Sugar is in everything, so my logic is, I must be craving the sugar that I normally would get in things like bacon, or ketchup, mayo, salad dressings, seasonings, etc., that I’ve now virtually cut out of my diet. So.

To combat this bad habit, and also cause we woke up on Sunday and had a big fully Whole30 style breakfast (pictured below), and then realized we had exactly 30 days until we went on vacation, we are back on Whole 30. Yay!! And, I’m actually already feeling so much better, and happier with the state of my life in general.

The PokPok Cookbook Project is still coming.  But it’s coming in April. March is strictly for feeling good. Recipes galore to come.

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Scrambled Eggs with Alaskan Smoked Salmon and Leeks, Cast Iron Potatoes and Steamed Kale

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon; Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad; Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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I know, I know, this took forever. So? I took a little break for the holiday. Sue me. Side note: Whole30 Thanksgiving was super successful. Blog post to come. Maybe in a few weeks. 😀 hahahahaha!

Anyhoo. Here’s these recipes.

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe grapefruit, segmented
  • olive oil
  • ghee
  • 1 head collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Set the sous vide to 123 F. (Alternately the scallops can be cooked in a skillet, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Set aside and skip ahead to step 3).
  2. Salt and pepper scallops and place in a bag. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over them and seal the bag. Place into the sous vide and cook for 30 minutes. Drain and dry the scallops.
  3. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add grapefruit and stir to incorporate. If you want the segments to remain intact be gentle…I messed them up and ended up with a relish-like substance…which was also yummers, (hey, it all tastes the same going down) but still. Reduce heat and continue cooking for another few minutes.
  4. Add the bacon to another skillet and cook through. Once it’s cooked, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the collards. (Do not remove the bacon fat!!) Cook collards through for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add the scallops to the pot with the grapefruit/red onion mixture and sear on each side, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Plate, and eat.

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Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz. (or so) prosciutto slices
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
  • ghee
  • avocado or coconut oil
  • fresh sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad ingredients (I’ll let you create your own. I use Ume Vinegar generally to dress unless I feel like getting fancy)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. With a mandolin on the curvy setting, slice sweet potatoes to 1/2 inch slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, they just won’t be waffled.
  3. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and three or four tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes or until browned to your liking, flipping once midway.
  4. Meanwhile, lay prosciutto slices on a cutting board and lay sage leaves on each. Place chicken, one fillet per slice, atop each. Salt and pepper each, then wrap the chicken in the prosciutto slices.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto-wrapped chicken and cook 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Garnish with some chopped sage and serve with salad and sweet potatoes.

Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hake, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • ghee
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, add onion and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes to skillet. Salt and pepper the mixture, stir, and cook through until the tomatoes are fragrant and dark, about another 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer the whole shebang to a blender. Blend at high speed until the mixture is smooth.
  4. In a deep, heavy pot like a dutch oven over high heat, add a tablespoon of ghee. Once melted, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomato and onion mixture and the can of coconut milk and stir. Bring to a boil and add the cumin, paprika and tumeric. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until potatoes a fork goes through one easily, about 10 or 15 minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper the fish, and then add it to the pot. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to sit for another 6 minutes. Top with cilantro and eat immediately.

Broiled Bluefish with Eggplant Chips and Bacon-y Collards

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This was an outstanding meal. For all you haters of bluefish, which I think are many (!), I say to you, you’ve either been eating bad bluefish or you just don’t know how to cook it. It’s true, bluefish doesn’t last as long as some other fishes, but it is delicious. Find it fresh, and eat it that night. I’ve had success with many-a bluefish preparation, but this one was extra yummy and also super easy.  Don’t take my word for it; get out there and find you some bluefish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bluefish fillets
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine vinegar
  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 head of collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • avocado oil; can also use coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Marinate the bluefish in the red wine vinegar for at least 1/2 hour, but can be for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 35o F
  3. Spread eggplant slices on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Generously drizzle oil over the slices and salt and pepper them.
  4. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and fold the tin foil over itself so that it creates a little packet. Set the eggplant packet aside and allow it to steam in its own juices for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Once the eggplant is out of the oven, raise the heat to broil. Remove the bluefish from it’s marinade and place on a baking sheet; then place in the broiler and cook for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 and place the fish in the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is almost caramelized.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ghee to a skillet. Once melted, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the collards and cook through for about 2 minutes and then add the crumbled bacon. Continue cooking for a minute or 2 more.
  7. Plate it all up, and eat.

Simple. Effective. Tasty.

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 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 5

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Well, I know the hard part hasn’t even begun yet, but I gotta say I’m really enjoying this diet so far. It’s not really all that different than how I normally eat, just missing a few things and I always cheat a little on weekends and whatnot, so I’m sure that’ll eventually be a challenge. But look at that delicious breakfast!!! Worked from home so was able to make a big ‘ole meal. Last of the bacon, purple potatoes (so pretty!) and a tatsoi scallion scramble. I mean, that’s a breakfast of champions, no?!? It was delicious. And no recipes needed. Unless you’d like them, just say the word and they’ll be up. I did use a little almond milk in my eggs. And I used Epic brand beef tallow to cook the potatoes and the eggs.

So, breakfast was a huge, and therefore lunch was mostly picking. I made up some almond butter, so I had a few spoonfuls of that, and I ate some guacamole, had a piece of fruit. The almond butter took about 2 minutes in my Vitamix and is totally beautiful. I don’t know why but I heard somewhere that almond butter worked way better in a food processor than a Vitamix, so I’ve been using the food processor ever since; and nearly blowing it up with overheating and never producing a good enough almond butter every time. This time I just threw the almonds into the Vitamix, tamped them down for the first minute or so until it started rotating in the machine; then I let it run another minute-ish and when I checked on it it was perfect. I’m a convert.  Super smooth and creamy.

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For dinner, I still had some gorgeous yellowfin tuna so I decided to make a ceviche. I used this recipe from the NY Times; I didn’t change a thing and it was perfect. I had to stop myself from eating the entire thing.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound albacore or yellowfin tuna, cut in 1/2 inch dice
  • ½ small red onion, cut in small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, to taste, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ripe medium avocado, cut in small dice
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ to ½ cup chopped cilantro to taste

Preparation:

 

  • Prepare the tuna and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  • Place the onion in a small bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit five minutes, then drain, rinse and dry on paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the onion, garlic, chile, capers, avocado, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Toss together gently. Add the tuna to the bowl.
  • Stir together the remaining lime juice and the olive oil. Pour over the tuna, and toss the mixture together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.
  • Just before serving, add the cilantro and toss together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Line plates with salad greens, spoon the ceviche on top, and serve.

Okay, I didn’t line plates with salad greens, I just ate it with a spoon. But I could have and I’m sure that would be awesome, too…and would probably be a little more Whole30.

 

Whole 30: Day 2

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Hey, I never promised each meal would be exciting. But they are still delicious!!

So this is a work day and food had to be packed and taken to work. So!

Breakfast:

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 Asian pear (yum!)
  • A couple of pieces of homemade bacon, fried up quick right before I walked out the door.

All in all, really tasty, without being a pain to prep.

Lunch:

I took the shrimp salad that I had made the night before, and filled a mason jar with salad greens on the bottom half and the shrimp salad on the top half. At lunchtime all I did was dump the contents into a bowl and enjoy. Side note: it was really tasty.

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Dinner:

I made this the night before and so I could heat it for dinner and then still have time to prep some stuff for the next day.

Three Cup Chicken:

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 2-to-3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins, approximately 12
  • 12 cloves of garlic (or more to taste), peeled
  • 4 whole scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • a bunch of peppers. I used poblanos.
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless or bone-in, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup rice wine
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 cups thai basil or basil

Preparation:

  1. Heat a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons cooking fat. When the oil shimmers, (or clarified butter glistens) add the ginger, garlic, scallions and peppers, and cook until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Scrape the aromatics to the sides of the wok, add remaining oil and allow to heat through. Add the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and crisping at the edges, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the rice wine and soy sauce, and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat, then simmer until the sauce has reduced and started to thicken, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the basil and stir to combine.

After I ate, I then turned to prep for the next day. I got a bunch of jerky ready to dehydrate, which I did overnight. I way simplified my seasoning since Worcester and Soy Sauce are no gos, so I basically just used salt and liquid smoke. Dehydrated overnight and it was ready by my morning run. Yeah! I also spiralized 3 zucchinis and made a turkey bolognese sauce to eat the next day. 58 days to go!