Monday, August 11, 2014

Galician Greens

My mom is from Texas, and I lived there for four years, so I am a bit of a Southern girl at heart.  I like fried okra, really hot weather, and smiling at people I don't know (not as much of a thing here in Boston, unfortunately).

As a true Texan, my mom gets really excited about greens, but I was never able to share in her excitement until now.  When I was a kid she often worked to recreate the greens my grandmother used to make, which started with salt pork and reportedly ended up as a fabulous and memorable side dish.  I never had the chance to try my grandmother's greens, so I can't really say how my mom's versions compared, but as a child I felt exasperation and dread whenever my mother picked up those gargantuan leaves at the store.  I just didn't like collard greens.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Do you like cilantro?  It's my favorite herb by far, and I love it because it's capable of totally perking up almost any food, both in flavor and appearance.  If you're a cilantro hater, though, you're definitely not alone.  According to The New York Times, many people's aversion to cilantro may be due to the fragrance of certain substances in the herb that are also found in soap and bugs.  (Make sure to read through until the end of the article, when the author describes how he converted himself into a cilantro lover.  Here's one hint: this recipe of mine might be a good place to start.)

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog Angels Homestead.  It's written by April, a mom, homesteader, and frugal cooking expert who was the owner of the SRC for several years.  April recently began cooking without grains for health reasons, and you can read a bit about her story here.  Everything I make is grain free, so I was excited to find many recipes on April's site that fit my dietary requirements.  I was also excited to find several recipes featuring cilantro, my go-to herb.  I can only assume that April must be a fellow cilantro fan!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Squash Noodles with Everything Pesto (and an egg on top)

It has been a very long time since I've posted a recipe, and I'm hoping these squash noodles with everything pesto and a fried egg on top will at least partly make up for it.  Things have been busy at school, and it's getting harder and harder to blog often and stay on top of my readings and projects.  However, I am sure you do not want to hear about that.  I bet you'd rather hear about this brunch (dinner? lunch? midnight snack?) recipe that's paleo, grain-free, vegetarian, and ridiculously delicious.

I have to admit that I was unsatisfied with zoodles (zucchini + noodles = zoodles) for a long time, due mostly to unrealistic expectations.  Anyone who tells you that zoodles taste just like regular pasta is either totally lying or has a vastly different palate from mine.  You can't expect these to taste like linguine.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mocha Pistachio Ice Cream (Dairy Free, Coconut Free)

Mocha Pistachio Ice Cream (Dairy Free, Coconut Free) |

Sadly, it turns out that I'm allergic to coconut.

This is especially devastating because coconut is the miracle food source of the paleo world.  Coconut milk, sugar, flour, oil, and butter are all delicious, and do an impressive job of standing in for their non-paleo counterparts.  

I can't help but wonder if my sudden increase in coconut intake during my January Whole30 was what caused my allergy to surface.  But, no matter the cause, I won't be partaking in any coconut anytime soon.  Eating raw coconut makes me feel awful, and my doctor told me not to eat cooked coconut either unless I first sit through a challenge test in his office.  The test would consist of me bringing in some food with cooked coconut in it, eating it one bite at a time, and seeing if I go into anaphylactic shock or anything.  I told him no thanks for now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Paleo Recipes for Summertime Celebrations

10 Paleo Recipes for Summertime Celebrations |

Summer has finally (and suddenly) arrived in Boston, so it's probably time to have a party.  Here are ten paleo recipes I recommend for meeting all manner of summer celebration needs, from "What can I do with all these flag toothpicks from my mother?" to "How can I sneak coffee and/or balsamic vinegar into recipes that don't normally call for them?"

Those are the kinds of dilemmas you're grappling with, right?

I am always on the lookout for more ideas, and hearing from you makes my day.  Share what you're planning to make (or just eat) in the comments, or let me know what kinds of recipes you'd like to see on A Calculated Whisk in July and August!

If you're looking a show-stopping drink that's delicious with or without alcohol, you will love the Blackberry Smash.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Choco-Ginger Truffles

The chocolates pictured here are survivors of a kitchen disaster.

Truffles are easy and fun to make, and I find the process comforting.  To make these ones, I peeled a chunk of ginger with a spoon (like this), grated it with a microplane, and dropped it into a saucepan with almond milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.  Once the mixture had come to a robust simmer, I poured it over a bowl of chocolate chips.  I whisked the mixture into shiny perfection: truffle batter.

So far, so good.  I let the batter chill in the freezer, compartment of choice for impatient truffle-makers. When it was firm, I formed the truffles with a melon baller, a method I learned from watching Ina Garten.  If you don't have a melon baller, you can approximate one with a teaspoon measure; just make sure you dip the utensil in hot water in between truffles, and don't be afraid to scoop forcefully.

After a quick roll in some cocoa powder, the truffles were almost ready.  I ate one, consumed the equivalent of another by scraping the bowl with a spoon so that no gingery chocolate would go to waste, and stashed the tray with the twenty remaining truffles in the fridge to chill.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monkfish with Lemongrass-Scallion Sauce + Ozeri Green Earth Pan Review

Disclosure: I received this product as part of an advertorial.

Have you ever tried monkfish?  It's also known as "poor man's lobster", and it's a mild, firm, white fish that won't fall apart when you cook it.  I am calling it "starving grad student lobster", and it's my new favorite fish.  Inspired by the color of my new Ozeri Green Earth pan, I smashed lemongrass, scallions, olive oil, and pepper into a paste for the sauce.  This stuff will make you pucker your lips after the first bite and want to lick your bowl after the last.

In addition to being a wonderful, mood-lifting shade of chartreuse, the Green Earth pan is special because of its health- and eco-friendly design.  The nonstick ceramic coating is free of PTFE and PFOA, so it won't release harmful chemicals.  The bottom of the pan has a raised honeycomb pattern that enables you to cook with very little oil and makes sure that nothing sticks to the pan.  You can find out more about Ozeri's products on their site.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why Avocado Belongs in Your Smoothies

photos via Instagram
I have a new morning routine.  It begins at 5:30, and goes like this.  First, I stumble to the sink, get a glass of water, and drink it on the couch, usually while staring blankly at my Instagram feed.  After a minute, I've built up the energy necessary to take steps to obtain coffee, which then fuels the rest of my activities.  If there is coffee in the machine from the day before, I drop in three ice cubes and congratulate myself on making iced coffee.  If the machine is empty, I grumble a lot, make a new pot, and settle for hot coffee.

When the coffee hits, it's time to make a smoothie.  The smoothie is the highlight of my morning, and it's all because of the humble avocado.

A friend gave me an incredulous look recently when I mentioned putting avocado in my smoothies. I only started adding them in April, but they've already become such a smoothie essential for me that I was totally flabbergasted by her response.  I am writing this blog post on the off chance that you, like my friend, have not tried putting avocado in your smoothies yet.

Here are five quick reasons you should do it:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fried Banana Brownie Cake with Honey Whipped Cream

Fried Banana Brownie Cake with Honey Whipped Cream | #primal #glutenfree #grainfree

It was my birthday on Saturday, and I had an amazing day.  I started the morning by opening the present Ben got for me, which was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer!  I've wanted one for years, and finally feel like I count as a real food blogger now that I own one.  I haven't used it yet because I have need to clear a special spot for it in the kitchen, but I've been peering into the box every few hours and just kind of smiling at it.  After opening my mixer, I met up with a friend to go for a run, and then went home and moved a bunch of furniture and hung pictures with Ben.  (Our landlords have been renovating our apartment, so we have a lot of rearranging to do.  One secret about me is that I love organizing things around the house, even though I put it off like crazy and almost never do it.  I am not at all sure why I dread it so much, because once I get started I really enjoy it.  So, oddly enough, moving furniture and hanging pictures was one of my favorite parts of the day.)

My mom, Ben, and I went to dbar for dinner, which is within walking distance of our apartment and is one of my favorite restaurants ever.  Pro tip: it starts gradually turning into a nightclub around 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.  I've never been able to convince anyone to stay with me for that phase, but we got to witness the beginning of the transformation last night: one of the waiters walked by, casually pushed a button on his bracelet, and made a screen drop from the ceiling.  No big deal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bacon, Arugula, and Avocado Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Bacon, Avocado, and Arugula Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette |

My last post was about inspiration, and this one is about exhaustion.  Not the discouraging kind of exhaustion that makes you feel like there's no end in sight, but the kind of exhaustion that leaves you cheerfully spent at the end of the day--content, but without much left to offer.

Bacon, Avocado, and Arugula Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette |

I started my first external placement for graduate school last week, and I'm in schools working with kids and teachers four days a week for ten hours a day.  (In case you haven't heard me mention it, I'm working on a master's in speech and language pathology with dual certification as a reading specialist).  I am learning and doing so much that I do not know where to put all my thoughts and ideas.  I have plenty of notebooks and folders, but there's not enough space and time to capture everything I want to hold onto.  Do you ever feel that way?  Please tell me about your own exhaustion in the comments so I can feel a little less alone!