Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kale and Bacon Quiches with Hash Brown Crust + A Giveaway

Kale and Bacon Quiches with Hash Brown Crust | acalculatedwhisk.com
It's my second blog birthday! I feel like I've come a long way since my very first post, but last year's blogiversary feels like it was just yesterday. Time flies when you're eating well!

At the risk of sounding sappy, I want to say thank you for stopping by my site. Reading your comments and connecting with you on social media makes my day, and turns the often solitary activities of cooking, photographing, and writing into something that's actually meaningful.

Kale and Bacon Quiches with Hash Brown Crust | acalculatedwhisk.com

To celebrate the occasion, I made grain-free kale and bacon quiches with hash brown crust. They're like little crispy nests of savory goodness. This was my first time making a potato crust, and I'm totally hooked. I'm even thinking it might work in some sort of a dessert pie (is that too radical?). Here, the crunchy potato tangles hold a filling of eggs, kale, shallots, crisp bacon, and crumbled goat cheese. These are perfect for Easter brunch or any weekend morning (or a blogiversary, of course).

As I embark on my third year of blogging, I'd love to hear from you. What would you like to see more of here on A Calculated Whisk? For example, are you looking for quick and easy recipes, Whole30 meals, desserts, vegetarian meals, or something else? Would you like to see more non-recipe posts (reviews, giveaways, perhaps travel stories)? Whatever it is, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Blueberry Frangipane Pie Bars

Blueberry Frangipane Pie Bars (Grain-free) | acalculatedwhisk.com

On the way to work the other day, I heard the Cheers theme song on the radio ("sometimes you want to go where everybooody knows your naaaaame...") and was overcome by nostalgia. I didn't watch Cheers as a kid, but I watched the show that was on right before it (Seinfeld, I think), and always left the TV on so I could hear the theme song. Even as a kid, it made me feel nostalgic.

I guess the idea with the Cheers song is that after a tough day, you can go to a bar where everyone knows you. But for me, it always felt like the song was really about going home, or going back to a simpler time. Because, as the song says, "making your way in the world today takes everything you've got".

Blueberry Frangipane Pie Bars (Grain-free) | acalculatedwhisk.com

If the modern world has you feeling a bit beaten down, I have a solution for you. Click the link in the first paragraph and listen to the Cheers song over and over while you make yourself a batch of pie bars. They are just the thing if "your third fiancé didn't show", "your shrink ran off to Europe and didn't even write", or if, like me, you've just had kind of a long week.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Burmese Chile Prawns with Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Burmese Chile Prawns with Cucumber & Avocado Salad--Easy, 30-minute paleo meal | acalculatedwhisk.com

Are you fast in the kitchen? I'm super slow. No matter how much I wish I could be an ingredient ninja, I just can't seem to get things located and prepped very quickly. I took a knife skills class a few months ago, which helped a little, but I think the issue stems more from disorganization than a lack of dexterity.

I'm working on making more 30-minute paleo dinners to share here on A Calculated Whisk. To make sure I'm representing things accurately, I time myself as I cook, which really highlights my lack of culinary efficiency. For this recipe, I started timing, assembled most of the ingredients for the marinade, and then realized I couldn't find a sharp knife to cut the lime in half. I paused the timer while I located a chef's knife and washed it, because I thought you, my wonderful readers, were likely to already have a clean knife on hand. Several other misplaced items and dirty dishes slowed me down and I didn't stop the timer every time, but I still managed to make this meal in JUST over 30 minutes (if you're making rice, you may need an extra 3-5 minutes to get that measured and set up).

So, even if you're less than speedy in the kitchen, like me, you can have this dinner on your plate in just about half an hour.

Burmese Chile Prawns with Cucumber & Avocado Salad--Easy, 30-minute paleo meal | acalculatedwhisk.com

Today's recipe comes from Sue at Couscous and Consciousness. I was assigned her blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal, and had so much fun browsing through her delicious recipes. (I was also excited to read that Sue is a yoga teacher. I love yoga and have been trying to do at least a few sun salutations every morning. I wish I could take a class with Sue, but she lives in New Zealand, so it would be quite a commute.)

Sue's food is colorful, creative, and usually on the lighter side, so there were a lot of tempting options to choose from. She also has many internationally inspired dishes, which makes browsing her site really fun. For this month's reveal, top contenders included bengali aloo with lemon turmeric aioli, roasted apricot gelato, and plum and cardamon cake. Even though I'm not much of a salad person at all, I also found myself wanting to try this salmon with green tea soba noodle, broad bean, and radish salad and this watermelon and feta salad with preserved lemon dressing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pan-Seared Salmon with Capers and Baby Artichokes

Pan-Seared Salmon with Capers and Baby Artichokes | acalculatedwhisk.com  A delicious paleo meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make!
Were you a picky eater as a kid? I was pretty much the worst. The only vegetable I would eat was broccoli, and it had to have cheese on top. Everything else I deigned to consume was white or golden brown in color: chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, french fries, and pizza without tomato sauce (read: dough with cheese). I wanted slices of American cheese melted on top of almost all my food. It was actually called "Becky cheese" over at my dad's, where no one else ate it.

I remained picky through high school, when I invented a white pizza with broccoli and two kinds of cheese at my favorite local pizzeria. My friends and I called it "Becky pizza", and it was fabulous (I still think something like it should be added to the menu).

Pan-Seared Salmon with Capers and Baby Artichokes | acalculatedwhisk.com  A delicious paleo meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make!

I'm proud to say that things have really changed. Today I'll try almost anything, and there are very few foods I don't enjoy. However, until a couple of months ago, salmon was still on my "no" list. I found it too fishy, and something about its orange-pink hue didn't sit well with me.

Recently I worked on a project where I had to make several salmon recipes. To my surprise, I ended up loving them! The key for me is to really crisp up the skin (and brown the other side as well) and serve the salmon with a flavorful sauce.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Matcha Mug Cake

Matcha Mug Cake (Paleo, Gluten-free) | acalculatedwhisk.com

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I made you a matcha mug cake. It's not at all Irish, but at least it's green!

I was excited to make something green for St. Patty's Day, but I don't like to use artificial coloring in my food. Since I had my heart set on making a dessert, using spinach or kale as coloring agents didn't seem very appealing. Matcha was the perfect solution.

Ingredients for Matcha Mug Cake (Paleo, Gluten-free) | acalculatedwhisk.com

If you haven't discovered matcha yet, I highly recommend it! It's just very finely ground green tea leaves, so it has a bit of caffeine and all the great antioxidants contained in green tea. The flavor is hard to describe, but it's exotic and a bit earthy. Matcha is delicious on its own in desserts, but also pairs well with chocolate. I've made these mug cakes with and without chocolate chips and still can't decide which one I prefer.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Crispy Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Crispy Chicken with Spring Vegetables | acalculatedwhisk.com

Remember when Dorothy threw a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch of the West? And the witch screamed in agony: "I'm melting! Melting! Oh, what a world!" 

As I walked to the train station yesterday afternoon, I could almost hear my city's dirty snow screaming the exact same thing. Boston is not free of snow yet, but we sure have a lot less of it.

Crispy Chicken with Spring Vegetables | acalculatedwhisk.com

The thaw seemed like my cue to start celebrating spring in the kitchen by making a dish with bright green veggies. For the protein I went with crispy chicken thighs, because truly crispy chicken skin is the best thing ever. Ben only likes skin-on chicken when it's as crunchy as possible and not moist at all, so I practiced and practiced and now have my routine for chicken-crisping down pat.

Here's how you do it: sear the chicken skin side down in a very hot skillet for a little longer than it seems like you should, and then flip it over and finish it in a 450 degree oven. While the chicken roasts, you'll have just enough time to fry some bacon and chop your veggies. Then, while the chicken rests, the vegetables cook in the fat from the chicken infused with a bit of lemon.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Orange Peach Raspberry Smoothie

Orange Peach Raspberry Smoothie (Paleo, Vegan) | acalculatedwhisk.com

When I'm sick, I crave smoothies. Just thinking about blending together a bunch of vitamin-packed produce makes me feel a tad better, and my outlook only improves once I'm actually drinking it. Smoothies, especially ones that look like sunshine in a glass, also help me momentarily forget about winter. For me, they're are an important aspect of self-care. 

I wanted this smoothie to have plenty of Vitamin C, so I used oranges, peaches, and raspberries. Also, like I almost always do, I added an avocado. It makes the smoothie really creamy, but you won't taste it. The healthy fat from the avocado also makes this nice and filling.

Orange Peach Raspberry Smoothie (Paleo, Vegan) | acalculatedwhisk.com

To make the smoothie pack even more of a punch, I added some turmeric and fresh ginger. In addition to providing more potential health benefits, these rhizomes add depth of flavor, and the turmeric deepens the golden color.

The cara cara oranges I used also contributed to the hue of this drink. I bet using blood oranges would make the color pop even more!