fennel avocado citrus and shrimp salad

fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
old forks
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad

Confession. I didn't try shrimp until my early 20s - in fact, I didn't eat seafood at all until then. I know, I must have been out of my mind. The thing is, we didn't have much seafood growing up. I shouldn't even use the word much - we didn't have any

In order to purchase even meat, often times my parents and grandparents had to wait hours in line at some shoddy warehouse in order to get it. I recall losing my very first tooth while keeping my grandfather company trying to purchase chicken. A wobbly tooth, a bite of an apple, gone. But yes, that's how things were done if you wanted the luxury of eating meat. I don't often think about that part of my life when going to the supermarket and picking up chicken thighs. But I digress...

So seafood. It intimidated me and was unfamiliar so I kept my distance. My mother, who still to this day refuses to touch it, never cooked any. After all, we ate how we learned to in Romania and Germany. And the diet I adopted in my teens once we moved here included ample amount of pizza, cereal, whatever my mom cooked, more junk and then then I eventually turned to a quasi-vegan lifestyle. In a nutshell, a disaster but never included any seafood. 

But things changed drastically once I started college. In addition to my meeting new people I was also introduced to new food and started eating differently. No, wings from Domino's at 1am were not one of them, but there was shrimp. The first time I tried it was when friends put together a dinner. Out of respect, I decided to try one. Embarrassingly enough I had to ask for instructions. The rest is history. 

Today I eat seafood more than any other food. Shrimp, salmon, sardines, scallops, tuna - I love it all! And particularly like the versatility of shrimp as it takes minutes to cook and is fairly inexpensive. 

Probably one of my favorite ways of eating shrimp is with avocado and citrus. For this salad, I used orange, avocado and fennel. If you're not a big fan of licorice, roasting it for a few minutes will cut down on the sometimes overpowering taste. I happen to love fennel and like it raw or roasted. For this dish, roasting it for 10 minutes provides a nice balance to the other ingredients. It's quick to make and is the ideal lunch if you're looking for something refreshing and light. 

fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad

fennel avocado citrus and shrimp salad

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 2 oranges, segmented

  • 1 avocado, cut into slices

  • 8-10 jumbo shrimp

  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing: 

  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp fresh pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Equipment

  • grill pan or frying pan

  • mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl

  • baking sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In small mixing bowl, combine shrimp, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut fennel in half and peel outside layer. Cut into thin slices and spread evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour over 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to combine. Roast for 10 minutes stirring once half way. 

Next, with a pairing knife, cut peel off the orange and segment all the orange slices. Reserve the remaining orange and squeeze 1 tbsp orange juice into large bowl. Add the rest of dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Add segmented orange, avocado and roasted fennel and combine with dressing. 

Next grill shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side until fully cooked.

Add a good handful of salad to and top with shrimp. Enjoy! 


If you’re looking for a healthy and easy shrimp salad, try this fennel, avocado and citrus salad topped with grilled shrimp. It’s a burst of flavor in every single bite. This shrimp salad is also paleo and whole 30 approved. #shrimpsalad #shrimp #seafood #citrussalad #citrus #avocado #paleosalad #whole30sdalad #calmeats #whole30recipes #paleorecipes #seafoodrecipes #easyseafoodrecipes #simpleseafoodrecipes #quickrecipes

 

 

golden cauliflower soup with bacon

cauliflower in bowls with napkin
golden cauliflower soup_-3.jpg
golden cauliflower soup with bacon
edible flowers in bowl

January is the saddest month. I feel bad for it sometimes - it didn’t choose to be a winter month and one that nearly everyone detests. A month with just as many days as its previous much revered forerunner. Standing in the shadow of December is a plight none of the other months have to endure. Even February knew to do the right thing by shortening its days - almost in a - ‘see, I at least did the right thing‘ way.

For some, though, January is a month of change - terms such as whole 30, detox and veganuary come to mind. Motivation galore to strip away all of the previous year’s doings and start fresh. However, none of the terms apply to me. I don’t do detoxes, I’m not vegan and whole 30 is not for me even though most of the food on this blog is. I like wine and chocolate too much after all.

But despite being a much disliked month, January brings silence and contemplation. Just think back on all of December’s obligations - parties, presents, travel. January expects none of that. It allows me to just be for a while. Its bitter cold temperatures and the occasional snow are a perfectly good excuse to not over-commit.

So as we’re getting close to the end of it, I would like to thank it for its service and dedicate this golden cauliflower soup to it. It feels only right that a soup this warm and creamy be had during January. I mean, of course it’s perfectly acceptable any other time but to me it just feels appropriate now.

After all, using seasonal ingredients is one way to at least partly come to accept winter. And as leeks reach their peak in January, they’re going to be the base for this velvety, smooth cauliflower soup full of spices and topped with crispy bacon. But if you do follow a vegan lifestyle, it’s perfectly fine to skip the bacon entirely.

cauliflower soup with bacon
golden cauliflower soup_-13.jpg
golden cauliflower soup_-14.jpg
golden cauliflower soup_-21.jpg

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golden cauliflower soup with bacon

  • prep time: 5

  • cooking time: 40

  • makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 slab thick bacon, chopped (skip if vegan)

  • 1 leek, sliced (white parts only)

  • 1 head cauliflower, stems removed and cut into florets

  • 1 small potato, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1” knob fresh ginger, minced

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • Italian parsley for garnish (optional)

Equipment:

  • large soup pot

  • blender

Directions:

Preheat soup pot on medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes until crispy. (If vegan, skip this step and use 1 tbsp oil of you choice and move on to next step). Remove bacon when cooked and lay on paper towel lined plate.

In same pan, add sliced leek and a good pinch of salt. Cook until leek has softened - about 5 minutes. If you need additional oil, you can always add a bit more.

Add cauliflower florets and potato and mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add spices, ginger, salt and pepper and toss to cook for 30 seconds to let spices release their flavor. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 25 minutes until vegetables are fork tender.

Next, carefully add the vegetables to the blender reserving the liquid and adding a bit at a time as you blend, until you reach desired creaminess. Adjust seasonings if you need more salt.

Serve with reserved bacon bits and chopped parsley.


This cauliflower soup is loaded with spices and flavor. It’s a creamy, velvety soup perfect anytime of year. It can easily be customized to fit a vegan lifestyle by skipping the bacon entirely. #cauliflowersoup, #whole30soup, #whole30 #paleo #vegan #turmeric #ginger #calmeats #spices #soup #lunchideas #dinnerrecipes #freshrecipes #paleorecipes #whole30recipes #glutenfree #dairyfreesoup #dairyfree







chicken tikka masala

chicken tikka masala
chicken tikka masala
chicken tikka masala in bowl

I paused, the feverish clicking of keys coming to a halt. I listened closely, almost in disbelief. It was the second morning I heard its song; a lonely bird chirping outside the window. Only a few chirps and it was gone. I waited for more but was satisfied to have gotten even a prelude. We’re still in the dead of January and yet its spring song made my heart flutter.

Winter is long where I live. Not as long as in other parts of the country but too long for my liking. Everything is grey, silent and rather sleepy. It’s not a bad thing per se but I find myself yearning for more light and warmth. But I know my wanting and the reality of winter are two very different things.

As we’re on the cusp of temperatures in the single digits and perhaps even as low as 0 Fahrenheit, I can’t help but want to curl up in a blanket and hibernate for the remainder of this season. But as that’s neither feasible or physically possible, I’ll do the next best thing, which is cook comfort food - in the form of curry. Warming, satisfying, hearty curry.

This curry is one I’ve taken through more testing than perhaps any other recipe. I wanted to get it just right. I was hung up on the textures and consistency of the sauce (because after all, it’s the sauce that’s everything). I would like to say that I hoped for it to taste as authentic as possible - whatever that may mean.

Chicken Tikka Masala is a surprisingly easy recipe to make, filled with loads of spices and flavors, with Garam Masala being the star of them all. I put a little spin on this curry by making it even heartier and adding carrots and potatoes. You can eat it on its own, serve it with rice or cauliflower rice.

chicken tikka masala in bowl
chicken tikka masala in bowl
chicken tikka masala
limes
chicken tikka masala

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chicken tikka masala

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • marinating time: 1-12 hours

  • cooking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

  • makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

For marinade

For curry

  • 1 tbsp ghee or extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 coves garlic, minced

  • 1” knob ginger

  • 1/2 marinade spice mix (see above)

  • 2 tsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 2 cups tomato puree

  • 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar (skip if whole 30)

  • squeeze of lime

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 4 medium carrots peeled and sliced

  • 1 large russet potato peeled and chopped into cubes

  • 1 rounded tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

Equipment:

  • large dutch oven or other heavy large pot

  • large soup pot

  • ziplock bag or container with lid

  • small mixing bowl

Directions:

In small mixing bowl, mix all spices under marinade. Reserve half and add half to ziplock bag or container. Add olive oil and mix well. Add chicken and let marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 in the refrigerator.

Heat dutch oven over medium high heat. Add oil or ghee and chicken and brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Set aside on plate.

In same pan, add onion and salt, and cook for 8 minutes until translucent. Next add garlic, ginger, reserved spice mixture, garam masala, pepper, paprika and cook for 30 seconds.

Add in coconut milk, tomato puree, tomato sauce, coconut sugar, chicken and let simmer on low heat for 40 minutes with lid on. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, add cut potato and carrot to soup bowl and cover with enough water to submerge. Bring to a boil and cook for about 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender but still have a bite. Drain and set aside.

When sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, add cilantro, squeeze of lime vegetables and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with additional cilantro if desired.


How to make a classic chicken tikka masala dish, paleo and whole 30? Coconut milk, of course. Check out this delicious and hearty recipe that’s full of vegetables and tender chicken. It’s warming, comforting and loaded with anti-inflammatory spices. #paleofood #curry #paleocurry #paleochickencurry #chickentikkamasala #calmeats #whole30curry #dinner #chicken #whole30recipes #paleorecipes #howtomakecurry #easycurry #chikenrecipes


how to cook a perfect soft boiled egg

soft boiled eggs with radish and avocado
soft boiled eggs with watermelon radish, avocado and greens
soft boiled egg and watermelon radish

The window was slightly ajar letting out some of the steam that had built up in the small kitchen. My grandmother feverishly stirring what looked like an absurdly large pot while chattering about the neighbors. I sat at the kitchen table staring out the 7th story window, daydreaming and patiently waiting with my piece of fresh, crusty bread. Six minutes is a long time for a kid.

I turned back to the scene behind me. My grandfather’s towel wrapped hand, swiftly maneuvering past my grandma with the boiling pot; some sort of bickering exchanged. Cold water running, I waited; stomach growling. I knew the routine. It was predictable, timed and always perfect.

As he cracked the top open, I could see the orange glow against the white. It was a magical sight. A pinch of salt, a dash of pepper. A beautifully cooked soft boiled egg. It was the perfect egg for dipping my bread in it first, then scooping out the white with the spoon. A few pieces of hard, aged salami, tea and breakfast was complete.

Something as simple as eating an egg, when done slowly, with intention, can become nearly ceremonious. There was an utter delight in having this carefully cooked egg before me that took just minutes to make. I’m not certain I appreciated it as a 7 year old, but the memory is deeply ingrained and I look back on it with fondness.

I hesitated writing this blog post because it seemed a little silly at first…everyone knows how to cook a soft boiled egg, right? But after posting an image on my Instagram feed about cooking the perfect soft boiled egg and receiving questions about the technique, I thought maybe not. So a single egg is getting its own blog post. After all, the egg is a coveted food around these parts. So let’s jump right in to the method of cooking the perfect soft boiled egg.

soft boiled egg and watermelon radish
soft boiled egg and watermelon radish

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how to cook the perfectly soft boiled egg

  • prep time: 1 minute

  • cooking time: 6 minutes

  • makes: 2 soft boiled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic eggs

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 cups of water

Equipment:

  • small sauce pan

  • timer

Directions:

Add 4 cups water to small pot. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and gently place eggs in water without bouncing them. Return heat to boil, cover with lid and set your timer for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, dump out water and run eggs under cold water for 1 minute.

You can crack the top or peel the whole egg and serve right away with salt and pepper

*Bonus: To cook a perfect hard boiled egg, follow the same steps for boiling water, reducing heat but just add eggs and boil with lid on for 13 minutes. Rinse under cold water for 1 minute and peel.


If you’re looking to make the perfect soft boiled egg, you’ve come to the right place. In this post you’ll find out exactly how to cook the perfect, gooey, delicious soft boiled egg that will be perfect every single time. #softboiledegg #egg #howtocookeggs #boiledegg #paleo #whole30 #glutenfree #recipe #calmeats #grainfree #dairyfree #realfoodrecipes

chicken tetrazzini with rutabaga noodles

rutabaga noodles
shiitake mushrooms and parsley
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles

Does everything happen for a reason or does a haphazard thing merely set something in motion making it appear as though it does? I don’t have the answer to that but I will say rutabaga is amazing. Okay perhaps a rather bizarre way to start a blog post but it always fascinates me when one seemingly insignificant event leads me to make a dish that turns out to be a favorite - maybe of all time.

If you follow this blog or my Instagram stories, you probably know all about my infatuation with produce; my need to obsessively photograph what I see. A rutabaga, which I would often pass over as not being particularly striking, on that day, caught my attention. The details and subtle colors of this large root demanded to be captured. There was something about it…a depth I hadn’t before noticed.

That evening while looking for ways to use leftover chicken, I came across a recipe for chicken tetrazzini - the classic style, which includes milk, flour, butter, breadcrumbs…in essence all the things I cannot have. It was something I didn’t give a second thought to and moved on until I woke up the next morning convinced that I had to make chicken tetrazzini the paleo and whole30 way and not only that but that I would be using rutabaga noodles instead of pasta.

I admit, I’d never made rutabaga noodles prior to this dish but thought, why the hell not? And so an idea was born and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At 8am I was at the market buying rutabaga, shiitake mushrooms and chicken with vehement determination to make my version of paleo chicken tetrazzini come to fruition.

It is so very rare that something I envisioned so clearly actually turns out to match the idea. The earthy flavor of the rutabaga works incredibly well with tender chicken thighs and creamy mushroom sauce finishing the whole dish with almond crumble, which gives it depth.

Since milk is out of the equation, I opted for coconut milk. I wasn’t sure how this would work out as I didn’t want an overly coconutty flavor but the salt and lemon cut through the forward coconut taste, leaving only the creaminess behind.

I knew I was going to love this dish the second I smelled the shallots, garlic, wine and mushrooms and I hope you will love this creamy chicken tetrazzini just as much.

italian parsley
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles

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chicken tetrazzini over rutabaga noodles

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 40 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

For rutabaga noodles:

  • 1 large rutabaga

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • pinch salt

For chicken tetrazzini:

  • 2 tbsps olive oil divided

  • 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided

  • 1/2 tsp ground, pepper divided

  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 large shallots finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 rounded tsp fresh thyme, chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided

  • 1/2 glass dry white wine (use broth is whole 30)

  • 1.5 cups full fat coconut milk

For almond crumble:

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, ground

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • pinch salt

Equipment:

Directions:

Spiralize rutabaga and set it asides.

In food processor or blender add toasted almonds and grind finely. Add to small bowl with olive oil and salt and set aside.

Remove chicken from package and pat dry with paper towels and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes per side until cooked through. Cover with foil and set aside to rest.

In the same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until shallots are translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high, add wine or broth (if Whole 30) and deglaze pan by scraping off the brown bits. .

Reduce heat back to medium, add mushrooms, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper thyme and parsley and cook for 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft but still have a bite.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice, turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add it back to sauce and heat through for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat medium frying pan, add oil and rutabaga noodles and cook stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes until noodles have softened.

To plate, add rutabaga noodles, chicken and mushrooms sauce, sprinkle with almond crumble and top with additional fresh chopped Italian parsley.


I haven’t been this smitten over a dish in a long time. This creamy chicken tetrazzini over rutabaga noodles, topped with almond crumble will wow you and you won’t believe it’s paleo and whole 30 too! #paleo, #whole30pasta #whole30 #paleopasta #mushrooms #chicken #chickentetrazzini #calmeats #eatrealfood #grainfree #glutenfree #dairyfree