Tipple Tuesday: Dirty Negroni

It is Negroni week!

I’m not obsessing over it here because I’ve covered them before (aged negronis, boulevardiers, French negronis and other variations), but I’m certainly drinking a few this week.

Here is an uncommon one that I really enjoy: A Dirty Negroni. It doesn’t contain any dry gin, vermouth, or Campari. But it tastes like it does.

Instead, we use 2oz of Cynar, that delightful artichoke-based amaro, with 1oz of Old Tom-style gin. It sounds funky, but it works. The traditional sweetness from the red vermouth now comes from both the Old Tom gin and the Cynar. The bitterness comes from the Cynar, and the botanical bite of the gin now comes from both the Old Tom and the Cynar.

Bonus: It is even easier to mix than a regular negroni. Build it in a rocks glass with ice and stir it briefly with your finger. Everything about this drink is dirty.

Rabbit Stew from Heritage by Sean Brock

I first heard about Sean Brock five years ago when I first watched his season of Mind of a Chef. I admire his dedication to reviving heirloom ingredients and techniques, which is probably his defining characteristic as a chef and restaurateur. I still haven’t had a full meal at his flagship Husk in Charleston, only drinks and appetizers at the bar. I’ll get there soon!

I picked up Brock’s Heritage shortly after it came out and have only cooked a few things from it because I can’t reliably source most of the heirloom ingredients he uses in most of his recipes. The ones I can get ingredients for are wonderful, and I love flipping through this book to look at the gorgeous photos and read Brock’s commentary and farmer profiles between the sections.

When I discovered that I could get high quality local whole rabbits from Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry, I decided to make Brock’s Rabbit Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings when our dear friend Kat came to visit.

You should definitely plan to make this on weekend, not a Thursday night like I did. It isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming for one person to make the stew: Boiling for an hour and a half, pulling and shredding the meat, making the roux, chopping and adding the veggies, then putting it all back together. Next time I’ll make the stew a day or two ahead of time and reheat it while we make the dumplings.

I put Kat to work helping make the dumplings. I’m a big fan of giving guests a job so they don’t feel like they have to just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. It also gives you more time to talk and catch up. You get help and they feel invested in the final outcome. Win/win.

This recipe alone warrants buying this book. It is fantastic. Perfect for a chilly evening and good friends. Everyone ate multiple helpings and Amanda and I both took it for lunch later in the week.

I’m glad I picked up this book again. While I can’t make most of the main dishes out of it, I certainly can make some of the sides, condiments, and pickles Husk uses to accent their main dishes. I also missed the drinks and bitters section the first time around, which I’m keen to dive in to. Did you know that the Queen Anne’s Lace flower is a wild carrot? By the time the flowers come out, the carrot is bitter enough to make a tincture with.

That is exactly why I’m doing this Cooking the Books challenge – Revisiting old things that I missed and getting more out of them. More to come soon.

Cooking the Books: Hungarian Cookery Book

I picked this book up at Bruised Apple Books in Peekskill, NY, a fantastic independent used bookstore with a strong sci-fi section. The colorful cover caught my eye and the content sold me. My grandmother on my Dad’s side is Hungarian and I love her cooking, but I wondered: What else is out there? What else in the traditional Hungarian culinary landscape am I missing? This book looked like it had the answers. I paid $4.50 for it.

This is a collection Károly Gundel’s recipes. Gundel was the leading restaurateur in Budapest during the first half of the 20th century. He is probably responsible for driving forward and popularizing much of Hungarian cuisine during that time. He started the prestigious Gundel Etterem in Budapest in 1910 and ran it until it was nationalized in 1949. He also ran the official restaurant of the Hungarian Pavilion in the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

Gundel put together this book for the UNESCO Hungarian National Commission in the early 1950s, just before his death. My copy is a later edition from 1976. The forward itself is worth buying this book for. It goes through the history of what we now consider Hungarian food and its influences from the original Magyars, to the conquering Turks, the Spanish, and the French and Austrian nobility. Here is an excerpt:

Karoly Gundel

To return to modern Hungarian cookery, I must first of all point out that its most characteristic features are the abundant use of lard, onions and paprika, that sour cream (replaced today in many restaurants by heavy cream) is a favorite ingredient.

What I am going to say about paprika will, I am sure, come as a great surprise and disappointment to a lot of people. I must confess that this condiment, which is recognized far and wide as the Hungarian national spice, was not generally known and used in Hungary till almost a century ago. In Hungary cookery-books of the first half of the nineteenth century we find scarcely any mention of paprika, to say nothing of the fact that it was completely unknown in books dating from the eighteenth century.

So where did it come from? Paprika is originally from the Americas and Persia. It was introduced to Europe from the west by Christopher Columbus and crew at the beginning of the sixteenth century and from the east by Turkish traders who got it from Persia.

Going back to the book, this caveat in the introduction is my approach to cooking and recipes in a nutshell:

Now to the recipes. It is very difficult to be precise in giving exact directions. Take salt for instance. Think of the difference in the taste and saltiness of bay salt and rock salt: even the salt mined in different places differs in quality and iodine content. The same is true, to an even greater degree, of paprika and other condiments.

For this reason the recipes, however carefully they have been compiled, must not be accepted as hard and fast rules. I confess to my own limitations. No painter can describe the exact blend of colors he uses to produce a certain shade; no poet can express adequately in words what makes a perfume enchanting; and no cook can give perfect, infallible directions about the method of achieving a certain flavor.

My thoughts exactly. Recipes are general guides to be tinkered with and adapted to suit your ingredients and taste.

The Recipes I Chose

I noticed a lot of similarities to dishes my grandmother makes, as well as things I can never imagine her making. Jellied Carp, for example. I decided to go with a fairly standard gulyás for my first go-around. I usually don’t reprint the recipes due to copyright and respect for the author’s livelihood, but neither concern is relevant here. This book is long out of print, and the author has long since passed on. I suspect many of his children and grandchildren have as well.

Gulyás de Luxe

  • 2 lbs loin of beef
  • 12 oz onions
  • 12 oz potatoes
  • lard
  • 1/2 dram of garlic
  • 1/2 dram of salt
  • 1/2 dram caraway seed
  • 1 1/3 oz paprika
  • green paprika, tomatoes

Cut 2 lbs loin of beef into 1/2 oz cubes and wash well. Chop the onions very fine and fry them a delicate brown in lard. Sprinke (sic) a little salt on the meat, put it into the pan with the onions and stew with the lid on for 30 minutes. When the water evaporate, a little water or stock may always be added. Cut the potatoes into cubes the same size as the meat, add the caraway seed, and the paprika. Pour in sufficient eater to cover the meat. In summer 2 green paprikas, from which the seeds have been removed, and a tomato may be added (all sliced). Bring to boil again and let summer till the potatoes are done.

Before serving boil some fine csipetke and add it to the gulyás.

Csipetke

Make a dough of about 6 oz of flour, one egg and a pinch of salt. Roll out very thin, cut into small squares and boil in the soup for a minute to two before serving.

This book is riddled with typos (likely from the translation), unused ingredients, skipped steps, and unclear cooking time. No matter. That is how my recipes are, too. You have to get a gameplan before starting to cook.

Notes

  1. Gulyás is basically a kind of stew and csipetke is very similar to small dumplings or spaetzle.
  2. I ended up simmering the gulyás for about two hours because it took us a heck of a lot longer than expected to make the csipetke. I don’t know how my grandma makes giant bowls at a time around the holidays. Must take all day. The extra simmering time was good good because the beef was pretty tough when I tasted it early on.
  3. The type of paprika was unspecified, so I used a mix of hot and smoked paprika since I didn’t have sweet on-hand.
  4. The recipe doesn’t say what to do with the garlic, so I included it with the onions at the beginning.
  5. I included green peppers (paprikas, not to be confused with paprika, which actually is confusing) and tomatoes, despite it not being summer.
  6. I found three different competing conversions for drams, so I basically guessed. Roughly 1 scant teaspoon per dram, so I used about half a teaspoon each for the items above.
  7. The csipetke definitely needed some water in the dough. One egg alone didn’t cut it. I had to add water. We ended up making two batches.

Results

The dish turned out great! I’m glad I made it. Next time I’ll start a little earlier in the day instead of waiting until 6pm to start it. There are a dozen more recipes in this book that I want to try, so it might be a while before I make this specific recipe again. The csipetke is definitely going to be a regularly occurring side, though. I didn’t realize how easy it was to make. That is dangerous.


Join us!

If you want to join us in the Cooking the Books challenge, pick a cookbook you haven’t used in a while and make a recipe. Then fill out this form and I’ll guest post it here on Cook Like Chuck.

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Cooking the Books: Once Upon a Chef

This is a guest post from another Chuck, my Dad. This is his second post in the challenge. Here is the first.

If you want to join the Cooking the Books challenge, see the details at the bottom of this post.


The older I get it seems that my food preferences have changed. I have to admit, when I was younger my preference was burgers & pizza, meat & potatoes.

I grew up with a full-blooded Hungarian mother. Every evening it was a meat, potato, salad, and bread. According to my DNA profile it seems that I’m mostly European some British, some English and very little Mediterranean. I’m really not sure if this is accurate, but my love for Mediterranean food has increased tenfold over the past 5 to 7 years. 

When the hard questions come up at the end of the week, my wife asking me “What do you want for dinner?”, one of my two choices will either be gyros or Aladdin’s, our favorite local middle eastern restaurant. They make a really good dish called the Flavor Saver Special. The Flavor Saver Special consists of kofta, grilled chicken, a Middle Eastern chopped salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing, and a big dollop of hummus, all served with warm freshly baked pita. Delicious!

For this week’s entry in the challenge, I decided to make a similar meal at home for the first time: Kofta, tzatziki, Middle Eastern Chopped salad, and pita.

Today’s recipes come from Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal.

Persian Kofta

  • Milk
  • Bread crumbs
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Lemon Zest
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Ground Beef (80/20)
  • Fresh mint
  • Gelatin

I was skeptical about the gelatin because it was kind of weird to add gelatin to a meat mixture (in my opinion). I’m not professional chef, but I just thought it was kind strange. I found out it actually does help the meat hold together.

When you press them together on skewers, I recommend using metal ones instead of wood or bamboo. Wooden skewers incinerated on my grill, even after soaking them in water.

When grilling, keep a close eye on them! They tend to flare up. I noticed that the gelatin actually caramelized, like a sugar mixture, on the outside of the meat.

Middle Eastern chopped salad with lemon vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Bell pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Chickpeas
  • Scallions
  • Mint
  • Feta

The simple salad would go with just about any dish. There are many variations of the salad, depending on the country and cookbook, but the base is usually diced cucumbers and tomatoes. We used the vegetables that we had on hand. Along with cucumbers and tomatoes, we included red and yellow crisp bell peppers, fresh feta cheese, chickpeas and mint.

This meal is not complete without warm pita bread. Let’s make it!

My pita recipe comes from Baking with Steel, which I wrote about last week. The pita recipe is an easy one. It only has four ingredients.

Baking pita at home is easy and fun to do. I encourage you to have your children and family take part. Watching the pita pop up in the oven like a balloon is amazing.

Now the meal is complete!

As the BBQ Pit Boys would say:

“Were gonna be eat’n good tonight Martha!”


Join us!

If you want to join us in the Cooking the Books challenge, pick a cookbook you haven’t used in a while and make a recipe. Then fill out this form and I’ll guest post it here on Cook Like Chuck.

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Cooking the Books: The Art of Simple Food

This week’s selection for Cooking the Books is The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and I use it all the time. Alice’s simple preparations let the ingredients shine through. I’ve given this book out as a gift at least five times and I fully expect to give it out again. I want everyone to know about this book.

Recipes

Braised Duck Legs with Leeks and Green Olives

  • Duck legs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Leeks
  • Green olives
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Bay leaf
  • White wine
  • Chicken Broth
  • Lemon zest

Carrot Puree with Caraway and Cumin

  • Carrots
  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Cumin
  • Caraway
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Cilantro

Why I chose these

I did not have a hard time picking something new from this book because we want to try pretty much everything; the question was whether or not we had the right ingredients since so much of it is seasonal.

I picked the duck because I’ve never actually prepared duck at home and was eager to try it. Everything I needed for it is either easy to get or I already had on-hand.

Once I picked the duck, I picked four side dishes I thought would be good and had Amanda settle on the final one. We had a lot of carrots and cilantro on-hand, so it worked out well.

Results

The meal was fantastic! The skin on the duck legs was crispy, the meat was tender, the olives stayed firm, and all of the flavors complemented each other well. The lemon zest and the brininess of the olives cut the fat from the duck. The caraway + cumin was a great combination with the carrots. Definitely a dinner for a cold winter evening and a glass of wine.

The carrots probably would have been a little better had I used the food processor to puree them instead of just mashing them by hand. The recipe took quite a while to cook, so it is a good fit for a weekend. Other than that, I’d definitely make this meal again! I have four more duck gets in the freezer, so I’m contemplating it 🤔.


Join us!

If you want to join us in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to cagrimmett@gmail.com! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:

  • Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
  • Send me photos of the meal you cooked
  • Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
  • Send me a photo of the recipe

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Cooking the Books: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Sister Pie, and The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

This is a guest post from KatieRose McEneely, a fellow culinary experimenting friend from college. She is a fantastic artist who created the paper cuts of a cow, sheep, and pig that currently hang above our couch. Thanks for joining in the challenge, KatieRose! 

If you want to join the Cooking the Books challenge, see the details at the bottom of this post.


1. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman 

Recipe: Caramelized Squash with vinegar

  • Butternut squash, cubed
  • sugar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • onion, minced
  • garlic (omitted)
  • salt and pepper
  • rosemary, fresh and minced

I made the balsamic and rosemary variation–the original recipe uses sherry vinegar and chili powder. I didn’t take a photo, but it looks like cubed squash in a dark sauce, so.

Why I tried it: I had all of the ingredients and the cooking method was unfamiliar to me (it’s Vietnamese in origin). Plus, I thought I’d have a fighting chance of more than one member of the household giving it a taste.

It is technically not a one-pot meal, so I served it with a green salad and risotto, per Bittman’s recommendation.

Result: Real talk: would never make this again. The first step consists of making caramel, then adding vinegar and water to dissolve the caramel (and perfume your kitchen with the scent of hot vinegar, which was met with protests from other members of the household). Then, add the onion and cook until softened; add cubed squash, cover and steam for three minutes, then cook uncovered until squash is tender. Finish with the spices and cook a bit longer, until the sauce thickens.

I really liked the texture of the squash–I usually default to roasting it–but the flavor was much too sweet, and the rosemary was not discernable, despite adding a full tablespoon. Also, I question the nutritional value of a vegetable dish that contains more sugar than the following recipe, which is a dessert.

 

2.  Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-hearted Bakery in Detroit, Lisa Ludwinski

Recipe: Coconut Sweet Potato Pie

Why I tried it: I love pie (and I’m a huge fan of the Sister Pie cookbook), but I generally don’t enjoy custard or squash pies, possibly because I am lactose intolerant. This recipe has a very small amount of dairy, and uses full-fat coconut milk for the bulk of the liquid.

The recipe is available in full in many places, but here’s a link to it on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Result: Well, I’m converted. The pie is delicious; a faint coconut flavor, a smooth texture accented by the toasted unsweetened coconut garnish, and it’s not milky at all. It also baked in the time given in the recipe, but I attribute that less to the recipe and more to the fact that I finally bought an oven thermometer.

 

3. The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie, Paula Haney

I’ll note that I did make an additional new-to-me recipe on Jan. 30; it was Hoosier Mama’s apple pie, from the eponymous cookbook, which I also own. (If you like pecan pie, her recipe is superlative.)

Look, I’ve made a lot of apple pies in my time, and this was the taskiest of them all (and the first to omit cinnamon!). Never have I pre-cooked the drained liquid from the apples, let it cool, chilled it further, and then incorporated it to the rest of the pie filling. I’ve eaten this recipe before, because it’s delicious, and the result was great.

I’m of two minds: I make pie because I have things lying around that can go into a crust, and most of the time I’m winging it. But the final product here is very consistent, and my dad really likes it. It might be a game-time decision (and on the plus side, it baked more quickly than my usual method, which involves piling apples into a shell and baking until the filling reaches the set temperature for jam).

All told: this was fun! My sister and I have an agreement to try at least two new recipes per month, so it was a good jump-start. I’m fortunate in that my cookbook selection is small and I’m pretty good about using them, but I’m a librarian, so I have a lot of access to new titles without committing to a purchase.

Thanks for the invite!

Cheers,

KatieRose


Join us!

If you want to join us in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to cagrimmett@gmail.com! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:

  • Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
  • Send me photos of the meal you cooked
  • Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
  • Send me a photo of the recipe

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Cooking the Books: Baking with Steel

Below is the first guest post in the Cooking the Books Challenge series. It is from my Dad, also named Chuck Grimmett. It is from a cookbook I got for him last year, Baking with Steel. If you want to join the challenge and post, see the details at the bottom of this post.


Due to the cold rainy weather last weekend, I decided to dig my Pizza Steel out and bake some bread! This marks the first time I tried making bread from the Baking with Steel cookbook.

The recipe calls for the dough to be made at least 24 hours prior to baking, so you need to plan ahead. I started with good bread flour, I chose “King Arthur Flour” and Platinum Superior Baking Yeast by Red Star. I figured if I start with quality ingredients, I cannot blame failure on the materials! 

Ingredients: Bread flour, salt, dry active yeast, warm water. (CAG’s note: I don’t publish the entire recipe unless the author has posted it somewhere else online. I don’t want to rip off their work. I’d prefer you buy their books.)

Following the recipe, I measured the flour by weight.

I used my stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. 3 to 4 minutes did the job, just needed to get all the dry clumps out.

My dough was sticky and bubbly, I needed plenty of flour on my board. The recipe says to place the ball seam side up in a floured breadbasket to rest for 2 more hours.. I don’t own one so I placed it on a floured plate.

I coated my pizza peel with semolina and scored the top of the loaf with a razor, launched onto my Dough Joe, then baked for 25 minutes.

It turned out great! It was delicious and lasted in a plastic bag for about a week. I’d definitely make it again.


Join me!

If you want to join me in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to cagrimmett@gmail.com! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:

  • Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
  • Send me photos of the meal you cooked
  • Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
  • Send me a photo of the recipe

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Cooking the Books: Paleo Comfort Foods

I had an idea a few weeks ago: Let’s use our cookbooks more by picking one to cook a meal from each week. Here is my original Facebook post:

Ground rules for the challenge:

  1. It has to be a recipe you haven’t cooked before.
  2. It has to be something out of the norm for you. It can’t be just another roasted squash recipe if you make roasted squash all the time.
  3. Aim for full meals: If it isn’t a one-pot meal, pick an entree and a side from the same book.
  4. I’m calling it Cooking the Books

The first book I grabbed was Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield. We’re in the middle of the Whole30 right now, so it made sense to use that book now. We’ve definitely cooked from it before. I use their Paleo Mayonnaise as my regular go-to homemade mayo recipe. In fact, I think this might be the first cookbook I bought for myself back in 2010.

According to Ground Rule #1, I have to pick a recipe I haven’t tried. I chose Country Captain Chicken. It looked great, we had most of the ingredients on-hand, and it was a one-pot meal. Perfect for a busy week and easy to reheat for lunches.

Ingredients

In this series I’m not going to publish the recipe unless the authors have posted it elsewhere online. That isn’t fair to the authors. I will, however, post the ingredients without measurements or instructions, because I think this strikes a good balance of seeing what is in it and getting a sense of the tastes while still being fair to the authors and their work. Hopefully these posts will drive a small number of sales their way, too.

  • green peppers
  • chicken
  • curry powder
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • almond flour
  • currants
  • toasted almonds
  • thyme

Results

The recipe turned out great! The black currants gave it a bit of a sweet tanginess that I enjoyed. Though it would have been better had I remembered to put the curry powder in with the vegetables 🤦‍♂️. The breading was surprisingly good for being almond meal. Almost made me forget it wasn’t real breading. We made it with 6 chicken breasts, so we had plenty of leftovers.

I’d definitely make this again.

Join me!

If you want to join me in the Cooking the Books challenge, send your posts to cagrimmett@gmail.com! I’ll guest post them here on Cook Like Chuck. Here are some guidelines:

  • Send me a decent photo of the book to use as the featured image
  • Send me photos of the meal you cooked
  • Write a little bit about the book, why you chose it, and how the meal turned out
  • Send me a photo of the recipe

Let’s dust off those cookbooks and put them to use this year.

Tips for Traveling While on a Whole30

We are now three weeks in to our 2019 Whole30. Amanda and I have been traveling a lot for work this month. It is definitely tough, so for our weeks 2 and 3 update we wanted to share some of our tips for staying Whole30 compliant while traveling.

  1. Pack Snacks. This is a big one. Pack more than you think you need. Airport food sucks even when you aren’t restricting what you eat. Trying to find something without sugar, fried, or wrapped in bread is even worse. When you are on a roadtrip, gas station and rest area fare is about the same. We both stocked up on Larabars, That’s It bars, Thunderbird bars, plantain chips, sweet potato chips, and carrots.
  2. Mexican places are your friend. I ate Mexican food three times last week. It is so easy to get beef, chicken, or pork with whatever vegetables that have on-hand, some lettuce, guacamole, and salsa that you eat with your pre-packed plantain chips.
  3. Most restaurants have a meat + veggie option. Sometimes you have to ask very nicely for substitutions, but your server can usually make it work. Make sure to tip because it was probably a hassle.
  4. Book a hotel with continental breakfast. I stay at Hyatt Places a lot (there always seems to be one where I need to go), and they have a hot continental breakfast included with the stay. I ate roughly four eggs and a bunch of potatoes for breakfast every morning before I left, which held me over until about noon. I avoided the bacon because it probably had sugar in it, but I ate the sausage when they had it, which I’m pretty sure didn’t have sugar in it.
  5. If you aren’t 100% compliant, that is okay. Look, aim for compliance. Try your best. Don’t cheat just because you craved mac and cheese. But if the Mexican restaurant happens to throw cheese overtop what you ordered, scrape off what you can and eat your meal. That little bit of cheese won’t tank your progress, but skipping a meal and eating pizza three hours later because your willpower is gone will. What if you find out after your meal arrives that there is milk in the mashed potatoes? Whatever. Eat them without guilt. It will be okay.
  6. Make conscious choices. There are times when staying compliant isn’t worth it. But you have to set those boundaries for yourself and know what they are. I have one main conscious boundary: I’ll break compliance for high quality, unique, local cuisine. I only broke once for a small thing. My coworker Dave and I went to a seafood restaurant in Charleston. One of their specialties is roasted local oysters with breadcrumbs and pimento cheese on top. I had a few. They were delicious. One other situation that sadly didn’t occur but I would have chosen to break for if it did is if someone got us reservations at Husk. Amanda is at a conference in the mountains this week and they have a dinner planned at an incredible Alpine-style restaurant. That is totally worth breaking for. This goal of this Whole30 is to break our over reliance on sugar and carbs, not to turn us into British monks.
  7. Good bartenders will make you alcohol-and-sugar-free drinks. Being the only one in a social situation not drinking sucks, and you are very likely to be in a situation like that if you are traveling. If it is at a good bar, ask the bartender if they can make you something without alcohol or sugar. At the oyster place I mentioned above, the bartender made me a drink with cucumber water, muddled basil, lemon juice, ginger, and lemon peel. It was delicious. Some places even have something like Seedlip available for people who don’t want alcohol.
  8. Drink plenty of water. First, you are more likely to get dehydrated when traveling because of the break in your normal routines and schedule, plus all of the dry air on airplanes. Second, drinking water can help stave off hunger for a bit.
  9. When all else fails: Salads with extra protein. I ate so many salads last week because they were the only compliant option some days. When possible, I opted for field greens, spinach, or kale as the base and always doubled up on the protein, usually grilled chicken. I got whatever veggies I could thrown on top. Olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper as the dressing. Burger places are usually pretty cool with putting two burger patties on a salad for you. I did that twice last week.

What are some of your favorite Whole30 travel tips? Throw them in the comments!

Whole30 Week 1: Preparation and Snacks!

Amanda and I decided to do another Whole30 this January. We like to “reset” after eating and drinking too much over the holidays to cut some weight, feel better, have more energy, and prevent the usual winter sickness from a weakened immune system.

The TL;DR of Whole30 is to only consume meat, vegetables, seeds, and fruit for 30 days. No dairy, added sugar of any kind, legumes, grains, or alcohol.

This isn’t our first rodeo. We knew that we both have a jam-packed work schedule, so the only way we’d make it through is by prepping. We decided to start on January 2 this year so that we could get back from the New Year’s party, go grocery shopping, and prep as much as we could before we start.

We uncharacteristically planned out our breakfast and dinner menus for the entire week in advance. I made frittatas in advance for breakfast and Amanda chopped up vegetables so they’d be easy for me to roast.

Snacks!

Snacks are always our downfall. We can’t seem to eat enough at main meals to hold us until the next one and need to fall back to snacks. That is probably because we aren’t big breakfast people and we tend to eat dinner pretty late, usually around 8pm. Snacks hold us over.

If we don’t have Whole30 compliant snacks on-hand, it is not good. We planned ahead this year.

Here are the Whole30 compliant snacks that saved us this week:

  1. Carrot hummus
  2. Magic green sauce (h/t to Hannah Wegmann) We couldn’t find pistachios without shells, so Amanda and I cracked a ton of pistachio shells while watching Netflix one night…
  3. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, pepper sticks, and cucumber sticks. We prep these all at once and keep them in the fridge. Perfect to pack for work in tupperware.
  4. Plantain chips of all varieties. I think we’ve had 3 different brands this week.
  5. Trader Joe’s Root vegetable chips
  6. Trader Joe’s fruit wraps
  7. Satsuma oranges
  8. Almond butter
  9. Almonds
  10. Cherry Pie Larabars

What are your favorite Whole30 snacks? Let us know in the comments!

 

Our meals this week

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Jan 2 Black coffee Western Omelets from the corner bodega Spaghetti squash cooked in the Instant Pot with a quick veal and pork bolognese made from home canned tomatoes
Jan 3 Black coffee, Frittata with breakfast sausage, potatoes, peppers, and onions Leftover spaghetti squash Whole Foods’ hot counter before we did our grocery shopping across the street at Stew Leonard’s. I had pork loin, broccoli, and cauliflower. Amanda had salmon, broccoli, and mashed potatoes
Jan 4 Black coffee, Frittata with breakfast sausage, potatoes, peppers, and onions Leftover spaghetti squash Chicken Enchilada Soup (h/t to Hannah Wegmann)
Jan 5 Black coffee, Frittata with breakfast sausage, potatoes, peppers, and onions Chuck: Leftover spaghetti squash, Amanda: leftover chicken enchilada soup Instant Pot pork and cabbage bowls with avocado, cilantro, and onions
Jan 6 None Black coffee, Veggie omelet with a side of bacon and winter vegetable hash at Sweet Grass in Tarrytown Flank steak and roasted vegetable bowls with pico de gallo and avocado
Jan 7 Black coffee, Frittata with Italian sausage, potatoes, and onions Chuck: Leftover pork and cabbage bowl, Amanda: Salmon and leftover roasted vegetables Curried cream of broccoli soup
Jan 8 Black coffee, Frittata with Italian sausage, potatoes, and onions Chuck: Roasted vegetables, Amanda: Curried cream of broccoli soup Chuck: Curried cream of broccoli soup, Amanda: Salmon and roasted vegetables

 

Here are a few photos from this week’s meals:

(The hot sauce you see is Crystal, which is compliant.)

Challenges

We are doing completely fine on sugar/carb cravings right now and our workouts are going fine. Our main challenge right now is that our work schedules are crazy. Planning is the only thing that kept us from eating Chipotle fajita salad bowls five days in a row.

See you next week!