Ode to the hipster farmer’s market

Mustaches and skinny jeans among the sorrel and chard.
Hip babies and hipper mammas noshing on organic baked goods.
The grass-fed meat purveyor with the tattoo of a cleaver on his arm.
So it goes at the McCarren Park Saturday farmer’s market.

But I’m not hatin’! I had a great morning at the market, and picked up some amazing produce at very reasonable prices – minature beets with beautiful greens, red scallions, swiss chard (probably the last I’ll purchase until winter, since mine on the patio will soon be ready to start picking), wild arugula, and rhubarb (which will be going in a Rhubarb Chutney I’m making today). I even picked up some monkfish (a.k.a. “poor man’s lobster”)  and sorrel, which I’m using to make up a new dish called “Lemony Lobster.”

Today’s food:

Breakfast: Almond milk latte

Lunch: Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast and sweet potato chips (cooked in coconut oil)

Dinner: “Lemony Lobster” over cauliflower rice, frozen blueberries blended with the remainder of my Coconut Shake from the other night, coconut flakes

“Lemony Lobster”

This is one of those recipes where nothing is what it seems.  The “lobster” is actually monkfish (also known as “poor man’s lobster”).  The lemon flavor comes from sorrel, which is not something usually found in the supermarket, but can be easily grown in a garden (or, in my case, found at the farmer’s market in the spring).

“Lemony Lobster”
1. T coconut oil
1 c. chives or scallion tops (or 1/2 onion), chopped
1-3 small red chile peppers, chopped (depending on how much “heat” you like)
1 t. fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
2 c. sorrel, chopped into chiffonade
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 t. salt
1 can coconut milk
1 – 1.5 lbs of monkfish, cut into 1.5″ cubes

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and swirl in the oil. When the oil is heated, add the chives, chile peppers, and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the aromatics cook slowly. Saute until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add in sorrel, red bell pepper, salt, and coconut milk and heat until just barely a boil. Add in monkfish and cook about 4 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked through. Serve over cauliflower rice, rice, or eat as more of a stew.

Rhubarb Chutney

Since it’s spring, I’ve been on a rhubarb kick.  The tough thing is figuring out how to cook it with less sweetness (and no sugar).  Most rhubarb recipes have cups of sugar to mask the tartness.  That said, I was wanting something a bit more tart (with a hint of sweet) to go with the leftover Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast I have.

Now, keep in mind, I like things quite tart.  I used to eat lemons like most kids eat oranges, drank straight-up unsweetened grapefruit juice as a kid, and always get in trouble for not putting enough sugar in our farm lemonade (that’s fresh lemonade with vodka served in Mason jars on the front porch – pure heaven!).  So, depending on what sweeteners you are using in your diet, you may want to add some; or try adding a few more dates. (BTW, the dates work really well with the rhubarb, since they kind of dissolve into the chutney.)

Rhubarb Chutney

4 c. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2″ piecesimage
1 small red onion (I used 3 medium-sized red scallions, bulb only)
6 medjool dates, chopped
2 small red hot peppers, chopped finely (remove seeds to make it milder)
1 c. unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 whole cloves
1 T. fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Combine everything into a stainless steel or glass saucepan. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  Remove the cinnamon and cloves before serving. Makes about 2 cups (and I use about 1/4 – 1/2 c. per serving).

One week to go!

7 days left! Tonight was the first time I REALLY wanted a drink at a former colleague happy hour, but there is no way I’m failing now!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: handful of nuts

Lunch (LPQ): Chicken Cobb salad, iced coffee

Dinner: egg salad with homemade mayo, celery, iced coffee

Coconut Shakin’!

I finally cracked open my 22 lb. bag of coconut and made a yummy, filling drink to curb my hunger tonight.  It makes quite a bit, so I only had half.  If you like coconut, you’ll love this! [NOTE: For Whole30, you are not supposed to “paleo-fy” desserts, baked goods, and other things that might set you off. I wasn’t really making it for that, so I’m letting it slide. But it’s something to keep in mind.]

Coconut Shake
1 can coconut milk (chilled)
1/2 c. coconut shreds
3 medjool dates
1/8 t. vanilla extract or powder
1 c. ice

Put ingredients in a Vitamix or blender and puree.  It should be the consistency of a shake (or with a little more ice you can make it more like ice cream).  YUM!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: Herb frittata and roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus, 1 piece turkey bacon

Lunch (LPQ): Salad Nicoise with dijon and olive oil, large iced coffee

Dinner: Ground beef, roasted brussel sprouts in ghee, DoritOMGs, 1/2 Coconut Shake

Jewish soul food (in a salad)

Had a wonderful NYC deli meal today at Artie’s on the Upper West Side.  Apparently you can get something called a “Jewish cobb salad” that is chock full-of deli meats.  Need to de-sodium after today….

Today’s food:

Breakfast: proscuitto, melon, and arugula with balsamic vinegar; coffee

Lunch: “Jewish cobb salad” (with pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, and turkey), olive oil and vinegar

Snack (movie theater): Banana bread bites

Dinner (Shake Shack): hamburger & hot dog with no buns and paleo fixins’

Day 20 (and Banana Bread Bites)!

Today I’m 2/3 of the way through! Honestly, yesterday and today I still feel like I’m getting over that fructose and sodium indulgence from Sunday; but at least my lesson has been learned!  With my crazy schedule this week (and already today), and with novelty worn off, it will be more of a challenge to eat like I was the first two weeks.  I need to re-double my efforts and get back to focusing on grass-fed meat and veggies!

Now, that said, I’m heading out for a couple more days of living in a hotel, so I threw together these yummy snacks to keep with me (as well as some coconut flakes and mixed nuts from my nuts.com order).  Plus, they should keep the crew at the office happy too, so they’ll do double duty!

Banana Bread Bites
1 c. ground almonds
1 c. ground cashews
1 c. ground pecans
1/2 c. freeze-dried bananas
4 medjool dates
3 T. virgin coconut oil
1/3 c. boiling water

In mixing bowl, combine ground nuts. Put bananas into food processor and pulverize (does not need to be a powder or anything, just get them chopped up enough to get good coverage throughout the mixture). Add in dates, oil, and boiling water and blend to make a smooth paste. Mix thoroughly into the nuts.

Make into about twenty 1 1/2″ balls and put in the fridge. Grab one next time you have the hankering for that crazy sweet bread!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: 2 Banana Bread Bites, handful blueberries

Lunch: ground beef with homemade mayo

Dinner: 3 beef ribs, broccoli with nuts, 2 Banana Bread Bites


There is nothing better than fresh herbs from the garden. I finally planted my raised beds at the cabin yesterday! Since I’m not around much, I kept it simple with herbs (including 4 lavender plants) and Swiss chard. I also pruned my peach and nectarine trees.


Then I took some of the sage and rosemary from my huge plants I planted last year, and used them to make a delicious herbed pork roast.

Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast

1 Pork Butt Roast
Fresh Sage and Rosemary

I cut a bunch of slits in the fat of the roast and stuffed in sage leaves. I then sprinkled rosemary on top.


It was so pretty, until I tried to put it my crock pot (fat side up). Unfortunately, it was too big, so the final product wasn’t nearly as pretty…

I put it on for 8 hours on low (time will depend on the roast size and whether you have it on low or high).

Today’s food:

Breakfast: coffee with coconut oil

Lunch: grass-fed hamburger patty, 1/2 grass-fed beef hot dog, homemade mayo, Dijon, lettuce and tomato with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, 2 deviled eggs (made with homemade mayo, which took me forever!), dates, double espresso

Dinner (ran into a grocery store while on the road): salad with spinach, wild salmon, guacamole, and olive oil; coconut flakes

Note: Yesterday, even though I stayed “on program” technically, I had too much fruit sugar and processed meat. I was sick all night, and kept waking up. Lesson learned. I’m going back to super clean! I’ve spent all today trying to detox and drink as much water as possible (including with chlorophyll).

Paleo DoritOMGs

One of the key tenets of the Whole30 program is that you are not supposed to try to recreate you’re favorite foods using paleo foods. So no paleo pizza, lasagna, cakes, etc. For the most part, I’ve been really compliant. I made the Pecan Pie Bites to have something healthy on the road (although I actually thought they were a bit too good, so I left them with my family). And I made the Berry-Rhubarb Crisp for a family dinner party. But other than that, I’ve been eating things more in their “plain” (but never boring) state.

Now, that said, sweets aren’t really my problem. For me, it’s anything cheesy, salty, and fatty. Let’s just put it this way, if you’re a cheese puff, you have about as much chance of surviving a meeting with me as a I do of getting a date with Chris O’Dowd.

But, nevertheless, I decided to make some kale chips, and kept seeing recipes using nutritional yeast to give them a cheesy flavor. So then I thought, “I wonder if I could make them taste like Doritos?” So I played around and ended up with this new recipe. Mind you, I had a huge bunch of kale, so this made a LOT of chips; and I’m sure you could halve this easily. And I don’t think I’d make these again during my Whole30, since they are so much like the real thing to me (and I don’t want to tempt fate). That said, glad to know I can get my fix in a healthy paleo way!

Paleo DoritOMGs (aka Cheesy, Spicy Kale Chips)

1 large bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed, torn into chip-size pieces (I ended up with about 12 cups)
1 c. nutritional yeast
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 t. salt
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300.

Make sure that the kale is VERY dry before coating it. Lightly spray on olive oil (I have a mister), and coat kale.

In a food processor (I just used my Magic Bullet), blend yeast and spices on high until you get a fine powder. Sprinkle on the kale and toss to coat (I used my hand to really get it in the nooks and crannies).


Place on baking sheets in single layer (covered in parchment for easier crisping and cleaning). Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until the edge of the kale pieces start to brown. Take them out and let them sit in the pan for a few minutes to crisp up. [Note: I ended up having 3 pans full, so I did them in batches.]


Let cool completely and store. Then pull out when you’ve got the munchies! 😉

Today’s food:

Breakfast: 2 eggs over easy, 2 patties local sausage, coffee with coconut oil

Lunch: leftover Berry-Rhubarb crisp (not a very good lunch choice, but was craving it)

Dinner: romaine with bacon and over-easy eggs and a Dijon vinaigrette, DoritOMGs, Pecan Pie Bites, and iced espresso

Berry Berry Good Saturday!

The farmers’ market is one of my favorite destinations. I can throw down some serious cash on fresh veggies and local, organic meats. So today at the Morganton market was no different. It’s still early in the season, but I was able to pick up some beautiful lettuce and red and white radishes.

Then I stopped by the booth of my favorite local meat purveyor, Rock House Farm. Seriously, these folks are the bomb! They were pretty well stocked today, and I walked away with a roast, some bratwurst (for Memorial Day), ground lamb, and 4 filet mignon to base tonight’s family dinner party around.

Tonight’s dinner menu, courtesy of (in large part, although not entirely, unfortunately) our local farms is:

Filet mignon
Sweet potato crisps
Roasted radishes
Butter lettuce salad with blackberry vinaigrette
Berry-Rhubard Crisp

Here is the recipe for the crisp, which I came up with by combining about 8 different recipes and improvising. There is no added sweetener, but instead I pureed several medjool dates to add some sweetness.

Berry-Rhubarb Crisp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4 stalks rhubarb, chopped
3 cups mixed berries, chopped (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. arrowroot powder
1 t. vanilla extract or paste
6 medjool dates (3 will be used for topping) – Make sure you remove pits, if they have them! I may or may not have forgotten this step….
3 T. boiling water

Combine berries in mixing bowl with lemon juice, arrowroot powder, and vanilla. Put dates and boiling water into food processor and mix until it is a paste. Add 1/2 of the date puree to the fruit and mix will. Pour into a baking dish.

Bake fruit for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add topping.

1 c. ground pecans
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 t. sea salt
(3 medjool dates that are already listed above, pureed)
2 T. coconut oil (or butter, although that is not Whole30 approved)

Combine first 4 ingredients, and then cut in coconut oil. Make sure it is mixed well. Then “crumble” on top of the fruit and put back in the oven for about 10 more minutes until it crisps up.

Let sit a few minutes before serving. Voila!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: 1 T. coconut butter, double espresso

Lunch: leftover ribs (meat only) over salad (romaine, olive oil, apple cider vinegar)

Snack: too many nibbles off the crisp topping (messed it up the first time)

Dinner: filet mignon, sweet potato crisps, roasted radishes, butter lettuce salad with blackberry vinaigrette, Berry-Rhubard Crisp