Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

It’s been a while.  Sorry about that.  Life has a way of providing more that its share of distractions from time to time…

This recipe is a Whole30 adaptation of Ina Garten’s delicious Curried Chicken Salad

One of the differences between our first and second rounds of Whole30, is that this time, we have been a little more adventurous and have adapted a number of our favorite non-Whole30 recipes to be plan compliant.  During our first round, I feel like we were a bit more conservative, learning a new way of cooking and eating, and just trying to make it through.  This time, however, we are more confident in our plan-compliant cooking abilities and more willing to make something compliant instead of avoiding it altogether.

Ina’s recipe is delicious but contains three ingredients that would have had us trembling during our first Whole30: mayonnaise, white wine, and mango chutney.  Each one of these ingredients alone could make me weak in the knees, but trust me, you won’t miss them!

The mango chutney has an obvious fix.  Just forget how delicious mango chutney is and remember how delicious fresh mango is.  We used chunks of fresh mango for this recipe. However, you could just as easily make a mango puree, which would distribute the mango flavor better but wouldn’t give you the excitement of wondering when the next sweet, juicy mango-burst was going to happen.

The white wine is slightly less obvious.  Regardless of the flavor it imparts, 1/3 of a cup of liquid definitely contributes to the consistency of the finished salad and probably shouldn’t be overlooked.  Unfortunately, I’m painfully unaware of the existence of Whole30 white wine… someone should work on that one.  So, don’t pine for it, just keep your eye on the prize and find a flavorful liquid to use as a substitution.  My answer: the drippings and residual olive oil from roasting the chicken breasts.  Instead of adding another layer of flavor (wine) this enhances the chicken flavor… this is a chicken salad, after all.

Honestly, the entire reason we first made a Whole30 compliant mayonnaise was so we could make this curried chicken salad and I encourage you to do the same, if you haven’t already.  Homemade mayo is easier than you might think and so very worth the small effort that it takes to make.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Hellman’s and I love Duke’s but homemade is even more delicious and it comes with the added bonus of being guilt-free.  You made it, so you know what’s in it and now you feel free to practically bathe in it!

Once you figure out your substitutions, the rest is a breeze.  Roast the chicken, combine everything in a bowl, mix, and try to keep yourself from eating it all in one sitting!

LET’S GET STARTED

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.  This time and temperature will leave you with technically over-cooked chicken, but in this application it is actually beneficial because it will allow the chicken to shred a bit and soak up more mayo.

Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut into bite sized chunks and add to a large mixing bowl.  Notice the juices and residual olive oil in the pan?  That is your white wine substitute.  Pour it onto the chicken.

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

The lineup: celery, scallions, mango, raisins, cashews, curry powder, and a vat of Whole30 mayo.  While the chicken is cooking slice the scallions, dice the celery, and peel and slice the mango.  It really helps this process if you have a super-fancy new chef’s knife that your wonderful wife got you for your birthday… just sayin’.

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

Add all ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

Feel free to take a spoon and go off to a quiet, comfy spot and eat the entire bowl, but if you can manage the self-control, I recommend refrigerating it first.  Like many things, it gets better as it sits.  The curry powder blooms, the raisins become plum and juicy, and all the flavors marry nicely.  Our favorite way to eat this curried chicken salad is simply mounded onto a leaf of romaine lettuce.

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad

Whole30 Curried Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts (drippings reserved)
  • 1 ½ cups of Whole30 compliant mayonnaise
  • 2 large ribs of celery, diced
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup roasted, salted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for chicken)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Season liberally with kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking slice the scallions, dice the celery, and peel and slice the mango. Add all ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.
  4. Good immediately but much better after being refrigerated overnight. We suggest serving on leaves of romaine lettuce.

 

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

We recently wrote about making homemade, Whole30-approved mayonnaise.  It was a post in which I lamented the sorrows that come with Whole30 depriving me of my beloved condiments due to their, generally speaking, repugnant ingredients. As a solution to this problem, homemade Whole30-approved mayo was a perfect fit.

Homemade mayo will take you by surprise.  It is far more delicious that its store-bought cousin and you can use it as a dip without feeling like you should be hiding while doing so.  But mayonnaise as your only condiment can only be joyful for just so long.  Before long, something that once knocked your socks off becomes over-done.  “Variety is the spice of life,” they say, right?  So, we decided to start playing with our mayo…

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

“But mayonnaise and aioli are not the same,” you are surely thinking.  And you are most definitely correct.  Generally speaking, mayonnaise is an emulsion of a neutral-flavored oil (commonly canola or soybean) with egg yolk, acid of some kind (usually vinegar or lemon juice) and sometimes mustard (powdered or prepared).  Aioli, on the other hand, is traditionally started by turning garlic into a paste in a mortar and pestle and then adding egg yolk, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil.

If we are being absolute sticklers for tradition, this recipe is not a true aioli… but it is darn close.  Since our homemade mayo used extra light olive oil instead of canola, all that was needed to turn this mayo into a garlic “aioli” was to add garlic paste and adjust the flavor with some fruity extra-virgin olive oil (and a dash more acid to balance the additional fat).

Another break from tradition was my addition of some fresh herbs, specifically chives and flat-leaf parsley.  I’m a sucker for fresh herbs and since I was actually making this aioli to be a dipping sauce for a dinner party, I felt the herbs also helped with its visual appeal (some folks just don’t appreciate emulsified fats like I do…).

So…

LET’S GET STARTED

Start by taking some freshly-minced garlic, finely chopped chives, and flat-leaf parsley and combining them on a cutting board with a pinch of kosher salt (the coarse grit of the salt help turn the ingredients into a paste).

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

With one hand holding the handle of your chef’s knife, turn it on its side and place the heel of your other palm on the flat of the blade.  Holding your knife in this position, using the flat side of the tip of the knife, start to crush and smear the ingredients into the cutting board in a side-to-side, back and forth motion.

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

Continue this motion until the ingredients have taken on a paste-like consistency.  Use the blade of your knife to scrape it off the cutting board and collect it into a pile.

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

In a large mixing bowl, add one cup of your homemade mayonnaise and half of your garlic/herb paste (fresh garlic is rather pungent, it is wise to start off conservative and then add more later if needed).  Whisk to combine.  Add ½ a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and mix to combine.  While vigorously whisking, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly-cracked white pepper.

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

 

Whole30 Garlic Aioli
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Comdiment
Serves: 1¼ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup, homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 large or two small garlic cloves, crushed
  • a pinch of chopped chives
  • a pinch of chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-cracked white pepper
Instructions
  1. Process:
  2. Take garlic, finely chopped chives, and flat-leaf parsley and combine them on a cutting board with a pinch of kosher salt (the coarse grit of the salt help turn the ingredients into a paste). Using the flat side of the tip of the knife, start to crush and smear the ingredients into the cutting board in a side-to-side, back and forth motion. Continue this motion until the ingredients have taken on a paste-like consistency.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add one cup of your homemade mayonnaise and half of your garlic/herb paste (fresh garlic is rather pungent, it is wise to start off conservative and then add more later if needed). Whisk to combine.
  4. Add ½ a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and mix to combine.
  5. While vigorously whisking, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly-cracked white pepper.

This aioli is one that you will find yourself dreaming about and trying to find food to dip in it. I can not count the numerous amounts of times we have had sweet potato fries just so we can enjoy this yummy condiment. So, enjoy and start dipping!

Whole30 Garlic Aioli

Date Syrup Bourbon Old Fashioned

Bourbon Date Old Fashioned

Bourbon is a favorite of mine.  Forgive me as I will probably start every post whose recipe contains bourbon, in any amount, that same way.  I like it best with just a few ice cubes.  If it is going to be adorned with superfluous accompaniments, in my opinion, the Old Fashioned and eggnog are its two highest superfluously-adorned forms.

Bourbon Date Old Fashioned -6

The Old Fashioned is traditionally made by muddling a sugar cube with a couple dashes of bitters, adding whiskey, ice, and garnishing with a citrus twist.  Simple, delicious, and the bourbon remains the hero – my kind of bourbon cocktail.  This recipe is a play on that classic.  It is a bit more dressed up than the original but it maintains the bourbon’s prominence.  In this recipe we substitute a sweet, nutty, and earthy syrup made from simmered medjool dates for the cube of sugar in the original.  See our earlier post for detailed instructions on making date syrup… it’s super easy and well worth the small amount of time it takes to make a batch.

Bourbon Date Old Fashioned -5

5.0 from 1 reviews
Date Syrup Bourbon Old Fashioned
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1 drink
Ingredients
  • 2.5 ounces of bourbon
  • 1 ounce of date syrup
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 twist or half-round of citrus (I prefer orange here)
  • 1 medjool date, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine over ice the bourbon, date syrup, and bitters. Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a date and twist or orange.
  2. Note: For more orange flavor, a half-round of orange can be added to the shaker or muddle in the glass.

 

Bourbon Date Old Fashioned

Pear, Caramelized Onion, and Gorgonzola Pizza

Pear, Caramelized Onion, and Gorgonzola Pizza

One thing, of many, that I aspire to change about myself is my reliance on store-bought breads.  I mean really, unless you are lucky enough to have an amazing artisan bread shop in your neck of the woods, the stuff at most grocery stores is barely worth eating.  I have plans, though, big plans!

I mention this as a somewhat guilt-ridden disclaimer about the pizza dough that I use on a regular basis: I don’t make it myself. I should.  I really should. But right now, I don’t.  And frankly, I don’t think the final product suffers all that much because of it.  Could it be better? Of course. But it’s a far cry from Boboli (bleh).  For a while I used raw dough from my local grocery store but found that it was very inconsistent and I had no idea how many times it had been frozen, thawed and refrozen – getting bad dough puts the hassle back in what is supposed to be a hassle-free workaround….

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B.L.T.’s with Apple and Brie

B.L.T.'s with Apple and Brie

B.L.T.’s are delicious.  Apple and Brie sandwiches are delicious too.  Can’t decide which one you want?  Have both!  Sometimes great culinary creations are born out of hunger and indecision… This recipe is a perfect example of that.

You probably don’t know this yet, but I’m big into barbecue.  And, if I do say so myself, I make some pretty righteous ‘que.  Probably my favorite barbecue cook (and the one I cook best) is beef brisket.  It has a reputation of being quite tricky to cook properly, but in reality, if you know some very basic must-do’s, it’s not difficult at all.  I mention it for the purpose of telling you that I use four different rubs on my brisket.  Yes, count them, 1…2…3…4.  It’s absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary.  So then, why do I do it, you ask?  Because I couldn’t decide which rub I wanted to use, so I used all of them.  It came out absolutely delicious and because of that, I will never do it differently.  I’m locked in.

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Date Syrup or Date Puree

Date Syrup or Date Puree Ok, all you Whole30 and Paleo eaters out there this is how you cheat… if you’re the cheating kind that is.  Whole30 does not encourage desserts or added sweeteners, even if they are 100% natural whole foods.  Now, if you’re like me, “does not encourage” leaves a lot of room for interpretation and I interpret it to mean, “this is not best practice but it is not forbidden.”  So, if you just need to have a glass of sweet tea without dumping ½ of a cup of refined white sugar into it, or you want a way to make a plan-approved apple crisp that doesn’t leave you disappointed and wishing for the real thing, this recipe is a trick you might want to try.

Medjool dates were one of the foods that really helped me get through the Whole30 food challenge.  I am one of those people that really needs something sweet after a meal.  It doesn’t have to be a huge, indulgent dessert, but instead just a small sweet bite of something is all I need to really feel satisfied after a meal.  Whereas Medjool dates are certainly not a piece of sweet and earthy dark chocolate, but they are sweet and earthy and when kept in the freezer, become almost like eating a caramel chew candy.

I think I was craving sweet tea at the time this idea occurred to me.  “Why not chop up some dates, add some water, and cook them down to make a date simple syrup of sorts,” I thought.  I was really looking for a date-sweetened liquid to mix into a glass of tea.  Then it occurred to me, when I was making the syrup, that there was another useful and tasty sweetening product here: date puree.

Now, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the many uses for these two sweeteners but I can say that when we have used them, they have worked perfectly and tasted delicious.  So far, we have used the date puree to make a Whole30 apple crisp but I can also see it working quite well as a sweetener in most any baked good (brownies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, etc.).  As for the syrup, ironically, I have yet to make sweet tea with it but I did use it to make this Bourbon Old Fashioned and wow, was it good.  Keep a look out for this pantry essential to make its way in to many recipes to come! …

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Bourbon, Port, and Cider Syrup “Manhattan”

Bourbon, Port, and Cider Syrup “Manhattan”

This recipe is a seasonally appropriate play on the classic Manhattan.  If you’re thinking, “YUCK!  I can’t stand Manhattans,” stop.  This recipe tastes nothing like the original.  Traditionally, a Manhattan consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.  It’s delicious and classic.  But if a traditional Manhattan is a cup of black coffee, this is a venti caramel macchiato with whip cream and extra caramel, please.

A healthy dose of smoky bourbon is mellowed by the dried fruit and caramel flavors of tawny port.  Apple cider reduced to a syrup provides additional sweetness, apple-fruitiness, and (believe it or not) acidity to balance all of the caramel sweetness.  Several dashes of Angostura bitters add a spice note; clove, allspice, nutmeg, and maybe some anise?  This is definitely one of those drinks that will sneak up on you, though.  Despite having quite a bit of alcohol in it, it tastes more like a caramel apple dessert.  Watch out!

Bourbon, Port, and Cider Syrup “Manhattan”

Kick back this weekend and enjoy this cooler fall weather with a drink that is sure to remind your taste buds of all the great flavors that this season has to offer. And make this Apple Cider Syrup! I am sure you can find many uses for it and we will be sharing a few more over the coming weeks.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Bourbon, Port, and Cider Syrup “Manhattan”
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1 Drink
Ingredients
  • 2 ½ oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. tawny port
  • 1 ½ oz. apple cider syrup (see recipe here)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker that has been filled with ice. Shake vigorously.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass (in the pictures I have swirled caramel around the glass and garnished it with a thin slice of apple).

 

Apple Cider Syrup

Apple Cider Syrup

Apple cider syrup has many uses because it is downright delicious.  We first made this syrup for the purpose of glazing some apple muffins and then later to make a bourbon, port, and cider syrup cocktail. But I am sure that that will not be the last you see of it this fall… maybe as a glaze on a pork roast or perhaps drizzled over seared scallops…

This takes some time but is super simple to do.  It is a good job for your best sauce pan, saucier(we use something similar to this), or Windsor pan because, as the cider cooks down, the easier it is to burn.  A good sauce pan will provide gentle and even heat, giving the cider the best chance to fully reduce without burning.

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Whole30 Apple Crisp

Whole30 Apple Crisp

So, we have this baker friend.  Actually, she does bake, but that moniker does her no justice at all.  She is really an artist who works in, well… cake (among many other delicious sweets).  Recently, Danielle’s and my experience doing Whole30 came up in one of our conversations and this baker friend seemed rather intrigued.  It turns out that conversation had motivated her to try the challenge herself.

Can you imagine?  You make sweets for a living and you are doing the Whole30?!  I thought I had it rough during those 30 days and I wasn’t BAKING CAKES FOR A LIVING!  Now that is a food challenge.

In an effort to encourage her in the most difficult early days of her challenge (and maybe a twinge of guilt?), we decided to make her something sweet as a way of saying, “See, it’s not that bad. There is life without added refined sugar… you just have to get a little creative.  You can do this!”

Now, in fairness to the Whole30 food challenge, desserts are not encouraged (even if technically on plan) and finding sweetener “workarounds” is not in the spirit of the challenge.  But this qualified as a special circumstance, no?  Seriously, she is a baker!  Is there no mercy at all?

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Seared Mahi Mahi with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Apples

Seared Mahi Mahi with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Apple

It’s mid-October in Georgia.  The days are getting shorter.  The ridiculous heat of the summer has given way to mornings and evenings that are (to a southerner) downright nippy.  Autumn is officially here — not just outside but in our kitchen as well.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of autumn, visions of seafood don’t exactly go bouncing around in my head.  So, when I decided to pair Brussels sprouts, bacon, and apples with Mahi Mahi, I was more than a little skeptical about the flavors working well together.  But I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner and staring blankly at the contents of my refrigerator wasn’t moving things along any.  Why not give it a shot?

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