Apr 24, 2014

Cooking with Elle // an introduction


“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 
- Julia Child in her book,  My Life in France.

I have never loved cooking. I was not the little girl that jumped at the chance of helping my mom bake culinary wonders. I did not learn any secret family recipes. I did not dream of new baking sheets and pans as I prepared for life on my own during grad school. Nope. Instead, I secretly thought of myself as  a failure to the perpetually culinary-apt Romanian culture I was born into. I would joke about being a horrible Romanian girl; I did not know a single Romanian recipe. I liked all sorts of other cultural foods and cooked easy recipes, but did not jump at the chance to find the inner Julia Child in me.

That said, I find it humorous as well slightly shocking that I have been challenging myself to venture into a whole new (well, new for me!) arena of cooking: paleo and gluten-free. I'll start off and say I am no expert, nor will I pretend to be. Let me also say, I still love my breads. Crispy french bread is my kryptonite alongside some salami, cheese, and veggies. That said (pardon me as I delicately wipe my mouth from thinking of the aforementioned dream meal), I have been learning more about this low-carb/high protein way of eating and am quite intrigued. What started as curiosity when someone close to me explained their experience with GF and paleo began a fun experiment cooking recipes from a book I bought as a gift and ended up buying an extra copy to keep. First off, it has great recipes that are not too complicated. Second off, my name (misspelled though it is!) is on the cover. Not too shabby! And third, I am meeting one of my new year goals to cook more! 

Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry (by Elana Amsterdam) has dairy, grain, and gluten-free recipes that will make your taste buds jump for joy. Gluten substitutes such as almond and coconut flours, arrowroot powder, flax meal, and chia seeds add flavor and all sorts of nutritional value. And cooking with coconut oil has kinda rocked my world lately (not to mention it does wonders for dry skin, but that's another story!). I found myself buying a few paleo pantry basics early on and getting excited (yes, me! Excited about cooking!). I even started cooking with raw meat (I was, and still tend to be, grossed out by raw meat, yet I am fine with eating it once cooked. It was the prep work that made me queasy).  Soon enough, the inevitable happened: I started to really enjoy cooking!

Let me also say that I am no expert in paleo. Far from it. I will let you rely on the experts for that. But for a short definition, paleo cooking relies heavily on plant-based foods and moderate amounts of lean meats. Studies and anecdotal evidence abounds on the positive affects on inflammation, energy, and healthy weight loss (p.3). 

Here are the recipes I have tried so far from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry. I'll slowly be sharing some of them within this series, though forgive me if I do not add step-by-step photo instructions. I tend to either get my iPhone super oily while trying to capture each step, or more likely, become very concentrated and forget to snap some shots until I have scarfed down half the meal :)

Apricot muffins
Banana bread
Avocado Kale Salad [this has become my favorite salad EVER]
Roasted broccoli
Honey Lemon Chicken
Chicken Salad
Mustard Salmon Fillet
Beef with Broccoli
Caesar Dressing
Paleo Mayo
Cauliflower Rice

Which of these would you like to see on the blog? 

1 comment:

  1. Ohh! I am excited about this! I've never been a big cooker/baker either. Although, I have wanted to start. Something on my bucket list is to make a cheesecake...from scratch! I have tons of family members who love to cook and bake and they are AMAZING at it. I think my specialty would be more the crock-pot where I can leave it all and forget it. ha! My sister even got me a crock-pot cookbook for Christmas and it has some great stuff in it that I want to try. All that to say, I want to try my hand at cooking and baking as well. And GF sounds awesome! Not that I technically need to be on a GF diet, all the stuff I tend to eat just happens to be that way.

    I would love to see these: Banana bread (I love banana bread and have some bananas that will definitely need to be used soon.) Avocado Kale Salad! I've just ventured into eating Kale and I love avocado, so that sounds amazing! Honey Lemon Chicken. Chicken Salad (I've been craving that lately!) Beef with Broccoli. Cauliflower Rice. I'm not a huge fan of cauliflower, but this one just sounds interesting. :)

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I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice