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Cod and Potatoes — Whole30 Check-In

Cod with Romesco Sauce by Amy Roth Photo. Recipe: Bon Appetit Magazine

A week and a half in, and I’m doing great with Whole30! There have been no mid-afternoon slumps or hangriness to deal with, but eating this way does require much more thought than simply throwing together a quick sandwich or heating up an Amy’s cheese enchilada entrée. (Honestly, I needed an Amy’s intervention, anyway.) Avoiding easy fillers like rice or bread has been a little challenging, but nothing I can’t deal with, and I’ve lost a few pounds, though that wasn’t my goal at all.

I’m still amazed by how much unnecessary sugar is in our food. I’m generally not much of a packaged food eater (save for the aforementioned enchiladas), but love condiments and sauces, and many of my favorites are taboo. Also, I miss cheese. Terribly. It’s my one craving and I’m going to be the saddest person around if I find dairy gives me problems when I start reintroducing food.

The Meals

There were a couple of fantastic meals I’ve had in the past week that I want to share with you today. Up top, you’ll see my photo for Bon Appetit’s Cod with Romesco Sauce, Hazelnuts, Lemon and Parsley. It was eye-opening, mind-boggling… just a fantastic meal with only a few components. And where, may I ask, has romesco sauce been all my life?! I’ve read about it for years, but never took the plunge until I made this recipe, and now it’s all I want to eat. I want to proselytize door to door in my neighborhood so everyone can share in this pure joy of mine! Yeah, I know, but it’s honestly that good. Cod isn’t something I eat very often, but […]

Whole 30 Starts Now

Whole 30-compliant Mustard Greens Soup with Beef from Bon Appetit Magazine by Amy Roth Photo

Like so many others, I’ve decided to take the Whole 30 plunge (after avoiding it for what seems like years). About seven years ago, I tried the primal thing and discovered within a week that much of the joint pain, inflammation and stomach issues I’d had for years subsided when I removed wheat from my diet. It only got me about to about 80% of where I needed to be, though, so I knew an elimination diet would be in the cards at some point. But I’ve let things slide because I’m a professional-level rationalizer who can find an excuse to fit any situation in which delicious trigger foods are present:

  • I’m shooting this amazing dish for a cookbook and it’s already prepared. It’d be a shame to just toss it out!
  • I had a few bites yesterday. A donut and some pizza couldn’t possibly make things worse today. (Oh, but they can.)
  • I’ll just suck it up. If a little pain is the price to pay for eating (insert literally anything I shouldn’t be eating), then I’ll deal. I’m a tough cookie!

But after a particularly bad reaction to bulgur wheat last week that left me hobbling around the house for two days, I decided to get real. There’s no virtue in suffering nor vice in self-care. Now that all of our special occasion dinners have been enjoyed — years are front-loaded with birthdays and anniversaries in this family — I’m doing this thing.

Shopping for Whole 30-compliant pantry staples involved some label reading because sugar hides in so many places, but this did give me a chance to finally try Red Boat Fish Sauce and Califia Farms Almond Milk, both of which I highly recommend. We have a fabulous […]

March 14, 2017|Beef, Gluten-free, Greens, Whole 30|0 Comments

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dump-It Cake

Chocolate Cake | Amy Roth Photo

This cake. Oh, man. THIS CAKE. I really dislike baking, but love This Cake so much that I’ve made it many times over the course of this year — and no one ever knows it’s gluten-free! When something this special comes along, I just have to share it with you, and Sweets Week seemed like the perfect spot for it. The original recipe at the New York Times (by Amanda Hesser of Food52) is wonderful, I’ve no doubt, but I turned to Cup4Cup Flour to make it gluten-free, as I have so many times in the past. The selling point for this blend is that it can be substituted cup-for-cup (See what they did there?) for AP flour without any additions, but I keep coming back to it because those claims are actually true and it doesn’t have an odd taste the way so many other GF blends do.

I also incorporated quite a few suggestions from the comments section of the Times article, so I thought it would be easier to communicate everything to you in the form of a recipe here rather than a bunch of notes about substitutions you’d have to figure out on your own, so enjoy! I didn’t use the original frosting recipe because I found it much too heavy on the sour cream, but use it if you like that flavor, or try your favorite frosting, or just open up a container from the baking aisle of the grocery store – I promise I won’t tell a soul. And please let me (and the original poster) know what you think if you try it! Check out Darcie’s post here for more about this amazing, rich, delight […]

December 22, 2016|Advent Calendar 2016, Cake, Chocolate, Gluten-free|0 Comments

Espresso Mascarpone Semifreddo

Semifreddo | Amy Roth Photo

Rather than a little snack, Darcie and I have decided to up the ante a little and give you a real dessert today. This is taken directly from my recipe for roasted pears with espresso mascarpone cream; I had leftover cream, froze it, and realized it made an incredible semifreddo. Topping it with chocolate sauce from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon just makes good sense.

Semifreddo 2 | Amy Roth Photo

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.
December 21, 2016|Advent Calendar 2016, Desserts, Gluten-free, Ice cream|0 Comments

Pimiento Cheese

Pimiento Cheese Poppers | Amy Roth Photo

Now this post is near and dear to my heart. I doubt you’ll find many southern families that don’t have a bowl of pimiento cheese in their fridge from time to time. It’s just one of those things we love without question or hesitation. While Darcie is a yankee-girl, we forgive her that failing because she spent some time in New Orleans, where she developed a love of pimiento cheese, among other staples. (I kid, I kid; we’ll always hold it against her.)

Darcie’s recipe is brilliant because it replaces most of the mayo that standard recipes call for (which is a completely insane amount, generally speaking) with cream cheese, so it’s a lot creamier and less greasy. The fat content still isn’t all that great, but this isn’t exactly a salad; use lowfat cream cheese if you must. I’ll look the other way, but may lift my eyebrow of judgement slightly.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.
December 16, 2016|Advent Calendar 2016, Cheese, Gluten-free, Snacks|0 Comments

Grilled Catfish Tacos with Avocado Remoulade

Catfish Tacos with Avocado Remoulade _ Minimally Invasive

When you come from a town that celebrates catfish with its own annual festival, you develop a particular love for it that can be a little hard to explain to someone who just thinks of catfish as a bottom-feeder (and maybe has only eaten the imported stuff). The best fillets IMHO are small and fried, served with tartar sauce and maybe some fried oysters as well. You’re already eating a fully fried meal, after all — throw caution to the wind!

Whenever I visit my parents, they send me back with bags of frozen catfish fillets and shrimp — all local and all delicious. The only problem is that I hate frying; it’s funks up the house and then you have to worry about what to do with the oil, so the catfish tend to sit in my freezer for a while before I do anything with them. But earlier this week, just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I was craving fish tacos and thought I’d give catfish a whirl.

To avoid the issue of frying and having a fishy smell permeating our house, I took indoor cooking out of the equation altogether and fired up R2Eat2, our new gas grill. (Thanks to my sister-in-law’s mother for the fantastic name suggestion!) I marinated a pound of fish fillets in the juice of one lime, with a hefty four-fingered pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. After 15 minutes, I spread them out on a sheet of heavy-duty foil and sprinkled the tops with paprika for a little color and grilled them on the foil with the grill lid down till the fish flaked easily, around 10-12 minutes.

I like to keep accompaniments simple for fish tacos, so […]

For the Love of Tri-Tip

Grilled Tri Tip | Amy Roth Photo

Feast or famine: Ain’t that always the way?

Not so long ago, my business was in famine mode with few clients or projects as the year wound down. I wasn’t too concerned about it, because that seems to be the case for me each year around that time, and sure enough, as January rolled around, things picked up to such a degree that I was always busy planning for or shooting a new project. Which is awesome! I love being in demand (and the money doesn’t hurt either), but it left me with little time or inclination for cooking.

So I’m working on finding balance in my life now and I’m rediscovering my love of cooking in the process. The fact that it’s grilling season doesn’t hurt.

Rummaging through the freezer a couple of weeks ago, I found a tri-tip from Lone Mountain Wagyu that was just begging to live in my belly:

Tri Tip with Rub | Amy Roth Photo

Preparation was simple; I followed the same steps I did when we last had tri-tip, except I opted for the Santa Maria Rub from Simply Recipes instead of the simple salt/pepper/garlic powder rub from the first time.  It was delicious — OF COURSE — though I’m not sure I needed to go to the extra effort of making the Santa Maria Rub. I mean, it had great flavor, but this wagyu tri-tip is a fabulous cut of meat that would shine in any circumstance, so it felt a little like gilding the lily. That said, I do love a good, vinegary chimichurri with fattier cuts of meat […]

May 4, 2015|Beef, Gluten-free, Grilling|2 Comments

Primal Check-in

Roasted Carrot Soup | Amy Roth Photo

Hi again. Just checking in with more Primal recipes from the past week. Gil’s birthday was this weekend, so we celebrated with lunch at Mistral Restaurant in Princeton Saturday afternoon. I’ve been dying to go back ever since the photoshoot I did there over the summer and am happy to report that time didn’t cloud my memory at all; the food was just as fantastic as I remembered.

But even with the extravagant dining, I made the smartest choices I could — cheese plate for dessert, no bread or anything with wheat explicitly listed on the menu — and walked out without feeling cheated in any way.

I mentioned our love of Thai food in my last post. Specifically, there’s an amazing warm coconut milk and peanut butter salad dressing that our new favorite local Thai restaurant (Thai Jasmine in Bloomingdale, NJ) makes, and I decided I needed to have a go at it. Extensive online searching didn’t turn up anything that sounded quite right, so I turned to my copy of Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking and found just the thing! I used a full can of coconut milk instead of just one cup as directed in the recipe, but found the balance of the rest of […]

Let’s Prime the Pumps

Gluten-Free, Primal Za'atar Crackers | Amy Roth Photo

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m doing the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge this month, and it’s going really well! I’ve cooked more in three days than I usually do in a week and everything’s been healthy and delicious, not to mention economical with all of the leftovers. And while I didn’t do this to lose weight, I’ve already dropped a little Christmas padding from my midsection, so I’m excited to continue after seeing such fast results.

Why are you doing this challenge, anyway?

My diet is pretty good overall, but what started as an occasional treat (a little dessert here, some pizza or a slice of bread there) became the rule rather than the exception. Knowing that wheat does a number on me and that my weekly burger and fries weren’t doing me any favors either, I decided plunging headfirst into an eating plan that eliminated the bad stuff and encouraged more good stuff was the way to go. (YMMV, of course.) Making it easier was just how crappy I felt after all of my Christmas indulgences.

Without getting too preachy or going into too much detail — you can find all the information you need and then some here — I’m concentrating on the following:

  • Eliminating grains, legumes, vegetable oils and refined sugars. (This is the most important part for me, though I’ll add legumes back in small quantities after the 21-day mark.)
  • Loading my meals with lots […]

The Last Hurrah

Modernist Cuisine's Mac & Cheese | Amy Roth Photo

Happy New Year! Did you pave the way for luck and money to enter your life in 2015 with black eyed peas and greens or is there something else that’s a little more traditional for you? Gil and I met friends in the city for BBQ yesterday and enjoyed Hoppin’ John fritters and collard greens side dishes there, so there was no need to rush home and cook another meal simply to allay my superstitions.

I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions and resolutely avoid making them, but the time is right to start making some dietary changes. Now that the parties are over, the travel is done and life is returning to normal, I can stop making allowances for “just this once” or justifying another wheat or fried food-laden meal with this twisted logic: “I’ve already eaten bread (or fries) this week. How much worse will I feel if I do it again?” (For more classic excuses — a few more of which I made — check out Gretchen Rubin’s piece on self-sabotage.) Starting today, I’m getting back to the Primal Blueprint plan with its 21-Day Challenge and look forward to feeling good again, healthy and strong. I know a lot of people are skeptical about primal/paleo generally and gluten-free diets specifically, especially when there’s been no celiac diagnosis, but I know how my joints ache and pop when I eat wheat, I know the number it does on my stomach, and how much older I feel when I indulge even a little bit. And I don’t […]

January 2, 2015|Cheese, Cookies, Gluten-free|1 Comment