When Teri Turner’s mother returned home and saw her daughter running what she thought was a lemonade stand after telling her not to do so, the 3-year-old said she wasn’t selling lemonade, she was selling water.
“By nature, I am a salesperson, and the same excitement I had when I was three years old still fuels me. It is the exact same passion and drive I have now,” says Turner, who writes the super successful blog, No Crumbs Left, has hundreds of thousands following her daily Instagram stories and instructional videos filmed from her home kitchen in Chicago and just recently released her cookbook,
No Crumbs Left: Whole30 Endorsed, Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2019; $19.49 Amazon price).
Knowing I love her recipes, I told Teri that I wasn’t sure what the Whole30 concept was and asked her to explain it. What I learned is that Whole30 is a 30-day reset dedicated to eating real foods by avoiding eating certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) that might have a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.
“You eliminate certain foods for 30 days in order to develop some new habits,” said Turner who was on the road for her multi-city book tour. “Then you have a chance to slowly add foods back into your diet, which teaches you what works for you in your body.”
So, in other words, the recipes you find on her blog, Instagram account and in her cookbook are perfect for those who are resetting or have reset what works best for their bodies. For those just starting this approach, Turner recommends such dishes from her book as Spicy Pepperoncini Beef, Shrimp Pad Thai, Hurley’s Special Iowa Spice Rub Pork Roast, and Roy’s Chicken and Cheese Potato Stack. She also offers recipes for what she calls her Magic Elixirs such as Pistachio Pesto and Garlic Confit. The name comes from the concept that Magic Elixirs can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
“Frankly, I’m a gal who loves to eat and loves to cook, so it’s a winning combination for developing Magic Elixirs,” Turner said. “The book has some magnificent ones, including 999 Island Dressing, Golden Onion Sauce, Tahini Dressing, and Gomasio. I make new ones up all the time, but let’s not forget that homemade chicken stock, as well as the juices from your chicken and beef after they’re cooked, are the original Magic Elixirs.”
Turner, who lives in Chicago, also spends about three-and-a-half months in Northern California each year.
“I am one of those crazy people who stays in Chicago all winter—I love everything about Chicago,” she said. “The people are the heart of the city. I love their kindness. I love the energy of the city, and it has so much to offer.”
Because she inspired so many people to get in the kitchen and cook, I asked who inspired her.
“I launched my love of cooking and entertaining in the 80s with Martha Stewart, and I love Ina Garten, but my partner Roy, who is a brilliant hack in the kitchen, is who inspires me daily,” she replied. “And interestingly enough, my mother hated to cook, but loved music, and I took a note from each of those and knew early on that if I was going to have to cook every day, I wanted to be as inspired about it as she was about music.”
I had one last question for Turner, one that I’ve decided I’m going to ask every chef I talk to—noisy as it is. If I were to peek in your refrigerator (and of course I would), what would I find?
“I always have Spindrift, a few of my Magic Elixirs, feta cheese, Icelandic Provisions Skyr, giardiniera, broccolini, and eggs—as well as some Heroine Chicken marinating in my refrigerator,” she said.
The following recipes are courtesy of No Crumbs Left: Whole30 Endorsed, Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous © 2019 by Teri Turner.
Greek Lemon Chicken is excerpted from Photography © 2019 by Tim Turner. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Greek Lemon Chicken
The Athenian Room in Chicago makes the most fabulous chicken, served with thick Greek fries. Their dish got me wondering if I could create something like it and inspired me to develop my own. My smoke detector goes off nearly every time I make this, and we all run around turning on the fans and opening the windows, but it’s absolutely worth it, and even kind of fun. Nothing can replace their original version, which you should absolutely seek out if you’re in Chicago, but this healthful version is soul-satisfying.
SERVES 4 • COOK TIME: 50 MINUTES
FOR THE LEMON AND GARLIC SAUCE
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (check label for compliance if you’re doing Whole30)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE CHICKEN
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut in half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
1 lemon, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Adjust the oven rack to 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to broil. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
FOR THE SAUCE: In a large bowl, add the lemon juice and using a whisk, slowly add the olive oil. Then add the vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, mustard, and black pepper, stirring well. Set aside.
FOR THE CHICKEN: Thoroughly season each chicken half with the salt and black pepper, then generously rub every crevice with the olive oil. Put the chicken skin-side down on the lined baking sheet and put the pan on the adjusted rack in the oven. Broil for 15 minutes, until beginning to turn golden.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the chicken over to the other side. Return to the oven and broil for 20 minutes more, or until cooked through, golden brown, and bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and set the chicken aside. Once cool enough to handle, cut each half into 3 pieces: legs, thighs, and breasts with wings attached. Arrange the sliced potatoes and lemons on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes and lemons begin to brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put the chicken on top of the potatoes and lemons, and pour ½ cup of the Lemon and Garlic Sauce evenly over the top.
Return to the oven and broil until the chicken is further browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and drain off any excess liquid from the pan (so that the potatoes can cook to a crisp). Return the potatoes to the oven and broil until crisped and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve the potatoes and lemons with the chicken and the remaining Lemon and Garlic Sauce, either poured over the top or as a dipping sauce.
There is nothing more delightful than fresh asparagus in the spring. As a gal who likes to eat seasonally, I enjoy it with a fervor, from the beginning of the season to the end. Here I’ve chosen sirloin, which is an amazing, underappreciated cut of beef. It’s lean, flavorful, beefy, and a good value. The mix of crisp spring vegetables in a sauce made from a combination of steak and mushroom jus and coconut aminos is delectable. A truly wonderful Magic Elixir!
SERVES 4 • COOK TIME: 50 MINUTES
1 pound asparagus
1 pound sirloin steak
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound brown mushrooms, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (a soy-free seasoning alternative for use like soy sauce in salad dressings, marinades and sautés which is available at grocery stores and also online)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut off the woody stems of the asparagus. Peel the rough ends and, with your knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board, cut each stalk into thirds. Set aside.
Thoroughly season the steak with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
Heat a large oven-safe skillet (I use heavy-duty cast iron) over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, being sure to coat the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the steak to the skillet. Cook until well browned on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for 1 minute.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the steak until medium-rare, about 4 minutes (or 3 to 4 minutes longer, if you prefer medium). Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the steak to a wooden board, reserving the juice from the skillet. Partially tent the steak with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms, season with ⅛ teaspoon of the salt, and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, if needed. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then cover and cook until they have released liquid and look shiny, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the mushrooms, along with all the juices from the skillet, to a bowl and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the remaining mushrooms, and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt to the pan and cook the same way as the first batch.
In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir again, cover, and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir again and cook, uncovered, until the asparagus is soft and cooked through, about 4 minutes more.
Turn off the heat and add the steak jus, mushrooms and all their juices, and the coconut aminos to the skillet with the asparagus. Stir to combine well.
Cut the steak into ¼ -inch-thick slices and serve on top of the mushrooms and asparagus, with creamy leek slaw alongside, if desired.
TERI’S TIPS: This is also delicious served with cauliflower rice.
Jane Ammeson can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Focus, The Herald Palladium, P.O. Box 128, St. Joseph, MI 49085.