Can you really trust a skinny chef?

Keto and Paleo and garden-fresh common sense

Personally, I have never been “skinny”. In fact, I have battled the muffin top and extra 30 pounds a food critic carries. I have however learned to balance using mostly a Paleo / South Beach kind of eating plan on those distinct days I am not in the test kitchen or being overloaded with fresh pasta and creamy truffle sauce at a favorite Italian bistro.

With so many choices- The whole 30, Keto, Paleo, Eat your blood type, Weight Watchers, (the latter being a good role model for me when I opened my first café, many years ago north of Boston. Fresh warm grilled cinnamon rolls were my poison and finally I jumped on the WW train to great success that taught me tools for a lifetime.)

I have tried to move my main restaurant reviews twice a week to late lunchtime. Done by 3 and nothing more but water. It certainly helps. Eating past seven is a no no yet the most requested reservation time in the US. Cannot even imagine the 10 pm dinnertime anymore when we have traveled to Spain and France.  So, Is there is a magic eating plan that fits everyone?, heck no but there are some magic recipes and ingredients to share.

What I have learned is going back to the farm. Fresh organic vegetables roasted with fresh herbs replace this carnivore second red meat day and letting go of any diet sodas can do wonders. I am not an extremist. I don’t do crazy yo yo diets and fortunately I am not much of an alcohol drinker and I detest chocolate- I know I know that is just weird but true. (NYC Housewife Bethany Frankle would shame me on the chocolate comment).

So, in the spirit of springtime health and sharing recipes for those on special no sugar and low carb eating plans, try these fresh recipes to replace heavy sauces and cheese laden casserole.


Pork Chops with Pomegranate -Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Adapted from The Paleo Foodie Cookbook

For the sauce
½ cup unsweetened pomegranate sauce
½ cup homemade chicken broth of bone broth
½ cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons fresh garlic minced
1 teaspoon lemongrass puree
1 Tablespoon raw honey (I prefer orange blossom)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Arrowroot starch. (thickening agent)


For the Pork:

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
4 center cut bone-in pork chops
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
Fresh cilantro


In a medium saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients except the arrowroot. Cook sauce until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the seasonings. Rub on both sides of the pork chops. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Heat a large cast iron skillet top medium high. Place the pork chops in the pan, without crowding and sear about 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops from the pan. Bring reduced sauce to a simmer. Stir then place arrowroot starch in a small bowl of and add just enough cold water to make a thin paste. Add the paste to the sauce and whisk until smooth and silky and slightly thickened. Spoon over pork chops and serve. I like to serve with a butternut squash puree.


Whole 30 Cauliflower Rice

Serves 2

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market sells frozen cauliflower already riced if you are in a hurry.

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
3 Tablespoons ghee, (clarified butter)
½ onion finely chopped
1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
½ cup homemade chicken broth
1 Tablespoon minced cilantro

Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
½ cup slivered almonds
1 Teaspoon Moroccan seasoning
2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (in place of soy sauce)
2 green onions minced


Rice the cauliflower in your food processors and pulse, working in batches. Do not over pulse of the cauliflower gets mushy.

In a large pan or wok, melt the ghee over medium heat and add onions and carrots, stirring until the carrots are tender. Add the rest of the vegetables and chicken broth., cover lightly with lid for 8 minutes.

Remove from pan and toss in almonds and coconut aminos. Serve as is or with chicken or shrimp.



From 500 Paleo Recipes

1 ripe mango
1 lemon
1 lime
½ cup high quality tequila

Club soda, any flavor without calories or sugars.

Peel mango and cut off the stone. Put the mango chunks in freezer and freeze.

When cocktail time rolls around, put the mango chunks in your blender and add the juice of a lemon and the lime. Add tequila.


A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Judi has managed restaurants and owned restaurants in the northeast and was the founder of a successful dessert company. Today, she is a sought-after restaurant consultant, TV cook on the ABC affiliate in her hometown, and culinary editor of a city magazine. Her personal passions are culinary travel to exotic places and holiday cooking in her home for huge gatherings of friends and relatives. Her guilty pleasure? Bruce Springsteen concerts. “I follow him around the country and have for years,” she admits. “But, in every city where Bruce sings, I do check out new restaurants and talk to up and coming chefs. I want all the food news I can get.”
Scroll to Top