Monday, December 27, 2010

1-carb brownies

The above brownie has 1 net carb and 69 calories. It's moist and fudgy and not dry at all. The secret? No flour, just a blender and some black soy beans.

If you're clutching your pearls over my use of soy, hear me out for a second. I do agree that the phytoestrogen content of soy does merit some cause for alarm. However, I also think that it is fine in moderation. I think that the issues with soy are largely due to massive consumption in forms such as soybean oil (yes, "vegetable oil" is often soybean oil) and processed food products that use soy isolate or similar for texture and/or a meaty taste. We often don't realize how much soy we consume because it is so ubiquitous. For example, In The End of Overeating, the author lists the ingredients in a freaking chicken breast at Chilis, which includes autolyzed yeast extract, sodium phosphate, and soy protein concentrate. My conclusion isn't exactly scientific, but this is what works for me: I think that if we primarily cook our own food using whole ingredients, we end up cutting a lot of excess soy out of our diets, and thus I try to stick with the whole bean or fermented products like tamari. Call me crazy, but I don't believe that the problem is that Americans eat too many canned soybeans or steamed edamame. If you would still rather avoid soy, you can substitute regular black beans. This will bump up the carb count to 3 net carbs per brownie rather than 1 (still not bad!).

I've experimented with this recipe quite a bit. I've found that the small amount of real butter is truly essential for flavor and texture. I've tried both whole eggs and Eggbeaters/egg whites and I couldn't detect a difference, so I use whites only to keep the total calorie count down.

Makes 16 2"x2" square brownies

  • 1 can black soy beans or regular black beans (preferably unsalted), drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted (or use 3 Tbs oil of choice)
  • 6 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute or liquid egg whites
  • 3/4 cup stevia or Splenda
  • 1/4 cup good-quality cocoa powder (I like Hershey's Special Dark or Green & Black)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso grinds (don't skip this; even if you don't like coffee the taste is very mild but it covers up any "beany" taste)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: toppings such as 1-2 Tbs cacao nibs (pictured), 1/4 cup 85%+ dark chocolate cut into chunks, 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, etc
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan or spray with Baker's Joy 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides and stir the batter several times.
  3. Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle with any of the optional toppings. Bake 30 minutes or until the center is relatively dry and the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. Cut into 16 squares. Chill overnight in the fridge; after a day or so the chocolate flavor intensifies and the brownies taste less "beany".

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Crab legs

This isn't exactly a recipe, and it's far from original, but it's such a perfect low-carb meal and it's something we rarely eat at home. My local Albertson's supermarket sells crab legs for $4.99/lb, not exactly cheap, but certainly affordable at least every once in a while. It's also perfect for those looking to get more protein without too many calories. A 3 oz serving has 16 grams of protein, along with 0 carbs and only 1 gram of fat.


  • As many frozen crab legs as you want/can fit into your pot
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon, cut into chunky eighths

Fill a large pasta pot (I use this one, but a regular soup pot is fine too) with a couple inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the crab legs and cover them liberally with lots and lots of Old Bay. Cover with the pot lid; if it won't fit (due to crab legs sticking out), cover it with a few layers of foil. Steam for 5-7 minutes or until done. Serve on a tray with lemon wedges scattered throughout. Serve with melted butter and/or sugar-free cocktail sauce*.

*Sugar free cocktail sauce: Combine unsweetened ketchup or Splenda-sweetened ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The contest winner, and a pork recipe

First things first: sorry about the delay, but I put everyone's name in a bowl and randomly drew to select the winner of Blog Like a Caveman. Drumroll please...

Congrats! I will email the winner and post here when the theme for Blog Like a Caveman II is selected. Now, for a recipe.

The supermarket was having a great sale on pork tenderloin; specifically, buy 1 get 2 free, so I had three pork tenderloins in my freezer waiting to be used. Most of the recipes I found called for syrups, glazes, sugary juices, or other sweet things. This one is different. Adapted from this recipe, it's stuffed with veggies, nuts, cheese, and other savory goodies. I used pistachios, goat cheese, and sun dried tomatoes in addition to the olives, spinach, and peppers. The one thing I would do differently next time is to combine the filling ingredients thoroughly in a bowl before stuffing the pork, as it ended up having kind of a layered look. I served it with turnip oven fries (turnips cut into french fry shapes and roasted) with Greek seasoning.


  • 1 whole pork tenderloin
  • 6 oz fresh spinach, stemmed, washed, and dried
  • 1 whole roasted red bell pepper (I bought the jarred kind), seeded and diced
  • 1-2 Tbs julienned sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pistachio nuts
  • Pitted kalamata olives, sliced or chopped
  • 1-2 oz soft goat cheese (chevre), crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Saute the spinach in a bit of olive oil until wilted. Squeeze dry in paper towels or a sieve, chop, and set aside.
  3. Cut a slit lengthwise halfway through the pork. Sandwich it between two layers of plastic wrap and flatten it with a meat pounder (I use this one and highly recommend it). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the spinach, tomatoes, pepper, pistachios, olives, and cheese in a bowl. Spread it on the pork in a line across the middle.
  5. Roll the pork around the filling and tie with butcher's twine (the butcher will usually give you some for free if you ask).
  6. Season the pork with salt and pepper and bake for about 45 minutes or until done. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blog Like a Caveman I: Winter Greens

This is the recipe roundup for the first ever Blog Like a Caveman paleo food blogging event! The theme was winter greens, as I thought we could all use some excitement about the few seasonal produce items in the dreary winter months. I will randomly choose a winner tomorrow, who will receive a gift certificate to and gets to choose the theme for next month.

Let's get started!

Lori from I Am Hungry, What's For Dinner? made a steaming pot of pork stew with kale. I'm glad to have this recipe in my arsenal, as pork chops are always on sale lately but all of the recipes I've seen involve lots of sugar or sugary items. But a nice hearty stew is perfect in the cold weather!

Cait from Paleo Perfectly cooked up a Greek hash using chopped kale along with ground beef and lots of Mediterranean flavors. Rather than leaving big chunks, the vegetables in this dish are finely chopped so that her small children will eat them without complaint. Though I am sure that kids and adults alike will enjoy this!

I think that broccoli is one of the most underrated vegetables for roasting. Usually we see roasted zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, mushrooms, asparagus, and so on, but broccoli seems to be relegated to the steamer. However, the flavor is so unique when the broccoli gets all nice and brown and crispy. Of course it can only be improved with the addition of bacon! Nom Nom Paleo did exactly this with Roasted Broccoli & Bacon. I will definitely be trying this one myself!

Dear Hayley and Bill from The Food Lovers Primal Palette: I am extraordinarily jealous of your stunning food photography skills! They served up a lovely and delicious side of multicolored sauteed kale with toasted pine nuts. Click on over to their blog to get the recipe, see a pictorial of the different steps, and read about some of the nutritional benefits of this super food.

Joe was inspired to experiment with xanthan gum in order to primal-ize a favorite recipe. His chicken with leek sauce looks so creamy and delicious that I have to pronounce it a resounding success!

As a Jew of eastern European descent, I grew up eating lots of stuffed cabbage. As most of the recipes involve rice in the filling and lots of sugar in the sauce, this is one comfort food that has been relegated to "cheat meal" status for me. However, Sarah from Everyday Paleo saves the day, serving up a riceless beef filling in a simplified tomato sauce, with a little bit of diced apple for sweetness. She also demystifies the cabbage roll process with a video tutorial. Check out her post here!

True story: I went to Lyon for my honeymoon and was at a bouchon, trying to decipher the French menu. There was one item which claimed to be a "salad", and I recognized the words for egg and bacon so I figured I'd give it a go. It was absolutely delicious (an egg poached in red wine along with slab bacon and some other garnishes), but there wasn't a speck of green and my husband and I kept giggling about was a great "salad" this is! Amy from Grok On Rock served up a dish with similar elements, and I was delightedly reminded of that meal when I saw the word salad in the title -- however, she includes lots of healthy and delicious sauteed collard greens. I LOVE eggs in savory non-breakfast dishes and this is one that I will definitely be trying.

She also made Middle Eastern collard wraps, which demonstrates a great option for those who want something burrito-like but don't want to eat a refined-flour-and-shortening pancake tortilla. Wide, flat collard green leaves make a perfect wrapper, especially for her mid-east flavored filling.

Why on Earth have I never thought to make creamed spinach using coconut milk?? Patty from Following My Nose made a fantastic-looking Coconut Creamed Spinach, which also includes artichokes and bacon. This is a great option if you can only find frozen spinach!

And finally, my own contribution was Creamy Cashew Chicken Soup with Kale.

Thanks again to everyone who submitted an entry! I hope that this food blogging event will continue to be successful. I will choose a winner tonight and announce the next theme as soon as I get in touch with him or her.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon (slow cooker)

BOURGUIGNONNE, A LA The French name for several dishes cooked with red wine (poached eggs, meat, fish, and sauteed chicken), the most famous of which is boeuf bourguignon. They are usually garnished with small onions, button mushrooms, and pieces of fat bacon. 
--Larousse Gastronomique

Basically, it is a beef stew, only more French and more delicious with stuff like bacon and red wine. It's sort of like a beef version of coq au vin. Traditionally, the sauce is thickened with flour or beurre manié. I did not want to use flour, so I chose something else: powdered porcini mushrooms. Ever see how much liquid those suckers absorb when you rehydrate them? Well, instead of soaking, I put my dehydrated porcinis in my spice grinder and blitzed them to a fine powder. I also kept the cooking liquid to a minimum, particularly given that moisture does not evaporate when cooking in a crock pot. As a result, I had a nicely-textured gravy that held up even when spooned over mashed cauliflower.

Serves 4-6

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat (I used top round, trimmed and cut into large cubes)
  • 1-2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Half an onion, sliced OR 1 cup frozen pearl onions (I used the former, as my husband hates pearl onions)
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 oz (weight) dried porcini mushrooms, ground up in a spice grinder or food processor or mortar and pestle
  • 8 oz (weight) sliced mushrooms (any kind will do, I used crimini)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Pour off excess fat, leaving only about a teaspoon in the skillet. Add the beef cubes and sear over high heat until the outside is brown. Remove the beef and deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup water. Add the deglazed skillet juices, beef, and bacon to your slow cooker along with the carrot, onion, and garlic.
  2. Stir together the wine, broth, Worcestershire, powdered porcinis, and marjoram. Pour the liquid over everything in the slow cooker. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Before serving, saute the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil until browned. Stir them into the beef mixture and serve over mashed cauliflower.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Triple chocolate chunk cookies


I've been experimenting with some Christmas cookie and candy recipes. This one was a hit. It is somewhat similar to my flourless peanut butter cookies, but I used cashew butter as the base. I really wanted to use macadamia nut butter, but all of the local health food stores are out of stock; even the manufacturer's website lists it as unavailable! The cookies are somewhat crumbly, likely due to the relatively lower fat of the cashews. If I can get my hands on some macadamia nut butter, I will try it and let you know. You could also try using almond butter if you prefer.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. These were delicious. Super duper chocolatey and rich. There is cocoa powder in the dough, plus three kinds of chocolate morsels: dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks, and cacao nibs.

Makes 12-16 cookies

  • 1 cup creamy cashew, macadamia, or almond butter
  • 2-4 Tbs cocoa powder (start with 2 Tbs, taste it, then decide if you want more)
  • 3/4 cup sweetener of choice (stevia or Splenda or whatever else you prefer)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • About 1.5 oz very dark chocolate (85% or more), chopped into chunks roughly the size of chips. I used half of a 3 oz Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate (88%) bar, which is dairy-free and relatively low-carb
  • Half a recipe of white chocolate, chopped into chunks roughly the size of chips (you could substitute macadamia nuts, dried cherries, or toasted walnuts if you don't want to make this)
  • 2 Tbs cacao nibs 
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Stir together the nut butter, cocoa powder, egg, sweetener, and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chunks and cacao nibs.
  3. With damp hands, quickly roll the dough into balls the size of a heaping tablespoon. Place 2" apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, flattening slightly with your hands or the bottom of a drinking glass. You may need to use two baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until puffed.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Creamy Cashew Chicken Soup with Kale

    It looks a little strange, the idea seems odd, but I assure you -- it's fantastic. If you Google West African peanut soup, you'll get tons of recipe results, so clearly I am not alone in my love for this dish. Usually I use peanuts, but since many of my readers avoid these (either for allergy reasons or because they eschew legumes altogether) I tried it with cashews and cashew butter and was very pleased with the results. I think that sunflower seed butter would also work well.

    I added lots of kale. I love its texture in soup, because it stays hearty and chewy, which is especially nice for us low-carbers who don't use noodles, rice, or soup dumplings. It makes the soup feel more substantial and is healthy to boot. I always add chayote squash as well, but you could certainly substitute zucchini, string beans, or even sweet potato.

    Serves about 4

    • 1-2 Tbs fat of choice (I used coconut oil)
    • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
    • 1 Tbs garlic, minced or pressed (about 3 cloves)
    • 8 oz chicken breast, sliced or cubed
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 4-6 cups chicken broth
    • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • 2 chayote squashes, cut into chunks (or another vegetable, see description)
    • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
    • 1/2 cup creamy cashew butter, peanut butter, or a combination of both (or you could try sunflower seed butter)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Crushed cashews or peanuts for garnish (1-2 oz)
    1. Heat the oil over medium-high until quite hot. Add the shallots and cook until browned and crisp.
    2. Turn down the heat to medium and add the ginger, garlic, and cayenne. Cook for about a minute. Add the chicken and cook until starting to color.
    3. Add 4 cups of broth, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the tomatoes, chayote, and kale, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through. Add more broth if desired.
    4. Mix some of the broth with the cashew or peanut butter, then stir it into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Serve, garnished with crushed peanuts or cashews.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

    This probably isn't the healthiest item up on my blog, but it sure was delicious, and hey, it's still low-carb! It's a cross between a pizza and a bacon cheeseburger. How can you go wrong there?? If you only eat half and serve it with a big salad, it's not too bad, calorically-speaking, and low-carbers can still stay within their macros.

    Serves 1 if you're me, 2 if you don't mind sharing

    • 1 cauliflower pizza crust, made with sharp cheddar (low-fat is fine) instead of mozzarella
    • 4 oz ground beef (I used extra-lean grass fed), browned in a skillet and drained
    • 2 strips bacon (preferably nitrate-free), cooked and crumbled
    • Thousand Island dressing (I made my own with 2 Tbs unsweetened ketchup, 2 Tbs light mayo, and 1/2 Tbs no-sugar-added relish, albeit I didn't end up using all of it.)
    • Sliced dill pickles (all I had were Claussen pickle spears so I sliced up three of those)
    • Sliced tomato (I think I used 1 Roma tomato)
    • Shredded cabbage or lettuce (I used pre-shredded cabbage)
    • Thinly sliced red onion (I didn't buy any but I wish I did :'( )

    Spread the pizza crust with Thousand Island dressing. Top with the bacon and ground beef, then add the other toppings. Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes if desired (I did). Serve.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Crustless Quiche with Crab, Swiss, and Chives

    People are often shocked when I say that quiche is one of the easiest things I know how to make. It was one of my staples in college when I was cooking in a tiny apartment kitchen on a shoestring budget. Back then, I used frozen pie crust, but nowadays I make it crustless. While eggs are an excellent source of protein and B-vitamins, the crust is just white flour and shortening. No thanks! I also use unsweetened almond milk to keep the carbs and calories low.

    This is a particularly elegant recipe with crab and swiss cheese. Usually I make versions with lots of veggies like spinach or broccoli. With this, I kept it simple and served sauteed garlic spinach on the side.

    Serves 3-6

    • 3 eggs
    • Unsweetened unflavored almond milk (about 3/4 cup)
    • 1/3 cup Swiss cheese (full-fat or low-fat), grated
    • 1-2 Tbs chives, thinly sliced
    • 6 oz can lump crabmeat, drained well
    • Salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 375
    2. Lightly spray a 9" pie pan with oil or Baker's Joy.
    3. Evenly distribute the cheese, crab, and chives in the bottom of the pie pan.
    4. Beat the eggs in a 2 cup capacity measuring cup. Add enough almond milk to equal a total of 1.5 cups. Add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
    5. Pour the egg mixture into the pie plate and stir everything with a fork to combine.
    6. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes or until set. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (slow cooker recipe)

    If you don't like garlic, stop reading immediately. If you DO love garlic, make this recipe at once.

    Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a traditional French bistro dish which was popularized in America by Julia Child. I love whole roast chicken, but it takes too long to cook for dinner to be ready on time. Enter the crock pot. It takes much longer, but that means that I can leave the house and let it slow cook for 8 hours or so.

    I went shopping post-Thanksgiving so little baggies of fresh "poultry herb blend" were on sale. It included sprigs of sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. You could certainly just use thyme instead, though.

    By the way, I did not count out the exact number of garlic cloves. I just used a whole bunch of 'em!

    Serves 2-4

    • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry, giblets and excess fat pockets removed
    • Sprigs of fresh marjoram, sage, rosemary, and thyme; or 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
    • Half of a lemon
    • About 40 cloves of garlic (I used 4 heads)
    • Salt, pepper, paprika, and/or whatever seasonings you like on roast chicken
    1. Separate the garlic cloves but leave them unpeeled. The easiest way to do this is to roll the head of garlic on the counter top.
    2. Place the garlic cloves in the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the chicken on top, breast side up.
    3. Stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon half.
    4. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and paprika and/or other seasonings
    5. Roughly strip the leaves off of the herbs, tear them up, and strew them on and around the chicken.
    6. Cook on low for 8 hours.
    7. Separate the chicken into individual pieces (breast, wings, leg quarters) and broil them on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes or until the skin crisps.
    8. Serve immediately with the garlic cloves. You might make mashed cauliflower (exclude the roasted garlic) and/or gravy to serve alongside.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Veggie lasagna. With meat.

    This was somewhat of an experiment; that is, an attempt to see how much veggies I could pack into a meat lasagna. First and foremost, instead of noodles, I used zucchini cut lengthwise into thin slices. This is my standard way of low-carbifying lasagna. I also added chopped broccoli to the ricotta layer, and chopped spinach into the meat sauce. I liked the spinach but thought that the broccoli was a bit much, and my husband felt the opposite. His reasoning was that the broccoli actually adds texture while the spinach does not contribute anything, I liked the spinach because it blended in well. So add one or the other or both! It was still delicious and an easy way of packing a full meal's worth of veggies into a single casserole.


    • About 1 lb zucchini, sliced lengthwise into very thin slices (I used a mandoline to cut it about 1/8" thick, you could also use a cheap V-slicer)
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (low-fat is fine)
    For the meat sauce:
    • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
    • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Sweetener of choice, to taste (optional)
    • 1 tsp dried Italian herb blend
    For the ricotta layer:
    • 1 lb ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
    • 1 10-oz package frozen chopped broccoli
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Cook the spinach and broccoli according to package directions. Squeeze all the moisture out of the spinach. Set both aside to cool.
    3. Brown the meat in a skillet, drain the fat, and set aside. Saute the onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil. Add the meat back to the pan with the onion and garlic along with all the remaining ingredients except for the spinach. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the spinach and set aside.
    4. Combine all of the ingredients for the ricotta layer, liberally adding salt and pepper. Set aside.
    5. Lay a layer of zucchini slices, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of a 13"x9" lasagna pan. Using your hands (hands are the only way to do this), add half the ricotta and spread it more or less evenly atop the zucchini. Add half of the meat sauce. Repeat the process with another layer of zucchini, the rest of the ricotta, and the rest of the meat sauce. Cover the top with mozzarella.
    6. Bake, covered in foil, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Cut into squares and serve.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Crock Pot Massaman Curry

    Massaman curry is a bit different from other Thai curries. It isn't a stir-fry of sliced meat with crisp-tender veggies. Rather, it's more like a Thai beef stew. It has chunks of meat (usually beef) slow-simmered with potatoes. This makes it a perfect candidate for crock-pot-ization.

    Instead of potatoes, I used daikon and baby carrots. Turnips would work well too in place of one or both of those veggies. I used full-fat coconut milk but I think the lite version would work too for those who are counting calories. However, lite coconut milk might be a bit watery so I would recommend either thickening the gravy somehow (reducing it in a pan or adding xanthan gum), or sticking with the full-fat stuff and just using less sauce on their plate.

    Traditionally, palm sugar is added. However, there was already some in my curry paste so I did not use any. You could substitute date sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, brown sugar, Splenda, or use nothing at all and have a less-sweet dish.

    I served it over cauliflower rice.

    Serves 2-4

    • 2 lbs beef stew meat (or lamb, or pork. If you want a leaner cut of beef, use top round or eye of round.)
    • 1 can coconut milk
    • 3-6 Tbs Massaman curry paste, or to taste (I used about 5 Tbs. Mae Ploy brand is Whole30-compliant)
    • 1 Tbs tamarind paste (or 1/3 cup lime juice)
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 Tbs fish sauce
    • 2 Tbs palm sugar (optional; see description above. Leave this out for Whole30)
    • 4 star anise
    • About a dozen cardamom pods, crushed with the side of a knife
    • 8 oz daikon or turnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
    • 4 oz lb baby carrots (about 1 cup)
    • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
    • 1/4 cup chopped or crushed cashews or peanuts (optional; I forgot to add this. Use cashews for Whole30)
    • Thai basil and/or cilantro for serving (I used Thai basil)
    1. In a small bowl, combine the curry paste, tamarind paste (if using), and palm sugar (if using) with some of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.
    2. Add the coconut milk mixture along with the rest of the coconut milk to the slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients except for nuts and fresh herbs.
    3. Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring once halfway through if possible.
    4. Serve over cauliflower rice with the chopped nuts and herbs.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Rutabaga "faux-tato" salad

    A rutabaga looks like a giant yellow-fleshed turnip and began as a hybrid between a turnip and cabbage. I was looking for a lower-carb alternative for a "fauxtato" salad. Potato has 24 net carbs per cup, while rutabaga has only 9 grams, making it the clear winner here. I previously tried chopped cauliflower, but the texture wasn't right, and I thought that an actual root vegetable would be a better choice. It has a much firmer texture and a bit of a radishy taste (which I enjoyed), but it is close enough that you could certainly share it with people eating an otherwise standard American diet.

    Serves 4-6

    • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 lbs)
    • 2 Tbs cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle (optional)
    • 2 Tbs thinly sliced scallions
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (Spectrum light or full-fat)
    • 1/4 cup sour cream (light or full-fat)
    • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
    • 3/4 tsp celery salt
    • 2 Tbs minced fresh dill
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced or chopped
    • Pepper, to taste
    1. Peel the rutabaga and cut it into cubes. Boil in generously-salted water until tender. Drain and cool.
    2. Combine the remaining ingredients. Add the rutabaga, toss, and chill for at least an hour.

    Slow-cooked BBQ brisket

    There are two groups of people who are serious about brisket: Jews, and Texans. Well, I'm a Jew, and here's my attempt at a Texas-style brisket! Okay, it's not really Texas-style. It's not smoked; rather, it's braised more in the style of my people, but with smoky flavors. I served it with some extra jus and leftover mustard barbecue sauce. I've also made it before and served it with horseradish. I do use liquid smoke in the cooking liquid. It is a natural product made from capturing smoke, condensing it, and passing it through water, filtering the carcinogens in the process, thus I do not find its use problematic. If you'd prefer, you could experiment with using smoked paprika as a substitute. Also in the picture is a "faux-tato" salad, which I will be posting the recipe for shortly.

    Serves 4-6

    • 2 lb brisket (flat cut/first cut is lean, point cut/second cut is fatty)
    • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice or 2 Tbs cider vinegar
    • 3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
    • 1 can reduced-sodium beef broth
    • 1 Tbs liquid smoke
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    1. Combine all the ingredients except for the brisket in your slow cooker.
    2. Add the brisket, fat side up. Spoon some of the liquid over the top.
    3. Cook on low for 8-11 hours or until very tender.
    4. Trim off the top fat layer (or leave it on if you prefer) and slice the brisket. Serve with extra jus and horseradish and/or BBQ sauce.

    Chicken molé, in the crock pot

    I've been getting a lot of use out of my slow cooker lately. In the colder months when the days are shorter, there's something so nice about coming home to a wonderful-smelling kitchen and a hot dinner waiting for me. So expect to see quite a few crock pot recipes.

    I love Mexican molé sauce. However, it is typically quite complicated to make. It involved toasting and grinding several different types of dried chiles, grinding an array of different nuts and seeds, and adding lots of other complicated ingredients. This is not an authentic molé, but it has very similar flavors and is much easier to make. Instead of an array of different ground seeds, I add a couple spoonfuls of nut or seed butter. I've successfully used peanut butter, sunflower butter, and tahini in the past, and I enjoyed all of them equally. I use chili powder instead of toasting and grinding my own chiles, and I also add cocoa powder and a few different spices. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they were on sale but you could certainly use whole breasts. I don't like thighs as much because they don't shred as well, but you could give them a shot.

    In the photo, it's pictured on a low-carb tortilla, which is far from paleo but I'll eat one every once in a blue moon as a little treat. A delicious alternative would be to serve it atop shredded cabbage (packaged cole slaw mix would work fine) mixed with pico de gallo and maybe some avocado wedges.

    Serves 2-4

    -1 package (about 1.5 lbs) boneless skinless chicken breasts
    -1 15oz can tomato puree
    -1 tsp ground cumin
    -1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
    -1/2 tsp aniseed
    -3 tbs chili powder
    -1/2 tbs maple syrup (optional; it's just a tiny bit in a lot of sauce so I don't worry too much about the sugar)
    -1 cinnamon stick
    -1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
    -2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
    -3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    -2 tbs tahini, creamy peanut butter, or other nut or seed butter
    -1 canned chipotle pepper, minced
    -Salt and pepper, to taste

    1. Add all ingredients other than the chicken to the slow cooker.
    2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the slow cooker and spoon some of the sauce over the top.
    3. Cook for 6 hours on low.
    4. To serve, remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred with a fork, and put back into the sauce. Serve with sour cream and scallions.

    Pumpkin Pavé

    When I posted the pumpkin tiramisu recipe, I promised that I would be posting a lighter pumpkin dessert as well. That was originally going to be a pumpkin panna cotta. However, I was unhappy with how that recipe turned out; no matter what, the dessert invariably separated into a thick layer and a watery layer. In fact, this is a problem I've had with pumpkin desserts in general. They end up kind of sludge-like, not solid enough with an unappealing watery layer. I experimented with a few different things, and ended up discovering the key ingredient for a perfect texture: cream cheese. I didn't add enough for it to taste like a cheesecake; in fact, you probably won't know it's there. But it results in a smooth, dense, and velvety pumpkin dessert that is nicely emulsified.

    Even low-carb pie crusts are generally very high-calorie. Usually, they are made of ground nuts held together with butter or coconut oil. As my goal here is a lighter dessert, I wanted to skip the crust. While the crust is generally the least interesting part of a pie, crustless pumpkin pie still feels like a bit of a gyp. This is baked in dish and cut into squares. They're too thick to call them bars so I'm going with the label of "pavé". Pavé basically refers to a dessert that is flat and square, like tiles or paving stones. Plus it sounds all fancy.

    Serves 9

    • 8 oz low-fat (or full-fat) cream cheese, softened (use Philadelphia brand if you use low-fat, as it is lower carb than others)
    • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1/2 cup stevia (I used Stevia In The Raw), Splenda, or date sugar
    • 1.5 cups egg white or egg substitute (or 6 whole eggs)
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp allspice
    • Generous pinch of salt
    • Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
    3. Scrape the mixture into a greased 8x8 pan.
    4. Bake for 40-60 minutes (check after 40 minutes), or until the center is firm. A toothpick will not come out clean.
    5. Chill thoroughly and cut into 9 squares.
    6. Serve with a blob of Greek yogurt and some extra cinnamon.
    Nutrition: 106 calories, 6g fat, 5g carbs, 1g fiber (4 net carbs), 9g protein

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    French Toast

    There are very few high-carb foods that I miss. I truly am happy to eat meat, eggs, and veggies; in fact, eggs are pretty much my favorite food on the planet. I have very little interest in pasta or even cookies. However, there is one carb-bomb for which I possess an undying love: French toast. Especially challah French toast. Crispy outside, soft inside, eggy throughout, and a perfect vehicle for butter and maple syrup. But alas, it has been relegated to occasional cheat meal status.

    Until now.

    I made Jamie's oopsie rolls and they reminded me of challah or brioche. Unlike most low carb breads which are dense and mealy, these are light, fluffy, sweet, and airy.

    I don't see myself using these as rolls -- I'm content to eat my burgers bunless atop a big plate of salad greens. However, they make a perfect French toast.

    Serves 2

    • 1 recipe oopsie rolls (picture tutorial, tips and tricks), cooled completely. I used Philadelphia brand low-fat cream cheese because it's still pretty much carb-free with fewer calories. ETA: You can alternately bake the oopsie roll batter in a parchment-lined 13"x9" lasagna pan, then cut it into squares
    • 2/3 cup Eggbeaters (or an egg beaten with some half-and-half or almond milk)
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium.
    2. Combine the Eggbeaters, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a fork.
    3. When pan is hot, dip each roll in the egg mixture and then cook, turning once and re-spraying the pan before flipping. Cook each side until golden brown. Serve with butter (or butter spray) and Walden Farms breakfast syrup or homemade sugar-free syrup.

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Tom Kha Gai

    I was sick this past week. My go-to comfort-food has always been matzah ball soup. If I really, really want it, I'll have it, but I wanted to find a low-carb alternative that still has magical healing powers. Enter tom kha gai, an aromatic Thai soup with a coconut broth. Years ago I discovered this recipe in the pages of Fine Cooking magazine and loved it. However, I would make a few changes. First, there are lots of aromatics in the broth (kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass chunks, slices of galangal or ginger) which are not intended to be eaten. My husband found this to be very annoying. However, I like leaving them in the broth so that the flavors can continue to permeate as it sits. So in the future, if this bothers you, I recommend tying up the aromatics in a piece of cheesecloth. Additionally, this soup just uses chicken and mushrooms, but you can certainly add more vegetables. Bamboo shoots, broccoli florets, bok choy, baby corn, sliced carrots, and/or snow peas would all be welcome additions. Finally, I used lite coconut milk instead of full-fat, and I do not think that it negatively affected the final product at all. Many of the ingredients are rather esoteric, though you can find them in any Asian market. However, if you do not have access to these items I suggest some alternatives within the recipe.

    My mise-en-place: galangal slices, Thai bird chiles, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass; small cup containing fish sauce, scallions, lime juice, and more lime leaves; plate with minced cilantro.

    Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a light meal
    Adapted from Fine Cooking

    • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass (or strips of zest from one lemon)
    • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
    • 2 Tbs fish sauce, preferably Three Crabs brand (or soy sauce)
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 6 fresh or frozen wild lime leaves, torn or cut into quarters (or strips of zest from one lime)
    • 10 to 12 thin slices galangal, fresh, frozen, or dried (or 10 to 12 thin slices fresh unpeeled ginger)
    • 8 to 10 fresh hot red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and lightly pressed with the side of a knife (or 3 or 4 serranos, thinly sliced) for garnish (optional)
    • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 boneless chicken breast half (about 6 ounces), cut into bite-size chunks or sliced across the grain into strips
    • 4 oz mushrooms (I used criminis, you can use any kind), sliced
    • Can of unsweetened lite coconut milk
    • Can of low-sodium chicken broth
    • Optional: more veggies such as bamboo shoots, broccoli florets, bok choy, baby corn, sliced carrots, and/or snow peas
    1. Trim away and discard the root end and the top 3 inches of each stalk of lemongrass, along with any brittle leaves. Pound each stalk lightly with the side of a knife or an unopened can. Cut each stalk crosswise into 2-inch lengths and set aside.
    2. Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, scallions, and half of the wild lime leaves. Set aside.
    3. Tie up the lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal slices in a piece of cheesecloth.
    4. In a medium saucepan, commbine the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add the cheesecloth bag containing the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and optional veggies. Return to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors and cook the chicken. Note: you can make the soup up to this step in advance. I find that the longer it sits, the better it tastes, because the aromatics permeate the soup more. I usually cover the pot off-heat at this point and let it sit for a little while.
    5. Divide the fish sauce mixture among your serving bowls. Ladle the hot soup over it and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve hot. Pass around the chiles for those who want them. I also serve with sriracha sauce at the table.
    NUTRITION INFO (based on 4 servings): 146 calories, 8g fat, 4g carbs, 0.5g fiber (3.5 net carbs), 13g protein, 1031mg sodium

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    South Carolina style BBQ pulled chicken with green beans

    I love making pulled chicken in the crock pot. Throw chicken parts in there for 6-8 hours, pull them out, shred the meat, and toss with BBQ sauce. Easy-peasy. Low carbing has turned me on to the South Carolina style of barbecue sauce, which uses a mustard base rather than sugary ketchup. I use chicken breasts as I like the texture more; they practically shred themselves.

    Green beans are one of the few non-starchy veggies that I enjoy in the crock pot. I've done this before on the blog, but I changed it up a tiny bit this time. I realized that all the stewed tomatoes I could find listed corn syrup or sugar as an ingredient, so I switched to regular diced tomatoes. Additionally, I added some diced ham. When I do the beans alone I add smoked ham hocks, but it's difficult to fit ham hocks plus chicken parts. Using skin-on chicken parts will make the beans fattier and more delicious.

    The other item on the plate is a "fauxtato" salad made with cauliflower. I'm not 100% happy with how it turned out, so I will continue tweaking that recipe and I will post it when it's fabulous.

    Serves 2-4

    • 12-16 oz green beans, ends snapped
    • Half a can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
    • Half an onion, cut into thick wedges
    • 2-3 oz diced ham (preferably smoked), bacon, or Canadian bacon
    • 2 chicken breasts, preferably bone-in skin-on (but cutlets will work too)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
    1. Spread out the green beans in the bottom of your slow cooker. Toss with the tomatoes, onion, ham, and salt to taste. Set the chicken on top, season with salt and pepper, and cover.
    2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
    3. Pull the chicken out, remove the skin and bones, and shred it with two forks. Toss with barbecue sauce and serve alongside the beans.
    Makes 2 cups

    • 1 cup yellow mustard (it HAS to be yellow mustard like French's or it won't taste right! Normally I am a mustard snob but this is the exception!)
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda or sweetener of choice (stevia, maple syrup, sucanat, or date sugar would all work. I don't think that honey would taste right, though.)
    • 1/2 tsp dark molasses
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 Tbs hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper

    Combine all ingredients. You can optionally mix it with 1/2 cup cooking juices from the meat.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    The Cauliflower Pizza

    ETA: Since this recipe, I have attempted virtually every low-carb pizza recipe. See them all at The Great Pizza Experiment.

    Several years ago, a recipe for low-carb pizza crust made out of cauliflower hit the internet. Naturally, this recipe spread like wildfire, and I've seen numerous posts about it on low-carb cooking forums. The general consensus is that, while tasty, it is impossible to eat like a regular pizza. It's soggy, it falls apart, it sticks to the pan, and it's just messy. I feel that the original recipe is a great idea, but incomplete. After numerous iterations with various tweaks and improvements, I can proudly and authoritatively proclaim that I have perfected the cauliflower pizza crust. I am now sharing my secrets with you.

    First, I use a bag of Birds Eye Steamfresh garlic cauliflower. You could certainly use fresh and add your own seasonings, but this is so easy and it steams in its own bag. Microwave according to package directions, then dump it out onto a clean dishcloth that has been lined with lots and lots of paper towels.

    Next, lay some more paper towels on top, fold the dish towel over itself, and press hard to squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the florets. Really squish them with all your might.

    Next, feed the cauliflower through the shredding disk of your food processor.

    Now repeat the squeezing step with fresh paper towels. Get lots of moisture out until you have something resembling dough.

    Next, combine the shreds with 4 oz grated mozzarella (I use low-fat; do not use fat-free) and 1/4 cup egg whites or egg substitute (using egg white only with no yolk seems to give a crispier crust). I used Eggbeaters, which is why the mixture looks a bit yellow. Line a baking sheet or broiler pan with parchment paper -- you MUST use parchment paper, do NOT use foil or it will stick!! Mound the cauliflower mixture in the center.

    Using damp hands (shake off the excess water), work radially around the cauliflower, pressing from the center outward to create a thin crust. Be careful that holes don't form, but don't worry if it seems loose, as when the cheese melts it will help everything hold together. Gently blot excess moisture off the top with a paper towel.

    Make sure to spread it as thin as you possibly can. It should resemble the thinnest of the thin-crust pizzas. If it is too thick it will be very soggy and you'll be stuck eating it with a fork.

    Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be browned and perhaps slightly burnt in some spots around the edges. Do NOT underbake.

    Now it's starting to look like a pizza! Spread this with some pizza sauce and whatever toppings you like, just don't use anything too wet or too heavy. Your toppings should all be chopped fine or sliced thin. I used some sliced olives and sauteed garlic spinach (squeezed dry) since that's what I had around. I also add a dusting of Parmesan; the crust itself already has plenty of mozzarella so I go easy on the cheese.

    Pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes or so.

    Voila! There you have it, cauliflower pizza! Crispy, sliceable, and you eat eat it with your hands -- no fork required.

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