Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Corn"dog mini-muffins


Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. Yes, it's pedestrian. Yes, it's sex with your pants on. Don't care. I like corn dogs.


Hear me out though. It's grain-free faux cornbread -- I used the muffin batter from my "cornbread" stuffing recipe. It's low-carb. And I used nitrate-free organic hot dogs made from grass-fed beef. So, it's a decent compromise. Previously, I had tried making baked corn dogs on a stick, but a lot of the batter fell off in the baking process. So, I decided to go the finger food route and just bake them in mini-muffin trays.

GRAIN-FREE CORN DOG MINI MUFFINS
Makes about a dozen

INGREDIENTS
  • About three hot dogs (preferably nitrate-free/grass-fed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (preferably Let's Do Organic brand; it's coarsely-milled and the texture is more cornmeal-like)
  • 1/4 cup butter or ghee, melted
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Freshly ground pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Trim the ends off of the hot dogs and cut each one into 5 uniform pieces.
  3. Whisk the coconut flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine the melted butter and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  4. Grease a mini-muffin pan (preferably silicone). Fill each one 3/4 of the way up with batter. Vertically place a hot dog piece in the center of each one.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce of choice, such as ketchup or mustard.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just like So Delicious coconut milk


It's nice to have a low-carb, low-calorie substitute for milk. In particular, I like it in my iced coffee or smoothies. For a while, I was using unsweetened almond milk. However, I am always looking to reduce my omega-6 intake (more info on that), and So Delicious brand makes a dilute, emulsified coconut milk that serves the same purpose. It has a more favorable fatty acid profile than almond milk, boasting primarily MCTs rather than pro-inflammatory omega-6s. However, I'm not a fan of it. They use a lot of gums and thickeners that give it a weird texture, and it's expensive for what it is (that is, mostly water). I saw a recipe for making it yourself, which is appealing but it uses soy lecithin as the emulsification agent. I wanted to use a non-soy source, and after some Google-fu I learned that an egg yolk contains as much lecithin as a tablespoon of soy lecithin granules. So, I decided to use that.

I have a Sous Vide Demi, and I used that to pasteurize the egg. Just preheat it to 135 degrees and put the egg (still in the shell) right in the water for 75 minutes. Once it's done, cool it thoroughly in an ice bath, then seperate out the yolk and discard (or save) the white. If you don't have a sous vide machine, you can pasteurize them in a regular saucepan as per these instructions. Or if you like to live dangerously just leave it raw, it's up to you! I have also seen sunflower lecithin in softgels, you could try squeezing out the contents of two of them and using that, but I have not tried it myself.

BETTER THAN SO DELICIOUS COCONUT MILK
Makes 64 oz

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can coconut milk. Read the ingredients and look for a brand that is actually coconut milk, and not coconut extract mixed with water.
  • 1 egg yolk (see description for information on pasteurizing an egg)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Put the egg and coconut milk into a blender.
  2. Add water until the whole mixture measures 64 oz.
  3. Blend thoroughly.
  4. Store in an airtight covered pitcher such as this; you'll want to use a pitcher with an airtight lid so that you can shake it up before using.

Monday, March 5, 2012

PB&J bars with a healthy secret

Exhibit A: PB&J bars with blackberry jam filling. There's some spinach puree hidden in the filling too!

Exhibit B: Same dealie but with almond butter and raspberry. No spinach in this one. Weird hole is probably from an almond falling out.
I love anything with PB&J. This was conceptually inspired by Ina Garten but the recipe is completely different. I used a modified version of my flourless peanut butter cookies as the base for these; it's pretty much the same, I just added a bit of baking soda. I had recently come across Jessica Seinfeld's recipe for blueberry-oatmeal bars with spinach which gave me the idea to try adding spinach puree. It was completely undetectable with the blackberry filling, so if that sort of thing appeals to you, you can certainly add in some leafy greens! I eat so much greens in salads and side dishes that I probably wouldn't bother for myself. If you use spinach be sure to use a dark colored fruit jam such as blackberry, blueberry, or grape.

For the filling, you can use sugar-free jam, no-sugar-added jam, or you could possibly try chia jam. I have not made it with the chia jam so it isn't a solid recommendation, but it's certainly worth a shot. I would probably add 1-3 tsp arrowroot or other thickener to the chia jam if I made it for this recipe.

I baked this in a loaf pan because I generally prefer to make small batches of sweets! It makes about 6 bars.

PB&J BARS
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup nut butter such as peanut or almond
  • 3/4-1 cup granular sweetener, real or artificial (i.e. palm sugar, date sugar, stevia in the raw, or Splenda). I would use 3/4 if the nut butter is unsalted, 1 cup if it's salted.
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (or more) jam (see description for suggestions)
  • 1/4 cup spinach puree (optional; make this by defrosting frozen spinach in the microwave, squeezing out excess water, and puree in the blender)
  • 1-2 oz (weight) nuts, roughly chopped (I used peanuts with peanut butter, almonds with almond butter)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. In an electric mixer, thoroughly combine the nut butter with granular sweetener and baking powder. Beat in the egg.
  3. Grease a standard loaf pan. Pack half of the nut butter dough into the bottom. The easiest way to do this is mound it in the middle, cover it with plastic wrap, and use your hands to evenly flatten it along the bottom.
  4. If using spinach puree, combine it with the jam. Spread the jam over the nut butter dough in the loaf pan. You may use more than the 1/4 cup jam if it looks like it needs more to cover adequately.
  5. Use the tines of a fork to rake the remaining dough into crumbles. Sprinkle it over the jam, then sprinkle chopped nuts over that.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool thoroughly before serving.

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