Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zesty Bleu Ranch Dip


I get my love of bleu cheese definitely from my mom. I absolutely love the stuff, and I put it on anything from burgers to salads, to toast (sorry ma).  This recipe is always a hit, its super simple, and with some cauliflower florets, or celery, or my flax crackers from the previous blog, is a great snack, and an excellent way to get your fat in, without having to eat bacon or butter, not that there is anything wrong with bacon or butter.

Ingredients
16 oz of sour cream
1/2 a package of Ranch dip mix
8 oz of your favor bleu cheese, I love Gorgonzola
the zest of half 1 lemon
and 2 Tbsps of fresh lemon juice
1 Tsp of black pepper

This is super simple, just combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, chill, and serve.  I love it chunky, with big chunks of bleu cheese, but you can use a food processor to more thoroughly blend the ingredients if you want a smoother, less pungent dip.

you can also add 2 oz of cream cheese if you want a thicker more scoopable dip, although its pretty thick on its own.

I keep a container of this on hand pretty much at all times, I will even put a Tbsp or 2 in a salad with spinach, bacon, and chicken, add in my favorite simple vingar dressing.









2 Carbs per serving, which is a good 1.5 oz or about 3 Tbsps of the dip.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garlic and Herb Flax Crisps



I have to say, that since starting keto, I have been pretty content on just about every flavor and texture profile when it comes to food.  The one exception seemed to be that there was no real low carb, tasty, options for chips or crackers.  I found Low carb tortillas, but when fried they got tough, and when eaten raw, they seemed to taste slightly better than the card board they were shipped in.  Alas, I was lost. Enter flax meal.


I must say, the inspiration for the following came from a fellow low carb blogger, IbreatheImhungry.com. I tried her recipe, and I decided to bring up the flavor a bit, as they were still slightly bland.

Ingredients:
1 cup of flax meal
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp dried Rosemary (use 2 tsp ground if you don't have a spice grinder)
1 Tbsp Dehydrated onion (use 1 tsp onion powder if no grinder)
Sea Salt and Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°

Grind the dried herbs until they are a fine powder. You do not want hunks of dried onion or rosemary leaves getting stuck in your teeth.

Mix together all the ingredients besides the salt and pepper and set aside for 5 mins, to let the flax absorb the moisture in the eggs.

between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll the dough, in batches, out with a rolling pin until it gets to your desired thickness, I rolled them down to about 1/16th of an inch, but you can make them thicker if you like your crackers thicker.



Once rolled out, you can cut them into any shape you want, I used a rhombus cookie cutter, but you can make them free form, just make sure they are uniform, so they bake evenly. Coat LIBERALLY with salt and pepper, lay evenly on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 10 mins, flip, and then bake for an additional 3.

Note: Timing is obviously going to change depending on the size, so you may want to check at about 5 minutes to see if they are starting to brown up.  

When you first remove them from the oven, they will be slightly greasy, but cooled, they no longer will be.


I served them with a blue Ranch dip, look out for the recipe in an upcoming blog.  but you can serve them however you want.

This Recipe makes A LOT of crisps.  I put 6 servings, but in reality, you could probably get close to 100 pieces depending on how thin you roll them out, I still have more than half the dough left in the fridge, after making 3 batches to test for flavor.

 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tiramisu cream


I am generally not one to have a huge sweet tooth.  a square of 80% dark chocolate is usually enough to quell my cravings for something sweet.  However, back in my pre-keto days, one of the few desserts that I was crazy about was Tiramisu. In fact, it is the reason I started drinking coffee, but that is another story.

Tiramisu is a simple dish, unfortunately the real stuff is obviously not keto friendly, but with a little artistic licensing, you can make a simple, and delicious, treat.

Ingredients:

8oz Marscapone cheese
3 eggs, seperated
3 Tbsp Espresso or VERY strong coffee, cold
1 tsp nutresse, or To taste with your favorite low carb sweetner
1 Tbsp Dry Marsala wine
 1 tsp Cocoa powder for dusting

Note: Many recipes you see for Tiramisu are going to have you adding brandy or rum (blegh), but I am a purist, and Marsala wine is the way it is made traditionally.  I use Dry because I find that it has more flavor, but if you want, sweet will work, you just have to adjust for carbs.  



Start by whipping your egg whites until they are stiff peaks.



Combine your yolks, cheese, coffee and Marsala and beat until the cream gets to a ribbon stage, 1-2 minutes.



Gently Fold in your whites and chill.



Once chilled you can serve it any number of ways, I took a Tbsp of the cream and spooned it over the left over chilled coffee, it was superb.



I would say this gives enough for 8 servings, a little goes a long way.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spicy Pickled Cauliflower





Giardiniera, or sotto aceti is an Italian pickle, consisting of Cauliflower, onions, celery and zucchini.  Here in the U.S. they replace zucchini with carrots, and put in bell peppers and other vegetables depending on the brand, which ever it is, it is usually spicy, and has a great bite for the vinegar.  In Chicago, a version where they make it with oil, instead of vinegar, is made famous by Italian beef sandwich shops, but that is a whole different animal, or I guess vegetable.

Giadiniera is also one of my favorite snacks between meals, as the sharp bite, and heat, really give you a boost, the problem is, even as a kid my favorite part was the cauliflower, and often the jars only have 2 or 3 pieces, add in I don't care for celery, and carrots are not very keto friendly, and it just made too much sense not to make my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a canner, evident by the Empty Goya Olive jar used for this, and this is a refrigerator pickle, so it can not be stored outside the fridge, although I am sure a proper canner could easily do a version that is.

Ingredients:

Half a head of Cauliflower
2/3 cup Distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp of black pepper corns
1 Tbsp of red pepper flake
1 Tbsp of Oregano
2 cups of water roughly
1 Tbsp non Iodized salt
 1 bay leaf

In a sauce pan or stock pot, place a wire rack, and fill with water and your jar(s) and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria that may be on the jar.

In a sauce pan, take your pepper corns and a Tbsp of the vinegar and let the liquid reduce over medium heat, you should be left with a brown syrupy liquid and your peppercorns, this is called Au Sec, and we are extracting the pepper flavor, once the liquid is au sec, add your remaining spices and let them come to a hard boil.  While your jar is boiling and your pickling liquid is coming to temp, break you cauliflower into small pieces. Remove your jar and stuff as many pieces of cauliflower into your jar as possible, followed by your now boiling pickling liquid.

You will most likely have spare liquid just make sure you cover the veg completely.  Also I want to point out, making sure the jar is brought to temp by starting it in the pot while the water is cold and is then brought to temp will insure that the glass does not crack.

Once it is sealed, let it come to room temp on the counter, then store in the fridge.  it will taste good as soon as it is cold, but after a day or so the flavors really intensify.


In case you are not aware of the nutritional content of cauliflower, here is the nutritional data for approx the entire jar, you won't need more than 1-2 pieces however, unless you know, you REALLY like vinegar.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chicken Roulade with Dauphinoise of Jicama






Alright Ketonians, I have to say, first I apologize for the gap in posts, my work schedule has been brutal, and my meals have consisted mainly of a simple roasted chicken leg quarter with some spinach.  But fear not, I am back, and dishing out a recipe for us keto culinarians.


Dauphinoise, is a french culinary term, what it really is, is just Au gratin with garlic added, and as an Italian, well, I put garlic in everything.  Traditionally, dauphinoise starts with thinly sliced potatoes, layered raw with cream, garlic and butter, and then is topped with bread crumbs, of course you can add cheese, which I did, but traditionally it is just cream, butter and garlic.

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast
1 quarter of a medium Jicama
1/4 cup frozen spinach
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
1 Tbsp of Goat Cheese
3 Tbsp of Parmesan Cheese
1-2 slices of swiss cheese
 2 Tbsp Heavy cream
2 Tbsp Butter, salted
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
S&P to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°

Fill a deep pot with water and put over high heat to boil, rarely do I boil veg, preferring a simmer to gently cook them, but jicama is a stout vegetable, you are going to need to cook it awhile before it softens, even sliced as thin as I did.

peel the jicama and with a very sharp knife, or a mandoline as I did, slice them paper thin.  I used the 1.5mm attachment for mine, so we are talking VERY thin. Once the water comes to a boil, add a good amount of salt and put your jicama in the pot.  they should take 10-15 minutes to become tender, you can cook them longer if you want them more potato like in softness, but this isn't potato dauphinoise, so I wanted mine to be cooked, but not mushy.

Take your chicken breast and, with a kitchen mallet, pound it out thin.

Protip: To help prevent the meat from tearing, put a layer of cling film over the chicken, it will prevent the chicken from sticking to your mallet.

Take your spinach, goat cheese, and half your parm and mix it together, with some salt and pepper, and any other seasoning you may like, I added a tsp of tomato paste, which added less than 1 carb.  Taste your stuffing and adjust seasoning accordingly, then take the mixture and spread it over your chicken.  Roll it up and place is seam side down in a buttered baking dish. and place in your oven.

At this point your Jicama should be tender, remove them from the water, and let thoroughly dry in your strainer, if you have a salad spinner I would even recommend place them in it and giving them a good whirl.  Butter a small baking dish, and put in a layer of the Jicama, then a layer of butter, a bit of cream, and sprinkle of parm and garlic.  I also broke the Swiss cheese up and put it between the layers, but that is purely optional, albeit, delicious.  Place in the oven and bake until melty and brown.

Once your chicken reaches 155° remove and tent it to rest. 

If you used the Tomato paste, the pan juices should have a wonderfully rusty color and rich flavor, there is no need for a finished sauce, just spoon the juices right over your sliced pieces.

Enjoy.