Tuesday, February 25

Crispy chicken and noodles in green curry

We recently spent a weekend in Berlin and stumbled across a great Thai fusion restaurant called Transit. It's apparently a chain in Germany, but chain or no, we loved it. It can be hard for me to find restaurants to meet my dietary needs at times, but anything Thai usually fits the bill, what with the ample coconut milk, so I knew I was in a good place. This place was small dish style, so we ordered about 6 between us and one of them was a fried chicken in green curry. Anything that involves fried chicken skin is high on my list, so I was really looking forward to it. I was not disappointed. It arrived and I might have shed a few happy tears. Creamy coconut milk, spicy green curry, crispy chicken and noodles made of bamboo shoots! (how clever, right!?) I knew I would come home and try to recreate it! So, here it is! I started by making a homemade green curry paste. Back story, 2 years ago we went to Thailand and spent a day in a Thai cooking school, becoming Thai cooking experts. One of the recipes was green curry. So, we came home, bought all of the ingredients, put them in the freezer, and then really never made it. UNTIL NOW. See, money well spent on the cooking class!!
What you're going to need:
1 can of bamboo shoots
5 TBL of green curry paste- homemade or store bought
2 chicken thighs with skin
mixed veggies of your choice
1 can of coconut milk- full fat. Make sure the ingredients are JUST coconut milk and no other crap.
If making the green curry from scratch, you basically need (From Thai Table):
If you don't feel like pounding in a mortar and pestle, just use a good quality jarred paste. And if you want to stay keto or low carb, make sure there is no sugar!
First- throw your chicken thighs in the oven with some coconut oil and salt and pepper for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is very crispy.
Next, get on with the curry.
Here are a few pics of the curry making. Christopher was my labor source and was going super fast, so I didn't capture every step!
Thai chilis, and yes, they are HOT:

Pound them well with the salt:
Add the lemon grass, shallot and apparently everything else because the next pic I have is the finished paste :-):

Finished green curry paste, looking somewhat brown:

Next take the bamboo shoots and cut them into thin strips. Think of it like vermicelli. It's an ingenious way to get that noodle feel into a dish. Also grab a couple, or 5, kaffir lime leaves. Seriously, kaffir lime leaves are the most amazing thing in the world. The flavor they impart is so distinctive and delicious.

Sautee some veggies, I used eggplant, cauliflower and zucchini in coconut oil and added my bamboo shoots at the end to warm them up.

Meanwhile, I put the green curry and the coconut cream (the hard part of the milk on top of the can) in a pan on high heat. Let the coconut milk melt and stir to incorporate all of the paste. Add the rest of the coconut milk and the veggies. Put your bamboo shoots in the bottom of a bowl and ladle some of the coconut broth over them. Then add your veggies and about a cup or 2 of the green curry with coconut milk. Finally slice your chicken and put it on top. There you go! Finished.
This here is a bowl of pure deliciousness! It's a perfect Keto meal!

Every bite is full of flavor and spice. The kind of spice that burns, but in a really pleasant way! So yummy!

 Try it and warm up your body and belly NOW!

Wednesday, February 19

Finally a homemade mayonnaise worth writing about! MCT mayo!

I have a love-hate relationship with homemade mayonnaise. I have known about the horrors of conventional mayo, (rancid soybean oil anyone?), not to mention the sugar and poor quality eggs used to make it. I knew I could do better than Hellman's.
Until I couldn't do better.
I love my Hellman's, (cue 'bring out the Hellman's and bring out the best!), and each time I made homemade mayo it just tasted bad in comparison. Smart me knew that what I had made was greatly superior to the store bought stuff, but man, it was not palatable. Mayo debacle after mayo debacle came in rapid succession. All olive oil? too bitter. Avocado oil? Nope. Too green and weird tasting. Bacon grease mixed with coconut oil? Really yummy, but the coconut oil made it hard, and that was just weird. I was wasting a lot of expensive ingredients. But then today I was driving home from work and I thought to myself 'I wonder if I can make mayo from MCT oil??'. So I googled it and I was not the first to have this grand idea! Never heard of MCT oil? It's like coconut oil on crack! Let me enlighten you!

From Hilgartner Health: MCT is a very healthy fat, which bypasses the normal process of digestion and fat break down. Instead it gets absorbed directly into your liver where it is metabolized and acts more like a carbohydrate, providing instant and sustained energy for your body."
MCT oil can help in losing weight and in maintaining your optimal weight by boosting your metabolism and helping to optimize the production of thyroid hormones. It has been shown to help treat seizures due to its ability to increase Ketone production. It is also beneficial in helping diabetics maintain blood sugar levels. Many athletes find that it is a great supplement to take prior to training or competitions since it seems to provide hours of sustained energy and helps maintain muscle strength and stamina.
MCT oil has also been shown to help people with digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Chrones Disease, cystic fibrosis, and Alzheimer’s. People who are fighting fungal infections find that MCT oil accelerates their healing.

Sounds like a miracle oil, no?? So, in a nutshell, it's super good for you and has no flavor, so that means no weird taste in the final result. Let's whip this up!!
I based this mayonnaise on the recipe I found on the Intoxicated on Life blog. I halved the recipe, because I wanted to make sure I like it before I used so much of my MCT stock. She uses all MCT oil, but MCT is pricey here in Norway, so I used about 3/4 of a cup of MCT and 1/2 cup of olive oil. I also did not add the cayenne pepper or the stevia she calls for. One different thing about this mayo is that it uses mustard powder and white vinegar. The other recipes I have used so far use lemon juice and Dijon. Did it make a difference? Not sure, but the results were outstanding!
So, first, put all of your ingredients into a bowl except the oil. Beat everything until it's well incorporated and frothy:

Next, get your hand mixer, stand mixer or good ole whisk and start beating and slowly drizzling in  the oil drop by drop. You're going for an emulsion here, so be patient at the beginning. I can't take photos of the whole actual MAKING of the mayo process due to both of my hands being used, so just use your imagination. The whole process should take about 5 minutes and when it looks like this, you have awesome, healthy mayonnaise!!!
That's it! slap it into a container and get to dipping!
I'm dipping my eggplant 'French fries' in it and feeling quite proud! So good to finally find a mayonnaise I can replace the Hellman's with and also have all the benefits of MCT! Do you use MCT? If so, how?

Sunday, January 12

Paleo breakfast bowl! Tex mex grits topped with egg, bacon and avocado!

I bet the word 'grits' in the title got a few of you fired up, but don't worry, it's not real grits! It's cauliflower rice that got too much love from the Vitamix and turned into tiny grains more like cornmeal than rice. The good thing about cauliflower is that it tends to absorb the flavors of what you're cooking it in. In this case it's TexMex richness in the form of ancho chili powder and cumin. I love a good burrito bowl and despite my skepticism, this one delivered in a big way. The fine cauliflower had a mouth feel like grits, making it easier to suspend reality for a bit. And the flavor? Out of this world! If you like TexMex, spice and great flavor, this is for you! You won't miss the corn or dairy!

1 medium tomato
1/4 green bell pepper
1/4 red bell pepper
1/2 fresh jalapeño 
1 garlic clove
1/2 small onion
Large handful of spinach
Few TBL ancho chili powder
1TBL cumin
11/2-2 cups riced cauliflower 
1/4 of an avocado
Crumbled bacon
1-2 eggs

Chop all your veggies:
Don't be scared of the jalapeño, it adds a great flavor:
Put the onion, peppers and garlic in a pan to sauté with a little coconut oil: 
After a few minutes add the tomato and spinach. After it's all incorporated add your spice! Good spices are super important. I love Penzey's and order everything from them. Their ancho chili powder is so rich and full of flavor:

Add the chili powder and cumin and a bit of water to make it saucy. If you don't have ancho, any chili will do. I like ancho because there is no heat. So keep that in mind when subbing. 
Next, add your cauliflower 'grits':

Combine with the sauce and let it simmer for about 5-10 min. Now it all comes together quickly. Fry an egg in some grassfed butter. Chop your avocado and cilantro. Grab a bowl and layer everything! Cauligrits on the bottom. Top with the egg, bacon, avocado and cilantro:

Isn't it gorgeous?? Now get a fork and dig in!!! It really was delicious! TexMex takes me to my happy place, so I was smiling. 

I even had my very non paleo, super carb eater husband try it. He begrudgingly admitted he liked it but that it needed 'alot' of sour cream. Ha. I'd say that is a pretty good review from carbohydrate Christopher.
Seriously, this is very good and worthy of a place as a staple in my paleo rotation! Love! Try it out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 11

Grain Free, bacon topped porridge (or fauxtmeal)

I'm in the midst of a 21 day sugar detox and part of this detox is eliminating ALL grains. That part of this isn't too hard for me, because I rarely eat them anyway, but sometimes I find myself craving oatmeal. I fix it for my daughter quite often and while she's eating I'll repeatedly ask her 'is it good!?' with a somewhat wild look in my eye. When I go full on Paleo or low carb, the go to breakfast is eggs. And meat of some sort. But eggs for me in the morning are hard. And I rarely like non breakfast foods for breakfast. The hardest part of this detox for me is the no dairy aspect. Heavy cream, Greek yogurt and cheese are huge staples of my diet and are usually what I rely on for breakfast. What's a girl to do? I remembered a few years ago I made a grain free porridge, or fauxtmeal as I liked to call it, so I did a quick google search to see if I could track down the recipe. My Lord, has the popularity of this grown in two years! There are so many variations of this recipe that have been blogged about, so if you don't like this one, browse the others. I modified the recipe from 'My little jar of spices' . Like me, she also has a hard time with eggs in the morning, so her recipe had no eggs. However, I added one egg yolk to mine to give it a good dose of organic, free range eggy goodness.
So do you want a hot cereal for breakfast that is legal for paleo or the 21 day sugar detox? Look no further!! 
1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 green tipped banana, chopped
3 TBL ground golden flax
2 TBL unsweetened coconut
1/2 TBL coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1 egg yolk
Crispy cooked bacon

Chop your apple and banana and set a few tablespoons to the side to top with later:
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside:
In a saucepan melt some grassfed butter or coconut oil and sauté the apple and banana with a pinch of cinnamon until they are soft and fragrant. Place them in a bowl: 
In the same pan add all of the liquid and stir continuously until warm. This is so the egg won't cook, but it probably will be fine if you don't stir continuously. 

Next, add all the dry ingredients and stir until thick:
Finally add your cooked fruit back in and combine. Put it in a bowl and top with your fresh fruit and a dollop of grass fed butter:

And finally, the piece de resistance! BACON!! Crumble it on top of your bowl of primal, grain free goodness: 
The bacon seriously makes this dish!! So good! I really loved the feeling of eating oatmeal even though I wasn't. It's a mental thing. And I can imagine that it would be totally perfect with the addition of a little raw honey! Go ahead, you know you want to eat this!!

Wednesday, January 8

The Spiralizer (or how to make really convincing fake pasta)

I'm a sucker for gadgets. I have more than I care to admit, most languishing away in a dark corner of my basement. But I recently stumbled across something called a Spiralzer. It takes veggies and potatoes and basically turns them into ribbons, spirals and noodles. I saw a few pictures of what looked like spaghetti on the 'Against All Grains' blog and knew I had to have one! I ordered one a few days ago and it arrived today. (I couldn't get a good picture of it, so you'll just have to do some google legwork.) I often make 'pasta' out of zucchini using a peeler, so I get thick ribbons, but the thought of twirly pasta is just seductive to a low carb gal. So guess what we made? Yep, spaghetti:
The noodles turned out great!! Long and thin and round. But how would they cook up? Would they hold their shape? Let's find out. I heated up some olive oil, a clove of garlic, a little grassfed butter, fresh oregano & parsley:
Smelled delicious and I sautéed it for maybe 90 seconds. The size decreased quite a bit, and I might have overlooked it a tad, but it looked great:

They were great!! As usual, they released some water, but just consider it bonus sauce! 

And finally, the ultimate test, can you twirl it like regular pasta?

Yes! Yes you can!!! 
So was it worth the purchase? Yes, mostly because of the twirl factor. By the way, you'll never hear me say 'this is just as good as REAL pasta!' I hate when food bloggers say this, it's just not true. Fake pizza is not as good as the real thing, just like pasta made out of zucchini, while creative, is not as good as the real deal!! But it certainly satisfies that desire for the whole twirl your pasta ritual that many of us low carb, primal eaters still fantasize about!
Good stuff! 

Saturday, November 9

Cheesy Sausage Balls- low carb and Primal

Sausage balls. They were a staple of holidays growing up. In my opinion, there is very little, in the way of comfort food, that can compete with those bad boys. A delicious combination of sausage (Jimmy Dean for me!), cheddar cheese and Bisquick. Heaven! But when you eliminate grains and go low carb, things like this quickly fall out of grace. 
On my last trip to Texas, I managed to smuggle 4 pounds of Jimmy Dean back to Norway with me and today sausage balls popped into my head. Coincidence? I think not. I started wondering if I could make them low carb, and since there are very few things us stalwart low carbers have not replicated sans carbs, I turned to Google. Sure enough, there were hundreds of hits!! Like I suspected, it's pretty much a sub of almond flour for the Bisquick. Easy peasy, off we go!!

Low Carb Sausage Balls
Preheat your oven to 375
1/2 pound breakfast sausage
5 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Red pepper flakes to taste

Get your ingredients ready:
Throw your cheese and sausage in a bowl and work it together, then add the almond meal, baking powder and red pepper. (Excuse the crappy pictures, it gets dark at 3pm this time of year, so I have no natural light!)
Now, grab a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper and start making sausage balls!!! I got 27 out of this batch:
Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes or so. The biggest difference I saw between the almond flour and the Bisquick was that more cheese leaked out during baking. But, I look at this as a bonus because not only do you get sausage balls, you're getting crispy baked cheese for FREE!!
As a professional low carber, I've come to accept the fact that there really is no substitute for flour and the magical things it can do. I miss it all the time, but it makes me sick, so I deal. So that being said, I didn't expect these to taste like the sausage balls of my fantastical imagination. But Y'ALL!! They totally did!! They are delicious and really give the carby ones a run for their money. Bake up a batch of these bad boys! It's some good eating! 

I promise you'll love them. In fact your non paleo/primal/low carb partner will love them. Take them to your holiday parties and trick all your carb loving friends! Good times ahead, folks! Let me know if you try them and what you think! 

Sunday, March 3

Almond flour, flax meal pancakes

This morning Christopher and Zoe wanted pancakes. My first thought was 'Damn. He knows I can't eat pancakes!' The flour shoots my blood sugar through the roof, the calories are totally empty and they put you in a food coma within an hour. So, I decided to make them the regular ones and make me some protein laden, low carb, grain free beauties. Cooking with almond flour is actually very easy when it comes to baked goods, you just sub out flour equally and off you go.
For this recipe I used:
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup golden flax meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of milk (to make these paleo or for dairy intolerance use coconut milk, almond milk, ect)
  • a dash of baking powder
  • a few drops of vanilla stevia
Mix it all together in bowl and heat your pan. I make them a little larger than silver dollar pancakes. To this batch I added fresh blueberries and banana slices:

And then drizzled raw, local honey on them:

These are great! Very filling. I got about 7 good size pancakes out of it, but what is really great is what I didn't get. High blood sugar, low nutritional value and an epic crash an hour later.
This is really a breakfast you can feel good about! Go make them, you'll love them, your kids will love them, it'll be a big 'ol love fest! Just don't forget the bacon!!!