Olive Oil Mayonaise and Aioli


Image courtesy of wikipedia

Mayonnaise in an emulsion of eggs, oils, vinegar or lemon juice, and mustard.  The lecithin in the egg yolks stabilizes the mixture.  The first time I tried to make mayonnaise I used a whisk and I think that my arm was going to fall off.  Making mayo this way was a two person job. Since then, I have used a blender to easily make this concoction.

Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

1 large egg

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp whole grain mustard

1 tbs lemon juice or white wine vinegar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in the container of a blender or food processor.Blend until smooth.
  2. Blend on low speed while pouring oil into the blender in a fine stream as the mixture emulsifies and thickens.

Aioli

Ingredients:

5 large garlic cloves peeled

Image courtesy of wikipedia

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

 Directions:

  1.  Mash the garlic and salt together in coffee grinder until it is a paste.  You can use the small work bowl on your food process or a mortar and pestle. In a the large bowl of you food processor or in a blender, process the egg for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the garlic paste to the food processor and add the oil in a this stream until it is fully integrated into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

You can keep this a week in the refrigerator.

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Curried Brussels Sprouts


Curried Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are possibly my favorite vegetable and I am always looking for new ways to prepare them. Last night, I was searching for something that went with the scotch eggs from Well Fed. When I was making this dish, I added my own spice mix, but if you are feeling tired and do not have all of the ingredients, you can always use yellow curry powder.

When I was making this dish, I caramelized some onions create a depth of flavor and add sweetness to the dish.  Caramelizing onions properly takes about 45 minutes of sauteing over low heat. If you want to skip this step, I would add tbs of anchovy paste along with the spices and then add 1 tbs of honey to the dish at the end of cooking.

Curried Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

3 tbs olive oil or coconut oil

1 lbs fresh brussels sprouts halved lengthwise or 1 lb frozen petite brussels sprouts

1 medium sweet onion sliced lengthwise

1 tsp grated ginger

3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 tsp mustard seeds or 1 tsp whole-grain mustard

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground tumeric

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp smoked paprika, if you do not have this use paprika

1/2  tsp chili powder, preferable chipotle

zest from one lime

juice from one lime

1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbs oil.  When heated add the brussels sprouts cut side down and cook for 5 minutes or until the

    Image via wikipedia

    brussels sprouts are browned. If you are using frozen sprouts, rotate them while cooking and cook for 10 minutes or until browned. Remove the browned sprouts to a waiting vessel.

  2. Turn the heat down to medium low and caramelize the onions. This process should take 30 – 50 minutes with you stirring every five minutes.  If the onions look like they are going to burn, add more oil and reduce the heat. The resulting onions should taste sweet and have a deep caramel color.
  3. When the onions are caramelized, add the oil and then raise the heat to medium. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the spices to the oil and stir into the onions.  Saute the spices until fragrant, about another 30 seconds.
  5. Add the brussels sprouts and stir to coat.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the lime.

You can also prepare the elements of this dish ahead of time, refrigerate, and then reheat in a skillet right before dinner. If you desire, you can also add a fresh tomato to this dish and saute it along with the spices until the juice has thickened.

Onion image via wikipedia.

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Scotch Eggs from Well Fed


I have been salivating over the recipes in “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” since I got it two weeks ago. The recipes are created by Melissa Joulwan who writes a blog called The Clothes Make the Girl.  While it is true that I am a food nerd and I do read cookbooks cover-to-cover, this book has blown me away with sumptuous recipes, practical advice, and seemingly endless lists of variations for her already novel (to my palette) creations.

The book is broken down differently than a tradition cookbooks with sections on the paleo kitchen, weekly cook-up, sauces and seasonings,  protein, veggies and salads, and finally fruits.  While it is de regueur to include a section on the paleo concept, devices you need for the kitchen, and meal organization, Joulwan takes this one step further by includes loads of practical advice on how to prepare healthy food while minimizing your time in the kitchen.  “Well Fed” is worth the money for this section alone.

The recipes themselves are easy to follow, well developed directions that do not leave you questions your own kitchen prowess.  She includes information on variations, food pairings, and her own notes.

One of the recipes I had been slobbering over are scotch eggs.  While I was aware of the existence of scotch eggs I had never tried one much less thought of integrating it into my low-carb diet.  The process to makes this eggs is easy.  Most of the recipe can be made ahead and then put into the oven to finish for dinner, which I love. Did I mention they were delicious and my family devoured them?

Getting scotch eggs into their meat cocoons

 

Crispy goodness. The secret is pork rinds.

 

Seriously. Buy this book.

 

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Mushroom and Leek Frittata: Savior of the Most Important Meal


mushroom

Flickr image via orchidgalore

Sometimes I get overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed by the demands of work, the demands of family, and the demands of home. These are the time when I don’t manage to get the slow cooker set up the night before. These are the times when I would order take out and scarf it down without a second thought and end up feeling worse than before. But now that I am being more mindful of what I put into my body, I stop before I pick up the phone and make a frittata.

A frittata is an Italian omelet and makes great refrigerator velcro. I often put left over veggies, cheese, and meat together to create delicious and easy meals, served with a salad. They also make great next-day lunches. Many of the recipes I encounter for frittata advise putting non-stick pans under the broiler, but I am not comfortable heating non-stick pans to that temperature. I use my stainless steel.

Here is a recipe I find myself making again and again.

Leeks, Mushrooms, and Smoked Gouda Frittata

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

2 tbs heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup (small handful) fresh, finely chopped parsley

1 large leek

2 cups mushrooms sliced

2 tbs butter or ghee

1 tbs olive oil or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler on high and place the oven rack in the upper one third of the oven.

    Broken Egg

    Image via brokenarts

  2. Place a large, oven-safe skillet (10 – 12 inch) over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter.
  3. Add the leeks and the mushrooms and cook until the leeks and brown and soft and the mushrooms have browned.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, parsley and half of the cheese.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Slowly stir the sides and the bottom of the pan until you have large curds of egg mixture with wet parts in between.
  6. Allow the mixture to cook for another two minutes or until the underside has set.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and place the frittata under the broiler for 5 – 7 minutes.
  8. When the top is brown, remove the pan from the oven.
  9. Allow to cool from 5 – 15 minutes before eating.

Flickr mushroom image via orchidgalore.

Egg image via brokenarts.

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Slow-Cooker Roast Chicken with Mushroom Sauce


Chicken with Mushrooms

The finished product

After teaching all day, coming home from work and knowing that dinner will be ready is one of my great joys. This recipe is easy to put together and has a immediate taste pay off.

The night before, I marinated my chicken in the slow cooker coated with the spices and oils.  Then when I got home, I removed the chicken from the sauce to cool, thickened the sauce and added mushrooms.  While I was doing that I popped some oil-coated and seasoned brussels sprouts to the oven for roasting. When the sprouts were done so was the sauce.  How is that for timing!

Slow-Cooker Roast Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 fryer chicken about 4 pounds (This fits nicely in my slow cooker)

1 tbs curry powder

1 tbs garlic powder

1 tbs onion powder

1 tbs fresh parsley

1/4 tsp porcini powder (optional)

1 tsp kosher or sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tbs olive oil or coconut oil

6 tbs butter or ghee

1 tsp honey

Sauce:

2 – 3 cups liquid from slow cooker

1/2 cup cream

4 tbs butter

2 cups crimini mushrooms sliced

1 cup button mushrooms

1/2 cup dry sherry

salt to taste

1 tbs butter

Directions:

Chicken

  1. Rinse a thawed chicken inside and out and pat dry. Place on a cutting board or other washable work surface.  Save the delicious giblets for later use; I freeze mine if I’m not going to use them right away.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the spices, olive oil, and butter into a paste.  Rub the mixture on the skin, under the skin, and in the cavity. If you are worried about the chicken falling apart, then secure with the legs and wings of the chicken with butcher’s twine.
  3. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. The chicken will produce a lot of liquid during cooking.
  4. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.  Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

Sauce

  1. In a medium sauce pan, place the stock and cream.  Reduce the liquid by half, this should take about 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, over medium heat melt the butter until it starts to bubble.
  3. Add the mushrooms in batches so not to crowd the pan and steam the mushrooms.  First, saute mushrooms until brown and crispy on one side and then saute on the other.  When the mushrooms are done remove to a bowl or plate and then saute another the other batch.  Continue this process until all the mushrooms are sauteed.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the port and reduce to about 2 tbs.
  5. Add in the reduced sauce and then mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and eat.

This recipe will pair well with roasted vegetables, coconut flour cheesy biscuits, and cauliflower rice.

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How to Make a Great Steak


Beef Cuts

Beef cuts image courtesy of wikipedia

I never really ate steak before I started on my low-carb lifestyle. I was afraid of red meat, fat, and apparently delicious flavor. But since I have made “the change” I can gobble down steak at least once a week with none of those previously felt qualms. I sometimes buy a beef loin and cut it into individual steaks to save money and make sure I am always flush with quality steaks.

For today’s preparation I used a sirloin steak and an enamel coated cast iron skillet. This skillet holds heat the best and heats evenly. By heating the meat over high heat (300 – 500 degree fahrenheit) creates the maillard reaction. This reaction causes a delicious crust to form on the steak, another source of all flavor. After the steak is finished, you can use the drippings and fond to create a delicious pan sauce to further flavor your steak. This preparation can also be done outside over a grill still using the cast iron pan.

herbes de provence

Flickr herbes de provence in garden form courtesy of cliff1066.

The Great(est?) Steak

Ingredients

1 steak (sirloin or filet mignon) 2 – 3 inches in thickness

kosher or sea salt

freshly ground pepper

garlic clove

2 tbs butter or ghee

chopped herbs (parsley, tarragon, oregano, thyme, herbes de provence, etc.) optional

Directions:

1: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat your pan over high heat until water droplets dance across the pan before also immediately evaporating. Use a cast iron skillet that has been well seasoned, an enamel cast iron skillet, or an oven safe stainless steel skillet. Do not use non-stick.

3. While your pan is heating, put sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steak.

STEAK!

My steak dinner with roasted brussels sprouts and asparagus sauteed with leeks and bacon.

4. Rub each side of a garlic clove.

5. Lightly sprinkle the herbs onto the steak.

6. Place the steak on the pan and sear for two minutes. This will create smoke, a lot of smoke. If there isn’t smoke, your pan is probably not hot enough.

7. Turn over and sear the opposite side for two minutes.

8. Put pat of butter on the steak and place in the oven for 10 minutes for a medium to medium-well steak. You can also put an herb compound butter in the steak.

9. Check the temperature of the steak with an thermometer.

rare 125, medium-rare 135, medium 140, medium-well 145, well 155

10. Remove to a warm plate and place another pat of butter on the steak. Cover loosely with foil for 5 – 10 minutes.

Pan Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shallot, onion, or leek

1 cup good red wine this can be replaced with 1/2 cup water and 1 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs Dijon mustard

2 crushed cloves garlic

1/2 cup fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, oregano, tarragon, basil, etc)

1 tbs butter

Directions:

1. Over low heat, add the shallots, cook until softened.

2. Add garlic and saute for one minutes.

3. Deglaze the pan with red wine.

4. Mix in the dijon mustard and herbs.

5. Heat for two minutes until heated through.

6. Turn off heat and finish with 1 tbs of butter.

You can pour this sauce over the steak or veggies. It is especially good with sauteed mushrooms.

Beef cuts image courtesy of wikipedia.

Herbes de provence image courtesy of cliff1066.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken and Sausage Ragu


My family loves this recipe and I make it once a week. It is delicious, easy, and rewarding. It also takes me back to my

Delicious

Sausage and Chicken in the slow cooker - a family favorite.

Italian roots. This recipe reminds me of Neopolitan ragu or the Sunday meat sauce my grandmother would make with baciole, but this can be done in the slow cooker when I am at work. I love coming home and having my house smell like grandma’s.

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Sausage Ragu

Servings 6

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs with the skin removed

6 hot Italian sausages cut into 1 inch medallions if you choose

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 tbs dried pepper flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 small onion grated or sliced thin

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 medium carrot grated

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (or 2 fresh with seeds and skin removed)

1 tbs anchovy paste

1/2 fresh ground pepper

1 bay leaf

Directions:

1. Remove skin from the chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion power.

2. Bind the chicken thighs with twine. This step is optional, but it will keep the thighs together making them easier to remove and serve. You can also cut up the sausage into 1 in medallions if you choose.

3. In a bowl, mix the spices, pepper, tomato paste, anchovy paste, diced tomatoes, carrot, and onion.

4. Cover the bottom of the cooking vessel in sauce.

5. Layer in the chicken. Mine just fit in my slow cooker, but it is huge.

6. Cover with sauce and place on the bay leaf.

7. Layer in the sausage.

8. Pour on the rest of the sauce.

9. Cook on low for 7 – 8 hours.

10. Remove the chicken and sausage to a platter and cover.

11. Remove the bay leaf and reduce the sauce to desired thickness.

12. Taste and adjust seasoning.

13. Cover the chicken and sausage in the sauce.

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