RSS

Tag Archives: herbs

“Candy Onion” French Onion Soup and {Grain Free} Flaxseed Meal Croutons

One of the things that we’ve always done, but that we enjoy even more now that we are low carb, is our Saturday morning trip to the Farmer’s Market in our small rural Michigan town. There are always such wonderful choices and sometimes there will be unexpected things to try among the fresh red tomatoes, green cukes, purple cabbages and farm fresh eggs. This week I bought a giant “Candy” onion. These things are just HUGE!! Seriously, it was *bigger* than a softball (unfortunately I forgot to take a pic first, but I did find one online at Jungseed.com just to show you the size. You can order seeds if you would like to grow your own!) It was so beautiful that paying $1.50 for one didn’t seem outrageous. From the second I hefted it into a bag, I knew that it was destined to become French onion soup, mmmm!

Since you all know that we are grain free, you may be wondering how I’ll pull off a REAL and indulgent French onion soup without including toasted French bread or croutons to hold up all that gooey cheese. Well, I wondered too! So, I decided to make a bread from ground flax seeds. It’s sort of foccacia style, more flat than a regular loaf of bread. After baking it up, I cubed some of it, spread it out onto a baking sheet with a little olive oil and garlic salt and toasted it up some into faux-croutons. I knew that it would make a bowl of soup even more filling than usual, but the flax meal (and coconut oil) in the bread are such healthy alternatives that I was excited to give it a try.

I am including the recipe for the soup I made as well as the flax bread. There are so many varieties of onion soup out there, and I have tried a lot of them… that I now just go with what I have on hand to determine the types of onion and whether I use red wine (I used Chuck’s Hard Cider instead today.) I usually include at least one variety of sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, and also sometimes use red onions or even jarred cocktail onions to mix things up a bit. This time I used just the Candy onion along with a hefty dose of garlic for flavor and all the wonderful health benefits. I hope that you are able to find a Candy Onion so you can try this version, but I think that most of the French Onion Soup recipes out there are naturally grain-free except for a few that might include some flour, which can easily be omitted. The choice of cheese is up to you, but we have used provolone as well as Swiss…. however, this time it was yogurt cheese that we purchase at the local bulk food store, which was very mild.

“Candy Onion” French Onion Soup

  • 4 Tb butter
  • 1 giant candy onion sliced into 1/4″ rings (or 4 medium onions)
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 32 oz beef broth
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 Tb Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tb Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 C Chuck’s Hard Cider (or red wine)
  • 1 Tb dried parsley
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, tied
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Croutons and cheese if desired

In a stock pan over medium/low heat, melt the butter and slowly cook the onions, garlic and salt until tender and almost gooey. This is best done slowly, stirring frequently, for 30-40 minutes.

Add the broth, worchestershire, cider and herbs and simmer another 20 minutes or so. Add the vinegar and remove thyme and bay leaves. Serve in bowls with croutons and top with sliced cheese, melted under the broiler.

Candy Onion Soup

Flax Seed Bread (For Croutons)

  • 2 C ground flax seed
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb erythritol (or sweetener of choice)
  • 5 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/3 C coconut oil
  • 1 Tb dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ground pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine well using a whisk. Add eggs, water and oil, combining completely. Stir in seasonings. Let sit for a couple minutes to thicken slightly. Grease a baking pan with butter (I used a 9″ by 9″ stone baking dish.) Spread batter evenly and bake for about 20 minutes.

To make croutons: Cut bread into 1/2″ cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray and add seasoning if desired (I used garlic salt.) Bake at 275 for another 20 minutes, stirring the pan occasionally to dry them more evenly. Because the egg content is so high, these will not be the dried out and hard croutons that you might be used to, but they will work well for holding up the cheese on the French Onion soup.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Socca Saga! Or Chickenpea Flat Bread Pizza Crust (tried and tried again…)

Socca pizza is new to me, but I think I may be on the tail-end of this trend, as I found numerous recipes and blog entries about this flatbread style pizza made from chickpea flour. The quest for socca actually started out as a quest for a good grain free pizza crust recipe using garbanzo bean flour, as I scored a nice bag of organic at a local bulk store, and was interested in using it in recipes. Chickpea flour is one of the healthier alternatives on my flour chart, because it is low in net carbs and has a decent amount of fiber and protein.

This is the “flopped” version. Still delicious!

The concept of this crust is pretty simple, but it took me a couple tries to get a pan that cooperated with my intentions 😉 The recipes that I found all called for a cast iron skillet, but the only cast iron one I have is enameled, and unfortunately it didn’t work the way I had hoped. The flatbread wouldn’t come loose from the bottom to be flipped, so I ended up broiling it for a couple minutes to get the top set before adding toppings and baking it. It turned out more like a pizza casserole, but my son was totally thrilled with it, and thought it tasted like lasagna!

 

 

The next attempt was MUCH better (at least in terms of making a flippable crust), as I used a stainless steel Cuisinart skillet that I have had for ages (it is really heavy and beautiful); it was a garage sale score for just a few dollars! I have been very lucky to combine retail purchases with amazing finds at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets to help outfit my kitchen with the essentials (and NON essentials as well!)

 

Basil fresh from the garden

Basil and Mozzarella

For toppings, use whatever you wish that fits into your dietary plan. I love tomato sauce, but am careful to choose those that are low in carbs. Organicville Gluten Free tomato basil sauce has only 6g of  carbs per serving, while many others are well into the teens… so be sure to read labels! I love garden fresh basil on pizza, so I combined chopped basil with the mozzarella cheese to be sure the flavor was infused into every bite!

 

Tomatoes on my half!

Socca Pizza Crust (Chickpea)

  • 2/3 C chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C cold water
  • 1 Tb olive or coconut oil
  • optional: add seasonings such as garlic powder, cracked pepper and dried herbs
  1. Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes, then whisk in the oil. The batter will be relatively thin.
  2. Batter

    Heat skillet over medium/high and grease well with oil (I used coconut oil.)

  3. While skillet is heating, also preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Gently pour the batter into the pan in a round shape, smoothing out if needed. It’s best to do this quickly, as the batter will begin to cook as soon as it hits the heated surface.
  5. As the edges start to get set, I worked a sharp spatula underneath to keep it from becoming too stuck. When the edges are browned and it seems set (a few minutes), carefully flip. I used two spatulas to make this easier.
  6. You can bake on the same pan if it is oven proof, or transfer to another baking sheet. Add whatever toppings you desire and bake until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Delicious with crispy edges!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuscan Shrimp, Full of Flavor!

Tuscan Shrimp, Full of Flavor!
Tuscan Shrimp and Veggies over Spaghetti Squash

Tuscan Shrimp and Veggies over Spaghetti Squash

Back in the pasta days, it was the norm for me to whip up a pan-full of something yummy every so often to dish out over the top of linguine or penne, but even then, it was all about the concoction on top, and the pasta was very much secondary. Luckily for us, this translates well to gluten free eating and using a base of spaghetti squash. This is one of those Tossed-Together dishes, where I was cooking on the fly, and really didn’t measure anything at all, but I have tried to recap as accurately as I can.. though there is plenty of room for improvisation here.

Tuscan Shrimp and Veggies

Tuscan Shrimp and Veggies

Shrimp with loads of healthy veggies over a bed of spaghetti squash… what’s not to like?? Well, according to my son, the shrimp and spaghetti squash, ha, so I made two different versions of this dish 😉 I have to say that the flavors were absolutely stunning together, and it was one of those meals that kept giving us flashbacks later, wishing like crazy that we had some leftovers! I guess I’ll just have to make it again, SOON.

Tuscan Shrimp and Veggies over Spaghetti Squash

Cook your spaghetti squash ahead of time, I did mine the day before.
I used a good amount of coconut oil (maybe 3 Tb) to saute the following veggies until tender:

  • Sauteing brussles sprouts and vidalias

    Sauteing brussels sprouts and vidalias

    1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered. I add these first because they take longer to cook

  • 1 slivered vidalia onion, added next
  • 1/4C soft sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 of a large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

When the veggies are tender, remove to a dish and set aside. Saute the following over medium heat, stirring occasionally:

  • 1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

When the shrimp are nearly done, about 5 minutes, add:

  • handful of fresh herbs, chopped. I used mostly fresh basil, with some oregano and savory added in
  • 1/4 C pinenuts
  • 1-2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Heat through and then add the veggies back in. Add more coconut oil or butter as needed during cooking to keep from sticking. Serve immediately over a bed of spaghetti squash.

Veggies (no shrimp) over seasoned beans for the kidlet

Vegetarian version: Veggies (no shrimp) over seasoned beans for the teen

We are big fans of veggies at our house, and this dish was a major hit. It would be fantastic even without the succulent shrimp (vegetarian) or wonderful using chicken breast as well. The meatiness of the shrimp and brussels sprouts were well matched, and the sundried tomato and balsamic added a little zing. The sesame seeds were pretty in black, but the white ones would work just as well. My son is not a fan of food that swims, so his was shrimpless and served over a small serving of northern beans that I heated in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FAST FISH! Tahini Lemon Salmon

Salmon is my go-to fish of choice! I love that it is insanely easy to cook (400 degrees, 15-20 minutes), and that you can flavor it in so many ways… PLUS it is healthy! We all know by now that it is a great course of healthy fats and omega 3’s, and to top it off, it’s strongly anti-inflammatory.

This is another one of my recipes that I will call more of a method, because it is so unstructured when I do it…

  • Take a fresh salmon filet, rinsed and patted dry… 
  • rub both sides with coconut oil and place skin side down in baking dish…
  • salt and pepper to your taste…
  • smear about a tablespoon of tahini over the flesh side…
  • top with the zest of one lemon and a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley…
  • bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • SIMPLE delicious!

As a side, we sauteed chopped baby broccoli (put in the pan first for 2+ minutes because it takes longer to cook), along with napa cabbage and spinach in coconut oil, finishing with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sesame seeds.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spicy Crab Cakes (Low carb, Gluten free)

When avoiding wheat flours that contain gluten, there are many other types of flours that one can use in its place, such as rice, sorghum, or tapioca flours which are still high in carbs. Since we are also on a low carb diet to promote weight loss, we choose to use the alternatives of almond or coconut flours.

This is a crab cake recipe that I came up with for our Friday night treat, and I chose to use coconut flour because I felt that the slightly sweet taste would work well with the sweetness of the crab meat and the heat of the chipotle pepper, while acting as a glue to hold the delicate patties in shape. Crab cakes often have fillers such as potato, which increases the carbs and can also disguise the flavor of the crab… I skipped this, since we like our crab cakes to be ALL about the crab.The Parmesan cheese takes the place of breadcrumbs as a coating, and browns up nicely in the oven. This is similar to the method used in Parmesan Perch.

Crab cakes should be refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to baking, to help them hold their shape.

Spicy Gluten Free Crab Cakes

  • 1/4C celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium leek, washed well and finely diced
  • coconut oil for sauteing
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2T mayonnaise
  • 2T heavy cream
  • 6 oz crab meat (I used refrigerated in a packet)
  • 1/2 chipotle pepper, canned, finely diced (seeded if you prefer milder)
  • 2tsp capers, diced
  • 2Tb fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tb coconut flour
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 C Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Saute the celery and leek in coconut oil until tender, 2-3 minutes, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, mayonnaise and cream. Gently fold in the crab meat. Add the leeks, celery, chipotle pepper, capers and parsley, mixing gently. Add coconut flour, 1 Tb at a time, mixing well. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture will be soft, but should be manageable. If it is too delicate, add a small amount of additional coconut flour. Divide mixture into about 6 medium patties, dredging each one in the grated Parmesan cheese before setting on a plate. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill cakes and make them a little easier to handle. When they are chilled, bake at 450 degrees on a silicone baking mat or parchment-lined sheet for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately with tartar or roumelade sauce.

Sauce: The sauce I used was a base of 1/2C mayo and 2Tb cream seasoned with a finely diced gerkin pickle, dash of hot sauce, 1/2 diced chipotle and 1tsp dijon mustard with a squeeze of lemon.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Caprese, So Easy!

Fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, herbs and olive oil, tastes and smells just like summer!

 

It’s mid-May and Michigan is just gorgeous! Sunny weekend coming up with temps in the 70’s and 80’s, I feel so fortunate! We had an early spring that stayed moderate, with enough moisture, which should be good for all the growing things. Especially gardens… I get so excited for the vegetable garden to start producing, and I am especially looking forward to the tomatoes and basil!

While none of this is from my chunk of land (yet!) it still smells and tastes like summer, and is a delicious and easy side dish that goes well with all sorts of lighter meals.This recipe serves 3, but you can tweak it for more or less, this is just a guideline. The herb paste I used was refrigerated and in a tube; it was a combination of basil, parsley and oregano. (If you have fresh basil, layer the basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese, and drizzle with olive oil.) Cilantro would also yield a very fresh flavor maybe with a squeeze of lime, for a different spin. Mmmmmm, love fresh herbs!

Insalata Caprese (“Capri style salad“) is a very simple salad which is said to come from the Campagnia region of Italy. Ideally, every ingredient would be local and freshly harvested, but if you have good quality ingredients, it will still be delicious!

Layer in 3 individual dishes:

  • 9 fresh tomato slices (about 2 tomatoes)
  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella (8 oz)
  • 2TB herb paste (made fresh or purchased)
    mixed with: 2TB good olive oil to make a pesto
  • 2TB pine nuts (optional)
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction (optional, I did not use it this time)

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Garlic Tomato Scrambled Eggs with Garden Herbs (Low carb, Gluten free)

Garlic Tomato Scrambled Eggs with Garden Herbs

 

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!!! Just a quick breakfast post for Tuesday morning…

I still struggle with eating a morning meal most days, and I know it’s important. It’s funny, I only realized I was gluten intolerant this year, but my go-to has always been an “Eggy” breakfast. I didn’t know why, but I always felt terrible if I ate waffles, pancakes, doughnuts, or cereal, so I didn’t… but those are generally the most convenient, so I had a bad habit of skipping it entirely.

Today I wanted eggs, but was craving more flavor:

  1. Saute 1 clove garlic, finely diced, in 1 tsp butter until tender (or browned if you like the taste)
  2. Add 1/2 tomato, finely diced, saute a minute more
  3. Add 2 organic eggs scrambled with 1 TB heavy cream
  4. Scramble eggs until nearly cooked
  5. Add 1 oz shredded white sharp cheddar, toss to melt
  6. Plate the eggs and top with your choice of fresh garden herbs
    Today I used fresh chives and oregano.

Really quick, delicious, low carb and gluten free. The garlic and tomato really add depth of flavor, and choosing sharp cheddar adds a nice zing to the balance. Fresh herbs are great with eggs, and having a few in the garden or pots will definitely add a nice dimension to your cooking. The earliest herbs in my garden are chives, oregano, sage and thyme since they are perennials and come back every year. It always takes some patience waiting for the tender annual basil to get big enough that it won’t die from me stripping off the leaves too soon, 😉 but basil is a fabulous complement to eggs, tomato and garlic as well.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: