Monday, May 28, 2012

Rosemary Olive Bread – Elana’s Pantry

I made bread this last week with huge success!  That is, if you measure success by making something for the first time and it is edible, which this absolutely was.

I don’t dream about buttered toast anymore, but every once in a while I get hungry for it.  I had been wanting to make some of the quick breads in Elana Amsterdam’s cookbook, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook (click here for Elana's blog), but the missing ingredient was sourcing arrowroot powder.  I eventually found some at Amazon and it arrived last Tuesday.  The secret ingredients to Paleo bread are arrowroot powder and almond butter.

Arrowroot and almond flour

All from Costco - you can certainly use stevia instead of agave

Kalamatas and rosemary from my herb garden

I made the dough, and it was sweet.  I was skeptical how good sweet bread with rosemary and chopped kalamatas would taste, but the baked product was nothing like the raw dough.
Bread dough - funky, huh?

A pan that is too big will yield stumpy bread

Stumpy but tasty!

We’ve been eating it throughout the week, and it has been delicious!  I have to say that the bread tastes better toasted rather than not, and you may want to spread it with something a little salty: grass-fed butter (Kerry’s Gold – at Costco), goat cheese, olive tapenade or a homemade tomato compote.

I baked the dough in the wrong pan and it came out flat, looking like biscotti when sliced.  I will better follow the directions and cook it in a smaller pan next time so I get a better bread loaf.

In my amateur calculation, I think the net carb count is around 60 grams for the entire recipe.  If you are in Atkins Induction, this is not a good choice, but at all other phases a skinny slice (we get about 12 slices out of this recipe) with some fat (see above) is a nice snack.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shirataki Noodles

I’ve been reading up on shirtaki noodles, mostly because I REALLY continue to miss Pasta Putanesca with bucatini.  I used to make this delicious dish every 10 days in my carb loving days, and I savored every briny, pomodoran bite.

And with most things low-carb, you quickly figure out that you don’t miss the pasta, you miss the sauce.  I thought about spaghetti squash, but it just isn’t the same for this particular recipe.

I first learned about shirataki noodles, which are made from yams and have a miniscule carb count, at Sugarfree Sheila’s website.  After doing some research on the nutritive effects – good and bad – I decided to make a purchase.  I hunted and hunted at my local grocery store and could not locate them. 

Curse you, Texas grocery stores, for only stocking grain-based noodles!   What if I don’t want rice noodles!  What if I want the veggie noodles that skinny people eat!  Why do I have to order on Amazon!  Why is it…oh, there’s an employee; let’s ask him.

Uh, I was in the wrong section.

Shirataki noodles are located in the refrigerated section next to the tofu and seitan (satan).  It’s a good thing I’m an introvert and didn’t have a visible temper tantrum.  J

Instead of using the noodles with my coveted Putanesca, I used them in a recipe I have from Wheat Belly.  We hadn’t had Asian cuisine in a while, and a chicken and veggie stir fry seemed like the most logical experiment for these yam-based noodles.  Note: some shirataki are made from tofu, so if you have soy issues, beware.

The package I purchased advertised 4.5 servings, but we got 3 out of it.

When you open the package, it smells like a place where kelp and fish go to die.  Quickly rinse.

Instead of boiling them, I just put them in my stir-fry for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.  The noodles sort-of absorbed the sauce, but not as much as I would have liked.  I can’t tell if that is due to my cooking method or their inherent limitations.

Nutritionally speaking, these noodles had 1 gram of carbs per serving.  They have no fat, are calorie free (which is illogical because 1 carb must have a calorie equivalent), and have no stated vitamin nutrients.  Hmmm.

They resembled glass noodles, but were not as chewy because there’s no gluten.  They mostly slipped down our throat, and they did not compete with the taste of the stir-fry which contained chicken, mushrooms, green beans, bamboo, sesame, ginger, and tamari.

My conclusion:

I’m not sure I’ll be eating these things on a regular basis except for once every couple of months when I have an urge for stir-fry.  As for the Putanesca, I’m planning to serve it over fish.

Have you tried any new low-carb foods lately?


Monday, May 14, 2012

MDA's Lemon Parsley Brisket

I’ve had my slow cooker for a couple of months now, and I’m mostly upset that I didn’t purchase it sooner.  It is the best!  I had some leftover pulled chicken and pulled pork the other day that I wasn’t able to pass off as burrito bowls any longer (husband said, “No more this week!”).  So I made tortilla-less soup, slipped in the leftover meat, and just like that a new recipe using leftovers was created.

I love using leftovers in creative ways.

But we’re not here to talk about my frugality in tricking the spouse into eating food he previously refused; we’re here to talk about brisket.

The recipe for this meal is at Mark’s Daily Apple and it reminds me of an Italian recipe I saw one time wherein flank steak was marinated in a paste of garlic and lemon, grilled, and served with an Italian salsa verde.  This brisket is informed by this flavor combination. 

My hand-dandy tool to smoosh the garlic and salt.

The recipe is written for the brisket to be roasted in the oven, but I opted for my slow cooker because:

·         Slow-cooking meat is nutritionally superior to fast-cooking meat

·         It’s hot already in Austin, so the oven stays off! (at least for long periods)

·         I’m decreasing the cost-per-use ratio of the slow cooker.

Here’s a picture of the seared meat before the cooker is on; this is a 2 ½ pound slab of meat:

And here’s a picture before I stick my fork in:

Do give it a try!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Travelling Low Carb

I’ve been travelling off and on for the last several weeks.  One of the biggest saboteurs to my low-carb eating is not being at home, and to be honest it’s because my resolve go on vacation and I lure myself into eating things I shouldn’t.  You know these excuses, “I’ll never be here again!” or, “Honestly, will this artisan pizza really hurt me?”, or even worse, “The pain will be worth it!”

On my latest quick trip to Seattle, my husband and I visited old haunts we used to frequent when we lived here.  Thankfully, we skipped Top Pot doughnuts, which was just a couple of block away from where we lived, knowing that the intoxicating smell of yeast and sugar would be too much to pass up.  Also, I know what sugar does to me!  So instead, we decided to murder our intestines with Neapolitan pizza.

We were so excited to drive out to the pizza place because of the incredible yummy toppings and sauce, but also because we were being bad.  Oh so bad.  As in, “Shhh, I won’t be blogging about this!” bad.

Well, we went, we ordered, we ate, and then something terrible (but good) happened.  We realized it wasn’t worth it.  An hour after eating, I was feeling a little light-headed and the bloating was just starting.  The taste wasn’t as savory as we remembered, the service was just above mediocre, and it was all darkened by the intestinal pain we knew was forthcoming.  And did it ever come.

My husband exclaimed very frustratingly, “Is there nothing we can eat anymore!”  Well, this no-wheat lifestyle is limited if you spend your life travelling or not eating at home.  And our foray into dinner to find something to soothe our tummies and nourish (not kill) us yielded this:

The above is an wedge salad delightfully sprinkled with blue cheese, blue cheese dressing made in house (so no gluten startches), tomatoes wedges, and bacon!  Wheat-free, low-carb and completely delicious.  Yes, darling, there are things to eat.

And then we went to the grocery store and picked up lots of low carb treats, including these very ripe, organic strawberries that the Seattle Whole Foods is stocking.  Strawberries and full-fat Greek yogurt is modestly low-carb, and it makes a delicious dessert and breakfast.  The picture you’re looking at is my husband’s and my breakfast this morning.  Those muffins are egg and sausage muffins I brought from home in case of a food emergency.

 Marcona almonds from the bulk foods section - better than French Fries!

It’s Monday morning, and I’m still feeling the digestive effects of getting rid of Saturday afternoon’s pizza orgy.  I’m ready to go home and have some bacon.

How do you stay low-carb and wheat-free while travelling?  Isn’t it awful how wheat is in just about everything when you dine out!