Skip to main content

Author Archives: nlhartie

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Broiled bacon wrapped sea scallops
Broiled bacon wrapped sea scallops

I love scallops, but they are pricy, and I usually make cioppino or something else where a pound feels filling for 4 servings. But I decided to wrap them in bacon and the serving you see in photo was filling and delicious! The salty, smoky bacon paired beautifully with the slightly sweet scallops. I will be making this again!  (It doesn’t hurt that the bacon I use is the best on the planet–pasture raised from Hemlock Hill Farm!) Pairing the scallops with spinach simply prepared with a bit of butter and half and half also worked well. I’m going to wait until asparagus is in season and use them the next time I make this dish.

Grilled or Broiled Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Serves 4

1 pound sea scallops (about 16)

8 slices pasture raised, nitrate free bacon

Avocado oil

Salt and pepper

Toothpicks

Cook bacon until almost done. Soak toothpicks in water. Let scallops sit in oil, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. Cut bacon in half and wrap scallops, securing with a toothpick. If broiling, put scallops 4” from heat source. Cook 2-3 minutes per side.

Spinach Power!

Spinach!

Something about the combination of spinach with this lamb loaf that is so good and satisfying!

I buy Trader Joe’s frozen spinach and it’s a bargain for less than $2.00 for a pound! (Save the expensive, raw baby spinach for salads!) I get this pesticide free one or organic and always have a bag or two on hand.

I tend to buy most of my vegetables raw, but frozen has all the nutrients and doesn’t spoil. I like frozen peas and spinach.

Lamb Loaf/Burgers and Haricot Verts

Lamb loaf and haricot verts
Lamb loaf with haricot verts

I’ve been making lamb burgers and loaf for years, since buying the prepared burgers once at Whole Foods about 10 years ago. They list their ingredients on prepared foods, so I made mine based on it. I created the yogurt dressing for the grilled burgers, but it would be good on the lamb loaf as well.

Pictured is steamed haricot verts with butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Haricot verts are French green beans, They are smaller and thinner than American beans. They are also more tender and less starchy. I think they are superior to American beans.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that cooking veggies properly is key to enjoying them. So is getting the freshest vegetables possible. While these guys were not rotten, they had seen better days and tasted starchy.

Lamb Loaf and Burgers

1 pound ground lamb

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Handful kalamata olives, chopped

5 ounces goat cheese feta, crumbled

1 small red onion, diced

1 tablespoon oregano

Pepper

Add for lamb loaf

1 egg

½ cup almond meal

½ pack gelatin

½ bunch of scallion instead of onion

Handful of parsley, chopped

¼ cup of milk or half and half

If making loaf, combine egg, gelatin and milk and let sit a few minutes. Combine all ingredients. If making loaf, bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Burgers, grill or pan fried until cooked to your liking.

Dressing

Greek yogurt or sour cream

Garlic, pressed

Salt

Cucumber shredded

Eat Your Veggies!

Andouille Sausage with Broccoli and Pine Nuts

Do you like vegetables?

If the answer is no, it may be because you grew up eating them cooked poorly.

For example, my husband grew up with vegetables that had the shit cooked out of them. So, he thought he hated asparagus, because they were overcooked and limp and stringy.

When you aren’t sure, test them for doneness. When I cook vegetables, I’ll often pull out a piece, run it under cold water, and taste it. How cooked you like vegetables is a personal thing—so by testing them as they cook, you’ll learn what you consider done.

Plain veggies are not only boring, but without a fat like avocado oil, butter, nuts or cheese, the nutrients don’t completely absorb into your body. So, add some real fat dressing to your salad and butter or oil to cooked vegetables—they will taste much better and it’s healthier!

Lemon juice and zest and garlic are good on most vegetables. Salt and pepper are essential. Of course, cheese is always yummy. Not into dairy? Try some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. Buy raw nuts like pine, slivered almonds, pecans and walnut and sauté them in butter or brown in oven for a great addition.

I also like to add extra vegetables to stews and soups to make them more flavorful and healthier. Kale is fantastic because it reheats well and doesn’t fall apart.

If you are bored with vegetables, it may be because you eat only a limited variety. I always try to expand what veggies I eat. A good place to experiment is at your farmer’s market or ethnic grocery store. Asian grocery stores have a huge variety and I love the bok choy, yard-long beans and things like lotus root.

The next few posts will be about preparing interesting vegetable dishes that you will love!

Broccoli with Pine Nuts

1 pound broccoli florets

½ cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon butter

Zest from 1 lemon

Parmesan

Stem broccoli until just tender, about 5 minutes. While cooking, heat a butter on low and when melted, add pine nuts. Cook until light brown. Drain broccoli. Toss together broccoli, pine nuts, salt and pepper and parmesan.

Keto Korean Hot Pot

Keto Korean Hot Pot


My Korean Hot Pot is not a traditional, as I add lots of veggies and protein and it becomes a full meal. I added one duck leg confit for 4 servings for flavor, but if you want this meal to be vegetarian, just omit and use vegetable stock.

I like to bake the tofu for the chewy texture, but it is not necessary. The Shirataki noodles are always a good fake out.

I used red cabbage, not white, because it’s prettier!

This dish is very low in carbs and moderately high in fiber, with the cabbage/kimchi. It’s a tasty and light meal.

Korean Hot Pot

Serves 4

1 quart chicken bone stock or vegetable stock

Avocado oil or chicken fat

8-12 ounces kimchi, roughly chopped with juices

1 pound soft or firm tofu

1-2 packages shirataki noodles, drained and rinsed and chopped roughly

½ bunch scallion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

¼-1/2 cabbage, sliced thin

1 zucchini, spiralized

2 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons tamari

1 tablespoon Korean red pepper

Black pepper

1 duck leg confit, or small amount of any meat chopped into small pieces (optional)

If desired, bake firm tofu—cut into small pieces and add some sesame oil, tamari, black pepper and marinate. Bake 45 minutes at 350. Otherwise, simply cube soft or firm tofu.

Heat oil on medium low and add garlic, scallion and meat and cook until garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add stock, carrots and cabbage and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except sesame oil. Turn off heat and add sesame seed oil. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Blackened Pork Tenderloin, Yard Long Beans and Riced Cauliflower

Blackened Pork Tenderloin, Yard Long Beans and Riced Cauliflower

I was called for jury duty earlier this week, and had time to kill at lunch, so I wandered into Chinatown. All the product markets reminded me that I hadn’t had yard long green beans in ages, so I picked up a bunch. They are so much better than regular green beans; more on par with haricot verts, but different. If you have never tried them, give the yard -longs a shot!

I cook the blackened tenderloin in the oven, which saves my stove from becoming a mess and couldn’t be easier!

Blackened Pork Tenderloin

Yard Long Beans

Serves 4

Chinese yard-long beans

1 pound yard long beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

Butter

Slivered raw almonds

Salt and pepper

Cook beans in a bit of water until they are bright green, 2-3 minutes. Drain water. On a medium flame, melt butter and add beans and almonds. Stir until almonds are lightly brown and beans are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Crispy Tofu with Baby Bok Choy and Shirataki Noodles in Peanut Sauce

Low carb crispy Tofu with Baby Bok Choy and Shirataki Noodles in Peanut Sauce

This peanut sauce recipe has been adapted over 30 years from the traditional Szechuan Cold Noodle recipe found in many Chinese restaurants. I made it constantly in my 20’s, when I was broke and would buy 3-pound bags of pasta. I switched to the traditional Asian noodles when I had more money later.

The peanut sauce is delicious, but unlike the Asian version, I add no sugar. This sauce can obviously be used on noodles, but it is fantastic to use in this dish or others that are low carb. I made this for dinner Friday, and had lots of sauce left and will make it again Monday with the addition of Shirataki noodles. If you don’t want crispy tofu, it is also good baked or even cubed and heated with the bok choy. If you aren’t into tofu, substitute chicken.

Trust me on this—the peanut sauce is so good you could add it to dirty socks and they’d taste delicious!

Crispy Tofu with Baby Bok Choy and Shirataki Noodles in Peanut Sauce

Serves 2

1 pound extra firm tofu, dried and crumbled

1 pound baby bok choy, cleaned with stems and leaves separated and both roughly chopped

1 bag Shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained

4 tablespoons peanut or avocado oil

 5 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons ginger, minced

3 tablespoon black and/or white sesame seeds

1 bunch scallions, chopped

2 tablespoon San-J® All Purpose Szechuan Hot and Spicy Sauce

1 cup crunchy or smooth natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Hot pepper flakes to taste

Water

Turn broiler on and place rack 6” from heat. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix  2 tablespoons of peanut oil into tofu. Add salt, pepper and some hot pepper flakes. Broil for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until light brown.

Make sauce: on medium low heat, add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and add garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, hot pepper and cook a couple minutes. Add peanut butter, tamari, San-J® All Purpose Szechuan Hot and Spicy Sauce and mix. Add water until desired consistency. Turn off heat and add sesame oil. Taste and adjust to taste.

Heat pan with 1 tablespoon peanut oil on high and add bok choy stems. Cook for about 5 minutes and add leaves. cook 2 minutes and add a bit of peanut sauce. Stir. Add Shirataki noodles and stir until hot.

Put noodles and bok choy into a bowl, add crispy tofu and top with sauce. Bring extra sauce to table.

Artichoke Spinach Dip or Side Dish

Artichoke spinach dip with jalapenos
Artichoke spinach dip with jalapenos!

This dip has been around for years, and for good reason: it’s awesome! It’s also the perfect Keto appetizer or side dish, with few carbs and even some fiber for good measure! with I kicked it up another notch by adding jalapeños. Just omit if you don’t like spicy food. This is so tasty that I wanted it as a side dish with chicken, but without all the richness, so I made a batch without the mayonnaise and voila! It would also be nice with beef or pork; basically, anytime you have a plain meat dish that you want to dress up.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 can artichokes, squeeze excess water, roughly chop

1 pound package frozen chopped spinach, allow to defrost and squeeze excess water

1 cup mayonnaise (omit if making as a side dish)

1 cup parmesan, grated

2-3 jalapeños, seeds removed and chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

8 oz jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine everything and bake 350 for 15 minutes or until hot.  Serve with veggies

Roughies

"Roughie"--water with psyllium, matcha tea, flax, collagen and chia seeds

Fiber is good for you, but it can be hard to get what you need on a low carb diet. One way I get fiber in the morning is with a “Roughie”. (Yup, I made the name up.)

For years, I drank smoothies—a concoction of almond or soy milk, fruit, psyllium, flax and other ingredients. I started drinking them some 25+ years ago, when I was still in my twenties and my inherited high cholesterol prompted my cardiologist to suggest psyllium. Psyllium is heart healthy and helps with regularity because it’s all fiber. Flax is also fiber rich. I drank the smoothies and got lots of fiber and my digestive system was always happy.

Then I started the Keto diet and no longer wanted all that high carb fruit. So, I stuck the psyllium, flax and more into a glass of water and chugged it. It is pretty nasty, but it does give me a nice fiber boost in the morning and gets things going! The Roughie was born!

Fiber rich powerhouses: hemp haearts, chia seeds, flax and psyllium

I also add matcha tea, which gives it that color. You can experiment, but I use pasture-raised collagen, matcha tea, psyllium, flax, and chia seeds. By experiment, I mean to start with small dosages of whatever fiber-rich additives you want to try.

A word of advice…both psyllium and chia seeds expand when in water, making water thick. So make your drink and consume it as quickly as you can!

See my post why fiber is so good for you.

Roasted Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower

Roasted chicken with broccoli and cauliflower

This is cooking 101 and couldn’t be more delicious, yet so simple to make.

It’s also the perfect low car/Keto dinner.

Buy whatever chicken parts you like on the bone. Use whatever vegetables you are in the mood for; broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, carrots, parsnips, cabbage and whatever other root veggies you want. The drippings from the chicken will coat the vegetables and make them soft and tasty!

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment (to cut down on cleaning.) Put chicken skin side down, add salt and pepper and bake 30 minutes. Depending on how cooked you want your vegetables, you can add 15 minutes in, or wait 30 minutes. Add veggies and some salt and pepper.  At 30, flip chicken. You can add some fresh or dried rosemary or sage or other spice, if desired. Stir veggies to make sure the fat from chicken coats them. 30 minutes later and you have dinner!

MENU