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Author Archives: nlhartie

Frittata

Frittata

Lately, I’ve been making frittatas for breakfast—they are low in carbs, and loaded with nutritious veggies and eggs. They also keep me full for hours.

I like to mix up the veggies, meat (usually none) and cheese that I use. If you grate or shred the veggies, cooking time is reduced.

Frittata

5 servings

Choose 3-4 of the following:

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 roasted red pepper, diced

1-2 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces, grated or shredded

1-2 cups cauliflower, cut into small pieces, grated or shredded

1-2 cups squash, grated and squeezed of excess water

1-2 leeks, diced

12 ounces mushrooms, diced or thinly sliced

1-2 sausages diced or bacon

1 cup shredded chicken, pork, or beef

1 cup tofu, diced

Any other leftovers you may have in the fridge

1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese

8 large eggs, enough to cover the ingredients

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil, butter, ghee or bacon fat

Heat the oven to 400°F.

  1. A cast iron pan works really well for this, as you start stove top and end up popping it into the oven. If the meat is raw, cook that first and then remove it from the pan to add back in later.  Add choice of fat to a medium high stove and heat add enough to cover pan. Sauté the vegetables. Cook the vegetables with a little oil over medium-high heat, starting with the longer-cooking veggies like onions and ending with softer veggies like red peppers. Add any meat or tofu and cook just enough to warm through.
  2. Season the vegetables: Since the vegetables will be mixed with eggs, you want to over-season them a bit here. Add whatever seasonings you wish to use along with a half teaspoon of salt. Let this cook for a minute, then give it a taste. It should taste strong, but still good. Add more spices or salt if needed.
  3. Add the cheese: Spread the vegetables into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let it just start to melt.
  4. Add the eggs: Whisk the eggs together and pour them over the vegetables and cheese. Tilt the pan to make sure the eggs settle evenly over all the vegetables. Cook for a minute or two until you see the eggs at the edges of the pan beginning to set.
  5. Bake the frittata: Put the entire pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the eggs are set. To check, cut a small slit in the center of the frittata. If raw eggs run into the cut, bake for another few minutes; if the eggs are set, pull the frittata from the oven. Cool for five minutes, then slice into wedges and serve. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for a week

Fat is Flavor and it’s Good for You!

Fat is Good for You!

Adding fat to vegetables brings out their flavors and makes them delicious. Fats like oil, butter, cheese, nuts and avocadoes do more than add flavor—they help the body absorb nutrients from vegetables like lycopene, vitamin D and beta-carotene, which have been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Thus, eating a salad or steamed veggies without any fat deprives your body of these healthy nutrients, which are known as carotenoids.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

While I enjoy cooking, I’m no fool and really like to make shortcuts and cut the cooking time, especially since a low carb diet means cooking from scratch. For example, I cooked Buffalo chicken thighs for dinner the other night and made enough for chicken salad for the weekend. I bought 8 thighs instead of 2 and put all of them on a sheet pan and cooked them up. I let the 6 leftover thighs cool and made them into salad the next day. Easy-breezy!

I don’t have amounts for the salad, because you go by personal preferences here and how much leftover chicken you have.

Buffalo Chicken Salad 

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Hot Sauce, like Frank’s

Mayonnaise

Buffalo Chicken, cut into small pieces

Celery, chopped

Roasted pecans, chopped

Red onion, sliced thin on a mandolin and squeezed dry of excess liquid

Serve on a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing. Chunks of blue cheese are a nice addition.

Flower Power!

Flower Power!

Treat yourself to cut flowers! Make them last longer by refrigerating at night. Studies have proven they actually improve your mood and make you happy. I buy them weekly and have several orchids plants in my apartment. Orchids used to be expensive, but they are affordable in places like Whole Foods and Trader Joes and they last months.

Course Ground Pepper for Me!

Black Pepper

Peppermills bum me out because they impede my progress when I’m cooking. I have yet to find one with an output that is even close to adequate. Because I use tons of black pepper. But I don’t like stale pepper, either–like the herbs and spices at the grocery store that are sold in tiny bottles and are who knows how old (and are expensive, to boot!) The solution is buying a pound of coarsely ground black pepper at my favorite place for all herbs, spices and teas, Rose Mountain Herbs. Their stuff is so fresh, cheap and organic! I fill my little stainless steel bowl with the pepper so I can scoop it out and freely add it to recipes. The rest of the pepper stays in the bag and remains fresh in the freezer.

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Kale, Bacon and Paneer Salad

Kale, Bacon and Paneer Salad

I had a beautiful head of kale from the farmer’s market, and decided to make salad.

I also had free-range bacon from where I get all my bacon—Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor, NY. I go there a few times a year and buy their thick-cut bacon; I package it in packs of four and freeze. I even use the fat for cooking eggs and such. Once you eat free-range, pasture fed meat, you’ll never go back. Humanely treated, better tasting and better for you!

I had some Paneer

Paneer Cheese

that needed to be used up, so I decided that would work fine. (If you can’t find this Indian cheese, gruyere or whatever else strikes your fancy is works.) Paneer is very plain tasting, unless you marinate it first in spices. But it has a fantastic chewy texture that is even better when eating low carb, because you brown it and it gets crusty on the outside, but stays soft inside and doesn’t melt. Very cool.

You will have plenty of dressing leftover for other salads and it will keep a couple weeks.

Kale Bacon and Paneer Salad

Serves 4

Medium head kale, spin removed and torn or cut into bite sized pieces

1 large carrot, spiralized

1 jicama, spiralized

1 8 ounce package of paneer, cut into small cubes

4 ounces bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces

Handful pecans, small pieces toasted

extra virgin olive or avocado oil

Massage a handful of oil into kale and let sit a bit. Heat a cast iron pan on medium low and add oil when hot add paneer, some salt and pepper and brown. Add remaining ingredients, dressing, and serve.

Dressing

(Will have leftover)

1 shallot

1 cup avocado oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon hot sauce, like Yuzu

Salt and pepper

Combine in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust according to taste.

 

Yuzu Hot Sauce 

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Vietnamese Lemon Grass Beef

Vietnamese Lemon Grass Beef

I have been eating a low carb diet for 1 ½ years now, but have been omitting sugar from recipes for years. Sugar is basically poison and I just prefer my savory food just that. One reason I taught myself to cook Vietnamese and Thai food is because restaurants tend to use a lot of sugar in their recipes. For example, most Thai restaurants make Pad Thai so sweet that I cannot eat it.

So, when I see a recipe with any sweetener—sugar, honey, maple syrup—I simply omit it. Don’t miss it; don’t want it in my food.

This recipe also calls for rice noodles; I simply didn’t use it.

A couple other modifications to the recipe: I spiralized and pickled the daikon and carrots to make them prettier and more flavorful. Pickle recipe below.

David Tanis recommends Red Boat fish sauce and I happen to agree with him—it’s the best fish sauce.

Red Boat Fish Sauce

I love the bright and clean flavors of Vietnamese food. Fresh herbs and lime keep it light for summer and fish sauce has that umami appeal that satisfies.

This is a wonderful dish I will make year round. The recipe.

Spiralized Pickled Carrots and Daikon

2 large carrots, spiralized

1 Daikon, spiralized

½ cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

Put veggies in a colander and salt. Let sit 15 minutes. Rinse and drain, squeeze out excess water. Boil enough water to cover vegetables. Pour water and vinegar on vegetables, let cool.

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Zucchini Slaw

Buffalo chicken thighs with roasted tomatoes and spiralized zucchini

I was in the mood for zucchini, but wanted it cold and raw and decided to make it into slaw. This was fast and easy and went well with the roasted Buffalo chicken thighs and roasted tomatoes.

2 medium zucchini, spiralized or shredded

1 small red onion/scallions, sliced thin

1 Lemon juice and zest

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil

Pepper

Salt

Salt zucchini, let sit 15, rinse and drain and squeeze dry. Add ingredients.

Low Carb Fish Tacos

Low Carb Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos, especially in summer! But on the low carb lifestyle, I wasn’t making them—that is, until I substituted a few ingredients to create a low-carb taco or tortilla shell! They are made with zucchini, parmesan and almond flour and are seriously good. You get the texture, but not the carbs! There are only 6 grams of carbs in ¼ cup of almond flour, so 2 tacos are about 3-4 grams of carbs.

I used scallops, but you can use swordfish, mahi mahi, shrimp, or whatever you like. You can grill the fish, bake it or sauté it, like I did for the scallops. A little salt and pepper and you’re done. The vegetables, sauce and tacos give it plenty of flavor.

I buy a small can of adobe chipotle pepper and put what I don’t need into a plastic container and freeze it.

I had it last night and will have it tonight with the addition of  delicious tomatoes from the farmer’s market! (I made enough sauce for two nights plus leftovers for salads–see end of post. Also made the whole batch of taco shells and will put leftovers in the toaster oven. Veggies and scallops will make fresh.)

I usually use red cabbage over napa or white–because it is more nutritious and it looks better–but the local store didn’t have any, so I settled for napa.

A perfect summer dinner!

Salad

4 servings

Small red cabbage (or napa), sliced thin or use a food processor

1 medium red onion sliced on thinnest blade on a mandolin

1 avocado, cut into small chunks

Handful grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 Kirby cucumbers, sliced on mandolin or use a food processor

4 radishes, sliced on mandolin or use a food processor

Chipotle Pepper Sauce

3/4 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraiche

Handful cilantro, chopped

1-2 canned adobe chipotle pepper with sauce

1 small garlic clove

Zest of one lime and juice

2 tablespoons of tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Mix all together with a blender

Toss salad with some pepper sauce to evenly coat. Add more sauce to cooked fish.

Low carb tortillas or taco shells

Low carb uncooked taco shells

Makes 4 tortilla and 8 taco shells

2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry

1 egg

½ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup almond flour

Salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

Heat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Dry zucchini with kitchen towel and place in bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Divide mixture into 4 for tortillas or 8 for tacos and spread in circles on paper. Make pretty thin; about 7”. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Peel off paper and cool. Spray with cooking oil and heat in toaster oven at 375 to make crisp, about 10 minutes.

Low carb, cooked taco shells

Salad for lunch with shrimp and dressing! Baby spinach, arugula, celery, avocado, parmesan and shrimp–delcicious!

Salad with shrimp and avocado with fish taco dressing
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