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Cucumber Salad with Crème Fraiche

Cucumber Salad with Creme Fraiche

Most cucumber salads call for sour cream and mayonnaise for the dressing. Kick it up a notch and use crème fraiche, instead—it will be the best cucumber salad you’ve ever had!

Crème fraiche is indulgent—it costs more than sour cream—but it just tastes better than sour cream and it has no additives. Crème fraîche is thicker, has a richer flavor, and is less tangy than sour cream. It has a fat content of about 30% and does not contain any added thickeners.

Sour cream has a fat content of about 20% and may include ingredients like gelatin, rennin, and vegetable enzymes to stabilize it and make it thicker.

This dressing is also fantastic on poached salmon. Thin the dressing down a bit with avocado or extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing–see recipe.

Cucumber Salad

½ bunch dill, stems removed and chopped

6 ounces crème fraiche or sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Juice from ½ a lemon

1 small red onion or a couple shallots, sliced thin by hand or on a mandolin

1 teaspoon salt

pepper

6 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced by hand or on a mandolin

Put cucumbers and onion in a colander and mix salt in. Let drain for 30-60 minutes.  Rinse and towel dry. Mix remaining ingredients and toss cucumbers and onion in and let sit about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

There will be more than enough dressing; if you have leftovers, make salad dressing. Put into a food processor 1 clove garlic, more dill, extra virgin olive oil, juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper and the extra dressing.

Blackened Turkey with Gazpacho & Avocado Chips

Cajun Seasoned Turkey Tenderloin with Gazpacho and Avocado Chips

If you’ve been reading my posts, you saw my bounty of tomatoes from the farmer’s market. I made a salad with fish, gazpacho soup, a pasta dish (cheat day) and this is leftover drained gazpacho over Cajun seasoned turkey tenderloin with avocado chips.

Buy premade spice mixture or make your own. Rose Mountain Herbs had a nice Cajun seasonings, or make your own.

I had turkey tenderloins, but chicken would work just as well.

Turkey Tenderloin

1-2 turkey tenderloins, cut into strips about ¼” thick and 2” long

Cajun or taco spice mix

Avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Heat a cast iron pan on medium high. Heat oil to cover bottom of pan. Shake mix onto turkey and mix it with your hands. Put turkey into pan and cook until done, about 5 minutes.

See my posts on how to make gazpatcho and avocado chips.

 

Gazpacho and Low Carb Grilled Cheese

Gazpatcho and Low Carb Grilled Cheese

I’ve been dreaming about gazpacho soup, made from heirloom tomatoes. So I made a big batch from the ones I bought from the farmer’s market the other day. (Couldn’t resist garnishing with microgreens from FM. :)) Thing is…nothing pairs as well as a grilled cheese sandwich with gazpacho soup. But how to make it low carb?

The answer was to use the low carb tortilla and taco shell recipe. I divided the recipe into 4 and made 2 large shells for one night’s dinner for my husband and I. I smeared bacon fat on one side of each, put cheese between the two shells on the ungreased sides and fried one big sandwich on my cast iron pan. The parmesan from the shell began to melt on the pan, so take care and cook a shorter period than you would using real bread.

Viola! Gazpacho and grilled cheese!

Gazpacho Soup

2 cloves garlic

1 small red onion

2-3 Kirby cucumbers peeled

1 large bell pepper

2-3 pounds tomatoes, cored

salt, pepper

parsley

1 serrano or jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or lemon

3 T olive oil

Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Hot sauce on side

Low Carb “Bread” for Grilled Cheese

Blend the garlic, hot pepper and onion and half the vegetables in a blender or food processor and hand chop the rest. Chill 6 plus hours.

Baked Tofu, Broccoli Salad and Riced Cauliflower

Baked Tofu, Broccoli Salad and Riced Cauliflower

Low carb and vegetarian can be tricky because beans are high in carbs and cheese has a lot of calories. So, when I want vegetarian, I often use organic tofu, which is low in calories and carbs. My favorite way to prepare it is baked. Use organic tofu; my favorite brand is The Bridge. In this recipe, the tofu stands alone, but usually I toss baked tofu into salads, stir-fries and stews. It’s a nice break from meat and fish and tasty, with a satisfying texture!

The broccoli salad recipe is from The New York Times.

Baked Tofu

1 pound extra firm tofu like The Bridge, rinse and dry

Tamari sauce

Sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350. Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces. Pour a bit of tamari sauce and sesami oil on tofu and use your hands to get the mix on all sides. Bake, 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

Riced Cauliflower

Boil cauliflower in a bit of water and cook a few minutes. Drain well, squeezing out liquid with the back of a cooking spoon. Add oil to a cast iron pan and when hot, add cauliflower. When hot, add scallion, salt and pepper. Turn off heat and add sesame oil.

Baked Cod with Tomato Salad and Beet Greens

Yesterday, I posted a photo of all the lovely heirloom tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market. I used the grape tomatoes as a salad over a simple baked Cod. Delicious! I also had the green tops from a bunch of beets and sautéed them. Put the stems in first, then the leaves. Added some salt and pepper and done. Dinner was cooked and ready in about 20 minutes. Really tasty!

Baked Cod with Tomato Salad and Beet Greens

4-6 ounces per person cod or other firm white fish

Avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Bunch grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, sliced thin, ideally on a mandolin and squeezed dry

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400. Coat fish with oil, salt and pepper. Cook 10-12 minutes. Make tomato salad; combine tomato and onion and add a bit of oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Plate fish and top with salad.

 

Baked Cod with Tomato Salad and Beet Greens

 

Yesterday, I posted a photo of all the lovely heirloom tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market. I used the grape tomatoes as a salad over a simple baked Cod. Delicious! I also had the green tops from a bunch of beets and sautéed them. Put the stems in first, then the leaves. Added some salt and pepper and done. Dinner was cooked and ready in about 20 minutes. Really tasty!

Baked Cod with Tomato Salad and Beet Greens

4-6 ounces per person cod or other firm white fish

Avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Bunch grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, sliced thin, ideally on a mandolin and squeezed dry

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400. Coat fish with oil, salt and pepper. Cook 10-12 minutes. Make tomato salad; combine tomato and onion and add a bit of oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Plate fish and top with salad.

 

Brussels Sprouts with Duck Confit & Pine Nuts

Brussels Srouts, Duck Confit, Pine Nuts, Gruyere and Tomatoes
Brussels Srouts with Duck Confit, Goat Cheese and Beets

What to do…real tomatoes in summer are so good that I want to put them in everything…So night one, I used tomatoes and Gruyere and night two, the perfect pairing of beets and goat cheese. Both salads were delicious!

I buy the duck leg confit prepared, because it is a huge production to make and D’artagnan makes a good on that is readily available. I buy two and it’s enough for four servings. That’s about 2 ounces each and it’s like a serving of bacon—which is a good substitute if you don’t want duck.

I like a walnut vinaigrette, recipe below. Here again, any vinaigrette you like will work.

A tip on the pine nuts and for all nuts and seeds: freeze them and they will last at least a year. I stock up at Trader Joe’s and always have pine nuts, pecans, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds on hand for cooking and snacking.

If you have not tried it, walnut oil is delicious and fragrant. I use it occasionally for salads and keep it stable in the refrigerator. You can also use extra virgin olive or avocado oil.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Duck Confit and Pine Nuts

Serves 4 as a main course

1 ½  pounds brussels sprouts, slicer attachment on food processor or cut in half and hand slice thin

¾ cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

2 duck confit legs

4 ounces manchego cheese, roughly chopped or goat cheese

Handful cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 medium sized beets, chopped

If using beets, cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for an hour or until soft. Allow to cool and peel. Let cheese get to room temperature 1-2 hours before meal. Prepare brussels sprouts; toss with a bit of salt and oil and let site half an hour to soften. Prepare nuts, set aside. Add tomatoes or beets to sprouts and put dressing on vegetables and let sit about 20 minutes.  Shred duck. Heat in oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until it sizzles. Add cheese, duck and nuts and serve immediately.

Walnut Oil and Lemon Dressing

1/2 a lemon

1/3 cup walnut oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

3 tablespoons scallion, chopped

Handful parsley, chopped

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt & pepper

Put ingredients in a mini food processor or whisk together.

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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.

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