Category Archives: Low Carb

Green Shakshuka

The monkeys and I have spent the winter mostly hibernating, eating comfort food and getting fat. But Spring is finally here! That means farmer’s market is revving up to full swing and new things are popping up every week that make me want to experiment in the kitchen.

In one of those perfect timing situations, the lovely Jenn Louis, a chef here in Portland, is releasing her new cookbook this month (in stores April 11th, woohoo!), aptly titled The Book of Greens! I was lucky enough to be eating at her restaurant, Ray, on the day the author copies landed  and bought the very first copy. Booyah!

The cool thing about this book is it gives you plenty of recipes for the “normal” greens you might be used to eating but also for lots of things that maybe you haven’t heard of or have never tried or didn’t know you could eat. I always get a few mystery items in my CSA boxes and this is going to be a huge help when figuring out what to do with them. This cookbook highlight greens I didn’t know existed and it goes way beyond salads.

This is the second recipe I’ve made out of this book and both have been delicious. I love my eggs and who knew there was a way of making them that I’ve never tried? Normally shakshuka is made with a red, tomato-based sauce but I’ve never seen a green version. Think salsa verde on steroids, with the eggs gently cooked right in the sauce. I love the zing of the tomatillos, balanced with a little spice and a lot of greens. You can eat this with challah toast, or do as I did, and serve it over rice for dinner. I also ate the leftovers over hash browns (don’t judge, you know how I feel about potatoes). This was so tasty.

Green Shakshuka!

Green Shakshuka
(a.k.a. Malabar Spinach Shakshuka, from The Book of Greens, by Jenn Louis)

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and halved
4 oz. malabar spinach (I used regular spinach, or you could also sub chard)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 jalapeno, stemmed & cut into thirds (remove seeds and membranes if you want it less spicy)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion (I used half since I have an onion hater in the house)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground caraway
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
Sea salt
4 eggs
2 oz. sheep’s milk feta

Challah toast, rice or potatoes for serving

Combine tomatillos, spinach, cilantro, and jalapeno in a food processor. Pulse until all of the ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again until the ingredients are well mixed but not fully pureed. The texture of the ingredients should be fine, not chunky. Set aside.

Green things getting ready to get chopped up. Don’t worry, I squished them all down in there.

Over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil in a 10 inch skillet. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, and turmeric and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. If the garlic begins to brown, decrease the heat.

Add the tomatillo mixture, season lightly with salt, and bring the sauce to a light simmer. Cook slowly until the sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes. Crack the eggs atop the spinach-tomatillo mixture, turn the heat to low, and cover the pan to allow the eggs to cook gently and steam. Cook the eggs until the whites all set, 4-5 minutes.

Spoon into individual bowls with the eggs on top, and garlic with the cilantro springs and feta. Serve immediately with challah toast, rice or potatoes (or for a low carb option, just eat it with a spoon)!

Serves 2.

 

 

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Grapefruit Sesame Salad

Last night after dinner, my boyfriend came home and the first thing he says to me is “what’s so sticky all over the counter?” Oops. My grapefruit got away from me. I’ll admit to getting getting a little wild while segmenting my grapefruit all fancy like you’d see on Chopped. After that,  the the salad looked so good I just forgot about all the flying drops and dove right in. And why wouldn’t I? This thing is a sweet and savory masterpiece.

Salad season is upon us, as evidenced by the wonderful spring lettuces now available at most farmer’s markets. I picked up a giant head of butter lettuce last week and some of it found its way into this salad. For variety (and because it was there) I also added some baby spinach. You can use whatever kind of greens you like or have lying around. If you are short on time or energy for taking apart messy grapefruit, you can buy segments in a jar in the produce section of most grocery stores. Look for one that doesn’t have added sugar.

I don’t remember which magazine I was reading when I found this dressing. It sounds so simple but the combo of grapefruit juice and sesame oil is just wonderful. All it needs is a little salt and pepper to give it a little punch. The goat cheese adds some creaminess and tang and oh my, it’s all so good. I know it sounds weird, but next time you have a pile of greens staring at you, give this one a go. So simple. So yummy.

Grapefruit Sesame Salad

Grapefruit Sesame Salad

Grapefruit Sesame Salad

3-4 cups mixed salad greens (I used half spinach and half butter lettuce)
1 pink grapefruit (or grapefruit segments in a jar if you prefer)
2 oz. goat cheese
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed
1 tsp. sesame oil
Salt & pepper

Place greens and chickpeas in a bowl.

Over a small bowl, segment grapefruit, reserving liquid. I do this by cutting the peel off and then using a knife to get the segments out. Squeeze the leftover membranes over the bowl to get the rest of the juice out. You’ll probably have at least 2-3 tablespoons. Add the grapefruit segments to the greens. Add sesame oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to the small bowl of grapefruit juice. Whisk to combine.

Toss the greens and chickpeas with the dressing. Top plates of salad with crumbled goat cheese. This makes enough for 2 people, or one super hungry salad machine.

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Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Man, there are days when I am the laziest cook. Those are the days when we either A) Eat out, B) Make a sandwich or eat leftovers, or C) Make something like this where you plop everything on one pan, cook for 10 minutes and eat! While I would love to say I choose C every time, I think we all know that my pants would be on fire. However, I will say with complete honesty that when I do choose C, I am happiest with the results. This dish is not only fast and easy to make, but healthy and delicious as well. The trifecta for the lazy cook who still likes decent food.

This is a quick, quick, quick Asian-inspired fish dish. You can use any green vegetable that catches your fancy, but the baby bok choy and shiitake mixture goes very nicely with this and keeps with the Asian flavor profile, especially if you hit it with a dash of soy sauce at the end.

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Sweet Miso Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Salmon or Steelhead fillet
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. miso paste
1 tsp. soy sauce

Baby bok choy
Shiitake mushrooms
Olive oil

Turn on your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl mix brown sugar, miso paste and soy sauce. Lay your fish fillet on one end of the foil and pour sauce all over the top. Smear around to cover the entire surface.

On the other end of the pan spread out the baby bok choy and scatter with the shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle veggies with a bit of olive oil.

Put the pan in the oven. Broil for 8 minutes. Check the doneness of your fish by sticking a fork in about an inch from the edge and pulling away a bit. Does the fish flake off? When you pull the fork back is the fish still red in the middle? When fish is done it will flake easily and the color will be a light to medium pink in the middle instead of red. Stir around your veggies (if they look done already you can remove them). Your fish may need a couple more minutes, depending on the size of your fillet. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Remove and serve immediately. Season the veggies with a dash of soy sauce.

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I Pickled Some Beets and Made Many Salads

Many beets came my way this month. I’m not complaining. I’m a fan of the humble beet, although I know there are many who don’t agree. To use a number of these all at once, and to spare the beet haters in my household from having to eat them, I decided to pickle some.

I have not really ventured into the canning realm, so for me, a quick-pickle was the perfect solution. This was a really simple preparation and made a small batch (although it’s easy to double or triple as needed). Plus the added benefit – they are ready to eat in just a few days!

These two salads are pretty typical in my house. I like sweet and sour and salty together and for me, a salad is only dinner if it is not boring. These are far from that. You can make either with simple roasted beets (or even raw ones sliced thinly) but I really enjoy the pickled beets for some extra zip. They pair well with the sweet pears and salty feta for a very satisfying and balanced bite. Since these are pretty strong flavors on their own, opt for a simple dressing of oil and vinegar to bring out the flavor of the ingredients.

Pickled Beets
(adapted slightly from Alton Brown’s recipe)

2 pounds beets, scrubbed
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

On a large piece of foil, put beets in the center. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and wrap up. Bake at 400˚ for 40 minutes until tender. Remove from oven, let cool, peel and dice or slice. Fill mason jars (I filled two with the beets I had).

In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Pour liquid over beets in jars. Put lids on and put in the fridge. Let them pickle for 3-7 days before eating. They will last about a month in the fridge.

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Mixed salad greens
1 fresh pear
1/2 cup pickled or roasted beets
1-2 oz. feta or goat cheese
2 tbsp. walnuts, toasted
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

Layer ingredients on a plate, drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dig in!

Or change it up ever so slightly for a more hearty dinner version:

Fall salad with mushrooms, beets and pears.

Fall salad with mushrooms, beets and pears.

Fall Salad with Mushrooms, Beets and Pears

Mixed salad greens
1 fresh pear
1/2 cup pickled or roasted beets
1-2 oz. feta or goat cheese
1/2 cup mushrooms (I used shiitake mushrooms but any kind will work)
A few green or black olives
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper.

In a small sauté pan, cook the mushrooms in just a tiny bit of olive oil until slightly softened and warm. Layer the other ingredients on a plate. Top with mushrooms. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Yum.

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CSA Week 8: Spiralized Cucumber and Beet Salad

Week eight brought many goodies, including corn, zucchini, summer squash, green beans (including a weird flat variety that was a little fuzzy), tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, potatoes, eggplant, and lemon cucumbers.

In addition to this I still have a ton of cucumbers and beets from the previous week. In a stroke of serendipity, as I was pondering this dilemma, I came across this recipe from Skinny Taste. I used it more for inspiration than anything else, but it was a great idea, with a little Greek flair, and it gave me a reason to pull out my seldom-used spiralizer.

My spiralizer. A strange little contraption that is pretty simple. Stick the veggie on the little peg, crank the handle and end up with curly veggie ribbons.

My spiralizer. A strange little contraption that is pretty simple. Stick the veggie on the little peg, crank the handle and end up with curly veggie ribbons.

A spiralizer is a fun little machine that turns veggies into curly little ribbons. If you don’t have one, this recipe works just fine if you just dice the veggies or cut into julienne strips instead. I enjoy using this thing, although looking at Gina’s photos made me think perhaps I should have bought the kind she has instead. Mine is not bad, but it works much better on firmer veggies. My beets made perfect little ribbons, but since my cucumbers were a week old, they were a little soft, so I struggled a bit getting good spirals, but in the end it worked fine.

Spiralized salad, before mixing.

Spiralized salad, before mixing.

Spiralized Cucumber and Beet Salad

2-3 cucumbers
2-3 beets
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
Juice of half a big lemon or a whole small one
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch of dry or fresh oregano
1/2 cup feta cheese

Trip ends from cucumbers and beets and spiralize, dice or julienne. I peeled the beets but not the cucumbers. Add to salad bowl. Keep in mind that once you mix this all together it will all turn pink because of the beets so for a pretty presentation, you can keep the elements separate in the bowl and then mix right before serving.

Add tomatoes and olives. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over the veggies. Add seasonings and give it all a quick toss. Top with feta if desired.

And now it's all pink! But delicious!

And now it’s all pink! But delicious!

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CSA Week 6: Kale and Eggs Breakfast Skillet

My farm box this week included lettuce, green beans, Japanese eggplant, cucumbers, pattypan squash, new potatoes, sweet peppers, blueberries, broccoli, beets and basil. I don’t even want to think about all the stuff still left from last week. You can bet on one thing though. There’s still some kale.

Out of all the kale recipes I have tried over the last couple of months – and there’s quite a few – this is actually my favorite way to make it. Which is a little odd considering that instead of hiding it, blending it, or otherwise disguising it, it is actually the star of this dish. I use a tiny bit of olive oil, but not much, making this more like a dry sauté. You get a little char on the edges and the texture, instead of wilted and limp, is almost a little crispy. When the yolky egg breaks and blends with it, well, it’s just pretty darn good. I make this a couple of times a week (not always for breakfast), sometimes tossing in a few mushrooms or other veggies, and sometimes just by itself.

I have the hardest time cooking sunny side up eggs, and I think it all comes down to being impatient, a quality that is especially present when I’m hungry. The key (I do learn eventually) is to turn down the heat and allow them to cook slowly. This way the bottoms don’t burn or overcook before the tops get done. It will also keep your veggies from burning or needing to be stirred as well. If you are having trouble getting those tops to set, or if it’s just taking too dang long, simply stick a lid on it for a minute or two and you’ll be good to go.

Kale and Eggs Breakfast Skillet

Kale and Eggs Breakfast Skillet

Kale & Egg Breakfast Skillet

2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
4-5 button mushrooms
4 eggs
Olive oil
1 small clove garlic
Salt & pepper

Heat skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with just a bit of olive oil (1-2 teaspoons). Add kale, mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes, until veggies are tender. Turn down heat to low. Make little wells in the vegetables. Break eggs into wells. Cook on low for about 4-5 minutes or until tops of eggs are set. You can cover if you want them to cook a little faster, but resist the temptation to turn up the heat, you’ll just overcook the bottoms of the eggs and veggies. Take it slow you’ll be happy you did.

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CSA Week 4: Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

I’m still working my way through my week four basket, although I picked up week five this morning. I’m in the weeds…literally. For dinner last night I whipped up this quick and bright bean salad. Perfect for a summer evening. I’ve had so much lettuce and kale on hand lately that I was really craving a salad that had no greens.

If you don’t have fava beans, substitute another bean of your choice or just use all green beans. This one is even better after it sits a while.

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Two Bean Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

2 cups fresh green beans
1 cup shelled fava beans
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. chives
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. dijon
Parmesan or feta (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Shell fava beans and add them to the water. Cook 2-3 minutes. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and rinse in cold water to cool. Pinch off outer skins and set the beans aside.

Add green beans to water and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest, olive oil, dijon, herbs and seasonings. Add beans and toss. If desired, top with parmesan or feta.

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Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

I love curry in just about every incarnation I’ve had the pleasure to experience it. Thai, Indian, spicy, mild, you name it, I will probably eat it. Curry doesn’t have to be spicy or taste any certain way. Curry is not even a spice unto itself. It can be any mixture of spices, sometimes just a few, or up to 20! This curry recipe came from Jamie Oliver, one of my favorite celebrity chefs. This is an Indian version that has perhaps been slightly Americanized. There are no unusual ingredients, and the preparation is not complicated. It’s packed full of flavor without being spicy. If you like more heat, use a bit more chile, or a spicier curry powder. For less heat, use less chile or leave it out. I found to be mild as prepared here.

If you don’t like dealing with whole pieces of chicken in sauce, you can substitute boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces. But using the whole pieces not only makes for a pretty presentation, but also makes this very quick to throw together and easy on the budget too! Since the meat is braised in the sauce, it’s quite tender and comes off the bone easily with a fork.

Pukka Yellow Curry

Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

Yellow Chicken Curry with Chickpeas
(slightly adapted from jamieoliver.com)

2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 yellow pepper
1 cup fresh green beans
1 tsp. chicken base or bouillon
1-2 fresh red chiles
½ a bunch of fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder (any kind)
8 chicken drumsticks or thighs
olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice
1 lemon
Plain yogurt for garnish, if desired

Peel the onions, garlic and ginger and deseed the peppers. Put 1 onion, yellow pepper, the garlic and ginger into a food processor. Add the bouillon and add the chili (deseed it first, if you prefer a milder curry), the cilantro stalks, honey and spices, then blitz to a paste.

Place a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat and fry the chicken (pull the skin off first, if you prefer) with a splash of oil for 10 minutes, or until golden, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat. Roughly chop the remaining onion and add to the pan to cook for a few minutes, then tip in the paste and let it cook down for around 5 minutes. Pour in two cups of boiling water. Drain the chickpeas and add along with the tomato paste and a pinch of salt and pepper, then stir well. Return the chicken to the pan, add the green beans, pop the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 45 minutes, or until the sauce darkens and thickens.

While the chicken cooks, boil a pot of water, as if you were making pasta. Add rice. Boil for 8 minutes. Drain. Put the lid back on and let sit until you are ready to serve. This helps give you that wonderful texture you see in Indian restaurants where the grains of rice are separate instead of sticking together.

Serve the curry with a few dollops of yogurt (if using) and a scattering of cilantro leaves, with lemon wedges for squeezing over and the fluffy rice on the side.

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Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Well, it’s that time of year again, where I think about putting myself in detox after all my holiday sugar intake and eating just a tad more healthy, and perhaps shedding a few pounds to welcome in the new year. I was thinking along these lines this month when I came across this recipe in Cooking Light.

I like lettuce wraps. They make me feel like I’m eating healthy even when I’m reaching for a third or fourth leaf of lettuce. How can that possibly be bad for you? The rice in these make them more filling and they were quite satisfying. Choose a head of Bibb lettuce that has nice big leaves for a little bit less mess. Count on some sticky fingers in any case and serve with extra napkins.

I’m all for eating light if it doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. The chicken in these lettuce wraps packs a nice punch, without being spicy. The sauce for this includes a new ingredient for me – Gochujang sauce. I looked for it in the grocery store and didn’t have any luck. After searching the shelves at my Asian market, I gave up and asked for help, and the kindly employee pointed it out…right in the middle of the shelves I was looking at. If you can’t find this stuff, you can make something similar by mixing equal parts of Sriracha and white or yellow miso paste.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(from Cooking Light)

2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon gochujang sauce (I found this at the Asian market, but some grocery stores probably carry it, or in a pinch you can mix equal parts Sriracha & miso paste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 Bibb lettuce leaves
1 English cucumber, sliced
4 green onions, diagonally sliced
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Cook rice according to package directions.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Do this in batches if needed so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Tear leaves off of head carefully so they stay whole. Gently wash and pat dry.

A tower of lettuce

A tower of lettuce

Place a big spoonful of rice in each lettuce leaf; top with some chicken slices, cucumber slices, and green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. If, like me, you forgot to pull some out before you stuck the chicken in the bag, just mix up a little extra.

So delicious.

So delicious.

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Farmers Market Frittata

Not sure what you guys do with your Saturdays but mine usually start at farmers market. I go and get a mocha from the coffee cart and then start my rounds. This usually includes eating enough samples to qualify as breakfast and filling up my giant market bag so full I can barely carry it back to the car.

For this frittata, you can put just about anything in it that you happen to have on hand. This week I had purchased zucchini, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and red onions. And eggs! Don’t forget the lovely eggs from happy happy chickens who wander around and peck things and live like chickens should. Feel free to substitute ingredients if there is something you like better or need to use up!

This makes a dandy breakfast, but I’ve also been known to serve it with a giant green salad and call it dinner.

Farmer's Market Fritatta

Farmer’s Market Fritatta

Farmer’s Market Frittata

1 zucchini, sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup red onion, sliced
Goat cheese
Parmesan
5 eggs
Salt & pepper

Chop veggies. Beat eggs with a bit of salt & pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Heat 10″ skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil. Add onion and cook for a minute or two. Add zucchini and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until zucchini is barely tender.

Veggies in the pan. Just a quick saute is all they need to bring out the flavor!

Veggies in the pan. Just a quick saute is all they need to bring out the flavor!

Pour eggs over veggies. Swirl to cover veggies evenly. Dot with goat cheese and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.

If some of your veggies stick out don't worry about it, it will all come together just fine.

If some of your veggies stick out don’t worry about it, it will all come together just fine.

Cover and turn heat down to medium low. Cook for 5-10 minutes until eggs are set on top. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Pairs perfectly with a side of fruit or salad.

 

 

 

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