Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kale Chips





Kale is one of the most nutritious veggies there is, but it is a goitrogenic food, which means it needs to be cooked.  Uncooked goitrogens suppress thyroid function.  For more info on this, and a list of goitrogens, go here.  I stir fry a lot of greens in garlic and oil but I just am not a fan of kale that way. So I was excited to find out about yummy crunchy kale "chips".  They are crunchy and salty (if you wish) and delicious!!  I've seen them on a lot of blogs, but almost every time I tried them, they did not come out.  Until now.  I think I may have had the oven too high before.  


Don't make more than you can eat because they do not keep! (If you have a trick to making them keep, please post!) I covered them in a bowl and the next day they were soggy. Re-heating also was a FAIL.


I used curly kale, because that is what the farmer recommended as the best kale to make chips with.    


Please don't bake this with olive oil. Why? Because it oxidizes too fast, causing free radical damage in the body, which is carcinogenic.  So, I recommend using a more stable fat like coconut oil.  With coconut oil, you'll have to melt it a bit first and let your kale warm up to room temperature before mixing with the oil, because it solidifies at 72˚F and below (don't worry, your body temp is way above that!).  

Kale Chips

1 bunch of organic kale, curly recommended
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
sea salt, to taste
a large bowl

Preheat the oven to 300˚F.  Wash and dry kale, then remove the hard rib in the middle, reserving only the green leafy part.  Tear the leaves into smaller chunks (think chips). Place in a bowl with the oil & sea salt and use your (clean) hands to get every leaf lightly coated in oil and salt.  Put on a baking sheet (or 2) in a single layer only.  You can put them close together.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp.  Serve!

Kale in oven (I made too much!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blueberry Muffins



These blueberry muffins are gluten-free, sugar-free, are low-carb and have extra fiber. But still, they taste great! Coconut flour also helps keep your insulin low by providing extra fiber. If you are using frozen blueberries, rinse them in a colander and pat them as dry as you can with a paper towel... mine were still a bit wet- if yours are also, then make sure you add them just before baking, because of the coconut flour- it is very absorbent!! 

TIP:  When baking with coconut flour, if you don't have silicone baking cups, you MUST use parchment paper or it will not come out of the tin very well.  I tried cupcake papers, they also stuck badly. Take piece of parchment paper cut slightly bigger than the bottom of each cupcake indention in tin, and place in bottom of a muffin tin. Hold in place while running around the bottom edge with a pen (doesn't matter if the ink doesn't come out, you'll still see the mark).  Then, take out and cut that circle out.  Test to make sure it fits well.  If so, use as a template to make 7 or so more.




Blueberry Muffins
makes about 6 muffins

3 eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons butter or high quality coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals Stevia Powder (or 1/4 of another brand)
1/4 cup erythritol, or  coconut sugar, or 2 Tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
a flour sifter
muffin tin
6 small parchment paper cutouts for bottom of muffin tins, or use a silicone muffin pan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tins and small parchment papers with either coconut oil or butter and set aside.
Separate eggs. Whip the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form and put aside.
Mix together egg yolks, melted butter, stevia, erythritol, salt, vanilla and almond extracts. Combine coconut flour and baking powder in the sifter and sift into batter, mixing well. Add almond flour, mixing again.  Fold egg whites into batter. Dry blueberries as much as possible and fold into batter. Immediately spoon batter into muffin tin, filling to just under the rim.
Bake for 13 - 18 minutes or until the top is mostly browned, and a toothpick comes out clean or with few crumbs- it will still look wet at this stage. Take out of oven, and as soon as possible, remove from tins to cool using this method: Run a butter knife backwards (using the non sharp side) around the edge of each cupcake and they should pop out easily.  Keeps about 3 days, depending on the humidity of where you live.  Store in fridge if your humidity is high.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Un-Ding Dongs


Here they are, my version gluten-free ding dongs. I have included instructions for low-carb version (with erythritol) and Paleo version (dairy-free, and with honey).  These were fun to make, and yummy.  Make the cupcakes, make whichever filling you prefer, then make the topping.  Assembly directions at the end.  TIP: Always read the whole recipe before you start. 

For Paleo, sub 1/3 cup honey for the stevia and erythritol and sub coconut oil and milk for the dairy.  Dairy Free can follow Paleo subs.  When using honey, decrease baking time.

Definitions:
Soft and hard peaks in egg whites and cream: when you lift the whisk, you will see peaks form.  Soft means they curl over slightly.  Hard peaks mean they point up.

Un-Ding Dongs
3 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ cup whole milk or coconut milk
3 eggs, separated
½ cup erythritol &
½ teaspoon NuNaturals powdered Stevia or ¼ teaspoon of another brand
[or replace stevia & erythritol with 1/3 cup of honey and decrease baking time]
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
parchment paper, cut out circles for bottom of each cupcake
6 muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Well grease a 6 muffin pan with butter or coconut oil and place in each bottom a parchment paper cutout, which you want to grease the top as well as underneath.
In a saucepan over low heat, stir together butter and cocoa powder until melted and blended. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside in a cool place (refrigerate is possible). 
In another medium sized bowl, mix together milk, egg yolks, erythritol, stevia, salt, and vanilla. Add the cooled cocoa mixture.  Sift coconut flour and baking powder into batter.  Fold in the beaten egg whites. 
Pour batter into muffin pan/tins just about 7/8ths full. Bake in pre-heated oven for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.  When cool, run a butter knife backwards (using the non sharp side) around the edge of each cupcake and they should pop out easily.  Now onto the filling, choose one..

Filling version 1: Low-Carb
You may use any type of sweetener you wish here.  I used powdered stevia, just a touch.  I think stevia goes well with dairy.

Sweetened Whip Cream
½ cup whip cream
a little sweetener of your choice

Whip cream with a hand or stand blender on high until soft peaks form.  Add your sweetener to taste and mix.  Be careful not to over beat, as it will turn to butter.

Filling version 2: Paleo Friendly
This is pretty sweet, you could use less honey.

Stiff Meringue Filling
1 egg white
2 Tablespoons honey

Beat egg white on high with a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form (for peaks description, see above).  Add honey.  Beat again until stiff peaks form.

How to cut and fill cupcakes:
paring knife
soup spoon

Cut a circle around the top of the cupcake.  You want to make it as big as you can but still leave enough room around the edges so the edges are sturdy.  Use the spoon to cut underneath so that you can get out the entire middle of the cupcake.  Remove top and slice out the middle so that there is only a lid for the cupcake.  The cupcake is now hollow.  Here’s a video showing that step. 

video


Now, fill with your filling of choice.  You can overfill a bit since you will be covering with chocolate.

Chocolate Topping:
¾ of a 3.5 ounce 85% chocolate bar
  or unsweetened chocolate + a little powdered stevia
1 teaspoon coconut oil (helps harden)

In a small saucepan that is completely dry, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring often until melted. You have to do this slowly so that it doesn’t burn.  Take off heat. If using unsweetened, now add stevia to taste and stir.  I’d start with no more than 1/8th teaspoon.  Let cool until only warm, so that it does not melt the filling.  Place the filled cupcakes on a plate and pour chocolate over each one, either straight from the pot or with a spoon.  This is messy. I am sure there is a more sophisticated way to do it using a pastry bag etc but, this is not that blog! Anyway, if you run out and there is a lot on the plate, you can use a small spoon to scoop it up and put more on the cupcakes.  Remove cupcakes and place on a clean plate, then refrigerate.  (Otherwise they will stick to the spilled chocolate). They will harden a bit there and be ready to eat!  If desired, you can make a design on top by using leftover filling in a pastry bag and a small round tip (I did that just for the picture! But, it’s pretty easy).  Just fold over the sides of the pastry bag down before you fill it to make it easier.  These treats will keep about 5-6 days in the fridge except for the egg white/honey filling which only lasts about 1-2 days. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gluten Free Easy Pork Chops


These pork chops are easy to make. I get beautiful pastured organic pork chops from a local farm. They are unbelievably delicious and good for you. This is a very easy recipe which is a staple in our house. Make sure your vegetables are already close to being done when you start these, as they are very quick to make.
I found some hazelnut flour at the store on sale yesterday so I used that- but really, you can use any GF flour - but I do recommend nut flours, since they are higher in protein and lower in carbs. This hazelnut flour was a perfect match with the marbled fat in these pork chops. You can always add to this recipe some finely chopped parsley to the flour mixture, but I usually just make it like this:

Gluten Free Easy Pork Chops


Pork Chops, organic, pasture-fed
Maille Wholegrain Mustard
Hazelnut Flour (or other nut or GF flour)
salt & pepper
oil for cooking, I use coconut or organic pastured lard
a cast iron pan, or other plastic-free pan that can go in oven
a wide shallow bowl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a bit of flour in the bowl- enough to cover both sides of however many pork chops you are cooking. Rinse the pork chops in cold water. Spread a layer of mustard on each pork chop, all around. Sprinkle salt and pepper as desired. Dredge the pork chops in flour to coat both sides, and place lightly on a plate.
Melt oil/lard in pan over low heat. Bring up the heat to medium high and place pork chops in pan, browning each side. Take pan off heat and bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes, checking after 15 to make sure pork chops are cooked through but not dry. It is okay (and tastier) to cook pork medium, if you wish. Remember that they will keep cooking a little after you remove them from the oven so be careful to take them out a little early.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Community Cookbook: Want to help?



I just wanted to let you all know I am teaming up with Jamie from YourLighterSide.com and our goal is to create a shared community cookbook, like you used to see in the 50's/60's which contain favorite recipes! Would you like to submit your recipe?  We think it would be nice to include everyone in our little low carb/gluten free blog world here.  That way there would be so much diversity!  So what do you think?  What do you like to eat? What favorite recipe of yours always turns out and you love to share?  What yummy dish do you have over there that I have never tried?

If you don't know Jamie, you should! She writes yummy recipes, is always very funny, and is currently in the #1 position of Babble's Top 100 Food Mom Blogs of 2011.  If you haven't voted for her yet, please do, here! I'm also on there, um, much lower (#795?  Please vote for my self esteem here).

Here is the gist (from Jamie):

1. Send your original recipe(s) to yourlighterside@gmail.com by April 1. (Optional: if you want to send photos of completed dishes and they’re included, we’ll definitely credit you).

2. Don’t worry about nutritional information; we’ll run the numbers.

3. Please include your name, city, and website with recipes in your email; this information will be published with each, original recipe that appears in the book. Shy? No worries. You can use Mrs. Daniels or Mr. Smith. No I.P Freely or Iona Condom. Yes, that means you. And me. I’d do that kind of thing.

4. Please no: gluten, rice, corn or sugar as ingredients. We want to keep things as low glycemic as possible for low carbers and diabetics.

5. Please no funky ingredients no one can find or afford (specialized products, sold by distributors, etc.). It’s best to have mostly locally bought ingredients (with a few from amazon or other reputable online sellers when absolutely necessary). If you use low carb catsup, awesome. If you use a truffles-based sauce harvested at their peak from a South American rainforest by the limpopo monkey and sold only by a distributor, notsomuch. These recipes should stand the test of time, whether or not companies continue to exist.

6. There are some standard recipes out there, like mashed cauliflower. Do you have an inventive twist on an old standby? Those are great!

7. We’re looking for everything: appetizers, breakfasts, drinks, main dishes, side dishes, soups, crock pot, desserts of all kinds. We also love tips and tricks from your kitchen, especially for newer cooks.
Books will be released in print form (and likely electronic) this year, up to my ridiculously, ridiculously high standards (trust me; they’re high). I am working to keep costs low, so I’m not yet sure how many images will be included in the book at this point. There will be nutritional information for each recipe. I’ll keep you posted on the progress, naturally.

Comments? Questions? Want to shoot us your favorite family recipe(s)? Please email Jamie at yourlighterside@gmail.com.