Sunday, January 7, 2018

Low-carb Mac and Cheese (not Paleo though)

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Hey, do you know about shirataki noodles?  Also known as yam noodles, these are zero-calorie, zero-carb noodles that have come on the market in the last few years.

At least one manufacturer, Miracle Noodles, has come out with ziti-style noodles.  (There might be more from other manufacturers; we buy ours from Low Carb Grocery.)

Anyway, it's been so cold lately that I got inspired to use the ziti-style noodles to make up a big batch of home-style macaroni and cheese, while keeping it as low-carb as possible.  It's not paleo because of the milk and cheese.  Here's how I did it.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon (the thicker the better!) cut into "lardons"
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 4 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2% fat)
  • 0.5 tsp white pepper
  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp powdered mustard
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 6 packages ziti-style shirataki noodles
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (you can use one of those packaged blends from the store, or shred a bunch yourself - mix it up with cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, Gruyere, Swiss, and so on), divided into two portions of two cups each
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Cook the bacon lardons and reserve them.  Keep the rendered fat for something else yummy - you won't need it for this recipe.
  3. Drain the ziti-style shirataki noodles in your sink and rinse with cold water.  Then boil them for two minutes, and drain well.
  4. In a sauce pan, melt the butter, and add the arrowroot powder to form a roux.  Cook the roux for a few seconds to let it brown up just a bit.
  5. While constantly stirring the roux, add in the milk.
  6. Heat the mixture, constantly stirring, until it thickens.  Stir in the white pepper, nutmeg, and powdered mustard.  (You've just made a bechamel sauce!)
  7. (Optional step!)  If you want, you can add an egg yolk to further thicken it.  Mix up the egg yolk in a bowl, and stir in a bit of the bechamel sauce to warm it, then stir the whole thing back into the sauce.  (If you just dump the egg yolk into the hot sauce, you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your sauce...)  I've made this both ways, and it turns out fine with or without the yolk.
  8. Add in 2 cups shredded cheese mixture, remove the sauce pan from the heat, and stir to combine.  (You don't want to keep heating the arrowroot mixture, or it will eventually, um, "unthicken".)
  9. When the cheese is melted into the sauce, combine your cheesy sauce with the noodles and cooked bacon lardons and put the whole thing into an oven-safe dish, such as a 9x13 pan.
  10. Smooth it out and top evenly with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  11. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.  If you want you can broil it for the last minute or so to crisp up the cheese on top, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
  12. I recommend you let it sit for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven - that cheese will be lava-hot!
  13. Enjoy!

Incredibly rich chocolate buttercream frosting

I think I've come up with a frosting to accompany that orange cake recipe I published the other day.  A word of warning though - this is incredibly rich and decadent, and of course not exactly "hard core paleo" given that it's made with butter.  But the orange cake accompanies this frosting quite nicely, and I think I'll be looking for occasions to make this in the future.  The recipe is based off of this one, but I've altered the sweeteners a bit.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup erythritol
  • 1/2 cup "spoonable" stevia
  • 2/3 cup good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate stevia liquid
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter in a stand mixer (or use a bowl and a hand mixer).
  2. Add in the erythritol, spoonable stevia, and cocoa powder, and combine well.
  3. Add the almond milk slowly, making sure it's combined well with the mixture.
  4. Blend in the vanilla extract and liquid stevia.
  5. Ice your cake!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Orange Cake - Odd, yet delicious

I ran into this recipe for Orange Cake a while ago over on Elana's Pantry, and finally tried making it the other day.  It's very good, but cries out for a decent paleo chocolate icing to accompany it.  I'm researching options there...

Ingredients

  • 2 small oranges, seedless variety
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 0.75 cups honey
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Wash the oranges well, and remove the produce stickers if present.
  2. Boil the oranges (yes, whole) in a pot full of water for about 90 minutes, until nice and soft, then let them cool.
  3. Preheat an oven to 375F.
  4. Process the oranges in a food processor until nice and smooth.
  5. Gradually add all of the other ingredients, "pulsing" the food processor to combine.
  6. Grease a 9 inch cake pan (okay, I used an 8 inch pan - still worked just fine).
  7. Pour all the batter into the pan.
  8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the proverbial toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool for at least a couple of hours in the pan.
  10. (Still to come) Ice your cake with a nice paleo chocolate frosting...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sous vide apples

A slightly different treat today - I'm marrying one of the "new" cooking techniques (sous vide, literally "under vacuum") with the oldest diet on Earth!  I have a couple of different sous vide rigs - a Dorkfood DSV (that turns your crockpot into a sous vide rig) and an Anova immersion circulator.  (As usual, I receive NO compensation or dispensation from anyone I may link to - I paid for both of these, fair and square.)

Sous vide cooking is pretty simple, really - you put food and seasonings in a food-safe plastic bag, remove all of the air (or at least as much as you can), and immerse it in water that's at the temperature you want the food to be at and leave it there until it's at the correct temperature, through and through.

In this case, we're doing apple slices with cinnamon, butter, and honey - it goes great in a bowl on its own, but if you can find some paleo-friendly ice cream (I've had some coconut ice cream that wasn't bad), it would be AMAZING...

Ingredients

  • Four apples (I use Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or use "spoonable stevia" or some other paleo-friendly sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Set your sous vide rig to 85C / 185F.
  2. Peel, core, and section the apples.
  3. Put all of the ingredients into a food-safe plastic pouch (like a Zip-loc(tm) bag) and shake well to distribute everything evenly.
  4. Remove as much of the air as you can from the bag (one of the best ways to do this is to put the bag under water, *almost* to the lip, and then zip it closed) - or if you've got your own vacuum sealer, go nuts!  Try to make sure that the apple slices are in a single layer to help speed the cooking.
  5. Immerse in the water bath and leave it there for 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Banana bread with chocolate chips

And our second banana-themed Christmas treat posting for the day comes courtesy of Danielle Walker over at Against All Grain again - this recipe is from her first cookbook, appropriately titled "Against All Grain - Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well and Feel Great".

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 0.5 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 0.25 cup almond flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 0.25 cup chocolate chips (again, Krisda brand is made with stevia)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5) and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom.  Don't forget to put the parchment paper into the pan!  
  3. Combine the coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla, and vinegar in a stand mixer and beat on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt in another bowl, and then gradually add it to the liquid in the stand mixer while the beater is mixing.  Continue to mix until well-combined.
  5. In yet another bowl, mash the coconut milk and bananas together until it's well-combined and sort of looks like baby food.
  6. Add this coconut-banana concoction to the rest of the batter while the beater is on medium.  Continue mixing until well-combined.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and let it beat for a little longer until the chips are dispersed throughout the batter.
  8. Dump the whole thing into your loaf pan and bake for around 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven, let it cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, and then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Squares

Okay, only got one post out yesterday rather than the promised two...  So let's see if we can get caught up today, with a pair of banana-themed recipes.  (Because nothing says "paleo" like bananas, right?)

First up, these chocolate banana squares!

Ingredients for Squares

  • 2 large REALLY ripe bananas - more brown than yellow, ideally
  • 0.5 cup crunchy-type almond butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.25 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (Krisda brand is sweetened with stevia)
Ingredients for Topping
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate (as always, the darker the better! 😊)
  • 0.5 Tbsp palm shortening (or butter)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan with coconut oil (probably not the healthiest option, but I use the spray stuff)
  3. Peel the bananas, and mush 'em up real good.
  4. Combine the banana mush with the rest of the square ingredients, except the chocolate chips.  Mix well until it's a consistent batter.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, mix thoroughly.
  6. Dump the whole thing into your greased-up pan, and spread evenly in the pan
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes.
  8. Let cool, and cut into squares.
  9. Put the squares side-by-side on a piece of parchment for this next bit.
  10. Melt the topping ingredients together in the top of a double boiler, and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  11. Drizzle the melted topping over the squares.
  12. Let stand until the topping has hardened.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cherry Bakewell Squares

Well, it didn't take too long to blow through my "a recipe every day" statement, did it?  So we'll post two today to try to catch up.  😀

First up, Cherry Bakewell squares.  I first discovered Cherry Bakewells in tart form during a trip to the UK about 10 years ago.  They're not, in my experience, particularly common in North America, although a "British Foods" store near me (which closed this year, sadly), used to sometimes get in the "Mister Kiplings" brand at this time of year.

This recipe does a good job of combining the sweet cherry jam center, almond topping, and a decent pastry, while still managing to remain paleo - and they disappear fast around here!

Ingredients - Jam

  • 1 bag frozen cherries (about 600g)
  • 0.5 cup water
  • 0.25 cup honey
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot, mixed with just enough water to form a slurry
Instructions - Jam
  1. Put everything but the arrowroot in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. When it's slightly thickened and somewhat syrupy, stir in the arrowroot slurry and it should thicken up even more very quickly.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
Ingredients - Crust
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 0.5 cup coconut flour, sifted to remove lumps
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.25 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
Instructions - Crust
  1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
  2. Put a piece of parchment paper in an 8x8 baking pan so it comes over the top on all sides - it's how you'll lift the completed dessert from the pan.
  3. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour the dough into the parchment-lined pan and pat down evenly right into the corners.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
Ingredients - Topping
  • 1.75 cups almond flour
  • 0.33 cup coconut oil, melted (but not too hot...)
  • 0.33 cup honey
  • 3 room-temperature eggs, lightly beaten
  • sliced almonds
Instructions - Topping
  1. Basically, combine everything into a bowl and stir well.
Instructions - Assembly
  1. Remove that crust from the oven and make sure it's done.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 350F.
  3. Pour the jam over the crust and spread it out evenly to cover the crust.
  4. Pour the topping over the jam and carefully spread it out evenly to cover the jam, being careful not to stir things up too much.
  5. Top with some sliced almonds.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let it cool, lift out using the parchment paper, place it on a cutting board, and cut into squares.