Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Japanese Coffee Jelly Drink (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Paleo/Primal)

I don't see it very often in the United States, but coffee jelly is actually a pretty popular drink in Japan. It's served about a million and one ways over there, but my favorite way to eat coffee jelly is simply by serving it with milk or cream. It makes for an excellent summertime pick-me-up, plus there's something about a glass of jelly that is very refreshing to look at. When you've let it sit for a long enough time, the color of the coffee actually melds with the white of the cream, giving the drink a lite, mocha tan. Speaking of mocha, you can add chocolate liquor to the coffee (while it's still liquid) or milk for a nice kick.

One serving of low-carb coffee jelly drink is 2 grams of carbs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rasmalai (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Primal)

When I made this, I actually went through the whole process of making the paneer from scratch. You need quite a bit of milk to yield the amount needed for this recipe, but the recipe is very simple and also kind of rewarding to make. Maybe it's because I never made cheese from scratch before, but I couldn't get over the fact that I was making cheese. It's just such a "gourmet" thing to do. Making paneer from scratch is time-consuming though, so I decided to just adjust this recipe to a one step ricotta paneer I learned about from my friend's mother. But if you want the experience of making your own paneer for rasmalai, here is a link to get you started. 

For those doing low-carb, rasmalai using Splenda as a sweetener comes to 6.6 grams of carbs per serving. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Spicy Banana Fritters (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

This fritter is inspired by the Puerto Rican dish, Alcapurria. In the original recipe, banana and taro root masa are used to envelope seasoned ground meat. The wrapping portion can get a bit messy and difficult to get right, so I skipped that part, and just added my cooked and seasoned meat to the masa. The original recipe also calls for sazon with achiote and other flavorings, but I just chose the spices I already had in the kitchen. It is a very versatile recipe, so experiment with it! I actually made the batch pictured above a few weeks ago, but there was something off about the seasonings I used in my first batch, so I gave it another go about a week ago. I added cumin and cinnamon, and wow, what a difference it made. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Spicy Tuna Roll-Ups (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Paleo)

I've been wanting to try this recipe out for a while now. I first got the idea when I saw this video on YouTube. I can't even fathom having that much finesse with a knife, so I had to think of alternative way to make cool sushi rolls. I found that using a peeler to make slices down the length of either zucchini or cucumber achieves nearly the same results, though I have to say, the sushi in the video looks way more fancy and put together. You could of course try to learn the technique shown in the video. All it takes is a sharp knife and a lot of practice. I might even give it a shot some day, once I feel confident enough with a blade.

This entire recipe feeds about two people, with about 3.5 grams of carbs per serving. These are best eaten right after they are made, since--after a few hours--the avocado starts to brown.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cinnamon Ice Cream (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I never realized until this morning how difficult it is to take pictures of ice cream in the summer. Seriously, it is nearly impossible. The picture above is the best picture I took, out of like fifty pictures. The ice cream was melting at a rapid pace and the glass cup I scooped it into was fogging up. It was a race against the green house effect taking place in my sun room. I should probably choose a different place to shoot, but the lighting there is so great.

Anyway! I received an ice cream maker for my birthday a few weeks ago, and last night I finally got a chance to use it. I spent a great deal of time mulling over what sort of ice cream I could make that was low-carb and not just vanilla or chocolate flavored. I also didn't want to add anything that would bump up the carb count too high. So, enter cinnamon; it's got only .5 grams of carbs per teaspoon, but it's so often associated with sweets that it pretty much acts as not only a flavoring, but also a sweetener for desserts. I love cinnamon's role in this recipe. The slight warmth it provides is a welcome contrast to the chilly sweetness of the base.

One serving of this recipe comes out to around 5 grams of carbs.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thin-Crust Cheddar Ranch Pizza (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

This was my first try at a flax-based pizza crust, and it turned out a lot better than I thought it would. The original recipe called for baking powder, but I didn't want a thick pizza crust--I like my pizzas thin and crunchy. The modifications I made achieved a crunchy outer crust, and firm inner crust. This recipe could either make 4 very large slices or 8 medium sized slices. The pizza I made was actually shared between five people, with a slice left over.

A quarter serving of pizza is 4.5 grams of carbs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Zucchini Pasta Salad (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I made this pasta for my birthday lunch and received rave reviews. The idea for a pasta salad came to mind when I suddenly started craving my mothers macaroni salad. It's a summer staple, so I thought I'd make my own version of a cool and creamy side dish. As with most of my other recipes, the ingredients for this dish can be easily substituted, either with different cheeses, different cuts of meats, or even different salad dressings. The salad was paired with roasted chicken inasal and baked eggplant slices rolled with ricotta. My sister took a few quick shots of the tablescape. The pictures are down below the recipe. 

One serving of zucchini pasta salad is 6 grams of carbs.

The longer this dish sits, the better it tastes. Make a huge batch and pack it for work during the week for a quick and easy lunch. This would also be great to pack for trips to the beach and picnics just as long as it's kept chilled inside a cooler.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Matcha (aka Green Tea) Steamed Cake (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

This is a quick, easy, and delicious cake recipe you can make even when you're on the go. It's a knockoff of Japanese green tea steamed cakes often sold in convenience stores. The total time spent on prep and cooking comes out to 10 minutes, and if you cook it in a coffee filter or even wax paper, you can take it anywhere with you. I've seen variations of the steamed cake sold with different toppings, such as red beans in this case. I didn't have red beans, so instead I ate mine this morning with a spread of peanut butter and sugar-free strawberry preserves. I could also see the cake paring well with cream cheese and walnuts.

One serving comes to 3 grams of carbs.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Filipino Chicken Mami Noodle Soup (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I've been pretty obsessed with zucchini noodles lately. I decided to try them out two weeks ago when I saw a 2 lb bag for $1.50 at my local produce. I tried this recipe out as soon as I got home and I was blown away. You see, the problem I had with all the other pasta substitutes I've tried (not including shirataki noodles) was how they lacked the neutrality of real pasta.
For example, when I tried spaghetti squash I found the sweetness to be too distracting. The same with tofu noodles tasting too much like tofu (I know, crazy right?). On the other hand, zucchini--when microwaved--tastes practically like nothing. And whatever flavor it does have doesn't seem to obscure the taste of meaty Bolognese or cheesy Alfredo, so it works perfectly as a vehicle for sauces or, in this case, soups.
This recipe is perfect for cold and rainy days, when the only thing to do is hide under a blanket and watch TV reruns, but even though the weather's been incredibly hot recently, it hasn't stopped me from enjoying this soup three times this week. It's a Filipino recipe, slightly tweaked so that it is keto-friendly. My mother made this for me all the time when I was a kid, and the other day was the first time I made it for her. Not only did she love it, she also suggested that I buy more zucchini to experiment with next time I go grocery shopping. Success.
This recipe has only 5 grams of carbs, and takes less than ten minutes to cook.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chinese Steamed Pork Buns AKA Char Siu Bao (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I think this may be my favorite recipe on the blog so far. I whipped it up on a random whim this morning and I can't believe how well it turned out. Usually the recipes I make take a lot of trial and error before I get the taste right. This was so good that I started eating before I even finished taking pictures. The filling is savory and sweet, and the sesame oil in the bread balances out the cinnamon. Overall, this makes for a very delightful and filling breakfast or lunch. You could of course try your own variation of filling and bread spices; the flavors I used are just what I had in my pantry.

The entire recipe is only 5 grams of carbs. On top of that, it takes less than 10 minutes to prep and cook.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Recipe Attempt: Stir Fried Tofu Noodles (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I came across a package of shredded tofu last week when I was at the Asian food mart, and I thought it could be another alternative to noodles. The package (which serves 2.5) had 5 grams of carbs per 3 oz serving, a lot higher than Shirataki noodles, but still within a reasonable carb range. It was a little less than $2, and was able to feed myself and my sister.
So the thing about tofu noodles is--unsurprisingly--they taste like tofu. Apart from their appearance, there really isn't anything noodle-y about tofu noodles. They are really chewy and you can't really slurp them like noodles. But what I did like about them was their ability to soak up sauce really well. I could see this being a great side dish, but as a main entree, its chewiness made just one serving a bit of a chore to eat.
Maybe I am cooking them wrong, or using them incorrectly? I will detail the recipe I used below (essentially the Pad Thai recipe I posted a few weeks ago), but I basically just boiled the package for a minute then added it to a hot pan with sesame oil and stir fried the noodles until they were slightly browned.
As always, any comments and advice would be appreciated.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Roast Frozen Bone-In Chicken Leg Quarters (Bonus Low-Carb, Gluten-Free basting sauce and side dish)

At usually 80 cents a pound, chicken leg quarters are one of the most affordable cuts of meats you can buy at a super market. Also, it's incredibly easy to prepare--neither defrosting the chicken, nor preheating the oven is necessary to make a delicious roast chicken in under an hour and thirty minutes. I can't even remember the number of times I forgot to defrost chicken for dinner. My horrible memory is the only reason this recipe even exists. I guess there's always a silver lining.

Above, I basted my chicken with a mixture of cumin, chili powder, and olive oil, but a simple brush of oil, salt, and pepper works perfectly as well. I served it with Laing--a curry-spiced stewed spinach. The recipe for that is below.

This recipe serves 6, with each serving of a whole bone in chicken leg quarter totaling 2.5 grams of carbs. The entire cooking time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The curry-spiced spinach comes at about 1.75 grams of carbs per serving.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Recipe Attempt: Country Gravy using Flax (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

This is my first attempt at making gravy with milled flax seed, and I have to say flax worked well as a thickening agent in this particular recipe. The only thing is, this gravy doesn't have quite the same mouth-feel as normal gravy does, and it gave the cauliflower that I paired it with a bit of a "slide-y"(?) consistency. However, the gravy was an excellent sauce for the almond crusted pan fried chicken I made. Overall, I am pretty happy with the result, but not yet satisfied. I will be tweaking around with this recipe sometime in the near future.

In the meanwhile, I decided to put an "Optional add-on's" section below which lists ingredients that I think would elevate the gravy in both texture and taste, but I haven't actually given those options a try yet, so season at your own discretion!

The entire basic recipe is only 1 gram of carbs.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chicken Chicharrón (Carb-free, Gluten-free)

One of the best things about living with people who eat low-fat, is getting the residual chicken skins they trim from their meat. Usually I chop these fatty bits up and fry them along with my greens or my cauli-rice, but whenever I have something already in the oven, I like to add in a pan of chicken skins, just so I have something to munch on while waiting for other food to cook. A plate of Chicharrón is the very definition of fatty and forbidden, but thankfully for us doing low-carb, it can be a weekly staple.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Ultimate Comfort Food: Flax Meal Porridge (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

It's things like this recipe that make me want to get up early in the morning. I'm usually the kind of person who hits snooze about 5 times before getting up. But whenever there's a box of flax in my fridge and frozen berries in my freezer, I find myself getting too excited for breakfast to hit snooze more than twice. Oh, how I love flax. I love its many different textures, I love how it keeps me full for hours, and I love how a $1.99 box of it can last me an entire month. Most mornings I have flax either as minute-mug cake with ricotta, or as porridge with a side of bacon and eggs. I'll even mix flax into my savory foods and have it for lunch and dinner. One day I plan to erect a monument to flax, but I'm still working on the funding for that project.

This recipe comes to at most 6 grams of carbs per serving. (You could cut all the optional ingredients I added, and it would bring the carb count down. I just wanted to show how versatile the recipe is.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chinese Takeout Style Sesame Chicken (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

There was a bit of trial and error that went into making this recipe. When I coated the first batch with only egg whites, the chicken come out pretty soggy. It still had a good flavor to it, but there wasn't even a slight crunch to the crust. About halfway through my batch, I decided to add some flax seeds after I recalled using the flax to make chicken tenders a few weeks ago. First I added 1 tablespoon. I fried that batch, and while there was more of a crust, I still wasn't satisfied. So then I decided to in add even more flax to the very last batch, and it actually turned out great. This is closest I've come to making something that tasted like Chinese food takeout. I paired the sesame chicken with pork fried rice and some steamed vegetables. This fried chicken recipe is very versatile; you could experiment by adding different spices or herbs to the batter and by topping it with different sauces. I know I will.

Each serving of low-carb sesame chicken is 3 grams of carbs.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Indian Kababs and Curried Spinach Almond Cake (Low-carb, Gluten-free)

I know--this meal is calorie dense. In fact, it's almost 600 calories for the entire thing. This is actually a meal I ate all the time when I first started keto and wasn't concentrating on my calorie intake as much as I was my carbs. When I was beginning my low-carb journey I needed a bit of leeway to get over the fact that I would be giving up carbs for an indefinite period of time. Now that I've been off of carbs for a few months, I hardly ever feel like eating this heavily anymore. But when the mood strikes for something savory and spicy, these two recipes never fail to hit the spot.

The kebab recipe comes out to 1.75 grams of carbs per serving, while the curried spinach almond cake (a mouthful, I know) comes out to 3 grams of carbs per serving, for a combined total of 4.75 grams of carbs for the entire dinner.

Pad Thai and Pork Fried "Rice" (Low-Carb, Gluten-free)

One of the best feelings you can experience in this world is contentment from eating exactly what you want. That is what I felt when, after weeks of craving, I finally decided to wing my own version of Pad Thai and have it for a laid-back Friday night dinner. So food happy. The fried rice worked great alongside the egg-wrapped noodle-y goodness, with both dishes featuring subtle heat from the peppers as well as bright hints of freshness from the cilantro.

Since I was able to feed four with both recipes, each serving of low-carb Pad Thai came out to 3.25 grams of carbs, while each serving of pork fried cauliflower rice came out to 2.25 grams of carbs, for a total of 5.5 grams of carbs for the entire dinner.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Moussaka (Low Carb, Gluten-Free)

This is a low-carb dish that is impossible to screw up, and I have proof of its relentless perfection: I realized, in the midst of cooking, that I would not have enough eggplant for the two layers. The horror. But you know what--it still turned out delicious. A major part of its success was probably due to the Béchamel sauce's ability to mask any and all imperfections with its creamy, velvety goodness. In the end, the sparse eggplant slices peeking through the topping gave the moussaka a lovely, rustic look. 

I paired the dish with a filipino side called Laing, made with spinach, coconut milk, bacon, and curry powder. I will make a more detailed blog post about sometime in the near future. 

By the way this recipe serves 6, bringing it to about 4.5 grams of carbs per serving.

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