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Posts tagged ‘low carb’

Vegetable Lasagna And A Frittata

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Whenever I hear vegetable lasagna I think of that Seinfeld episode when Elaine is on a plane, sitting next to a guy she refers to as “vegetable lasagna” because thats what he ate. That show still makes me laugh. This is not a lasagna in the truest sense of the word, there is no pasta. Instead zucchini and eggplant are layered with ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella and sauce. This is so good I really don’t miss the pasta, at all. This is me getting back on track, cutting carbs and sugar, trying to eat clean and light. I had some homemade marinara in the freezer, just enough, not having to make sauce made this a quick and easy dinner. This would also be delicious with a béchamel rather than ricotta.

The frittata is a wonderful for any meal, breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea, for lunch/dinner with a salad, it’s a light meal that satisfies. Fritatta is so simple to make and you can add whatever you like to make it your own. I used roasted tomatoes, zucchini and shallot along with taleggio and parmigiana. Please Note, the measurements of my ingredients are not exact. I don’t really measure but they are very close, I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing it and am usually really close. You can add more or less cheese depending on your personal taste.

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Eggplant And Zucchini Lasagna (senza la pasta)

Serves 4-6

2 zucchini unpeeled, washed and ends cut off

1 large eggplant

1 1/2 cup ricotta

1 egg

handful flatleaf parsley chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used parmigiana, asiago and romano) for the ricotta mixture

8 oz mozzarella (fresh if possible) sliced thinly or grated

approximately 2 cups marinara sauce

more grated cheese used when layering

Heat oven to 375 degree’s.

Slice the zucchini in approximately 1/4 inch slices and lay on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, turn and drizzle more so each side is covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven until the zucchini starts to brown, turning after approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Save the parchment and keep the oven on.

Slice the eggplant with skin on in approximately 1/4 inch thick rounds. Rub or brush olive oil on one side, turn over and rub more olive oil on the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until lightly browned, turn and roast the other side. You want the eggplant and zucchini lightly browned. Removed from oven and set aside. Because eggplant absorbs the oil I recommend using a pastry brush and brush each side with oil to make sure it’s evenly coated.

Mix ricotta with egg, grated cheese, parsley and some salt and pepper.

Slice or grate the mozzarella. Now you are ready to assemble. Spread some of the marinara in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer some of the eggplant, add a few dollops of ricotta, spread as evenly as you can (doesn’t have to be perfect) add some of the mozzarella, grated cheese and a few spoon full of sauce. Next a layer of zucchini and repeat the layering. I used eggplant as the top layer, spread some sauce on top of the eggplant, sprinkle some grated cheese and put mozzarella on top. Bake uncovered on a sheet pan for approximately 45 minutes until browned and bubbly.

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Frittata

Serves 4

1 zucchini unpeeled, cut into thin rounds

1 shallot, sliced

8-10 (approx) small tomatoes, cherry, kumato, zima, whatever you can find that look good sliced in half

olive oil, salt and pepper

8 large eggs

3 tbs sour cream

approx. 1/2 cup grated parmigiana or blend of grateable cheese

approx. 1/3 cup taleggio grated plus a little more to sprinkle on top before baking.

Heat oven to 425 degree’s.

Place tomatoes, zucchini and shallot on parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil lightly coating both sides of zucchini and tomato, season with salt and pepper. Roast until the zucchini and onion are lightly browned and the tomatoes start to caramelize. Approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Add a little olive oil in a non stick skillet (cast iron is great) and heat on medium high heat. Meanwhile beat the eggs with a fork, add the sour cream, and grated cheese (parmigiana and taleggio) season with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degree’s.

Pour into hot skillet (oven proof) and when you see the egg is starting to set on the edges move the eggs gently (I push towards the center) letting the liquid stream to the fill in where you have moved the eggs that have set. When the egg is cooked about a third of the way add the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the taleggio. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, cut the oven off and turn on the broiler. Cook for another 5 (or so) minutes until it’s lightly browned. Remove to serving platter or board and let cool a bit before serving.

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Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup

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I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.

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Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.

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Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.

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For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.

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Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.

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Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.

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A Breakfast Skillet And Dessert

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First let me say how encouraged and overwhelmed I am by all the support from all of you good people. Thank you, thank you!! Because of the outpouring of support it made me even more resolute. I have to say it really helps baring your soul to your friends, I have always found that a diet and exercise buddy helps me stay on track,  I  live alone it’s and it’s really easy to fall off the wagon, my best friend Carla lives in Long Island, not exactly close to Brooklyn but we talk on the phone almost every day and encourage each other. I feel now like I have LOTS of diet buddies in all of you and it has helped tremendously. I encourage anyone in the same shoes to do this, we will all cheer you on.  Special thanks to Elaine @foodbod who chatted with me by PM on Instagram in the wee hours and Cheryl @cheryl cheffie cooks Wiser, who did a special post for me with fantastic salads, I am so touched.  It means the world to me.

So far I am doing fine. This morning I wanted something substantial that would nourish and keep me from getting hungry. There is nothing worse than being hungry and perusing all the food blogs and food photo’s on instagram. I used what I had for this breakfast skillet, eggplant, zucchini (used the pieces left from spiralizer) tomatoes, kale and micro potato. Half roasted in the oven, I wanted the kale crisp like a kale chip, transferred to a 6″ skillet (portion control) added an egg and completed the cooking until the egg was done. At the very end I added a little bit of raclette and put it under the broiler for a minute. A dash of hot sauce and it was a great meal.

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Skillet Breakfast

Made 2 #6 inch individual size servings

4 micro potatoes cut in half

approx a half of a medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces

handful cherry tomatoes larger ones cut in half

generous handful of kale leaves

4 asparagus stalks with tough end broken off and cut in half

4 tiny fairy eggplant cut in half or quartered lengthwise

Cheese, just a little, didnt’ measure. I used raclette but any good melty cheese will do

Pre heat oven to 375. Place all of the vegetables on a parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, make sure the vegetables are coated with the oil. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, kale will be crisp and vegetables will have softened. Arrange in skillet, crack an egg on top and bake (again at 375) until the egg is done to your liking it took about 20 minutes for an egg where the white was done but yolk was runny.  Add some cheese, I used raclette, and place under the broiler just until the cheese melts.

Dessert

Dessert

I have to have dessert, something sweet it’s part of the fabric of my being. You have to be a bit creative when trying to lose weight and maybe a little crafty. I came up with this recipe, well it’s not really a recipe, but it is really good.  It made 2 small parfait or maybe they are more like an ice box cake or a combination thereof.

Strawberry and peach parfait

makes 2 small parfait

4 Carr’s whole meal biscuits smashed into crumbs

1 7 oz container plain greek yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)

3 tbs heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

honey to taste ( I used a little more than a tbs for both the fruit and yogurt mixture)

fruit of your choice, I used strawberry and peach.

Cut the fruit into bite size pieces and drizzle with a little honey. Smash the whole meal biscuits into crumbs. Whip the yogurt and cream, sweeten to your liking and add the vanilla. Layer into small containers and refrigerate at least an hour or two before eating. The biscuit absorbs some of the fruit juice. It’s delicious.

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I just have to show you the throw pillow I won in a charity auction to help pets with liver shunt disease. I love it!!

pug pillow

pug pillow

Lastly in memoriam for little Caleb a 3-4 month old dog in Atlanta that was brutally abused, if you think of the worst this is 100 times worse than you could possibly imagine. You can sign a petition by going to my facebook page . This has me so upset, to my very core, and it’s all over the news. Hoping they catch the monsters that perpetrated such a heinous and evil crime. Little Caleb is not the first dog to suffer horrific abuse and unfortunately he will not be the last. Raising awareness, supporting rescue organizations and being pro active reporting abuse perceived or otherwise is so important. RIP little Caleb. #justiceforcaleb

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