Tag Archives: foodie

Chicken Cutlets Keto Style…

Who doesn’t love chicken cutlets? There are a million different ways you can prepare them (bruschetta, lemon, marsala…)

This is what happened last night: First I seasoned (salt & pepper) the thin cutlets, then I dredged them in almond flour (shaking off any excess) and pan fried them in my wok (I used less than 1/2 inch of oil – I don’t deep fry) or you can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (timing will depend on the thickness). When cooked I place them on a serving dish lined with paper towels to rest while I prepare the rest of dinner.

Drain the oil from the wok, but don’t clean it (whatever little tidbits are left in the pan will help to thicken up the sauce. I used 3/4 cup of white wine, a tablespoon of butter, juice from 4 freshly squeezed lemons, and salt & pepper. Whisk, whisk, whisk. After it’s all incorporated throw in some capers and Voila! Lemon sauce.

So now you need mashed potatoes, but #keto…

To make this magic happen I used two bags of cauliflower rice (you can easily make this at home in your food processor, I was just being lazy). I put cauliflower rice in a pot with about 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. Season generously with whatever spices you like. I used salt, pepper, a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of cream and two tablespoons of mascarpone. I use my immersion blender for a few minutes to make this creamy like “real” mashed potatoes. If you don’t know what this handy dandy tool is, you can read all about it on Amazon (not that Amazon needs my help selling things). After it all comes together, I put the mashed in a baking dish and toss in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes so it get nice and hot. I think cheese in this dish would be amazing (but the hubby).

I also served this with our go to veggie, broccoli rabe. So yummy and easy. Just roughly chop the broccoli rabe. In a pot (or same wok) bring about 4 inches of water with a chicken broth cube to a boil. Toss in the broccoli rabe and cook for seven minutes. Strain and refresh with cold water (this will bring that beautiful green color back). In the same pot/wok add a tablespoon of EVOO and coarsely chopped garlic (for me, the more the better) put the broccoli rabe in the pan and just quickly sauté for a few minutes and you’re done!

I plated the mashed first, topped with the chicken cutlet, topped with lemon sauce and broccoli rabe on the side. My husband plated his differently LOL.

Yankee in Florida…

So this Northern girl switched it up and made a Southern dish. I will admit I’ve never had, or even knew what, a boiled peanut was until recently. I’ve seen the trucks on the side of the road but thought “yuck” and kept driving. My husband brought some home the other day from a local place and they were very surprisingly yummy.

So, after some research, this is what I did. I bought a 2 pound bag of raw peanuts, which I tossed into the crockpot with 10 cups of water and bunch (like 1/4 of a cup) of this newly discovered spicy seasoning, “Slap Ya Mama” (sorry Mom!)

Now here’s the kicker, I read that you need to cook the heck out of these bad boys. Recommended time in the crockpot was 24 hours on low! My crockpot maximum time is 20 hours, so I had to reset it for an additional 4 hours (adding a little more water…and seasoning) while doing so.

About 20 hours into cooking

The result was super flavorful, soft but not mushy boiled peanuts. They’re low carb and I’m told can be frozen (without the liquid) if you can’t finish the bounty.

I’d definitely make these for tailgate or BBQ!

A little Poke…

Salmon & Tuna Poke for me

We’ve been trying to stay keto, and taco Tuesday wasn’t cutting it. We were going to make protein bowls (all the taco sans the shell) but came up with something fancier – Poke bowls!

You really need a fish monger you can trust when buying sushi grade fish (in today’s case it was tun and salmon). This dish was so easy and quick. First I prepared a salad of arugula, spinach, avocado and very thinly sliced jalapeño, dressed with a little EVOO balsamic, salt & pepper. Then I cubed up my tuna & salmon. I dressed the fish up with a little low sodium soy and black & white sesame seeds. I plated this with the salad on one side of the dish and the fish on the other topped with a little more sliced jalapeño and a side of both pickled ginger and wasabi.

This is definitely a game changer. It was so fresh, filled with good protein and low carb. We loved it!

Shrimp & Tuna Poke for the Hubby

Slow and low Pernil…

Let me start by saying that I would probably not cook Pernil for any of my Latino friends, the same way they would probably not make Sunday sauce for me. That said, it came out delicious and was a rightful payment to my friend Dana who helped with a house project. I think the smell of it cooking in the oven kept her motivated and helped us get through it quickly!

Pernil is a a large, usually inexpensive, piece of pork labeled at the supermarket as “picnic shoulder”. It’s got a large layer of skin that crisps up as it cooks and keeps the meat tender and juicy.

To start I make a marinade of orange juice (3 cups), apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup) and olive oil (1/4 cup) and a ton of minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and fresh minced parsley. You want to make enough marinade so that at least half of the pork is covered (you’ll need to flip the pork over after a few hours so all sides get some loving). I usually marinate this over night turning a few times during the process. I’ve tried marinating it for just a few hours and it just wasn’t as good, it really needs to go overnight.

Now for the magic, using a sharp paring knife I stab several deep holes (while channeling a dark, serial killer persona) in the meat-not on the skin side-where I will place cloves of garlic deep inside to infuse the pork with flavor. Next, using a super sharp knife, I carefully cut long lines about 1 inch apart from each other across and through most of the fat layer (to the point where the skin meets the meat) and do the same on the bias to create a hatch pattern. (See pic below.)

I put this bad boy on a v-rack in my oven skin side down for two hours at 150 degrees. After two hours I flip it so the skin side is now facing up and cook for another two hours at 150 degrees. This piece of meat was about 5 pounds so you may need to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of pork you have. If you have a meat thermometer your inside temperature (which you take after the pork has rested outside of the oven for about 3-5 minutes) should be 145 degrees. (A useful meat temperature guide can be found here.) After resting I turn it over to hubby, who harnesses his inner caveman and carves this beauty up.

Nice side dishes are rice, salad, yucca, you name it!

Cheese please…

15 Minute Meal!

Hubby is away so I am going crazy with putting cheese in everything!

Last night was a quick orecchiette, with sautéed spinach, tons of crushed garlic cloves and red Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joes (sometimes I just don’t feel like going to the fish monger, and these tasty, frozen shrimp are a great Plan B). First get your salted water boiling for the pasta. While this is happening sauté fresh crushed garlic and the shrimp in a little EVOO until shrimp are mostly cooked, then add spinach until cook until wilted (use a large sauté pan as you’ll add the pasta when it’s cooked). When water is rapidly boiling add your pasta cook for 9-10 minutes (or until it’s cooked al dente). Save about a cup of the starchy water and strain the pasta. Add pasta to sauté pan with shrimp, garlic and spinach adding the water if you need to loosen up the mixture. Keep heat on low and mix until well incorporated.

After plating this ‘beaut I topped with red pepper flakes and as much grated cheese as I could get on the plate.

Pro-tip: Did you know that Orecchiette means “little ear” in Italian? Think about that next time you cook it – notice the shape.

Limoncello when you can’t get to Rome…

I’ve been cooking, a lot. My husband encourages this by opening the wine or mixing a cocktail for me while we concoct our dishes. Recently though, he’s taken on a little mixologist hobby – Limoncello!! We have a great affection for this sweet, syrupy, flavorful liqueur since being given a generous bottle the night we got engaged in Italy at a restaurant called Le Grotte in Rome, near the Spanish Steps about a decade ago. Our waiter was so excited about the event that he let us sit there with our Limoncello well after the restaurant closed – how we got back to our hotel is still a bit of a mystery.

The making of the Limoncello is not a stealth process. First the procurement of ten organic (a must) lemons. Then to find olive leaves (we found these on Amazon – shocking, I know). Then the pure alcohol (see picture below) in Florida we could only find 75% alcohol but in NYC we were able to find 95%. Note that the proof is half the alcohol content.

First to peel the lemons. We have a super sharp peeler that we bought in Germany, it grabs just the top yellow rind and not the bitter white pith which you want to avoid. The peel and olive leaves (about 10) now marinate in the fridge in 25 ounces of the alcohol for 30 days. We do this in a 132 ounce Mason jar. After 30 days we add a cooled simple syrup (2lbs of sugar and 1.5 quarts of water-now you know why we use such a large mason jar). It again rests for another 30 days before being strained via a sieve into whatever bottles you choose (see our cool bottles below).

Limoncello makes for a great gift when visiting friends or for a finishing touch after a great dinner or just because it’s 2020!

We’ve recently tried the same recipe with oranges and tangerines (and we added fresh vanilla beans to make an adult creamsicle…) it was de-lish!

Caveman Cravings

Sometimes you just need a steak. Simply grilled, with a rich porcini sauce on the side – to make it just a little fancy. My hubby won the on going battle of filet mignon vs. ribeye tonight, so this tender little beauty was prepared by him with the porcini recipe from a great chef we know. Pro-tip – bring steak (and any other meat you’re preparing) to room temperature before cooking. This will result in more even cooking and a juicier end product, I promise!

Ingredients for Porcini Sauce:
1/2 tablespoon of rehydrated porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon of truffle oil (liquid gold!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sale & pepe!

In food processor pulse rehydrated mushrooms (dried porcini soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes then removed from water) until you have a mushy consistency. Add porcini and other ingredients to saucepan and heat through on low flame, careful to not burn. You can add/subtract ingredients to your liking (I love to “tweak” a recipe!)

It’s always summer in Florida…

One good thing to come from spending the pandemic in Clearwater has been a resurgence in my affinity for gardening. As life changed for me over the last two decades, I went from a big house to a smaller house to a big apartment to a pied-à-terre in Queens. Appropriately my garden shrunk to accommodate these spaces. Our cozy beach condo allows for a patio garden and tons of indoor plants (according to some people, I may be morphing into the “crazy plant lady”). Regardless, I have daily access to fresh herbs steps away from the kitchen and I love it. I encourage you to have at least one herb plant, maybe on a windowsill – I promise it will spark some creativity and maybe even nudge you towards cooking something unplanned and delicious. Pesto? Sage Butter? Mint Jelly?

Remembering Italy

My favorite trip of all time was visiting Rome. It had been my “bucket list” trip and it exceeded unrealistically high expectations by leaps and bounds. Only better than the food, scenery and people was getting engaged to the love of my life a few doors from the Spanish Steps. To say we ate our way through Italy would be a gross understatement. The pasta, the roman artichokes, the gelato…For now all we can do is sit and wait for 2020 to be over and hopefully we can start exploring again. In the meantime, I dream of the food in Italy and try to recreate some of it. Presenting you with homemade sundried tomatoes alla Sacco.

Il mondo e un libro, e lui chi non viaggia legge solo una pagina.

The world is a book, and he who does not travel reads only one page…

Ingredients:
1 pound ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut in half. Then slice each half into 3 slices.
2 whole, crushed cloves of garlic (just because)
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Good quality EVOO (enough to cover all the goodies once in a jar)

How To:
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Put prepared tomatoes onto a wire rack and place rack on baking sheet. Sprinkle salt & pepper over tomatoes. Bake tomatoes for about 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. Put tomatoes and garlic in jar, top off with EVOO. Let sit for about a week and then mangia!

Pickling my way through a pandemic

With everything slowing down there’s tons of time for recipes that need tons of time. And what better example than pickling! I received this recipe from a colleague and have tweaked it along the way. I’ve tried pickling a few different things based on what I can find fresh at the local farmer’s market. The most popular are the pickled cucumbers, super crunchy and tasty. You can up the amounts of garlic, onion and dill to taste – you’ll figure it out along the way. The peppers make a great addition to a charcuterie alongside some cheese and prosciutto. I use the largest bell jar I can find, the seal keeps the pickles from getting mushy.

Ingredients for Brine:
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
A huge bunch of dill coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar or sugar substitute
Put all ingredients in pan, stir together, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let brine cool to room temperature.

Goodness for the Jar:
Mini cucumbers – I like to slice in half, but you can quarter or make discs
A bunch of garlic (to taste) skins removed and crushed (like 2020)
1 white onion sliced
A handful of black peppercorns

Fill jar with brine after all ingredients are packed in there. Let it sit in fridge for 10-14 days before eating every single one!