Horiatiki (Greek Salad)

Greek-Salad-280x231I spent years working two blocks from Greek Town in Detroit. So I know Greek food quite well. This is standard just about everywhere, but there are purists and there are purists.

Since this is peasant food, every Greek on the face of the earth has their own recipe, and they vary to a degree, but not too much. I’m giving you the one that I like best, but will note some of the variations.

What a true horiatiki does not contain is lettuce. This makes it great fare for leisurely meals or for the buffet, since lettuce only wilts.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 c of tomatoes (use any variety, from cherry to romas), in bite-sized chunks (do note that the seedier types will be more juicy. Small cherry varieties can be left whole to minimize this)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and then chunked
  • 1 half of a fairly good-sized red onion, cut in rings, not razor thin, more like 1/4 inch
  • 1 small green pepper, in a large dice
  • 2/3 c beets, canned or pickled (this was common in Detroit, not so much elsewhere but a personal favorite)Blot dry before adding to minimize the bleeding.
  • 1 c olives kalamata or black as you desire. I prefer the tang of the kalamata.
  • 1/2 c pepperoncini peppers for garnish
  • 1/2 c or more feta cheese (purists like it in one chunk laid on the top, others are fine with diced up)
  • juice of one lemon (purists again use red wine or no acidic addition at all)
  • 2/3 c EVOO
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Assemble all your veggies in a bowl
  2. Whisk the lemon, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper together and pour over the salad, garnish with the pepperoncini.
  3. Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side and allow people to drizzle what they want onto the salad.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: If you leave the salad undressed, it can be stored for several days quite well. If dressed, a couple of days is about all you can expect. Use the best quality feta you can get, the brick forms I find are better than the crumbled form.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Crock Pot Gingerbread Cake*

Slow-Cooker-Gingerbread-4I must say that I have avoided slow-cooker cakes like the plague. I figured they weren’t very good.

But in the quest to reduce carbs, well, you try a lot of new things anyway.

This actually worked amazingly well. This cake was moist (a real problem for a lot of lo-carb cakes) and very flavorful.

About the only drawback is that it’s hard to determine the exact cooking time, since slow-cookers are so varied in size and power. Just stick to “medium” and check it every thirty minutes or so after the first hour. Experienced cake bakers know how to test for doneness with the old skewer that comes out with crumbs not gooey.

 

INGREDIENTS:
2  1/4 cups almond flour or sunflower seed flour, or any combination

1/3 c Swerve or other sugar substitute

1/3 c date puree

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger (or more, if you like it really gingery)

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

4 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (if using sunflower seed flour – helps keep it from turning green)

1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

Grease the  interior of a 6 quart slow cooker well.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour or sunflower seed flour, sweetener, coconut flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves and salt.

Stir in melted butter, eggs, milk, lemon juice if using, date puree, and vanilla extract until well incorporated.

Pour into prepared slow cooker and cook on medium low  for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until set.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

SERVES: 10

NOTES: I used a combination of almond flour, sunflower seed flour, and whole wheat. You can use what you have pretty easily since the spices are enough to control the taste. When it has cooled in the cooker, I just inverted it onto a plate. It came out nicely in one piece.

SOURCE: Adapted from A Sweet Life

Fudgy Goodness Fudge*

Peanut-Butter-Cup-FudgeI must say, I’m not a huge fan of fudge. I find most of it frankly uneatable. However, eating low carb means that I crave chocolate and so anything that promises real chocolate flavor is something I’m going to try.

This recipe actually works beautifully and delivers. In fact it makes me like fudge. It’s creamy and rich and a small square hits the spot with no need to eat too much to assuage one’s chocolate jones.

So give it a try. You can of course package this up easily and freeze it so you can always have a chocolate fix on hand.

INGREDIENTS:

Chocolate Layers:
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp liquid stevia, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

    • Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and oil the paper.
    • In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the whipping cream, sweeteners, and vanilla extract until sweeteners dissolve.
    • Bring to just a simmer, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
    • Pour half into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the edges. Transfer to the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm, and put a lid over the remaining chocolate to keep warm.
    • Meanwhile, place peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in sweetener and vanilla extract.
    • Remove first chocolate layer from freezer and pour peanut butter layer overtop, spreading to the edges. Return to freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
    • Finally, spread remaining chocolate mixture over peanut butter. Refrigerate until set, about 1 to 2 hours. Cut into small squares.

SERVES: 24

NOTES: Note that you use powdered sugar here, and the only sugar-free powdered sugar that I am aware of is Swerve. I have no idea how it would work with granular sugar, but I suspect it would be more gritty in texture. But the heating process if long enough might melt it out sufficiently. If you should try it with regular sugar substitutes, and it works, please let me know.

SOURCE: All Day I Dream About Food

Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta

chicken_with_tomatoes_olives_and_feta_vThis is a recipe I just love.

First it is fast.

Second it has ingredients I adore.

Third, it is fresh and sassy.

Fit for company, but easy enough for a weekday meal.

What is not to like here?

Do try it.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken breasts halves, or boneless thighs. (you can brine in water and salt for an hour ahead for the breasts)
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 6 tsp fresh oregano (can used dried but really I wouldn’t)
  • 2 tsp freshly microplaned garlic– two good sized cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 of a tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 c of kalamata olives (halved)
  • 1/2 c or feta cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Pat dry the chicken pieces and add to plastic bag.
  • Mix the oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper and whisk.
  • Remove about a scant 1/4 c of the vinaigrette and set aside for later.
  • Pour the rest into the bag and massage the chicken until well covered.
  • Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  • When ready to eat, saute the chicken until done.
  • Add the reserved vinaigrette to the tomatoes, olives and feta, and stir coating well.
  • Serve the chicken and allow guests to spoon over the “salad” onto their chicken portion.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: You could substitute the feta for fresh mozzarella. You might also use a different type of olive. This would also work as a nice compliment to a substantial fish, like cod or perhaps even tuna.

SOURCE: Bon Appetit

Southwestern Dressing

southwesterndressingThis year I tired of making my usual Italian Thanksgiving dressing and decided to change things up a bit.

Actually it turned out rather well.

The amounts are not exact, but if you stay close to the approximations all will be well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups cubed sourdough bread, dried at least 24 hours
  • 2 cups crumbed and dried cornbread
  • 1 c chopped celery, finely minced
  • 1 c chopped onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 c chopped carrot, finely minced
  • 2 Anaheim, Hatch, or Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 finely minced red sweet pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage of 2 tsp dried
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb chopped andouille sausage
  • 1 c corn, frozen or drained canned, or fresh
  • 2 – 4 cups chicken stock

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the breads in a very large bowl and mix gently.
  2. Place the celery, onion, carrot, sweet pepper and saute in a bit of olive oil until softened and translucent.
  3. Add to the veggies, the chiles and herbs and mix.
  4. Add the sausage and corn, mixing again.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Pour into the bowl with the breads and mix gently.
  7. Add the chicken stock a cup at a time, and stir carefully each time, until it starts to cling together. Too much will make it soggy and mushy and not enough will make it dry. Err on the dry side, you can always add a bit more half way through the baking time if it seems too dry.
  8. Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, until hot throughout.

SERVES: 10

NOTES: I used to pour all into a casserole and then pour the stock over, but I found it harder to judge the amount that way, and ended up with a pretty soggy dressing. So I suggest you do it in a bowl where you an stir and see a bit better how much you really need.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Flourless Chocolate Cake*

flourlessIf you’ve noticed, when I cook low-carb, it tends to be something sweet. The rest is easy, but not so the sweet stuff.

When I get my hands on a good one, I want to make sure I have it recorded so I can make it again.

This is pretty basic and can be found in some form all over the place. I’ve tweaked it a bit to reflect my own tastes and the desire to keep even the good sugar to a minimum

Plenty of chocolaty taste here.

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. baking chocolate (one bar)
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup best quality cocoa powder
1/3 c date puree
1/3 c Swerve or other sweetener (erythritol)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Grease a 8″ springform pan well.
  3. Place the butter and the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments until all is melted. Mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, eggs last stirring each in separately. Mix well.
  5. Pour into the springform pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until center is still a bit wiggly but edges are done.

SERVES: 12

NOTES: Watch carefully. Don’t let it get over done. It will dry out if you do. Once the edges are brown and firm, you are good to go. Serve with whipped cream, powdered Swerve shaken over, or fresh raspberries or strawberries. You can also make a ganache and frost it.

SOURCE: Inspired by Detoxinista

 

Pan de Elote

Sweet-Corn-Cake-59143Yes, it looks like cornbread, and that’s what it actually is. Pan means bread, elote means corn. But if you expect anything like what Americans think of as cornbread, well you’re way off. Neither southern nor northern cornbread at all compares to this.

In fact, this is more dessert than used as a bread to have with say chili. The sweetness depends in some measure to the sweetness of the corn. The yellow corns will impart more sweetness and white corn is preferred.

It’s best to make when fresh corn is available, but you can use frozen or canned.

Recipes vary. This is standard Mexican food, and thus old family recipes predominate over any one standard variety. This is great for low carbing because there is no corn meal or flour in it, but a lot of sugar, though I understand there are recipes out there to make your own sugar free condensed milk. I’ll be adding one for you in weeks to come.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. (3 1/2 Oz butter
  2. 1 can  condensed milk
  3. 6 white corn cobs (about 3½ cups of corn kernels)
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

 

  • Remove the husks and the silk from the corn and cut the kernels off as close to the center as possible.
  • Preheat oven to  (350°F). Grease and flour A loaf pan, or a 8 x 8 baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl cream the butter using and electric hand mixer.
  • In a 5-cup capacity blender, add the condensed milk, corn kernels and eggs. Puree until mostly smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add some milk.
  • Add liquid ingredients to the butter, integrate well. Finally add the baking powder.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared mold. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

SERVES: 12

NOTES: You can serve with powdered sugar as a dessert or plain or with some fruit. If your corn is not too sweet, it will serve as a accompaniment to stew or chili, or as you would normally use say a northern cornbread.

SOURCE: Sweet Cannela