Zeke’s knives

Had to just post this today, because I am so proud of the amazing, cool knives Zeke (my partner)is turning out these days in the forge he built for his new business. These are just a few unfinished ones that I snuck in and took pics of:

I love chopping veggies with some of these (and slicing meat, of course!)

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Delicious End-of-Summer-Veggies Appetizer

Patty-Pan Pesto Pile-up

This one’s so easy, I’ll write it in even though I only have 2 minutes. Gotta get out to the garden and harvest the last of the tomatoes, to make ketchup. We’re supposedly getting a frost tonight! Where did the summer go?

Recipe:

Patty pan squash, sliced into rounds about 1/4-inch thick each (or zucchini, if you want smaller rounds)
Pesto (preferably home-made
Sungold or Cherry tomatoes

Steam the slices of squash for just a couple of minutes. Remove from steamer to cool. Place on a plate. Put a big dollop of pesto on top of each slice.
Top with a whole cherry tomato.
A whole bunch of these (small, made with zucchini) together on a platter make for beautiful finger-food, or if you are using a big enough patty pan and enough pesto, it’s an individual serving (and very filling) appetizer.

Low-Carb Bacon-Onion Pie

This one’s good for any meal of the day. Even good cold for school lunches.

This pie can be made without a crust at all, or with the almond-flour crust below. The first thing to do in this recipe is cooking the bacon (see quantity below). I’ve found that doing this on a baking sheet in the oven is easier than in a pan. It cooks at a lower temperature too, so it’s healthier for you. I cook it at 300 to 325 F. Just check it periodically so it doesn’t burn. It cooks pretty fast, maybe 20 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Crust:
1 and 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup butter or ghee, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda

Combine all ingredients well, and press into a deep-dish pie pan (I use glass or ceramic). Bake for about 12 minutes, until just browning slightly. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

Turn up oven’s heat to 375 F.

Filling:
10 slices of uncured organic (preferably pastured) bacon, cooked (see above), cooled, then crumbled
A few T bacon fat or butter or ghee
2 large onions, very thinly sliced
8 eggs
1 large tsp celtic sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh pastured sour cream

Saute the onion in bacon fat (or butter/ghee), until soft (you could caramelize them, for a different taste). Beat the eggs well, then stir in the onions and the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the almond flour crust. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the egg mixture is thoroughly set (stick a fork in the middle to check for done-ness).

Low-Carb Chicken Nuggets and Slow-Cooker Pastured Pork Ribs

Low-Carb Chicken Nuggets

Low-Carb Chicken Nuggets

2 chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
1 and 1/2 cups blanched almond flour, or hazelnut flour
1 T arrowroot powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
1/8 tsp chipotle powder (optional, if you like things a little spicy)
1/8 tsp dried, powdered ginger (also optional)
1 tsp celtic sea salt
some black pepper
About 1/2 cup ghee and/or coconut oil, melted over low heat, or olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix flour, arrowroot, and spices together well on a big plate. Pour oil into a bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in the oil, then dredge in the flour mixture. Place on baking pan (I use pyrex;stainless steel will work fine). Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn over and bake for another 10. The crust should be a little crispy and very slightly browned, chicken cooked through.
Serve with home-made lacto-fermented coleslaw.

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Slow-Cooker Pastured Pork Ribs with BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce (enough for about 4 lbs of pork ribs):

1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2 cups ketchup (preferably home-made, but an organic sweetener-free one will do
1/3 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 cup bone stock or water (or 1/2 cup dry red wine, 1/2 cup stock)
1/4 cup Tamari organic wheat-free soy sauce
1 T paprika
1 tsp to 1 T chili powder (we like chipotle), depending on how spicy you want these
a tiny bit of stevia (couple of scoops of KAL brand organic) (optional)
1/4 cup ghee or lard

Saute the onion, celery and garlic in ghee or lard over medium heat, until softened (about 10 minutes)
Stir in rest of ingredients and simmer over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Place pastured ribs (approx 4 lbs.) in a large bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce over them and cover well (you’ll probably have to turn the ribs a few times to thoroughly coat them). Cover with foil or another plate, and marinate overnight (or longer) in the fridge. When done marinating, place in a slow-cooker, with all the sauce. Cook on low setting for 8 to 9 hours, until meat is falling off the bone. Serve with some of the sauce for dipping, or pour sauce over a pile of ribs on a plate. You can also save the sauce to make pulled pork with any leftovers (though I don’t usually have leftovers with these!).

Some more gluten-free/grain-free low-carb recipes

Seems all I have time to post here these days is recipes/food ideas, so here are a few, in the three minutes I have today:

Zeke’s Pizza Pockets:

For crust:
Parmesan cheese (real cheese, NOT that weird processed “parmesan cheese food” you find unrefrigerated in a green cardboard/plastic shaker thing in big supermarkets where they sell tons of processed food. That stuff may be cheaper in the short run, but do you really want to feed it to your kids? It will DEFINITELY not be cheaper for you–or them–in the long run). Anyway, there are brands of parmesan on the market that are not that expensive. Of course some really good aged Grana Padano will taste delicious, but so will any parmesan or aged gouda or romano, etc. You don’t want the pre-grated powdery kind. You want a medium to large grate size.

For filling:
Tomato sauce (either home-made or store-bought)
Veggies of choice (we use onions, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, whatever other greens we have around, finely chopped
Herbs of choice (we like fresh basil, oregano, marjoram, garlic), chopped or minced
Organic, preservative-free, nitrate/nitrite-free pepperoni (or you could use ham). (Depending on what kind you get, you may have to cook it first, before you put on pizza)
More cheese for melting on top (either mozzarella or cheddar are good here, though you can also just use more parmesan), grated
Ghee or olive oil

Assembly:
Grate parmesan, and spread a layer of it, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick, in a 6-to-8-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet. Heat it in the oven at about 350 F, until it melts together. Remove skillet from oven and let cheese cool in the pan. (You can also cut a round of parchment paper and place it in the pan before you sprinkle in the parmesan. I use a very seasoned cast-iron skillet, so don’t have sticking problems, but if you do get sticking problems, parchment paper should solve this).

Meanwhile, saute the veggies in the oil/ghee.

Remove parmesan “crust” from the skillet (once it’s cooled, it should be pretty stiff and easy to just peel out), and place on a flat baking sheet or pyrex dish. Place the veggies on top of this crust. Cover them with slices of pepperoni or ham, then sprinkle lots of grated cheese over all, especially near the edges. Put this back in the oven until the cheese on top has melted enough to thoroughly cover everything (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes, to cool a little, so the cheese is no longer runny, and the “pockets” will hold together (basically, you want it cooled on the outside, so the cheese and pepperoni hold it all together, but still warm on the inside. Then you cut the pizza round in half with a pizza knife or one of those little roller-cutter things, and there you have 2 pockets.
Serve with extra tomato sauce for dipping (optional).

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This recipe (I’ve adapted it a little bit) I found in a GAPS diet cookbook someone gave me, called Internal Bliss. Just another good way to eat veggies:

Grain-free Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

This recipe makes a lot, probably enough for 4 or 5 good-sized servings. It’s great cold the next day, as a salad, or make breakfast “hash” out of it with some chopped up organic turkey or chicken breakfast sausages, or some crumbled good quality uncured bacon, for a good-fat-and-protein-rich breakfast that will sustain any kid until lunchtime.

1 whole head of cauliflower
1 small head of broccoli, pretty finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, also pretty finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium to large onion, (you guessed it) finely chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 or 3 T fresh parsley, minced
2 T (or more, to taste) toasted sesame oil
2 eggs
Salt to taste
A few T ghee or coconut oil for cooking

Grate the cauliflower in food processor, USING THE GRATING BLADE. Steam the grated cauliflower for a few minutes, then set aside to cool.

Lightly scramble the eggs, so they are not completely cooked, then set aside.

In the oil, saute all veggies except the cauliflower over a low-to-medium heat, until they are just cooked, still a little crunchy (I usually start with the onions, as I like them thoroughly cooked in this recipe, but that’s a matter of taste). Add the cauliflower, and saute for a few more minutes, then add the eggs and keep stirring for a few minutes until eggs are done. Transfer mixture to a big bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, vinegar and parsley (a little minced garlic is good here too, but optional).

Pour this dressing over the veggie-egg mix. Serve hot or cold.

Oh, another thing that’s really good in this is either fresh snow peas or regular peas. Also scallions. Think Fried Rice. If you do it right (don’t over-cook), the texture of the cauliflower really does seem rice-like.

Kefir Smoothie Cubes (or Pops)

Once again, a recipe for these sweltering days…

I’ll eventually get info on kefiring up in the “Food Basics” section of this blog–meanwhile, for anyone who’s interested, there are many good websites about making kefir (see my blogroll), acquiring kefir grains, etc. You can use a commercial kefir (make sure it’s organic) or plain, whole-fat live-cultured yoghurt too, but these have nowhere near the probiotic content of real kefir, plus are much higher in lactose, which definitely causes sugar/insulin spikes.

If made with real kefir, these “cube/pops” will be about 3 grams of carbs each. They are great for summer breakfasts, to accompany eggs or meat, or good for dessert or just a mid-day snack.

1 and 1/2 cups home-made kefir
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1 or 2 scoops KAL stevia (or to taste, if using a different brand)
1 heaping T raw almond butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour into popsicle molds (or just ice cube trays) and freeze.

Variations/options:
My daughter (and her non-diabetic friends) love these. I often will include supplements like Vitamin C, Quercetin, spirulina, even fermented cod liver oil, with these, since at 6 yrs old she can’t quite swallow a big Vit C capsule.
For extra good omega-3 fats I blend a couple of raw egg yolks into the mix. However, I don’t recommend doing this unless you have access to fresh, local, free-range, organic chicken eggs from a place you know and trust. We know the chickens whose eggs we eat. Even in a city, you can often get fresh organic eggs direct from a farmer at a farmer’s market.

Kefir smoothie cubes/pops

Raw Crunchy-Nutty Kale Crisps

Here’s a great way to get kids (and kids-at-heart!) to eat kale. These taste like a kind of cheesy salty crunchy cracker, and I haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t love them.
You have to have either a dehydrator or an electric oven that goes down to about 150 F (and a chopstick to then prop this open so you can get temp down to between 116 and 120) to dehydrate food and still keep a lot of the healthy enzymes alive. If you don’t have either of these, I think these would still be good baked on the lowest setting you have. You’ll still have a healthy, mineral-and-protein-rich snack, just not quite as full of nutrition as when it’s dehydrated.

1 large bunch fresh kale, washed, removed from stems and broken into medium-sized pieces
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups “raw” cashews,* soaked for a few hours and rinsed well
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
Juice of 1 large lemon
Celtic or Himalayan sea salt to taste

Throw all ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE KALE into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You may have to add a little water to reach a good consistency. You want it pretty thick, though, not watery at all. When you’ve done blending, toss this mixture in a big bowl with the kale pieces, until kale is thoroughly coated. Lay out on dehydrating sheets (or baking sheets, if using oven), and place in dehydrator/oven. I dehydrate mine at about 120 for about 24 hours, after which time the crisps are really crunchy. If you want them chewier, do it for less time.

Variations:
1) Use the cashew/pepper/lemon/salt mixture on its own:just shape spoonfuls of it into flat medallions, about 2 inches in diameter, and lay out on dehydrating sheets, etc.

2) Blend all the ingredients, including kale, in the food processor, and make “crackers” as above.

3) Add herbs or spices to your liking to the nut mix before you toss it with the kale. Experiment!

*Cashews are actually not ever raw, no matter what someone tells you. To extract these nuts from the shells they are heated to high heats, so if there are any raw foodies reading this, know that you are never getting truly raw cashews, as you can with some other nuts. I soak them to get a creamy consistency, and to remove the anti-nutrients that nuts contain, some of which still exist even after high-heat extraction. Don’t soak cashews for more than a few hours though, as they will start to taste bitter. More on nuts and soaking them when I get the Food Basics page of this blog up, which will happen someday I promise!