Monday, August 31, 2015

Braised Chicken, Eggplant & Tomatoes - A One Pot Meal

This evening I made a simple and delicious low carb meal where everything cooked in one pot. I used my 12-inch "everything pan" (a shallow 2-handled skillet type pan with a lid). I made that pan earn its "everything" name this evening...because it contained everything, our complete meal.

I browned chicken thighs (with skin and bone included), shallots, a couple of baby eggplants and multi-colored baby tomatoes seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh lemon thyme and then braised everything in a bit of chicken stock. It turned out super tender, flavorful and delicious. I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I snapped a few photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. Real food...real easy...real good. Enjoy!






Braised Chicken, Eggplant & Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 pounds chicken thighs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
2 small eggplants, diced (about 3 cups)
1 pint halved cherry or grape tomatoes, divided
1 cup chicken stock
Few springs fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme) or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions:

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and saute shallots for about 5 minutes until softened. Transfer them with a spoon to a small plate and set aside. While shallots are cooking, season both sides of chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin side down and cook about 5 to 10 minutes until golden. Turn over and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes flesh side down. Lightly season with smoked paprika.

Add diced eggplant to skillet and return shallots to pan, placing around chicken thighs. Pour in chicken stock, cover skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cover and braise for about 15 minutes. Uncover, stir eggplant and scatter half of the tomatoes around chicken thighs. Add thyme and cover skillet; cook an additional 15 minutes until chicken is tender and tomatoes are cooked. Uncover and turn heat up to medium-high and cook uncovered until juices are concentrated and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before done, add remaining half of fresh tomatoes to skillet and allow them to heat through. Serve in shallow bowls topped with shredded Parmesan, if desired.

        

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Strawberry Balsamic Chipotle Bacon Barbecue Sauce - Low Carb & No Added Sugar

Today we actually stayed home and didn't run errands for a change. I'm trying to stay off my feet as much as possible because I've got something going on with my ankle. It is driving me absolutely crazy sitting around! LOL  I kept dinner simple tonight. I wanted to make grilled chicken since we had some (with skin and bone) that needed to be used. I wanted to put together a different kind of barbecue sauce with a strawberry base using the jar of my Strawberry Chia Jam that I had in the fridge. I looked around to see if there were any existing recipes that appealed to me and all of the strawberry themed barbecue sauces I came across also used ketchup. Besides the fact that ketchup has a lot of sugar in it, the idea of combining strawberries and ketchup literally turned my stomach. I wanted to taste strawberry...you know, sort of a "last hurrah" to summer (I'm hoping).

I decided that strawberry would be the predominant ingredient in my barbecue sauce and I used ingredients that I had on hand to doctor it up. I wanted it to have the twang of vinegar, the natural sweetness of strawberry, a bit of heat from chipotle and the smoky/salty flavor from bacon. I really liked how it turned out and so did hubby who was skeptical at first. I made Strawberry Balsamic Chipotle Bacon Barbecue Sauce and we basted our grilled chicken with it during the last few minutes of cooking. If you are looking for a different sweet, tangy, smoky, slightly spicy sauce, this sauce fits the bill. After the sauce simmered and had thickened, I pureed it with my immersion blender and then stirred in half of the bacon bits so there would still be little bits of bacon in the sauce (the other half of the bacon was blended into the sauce so the flavor would go throughout it. Since I already had the strawberry chia jam made, it only took about 30 minutes to make the barbecue sauce and I did that while hubby grilled the chicken. I also made my Easy Coleslaw to go with our barbecued chicken. I snapped a few photos below as well as included the easy peasy sauce recipe. Enjoy!






Strawberry Balsamic Chipotle Bacon Barbecue Sauce
Makes approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

3 strips bacon, diced
1 sliced green onion
1 large clove minced garlic
1 cup sugar free Strawberry Chia Jam
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic)
1 Tablespoon organic gluten free Tamari sauce
1 Tablespoon honey (I used sugar free honey substitute)
1 teaspoon black strap molasses, optional
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Few dashes smoked paprika
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a 1 quart saucepan, brown diced bacon until crisp. Remove browned bacon and transfer to a small bowl using a slotted spoon (reserving bacon drippings in pan). Add onions to pan and saute for a couple of minutes over medium heat until they begin to soften; add garlic and cook about 1 minute.

Stir in strawberry chia jam, balsamic vinegar, Tamari sauce, honey, molasses, dry mustard, chipotle pepper, smoked paprika and half of the bacon bits. Cook on medium heat until sauce begins to bubble gently. Reduce heat and let simmer until sauce cooks down and begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Puree sauce with an immersion blender or in the jar of a regular blender until smooth. Stir in remaining half of bacon bits. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and make any necessary adjustments.

*Note:  It's best to reduce and thicken sauce to desired consistency before adding salt or tweaking chipotle, balsamic, etc. since flavors concentrate as it simmers.

            

Pan Seared Wild Alaskan Salmon & Eggs - Saturday's Gourmet Breakfast

This morning I decided to make a special "gourmet breakfast" to kick off the weekend. While many of us have enjoyed special "steak and egg" breakfasts before...this morning I kicked it up a notch. No, I actually kicked it over the moon and back! LOL I had one piece of fresh wild Alaskan Coho Salmon left in the fridge that was screaming "breakfast" to me (and personally, I'll take wild salmon over steak any day of the week). It was so very easy to make.

To prepare the salmon: I seasoned the fillet with salt and pepper and dusted it with smoked paprika and pan seared it flesh side down in a nonstick skillet in a tablespoon of Kerrygold butter over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes. I turned it over and cooked it another 5 minutes, skin side down. I removed the skillet from the heat, covered it and set it aside. I then heated a separate small skillet and fried an organic cage free egg in a little more Kerrygold butter, seasoned it with sea salt and black pepper...and BOOM! I had the most delicious "Salmon & Eggs" breakfast. I tossed a few fresh blackberries on my plate and I was in "Salmon & Eggs" heaven. Move over steak...you don't stand a chance in my house as long as there's wild Alaskan salmon in my fridge!  I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!

This isn't just breakfast...it's ART!


          

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mongolian Beef - Low Carb

I decided to try making one of hubby's and my favorite Chinese dishes...Mongolian Beef. I haven't had it in years. It was actually quite easy to make and I just happened to have steak that needed to be used. It doesn't require a lot of ingredients and the majority are easy to find in most grocery stores.

The deal breaker in most Mongolian Beef recipes for us low carbers is usually the cornstarch that's used to thicken the sauce as well as the sugar (usually quite a bit) that goes into it because it is a thick salty-sweet sauce if you've never had it before...quite different than the typical Chinese style stir-fry dishes. This Mongolian Beef would be great served over cauliflower rice which is very easy to make. Hubby enjoyed his over steamed brown rice (that he picked up on his way home from our local Chinese restaurant). Even though I did not have mine over rice, the sauce is so good (it's a thick clingy sauce) that cauliflower rice would be a great way to enjoy this particular meal to help grab up the sauce. I snapped a few photos below as well as my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!





Mongolian Beef - Low Carb

Ingredients:

2 to 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-1/2 pounds sliced sirloin steak (about 1/4-inch slices)
3 sliced green spring onions (scallions) cut into 2-inch pieces
1 thinly sliced small carrot, optional
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons cashew butter
1/4 cup organic gluten free Tamari sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons granular sugar free sweetener (I used Swerve)

Directions:

In a nonstick wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and cook, stir-frying until browned (cook until all beef juices cook off and meat begins to caramelize and brown), about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining half of beef, and repeat cooking, adding more oil if necessary. Add green onions and carrots during the last minute of cooking, stirring frequently. Transfer beef and onion mixture with slotted spoon to bowl and place with first batch of meat.

Add garlic to wok and stir fry constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cashew butter to wok with garlic (begin with 2 tablespoons) and stir until it begins to warm and soften, about 1 minute. Add Tamari, water, ginger and sweetener. Stir briskly until sauce heats up and cashew butter melts and blends into liquid. Bring almost to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Add remaining 1 tablespoon cashew butter if additional thickening is desired (sauce should be thick enough to cling to meat and not run off like a juicy sauce). Add additional water if necessary to thin sauce. When sauce is thickened to desired consistency, return meat and onion mixture to sauce; stir and heat together for a couple minutes until heated through. Serve over cauliflower rice, if desired.

      

Thursday, August 27, 2015

No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups - Low Carb & Sugar Free

Today I'm sharing a new recipe on my guest post over at Honeyville. You are going to love this recipe, particularly during these last dog days of summer because it's an easy and delicious no-bake recipe. No baking whatsoever...nada, zip, zero...none! My recipe is for No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups. Think of it as a healthier and updated, more gourmet-ish version of the old Strawberry Pretzel Salads of yesteryear (which isn't even a salad to begin with...I mean WHO refers to a dessert as a "salad")!

For those of you that don't know what a "strawberry pretzel salad" is, it's a salty-sweet crust made using crushed pretzels, topped with a no-bake cheesecake-type filling and a final layer of strawberry gelatin and strawberries. Once again, it's a dessert, NOT a salad! I do have a theory, though, on how someone back then might have ended up calling this dessert a "salad" but I'll have to share my theory with you another day and not today, because today is all about this delicious, cool, no-bake dessert to help you usher summer out with a bang!

Check out my delicious No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups below. These are so very easy to make, they're quick, and absolutely delicious!  My recipe has a salty-sweet nut flour crust (using my favorite Honeyville blanched almond flour and ground walnuts) to take the place of pretzels; it has a to-die-for sugar free vanilla bean mascarpone and cream cheese filling; and it's topped with my Strawberry Chia Jam. It is "knock your socks off" good! To get to this delicious, easy peasy recipe, please click here: No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups. Enjoy!





        

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pan Seared Wild Coho Salmon w/ Fresh Tomato Scallion Salsa

This evening I prepared wild coho salmon that I picked up at Costco this weekend. I kept it simple and fresh. It took about 10 minutes to pan sear the salmon fillets in a skillet and less than 10 minutes to put the fresh tomato scallion salsa together. It turned out so fresh and flavorful. I used a variety of different colored baby tomatoes; red, yellow, orange and green (also found at Costco) and sliced green scallions. I put together a tasty vinaigrette that I let the tomatoes marinate in for about 20 minutes at room temperature and served it over the pan seared salmon. I seared the salmon fillets in butter and seasoned them with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika. The smoked paprika adds such a nice mild smoky flavor without overpowering the salmon. It turned out amazing. My meal literally took less than 20 minutes from start to table. I snapped a few photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!





Pan Seared Wild Coho Salmon w/ Fresh Tomato Scallion Salsa

Ingredients:

1 cup diced fresh ripe tomatoes
1 thinly sliced green onion (scallion) (I just used the mild green tops)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey (I used sugar free honey substitute)
3 6-ounce wild salmon fillets
Smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, scallions, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar and honey. Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to marinate while preparing the salmon.

Season salmon fillets with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts and just begins sizzling. Place salmon fillets flesh side down and cook for 4 minutes; turn over and cook skin side down for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cover for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve topped with fresh tomato scallion salsa.

            

Monday, August 24, 2015

Grilled Scallop Piccata Served Over Sauteed Summer Squash Ribbons

This evening I made a quick and delicious meal using the large wild sea scallops that I purchased at Costco this weekend. Scallops don't take long to cook at all; only about 3 minutes per side if you grill them, and about the same amount of time if you sear them in a hot skillet on the stove top. I considered various ways of preparing them and settled on making a "Piccata version" by making a small batch of piccata sauce (butter, garlic, parsley, lemon and capers). My version was especially easy to make because I used Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter which saves a step or two. If you've never had capers before, they are little salty green beads (smaller than peas) that are sort of pickly, but not really. I must admit that for the longest time (as in most of my life) I have turned my nose up to them and refused to even try them, but once I finally did I wondered why I waited so long! If you are like I used to be and don't want to use them, simply leave them out (but I encourage you to just try them some time). I snapped a couple photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. I served the Grilled Scallop Piccata over lightly sauteed yellow summer squash ribbons. I didn't use any fancy gadget to make them, just a regular vegetable peeler. I sauteed them for about 3 minutes in a little bit of olive oil and then lightly seasoned with salt...easy peasy. Enjoy!




Grilled Scallop Piccata
Yields 3 servings

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds large sea scallops (preferably wild caught)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon capers
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Directions:

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Thread on bamboo skewers that have been pre-soaked in water for about 30 minutes. Brush scallops on both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Grill over a medium-hot grill for approximately 3 minutes per side or until done (careful not to overcook).

To make the piccata sauce, in a small skillet, melt garlic and herb butter over medium heat. Add lemon juice and lemon zest; heat just until butter begins to sizzle. Stir in capers and parsley; remove from heat. Spoon piccata sauce over cooked scallops.

*Note: If you don't have access to garlic and herb butter, you can substitute it by simply mincing a clove of garlic and sauteing gently in about 4 tablespoons of butter; add a pinch of minced fresh parsley.

         

Sunday, August 23, 2015

No-Flip Blackberry Buttermilk Pancakes & Costco Deals and Finds

This morning we woke up early. We had heavy rain and storms overnight and before we even got to have breakfast this morning, the torrential storms, thunder and lightning began again. I kept my fingers crossed that our power wouldn't go out before our breakfast was ready (thankfully it didn't). This past week it has felt more like we are living in a rain forest than suburbia. For breakfast, I decided to make my No-Flip Buttermilk Pancake with fresh blackberries that I picked up at Costco yesterday. While the pancake was in the oven, I cooked some bacon to go along with our pancakes. It turned out delicious with fresh blackberries.

When I made my run(s) to Costco this weekend, I found fresh wild Alaskan Coho Salmon for $8.99 per pound. This is the first that I've seen it this year, but this is the beginning of the season. I also found their 3-pound bag of walnuts on sale for $3.00 off making them $14.99 for 3 pounds (the sale goes through Sunday, August 30th if you are interested). I picked up some large wild sea scallops, and beautiful steaks as well. If you like ground golden flax, they had their Stober Farms (formerly USA Flax) 3-pound bag on sale for $2.00 off making it $5.29 for 3 pounds. I picked up some fresh produce; organic fresh baby spinach, brussels sprouts, fresh raspberries and blackberries and other odds and ends. I used the blackberries in this morning's No-Flip Blackberry Buttermilk Pancake. I snapped a photo below. To get to the recipe for this thick and fluffy no-flip pancake, click here (simply add your favorite fruit, nuts or chocolate chips): Thick & Fluffy No-Flip Buttermilk Pancake. Enjoy!


            

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Low Carb Creamed Spinach Served Alongside Grilled Steak & Parmesan Cauliflower Mash

This evening we made a delicious and simple dinner. It was another hot and muggy day here today so we decided to grill steaks for dinner (simply seasoned with Chipotle Garlic & Roasted Garlic Seasoning). I sliced and sauteed some fresh mushrooms in butter and made my Rich & Thick Parmesan Cauliflower Mash to enjoy with our steaks. I also decided to make an easy low carb version of Creamed Spinach (one of hubby's faves) to go alongside our meal. It turned out delicious. It's rich and creamy and a little goes a long way. It's really quick and easy to make. I snapped a few photos of tonight's delicious meal below as well as the recipe for my Creamed Spinach. Enjoy!







Creamed Spinach

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sliced green spring onions (scallions)
12 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese (brick style)
1 cup cream or half-and-half (I used half cream and half unsweetened cashew milk)
3 to 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan)

Directions:

In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add onions and saute about 1 minute. Add spinach and saute lightly, just until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer spinach to a shallow bowl and set aside.

In same skillet, add butter and cream cheese, stirring frequently over medium heat until cream cheese has softened and melted into the butter. Add cream and finely grated Parmesan. Simmer uncovered (small steady bubbles) while stirring frequently until sauce begins to reduce and thicken. Season cream sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour off any juices that accumulated from the spinach. Stir spinach into sauce and heat together about 2 minutes. Transfer creamed spinach to individual ramekins or a small casserole (approximately 11" x 7") and top with shredded Parmesan. Run under hot broiler for several minutes until cheese is bubbly and light golden brown. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

         

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pizza Pasta - Served over "Non-Watery" Zoodles

This evening I made "Pizza Pasta". What is pizza pasta you might wonder? It's pretty simple. I made zoodles (actually squoodles since I used yellow summer squash instead of zucchini). I used my foolproof method for "how to make non-watery zoodles." While they were sitting all salted and rolled up in paper towels to extract their excess juices, I proceeded to make the "sauce" which I modeled after what I would typically put on top of pizza. It's important when making the sauce to put over zoodles, that your sauce not be watery; the thicker the sauce the better. I made a thick meaty sauce using ground beef, onions, mushrooms, black olives, diced pepperoni and red pepper flakes. I used about 1-1/2 cups of one of my favorite jarred sauces that contains no added sugar; DelGrosso's Fireworks Pasta Sauce which is a little spicy but extremely flavorful. I topped our bowls of  "Pizza Pasta" with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. It was delicious with all the flavor of pizza but the look, texture and feel of pasta. I snapped a couple photos below as well as the easy peasy recipe. If you'd like to see my little tutorial on "How to Make Non-Watery Zoodles", click here: Non-Watery Zoodles. Enjoy!




Pizza Pasta

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1/3 cup sliced black olives (I used Kalamata olives)
15-20 slices pepperoni, diced
1-1/2 cups pasta sauce
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
Cooked zoodles

Directions:

In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown ground beef and onions in olive oil over medium high heat, breaking beef into chunks as it browns. Add mushrooms and continue to cook uncovered until juices are evaporated. Add olives and pepperoni; cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add pasta sauce and red pepper flakes; simmer on low about 10 minutes. Server over cooked zoodles.

*Note: Add or use your own personal favorite pizza toppings such as peppers, sausage, etc.

        

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grilled Asian Style Chicken Kabobs

This evening both sons came for dinner. I made Grilled Asian Style Chicken Kabobs that were marinated in a blend of Tamari, clementine juice, honey, rice wine vinegar, garlic and other seasonings. They turned out great. I also grilled a mixture of veggies; red and orange bell peppers, Vidalia onion and yellow summer squash that I simply brushed with oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before grilling. The guys enjoyed jasmine rice along with their kabobs. I considered sauteing some slaw to serve with mine but decided to enjoy them "as is" instead. It was a delicious and flavorful meal. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!







Grilled Asian Style Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients:

3 pounds boneless chicken breast or thigh meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used clementines)
1/4 cup organic wheat free Tamari sauce
4 tablespoons honey (I used sugar free honey substitute)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 thinly sliced green spring onions (scallions)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sriracha, optional

Directions:

Place chicken in a large Ziploc-type bag. Whisk remaining marinade ingredients together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Pour all but 2 tablespoons over the chicken; seal bag tightly and place in refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours (2 tablespoons marinade reserved to brush on cooked kabobs before removing from grill). Discard any marinade used to marinate raw chicken.

Thread marinated chicken on metal skewers or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes (to keep from burning). Cook covered over a medium-hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning frequently, until done. If desired, brush with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade before removing from grill.

            

Sunday Morning's Breakfast Bowl - Low Carb

Happy Sunday! This morning I made myself a delicious, quick and easy "Breakfast Bowl" for breakfast. I had a small bowl of leftover scrambled eggs with cheese from yesterday morning's breakfast along with 2 leftover strips of cooked bacon. I gently reheated them at low heat in the microwave and proceeded to layer my bowl. I started with a base of scrambled eggs and then topped them with half of a diced avocado, a couple of sliced grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon and a bit of diced pepper-jack cheese. Voila...I had a delicious, quick and easy Breakfast Bowl. I love mixing together odds and ends leftovers and transforming them into something special. What lies waiting for you to transform in YOUR refrigerator? Enjoy!


         

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Grilled Asian Style Wild Alaskan Black Cod

This evening I made Grilled Asian Style Wild Alaskan Black Cod. What is black cod you ask? Well, it really isn't part of the cod family (so I'm not sure why it is called cod). It is commonly referred to as sablefish or butterfish. It's an extremely delicate and tender white fish that has a rich buttery flavor. I first had it while in Cordova, Alaska, recently while dining at the Reluctant Fisherman. My main course that evening was Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon with Citrus Salsa (it was amazing) but as an appetizer, I enjoyed large succulent lumps of black cod wrapped in bacon. It was absolutely amazing. It literally melts in your mouth. It is very high in Omega 3's (almost as high as wild salmon). It's taste and texture and "gourmet status" makes it an excellent substitute for Chilean Sea Bass. While it's found in the North Pacific, Alaska has the largest population of black cod in the world, the majority of which is exported to Japan. Because of its sustainability status, just like their wild salmon, Alaska carefully manages and protects black cod to prevent it from being overfished.

When I returned from Cordova several weeks ago, I immediately placed an order from one of the fishermen, Rich Wheeler, that I met while I was there and who also happens to sell directly (most don't). His company is SenaSea Seafood. I ordered an assortment of fish; wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon, Wild Alaskan Halibut and Wild Alaskan Black Cod. This evening I prepared the Black Cod and it was absolutely amazing! I will definitely be ordering more of this fish in the near future. Speaking of which, after I placed my order, Rich's wife Sena contacted me and gave me a 10% off coupon code to share with my followers to use when placing orders. If you want to give them a try, use code "GOURMETGIRL10". Here is the link to their site: SenaSea Seafood (they ship overnight for free). My fish came beautifully packaged and each fillet was vacuum sealed. I was so excited to cook it on my new Lodge cast iron grill pan that I picked up at Costco this afternoon. I have had my eye on it all summer long and finally decided to "bite the bullet" and get it today...just to cook my black cod on. Just in case a piece of my fish broke off while grilling and flipping it, I didn't want to lose one single morsel to my grill's never-never land. I absolutely loved this fish and will definitely be ordering more of it. Check out the photos and the easy recipe for my beautiful Grilled Asian Style Wild Alaskan Black Cod below. I served it on a bed of stir-fried cabbage, carrots and scallions. It was delicious. Enjoy!



Loved grilling with this pan!


Grilled Asian Style Wild Alaskan Black Cod

Ingredients:

2 4-ounce black cod fillets
2 tablespoons organic wheat free Tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar free honey substitute (or use regular honey, if paleo)
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, divided
1 sliced green spring onion, divided
1 to 2 tablespoons grated carrot
Coconut oil to grease grill pan

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine Tamari sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds, and half of the sliced green onions. Place fillets on a plate. Spoon and brush half of the sauce on the flesh side of the fillets (careful not to cross contaminate sauce with utensils that had contact with the raw fish). Let sit about 5 to 10 minutes for flavors to permeate fish.

Heat grill (and grill pan, if using) to approximately 400 degrees. Lightly grease grill pan or grill with oil. Place fish flesh side down on hot grill and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully flip fillets over. Brush with remaining sauce. Cook an additional 4 minutes or until fish begins to flake when gently pressed. Top with remaining sesame seeds, green onions and grated carrot. Do not overcook.

        

Saturday Breakfast - Eggs, Bacon & Strawberry Cheese "Not-Danish"

This morning hubby and I got up early and took a walk. It was bright, sunny and only 72 degrees outside. It's still supposed to get hot today, but we finally had a cool morning to get out and enjoy. When we got back, I made scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon for breakfast. I reached for my plain Greek yogurt to swirl some of my Strawberry Chia Jam in, and while I was reaching for it, I noticed my carton of whole milk ricotta sitting beside it with only about 1/4 cup left inside. Don't you just hate wondering what to do with your leftover ricotta? I decided to put my Greek yogurt back and instead pulled out the leftover ricotta and swirled my strawberry jam into it instead. It was AMAZING! Yes, as in "I liked it even better than fruit swirled through plain Greek yogurt!" It was smooth, creamy, rich without any tartness. It was like enjoying a Strawberry Cheese Danish without the danish part! LOL From now on, I will purposely look forward to leftover ricotta to enjoy this way. Try it next time you find yourself wondering what to do with your leftover ricotta. I snapped a quick photo of my breakfast of eggs, bacon and Strawberry Cheese "Not-Danish". Enjoy!


            

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strawberry Chia Jam - Sugar Free

Over the last few months, I've experimented with a few different variations of Strawberry Chia Jam. I've made it raw (pureed the berries without cooking) as well as a version where I cooked it for about 10 to 15 minutes to hasten thickening. I've used regular black chia seeds and white chia seeds; this version photographed used the white chia seeds, but both work nicely. I finally found the method I prefer best which is somewhere in between the raw and cooked versions where it still retains the "fresh strawberry" taste.

I quarter the strawberries, add a bit of lemon juice and cook them a little until they heat up, then use a potato masher to start pressing and mashing the berries until they begin releasing juices. I prefer my jam somewhat chunky for texture; I like to bite into pieces of strawberry in my jam. As soon as the juices are released and it's the chunkiness that I like, I add sweetener, to taste (I used stevia), and then stir in the chia seeds. I increase the heat and bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer between 4 to 5 minutes before removing from the heat to cool down. As it cools it thickens and after you refrigerate it, it thickens even more. It initially loses it's bright red color after heating up and appears a bit pinkish but as it cools off, the red color brightens back up again. I snapped a couple photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. It keeps nicely for at least a week (possibly longer) in the refrigerator. It's great spread on biscuits or as a topping for ice cream or stirred into Greek yogurt. I used it as a delicious topping when I made ----> Panna Cotta a few months ago. You can sweeten as much or as little as you like, depending on personal preference and the sweetness of your berries. Enjoy!




Strawberry Chia Jam

Ingredients:

16 ounces fresh ripe strawberries, quartered
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds (I used white chia seeds)
Sweetener, to taste (I used stevia)

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, heat strawberries and lemon juice over medium heat. As the berries begin to heat, begin mashing with a potato masher until the juices release and you reach the desired chunkiness (if a smoother jam is desired, puree berries in a food processor or with a stick type blender). Add chia seeds and sweetener, to taste. Bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool and thicken; refrigerate to complete thickening and to store.