Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vietnamese Pho Soup

Chicken Pho Soup
We used to live in Bellevue, WA where not far from our home was the most fabulous Vietnamese restaurant. We frequented it often or called in the big order for Chicken Pho Soup.
Now that we have moved to the desert and not one Vietnamese restaurant in town I went on the hunt to recreate it. After pouring over recipe after recipe and making many batches I found what is the closest to our favorite restaurant. Adapted from: Great site with lots of delicious healthy dishes.
For us LCing, we do not use the noodles, we add LOTS of bean sprouts to our bowl of hot soup. You'll never miss the noodles.

1 whole chicken

1 med onion-cut in half (char-see below)
3-inches of ginger-unpeeled (char-see below)

Broth Spices

2 tbl whole coriander
4 tbl whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 tbl Splenda or sweetener of choice
2 tbl fish sauce 
small bunch cilantro- stems only-tie in bunch

Accompaniments at table
6 cups bean sprouts
4 large sprigs of fresh basil

1 jalapeno, sliced
cilantro tops-leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup shaved red onions
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha hot sauce- add to taste
Hoisin Sauce-add to taste
As I began to cook this, I thought I would skip this 1st step as most of the other Pho recipes I read did not included it however I  the others I tried did not quite taste like what I remembered. So I grudgingly did it..... I think this is what made it the winner.

  •  Place ginger and onion on baking sheet. 4" from the heating element. Set to broil on high 15 minutes. Turn them over a couple of times to char. The skin will get dark and the onion/ ginger will get soft. Let cool, rub to get charred skin off the onion.    
    Use a butter knife to scrape the skin off the ginger. Slice ginger into thick slices. 
  • In a large stockpot, fill with water and boil. With a sharp cleaver, carve the chicken breast meat off and reserve. With the rest of chicken whacking hard through the bones to get sections about 3″ big. The more bone that is exposed, the more marrow that gets in the broth (translation: rich, flavorful). You can even whack several places along the bone just to expose more marrow. When the water boils, add chicken sections (not breast) and boil on high for 5 minutes. You’ll see lots of foam and “stuff’ come up to the surface. Drain, rinse your chicken of the scum and wash your pot thoroughly. Refill with about 4 quarts of clean, cold water.
  • Add chicken, chicken breast meat, onion, ginger and all of "Broth Spices" in the pot and cover. Turn heat to high – let it come to boil, then immediately turn heat to low. Prop lid up so that steam can
    escape. After 15 minutes, remove the chicken breasts, shred with your fingers when cooled and set aside (you’ll serve shredded chicken breast with the finished soup). With a large spoon, skim the surface of any impurities in the broth. Skimming every 20 minutes ensures a clear broth. Simmer a total of 1-1/2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning with more fish sauce and or sweetener.
  • Strain the broth, discard solids. Add shredded chicken breast and ladle broth to into each bowl.
    Have accompaniments set at table for each person to add to their bowl. 

    Serves 4

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

My husband loves meatloaf. When I say "loves" meatloaf....he can have anything he wants for his birthday. He can go anywhere, order anything or I will make whatever he guessed it, meatloaf at home with all the kids and grand kids is his request. So, now that he is eating low carb along with me (he's lost 20lbs, yeah Mark) he is willing to allow me to tweak my meatloaf a bit. Of course not for the big birthday dinner. Tonight I am taking my basic meatloaf to stuff peppers. Instead of the usual oatmeal I would normally put in my meatloaf, I am replacing it with Quinoa.
Quinoa-the Gold of the Inca's
4-5 peppers (I like red or orange)
1 lb ground chuck or beef
1 1/2 cp cooked Quinoa (I cook it with broth instead of water for more flavor)
1 TBS olive oil
1 Lg rib celery-finely chopped
1/2 med onion-finely chopped
2 garlic cloves-finely chopped
4 oz.crimini mushrooms-trimmed & chopped
1/4 cp fresh flat leaf parsley-chopped
2 TBS Worcestershire
2 Eggs-beat

½ tsp pepper, salt
1Tbs Better than Bullion (or similar)
1/2 cp vegetable or chicken stock (can use water)
¼ cp dehydrated onions
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp granulated onion
Sugar Free Ketchup
Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook quinoa according to package. Let cool.
Saute celery, onion, garlic & mushrooms in olive oil just until tender. Let cool. Combine all ingredients except ketchup and sesame seeds and mix well (con, de-bling and use your hands). Cut tops & clean out seeds of peppers. Fill peppers with meat quinoa mixture. Arrange in baking dish. Pour 1 cp wat er or broth in bottom of dish. Bake fore 35-45 minutes depending on pepper size. Baste tops with ketchup and sprinkle with sesame seeds half way through.

Monday, October 24, 2011

LC Country Fried Okra

Do not over crowd
My daughter just loves fried okra. We don't have it often so it is a real treat when we do. I have made many batches that were not my favorite, but over the last couple of years these have been winners. I use this same mixture now on fish, chicken.
This batch however, I put the whole okra in the egg wash, then into the LC flour mixture to coat then back in the egg wash to do it all over again as I have heard on some of the food network shows recently.

The outcome was much more fried batter that did indeed cling better to the okra. 

1/2 lb fresh okra (or 1/2 bag-thawed)
3 eggs-beat
1/2 cp almond flour- fine
1/2 cp Carbquick
1/2 parmesan cheese-fine
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or paprika)
3 to 4 cups oil (more if your fryer is large)

Bring oil up to 350°. Rinse okra. Air dry or pat dry. Dip okra one at a time into egg wash, into flour mixture, back into egg wash being careful not to loose your mixture, then back into flour mixture. I keep a dry wash cloth handy to wipe my hands often to keep them dry. Continue to add more into your fryer depending on what size you have. 
Don't over crowd. Turn okra over with a fork to brown on other side.

Friday, October 21, 2011

LC Lunch at Wolfgang Puck's Bar & Grill

 Wolfgang Puck's LA Live Center.
I found myself in LA all of a sudden. If you are married to an adventuring man, it is not uncommon to receive a phone call after he drives off to get new tires on the car that might sound like....
Mark:"how spontaneous are you today"
Me: w-w-what do you mean???
Mark: throw some clothes into an overnight case and let's drive to LA for a Multi-Family Housing Conference I just got a call about. (We build and own apartment communities in the NW).
Me: when?
Mark: we leave in an hour....You can do that "camera, bloggy stuff" there while I'm in my conference..
    So off we went, and yes I did my camera, bloggy stuff.
I walked around to find a nice outside seating venue. Wolfgang Puck's was the ticket.
Shaved Italian Meats Antipasto – Prosciutto, Salume, Sopressata, Artisan Cheese, Olives
The Antipasto Board at Wolfgang's was a Low Carb dream. Coupled with the organic wild greens salad with vinegar it was a feast for the eyes as well as delectable. I must go out and buy one of these wood boards just for this presentation at home.

The burrata cheese was amazing.

The Perfect Bite

  As for the "camera bloggy stuff", I  had such fun using the new Macro lens he just bought for my birthday.    
    Wohooooo.....what fun!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicken Quinoa Tabouli

I have been using Quinoa (keen-wah) now for sometime in place of grains. Although, it is not a grain as most of us thought at one time, and actually says "grain" on many packages you buy. It is a seed closely related to the beet and spinach family. Quinoa substitutes nicely for many diverse recipes that call for grain.
   Quinoa-the Gold of the Inca's          Quinoa is 100% gluten-free. If you are allergic to wheat or if you’ve been diagnosed gluten-intolerant, then quinoa is an ideal substitute.
For those of us keeping tight control on our blood sugar, even though quinoa is not low in carbohydrates it is low on the glycemic index because it will not spike most Type 2 diabetics blood sugar. It assimilates at such a slower rate than grains that it causes sugar to be released at a lower rate into the blood thus keeping it level. Of course it is always prudent to test after eating it with your meter to see it's effect on you personally.

I have found that I can eat 1/2 cup as a hot breakfast cereal and not have any spikes.
There are so many reasons to incorporate quinoa into your diet. In ancient times it was referred to as "the gold of the Incas," Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. It is a true Superfood. More on Quinoa here.

Leave chicken out for a side salad
2 cps cooked & chilled Quinoa
2 cps Chicken Breast-shredded*
1 cp Parsley-chopped
1/2 cup Leeks (or scallions)
2 TBS fresh Mint-chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Garlic Clove, minced or pressed
1 TBS fresh Basil-minced  (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 cp fresh Lemon Juice
1/4  cp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I love to use Basil Olive Oil)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/2 cp slivered toasted Almonds
Toss all ingredients except almonds together. Chill for 1 hour. Toss in almonds when ready to serve.
Serves 6.
Adapted from: Bob's Red Mill Recipes
*Leave out Chicken for a fresh, lighter side salad.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

Bite you Back Deviled Eggs

6 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 cp mayo
2 TBS minced black olives
2 TBS minced leeks-white part
2 Tbs minced jalapeno
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Cayenne pepper for garnish

Hard Boil Eggs. Instructions here.....
Cut eggs in half, remove yolks into bowl. Mash with a fork and add all other ingredients. Mix well. Fill eggs with yolk mixture. Garnish with sprinkled cayenne pepper.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Smoked Dinner

I fired up the Bradley Smoker again. For Low Carbing, it is amazing. Today we are smoking the whole dinner.
The entire family was so blown away by this roast. We are seriously prime rib connoisseurs as I grew up raising our own beef and knowing really great meats. I was not sure if this would ever replace my roasted in the oven Prime Rib, because my family has always loved it so.....The flavor of this was amazing!!! I was told over and over again....This is the best ever.
-Prime Rib
-Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
-Mixed Veggies

Smoke coming out top
The Bradley gets it's smoke from a little "puck" or bisquitte. Literally they look just like a hockey puck. Each puck produces 20 minutes of smoke.The Bradley Smoker is a "low and slow" method of cooking so I smoked it for 3 hours with 2 hours of smoke. (Pecan & Mes- quite )
Bone in. 3 Ribs. Rubbed with SusieQ Seasoning Rub overnight 24+ hrs.
Veggies & Bacon wrapped Asparagus
 While roast was resting, put in veggies w/ 1puck for 1hr
Game Plan:
11:00-Roast out of frig. on counter
1:00-fire up Bradley
2:00ish-put roast in Bradley
BradleyTemp 235ish
Took roast out it reached an internal temp of 138/140.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
R. Peppers/Onions/Zucchini/Eggplant with Olive Oil and seasoning.
Rice served on the side for non Low Carbers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Breakfast in Bed

Great LC Breakfast from a room service menu.
Eggs Benedict and fresh berries.
Now create LC...Toss English Muffins. I take off most of the Hollandaise Sauce.
What clings to the eggs is just enough to get the flavor.
I eat just a few of the berries.

The Main Event

A little crab with that butter?
  As you might know...I am in Las Vegas with my husband for a business conference.
Low Carbing the strip.
The Main Event
The last couple of entries are our finds over the last couple of nights.
Not Bad if I say so myself!!!

Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan, LV

Great buffet at the Cosmopolitan on our way to the Elton John's Million Dollar Piano concert. WOW to both.
There were many LC choices at the Wicked Spoon. While traveling I am not a purist however
I simply try to make wise choices.
Caesar Salad Bar, Wild Greens w/Goat Cheese, Sauteed Clams
Citrus Green Beans w/ Almonds, Salmon on Lentils (I passed on the lentils),
Chili Spiced Green Beans
I enjoy getting great ideas for cooking at home on these grand displays. Always beautiful and creative. I will soon recreate these clams for my son (Nathaniel). He would love his mama!!!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Good Morning from the Cosmopolitan

Woke up to a knock on my door...
Yes!!! There is a God and He loves me!!
I am at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas
with my husband for a business conference.
Thus, we will be LCing throughout the restaurants
and buffets. Stay tuned....