Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thai Chicken Curry Soup

There isn't much I like more than some Thai curry poured over some rice. Since I can't have the rice, I made this easy curry soup and was impressed with the results.

2 Cans Coconut Milk
2 Cans Chicken Stock
1 tsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
1 Pkg (5-8) Chicken Thighs
1 Red & Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Onion
1 Can Bamboo Shoots drained
1 Zucchini
6 Limes
Fish Sauce
Sriracha Sauce

In a pot add the coconut milk and chicken stock and heat to a simmer.  Add the ginger and curry paste.  Slice the chicken, onion, bell pepper and zucchini into strips (I usually shoot for 2" long x 1/2" wide or less). Add the chicken slowly to the pot and let simmer for a few minutes.  Then add all the vegetables and simmer until they are the desired tenderness.  Reduce heat to low and add 2 Tbsp of fish sauce, 1 tsp Sriracha, and the juice from 1 lime.  Cut the remaining limes into wedges and serve the soup with lime, cilantro, fish sauce, & sriracha for garnish.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato, Bacon, Feta, & Spinach Low Carb Quiche

Sun Dried Tomato, Feta Cheese, Spinach, & Bacon Quiche with Low Carb Almond Meal Crust

Almond Meal Crust:
*1-1/2 C Almond Meal or Almond Flour
3 Tbsp Ice Water
4 tsp Olive Oil

*Tip almond meal (w/skins) and almond flour (blanched/skins removed) can be interchanged. You can make your own almond meal by grinding almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder. Make sure you don't grind the almonds too long or you will end up with almond butter. Grind the almonds in steps using a sifter to sift out the flour and returning the larger bits to the grinder.  If you purchase almond meal/flour, I recommend buying it in bulk from Whole Foods/Central Market/Sun Harvest/ect because the per pound cost is generally cheaper. Always store in an airtight container because ground almonds can become rancid.

Mix almond meal/flour and salt.  Above picture is almond flour purchased from Sun Harvest.  Beat olive oil and water and add to almond meal/flour.  Mix until a dough forms.  Add more water or almond meal/flour as required to form a dough ball that is not too dry and not too sticky. 

Spread into a 9" greased pie plate.  Dip your fingers in ice water to keep them from sticking when pressing out your crust. 

Cousins (Merlin & Bailey)
Warning, you likely won't have alot of help during this phase of the project. I caught my helpers sleeping on the job. "Lazy Bums"!!!! Just wait, when this comes out of the oven everyone will be begging.

I recommend covering the edges of the pie with pie covers or just aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning or getting too dark.  You must exhibit lots of patience if you use aluminum foil, otherwise you will end up very angry because they tend to fall off while placing in the oven.

Bake @350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until it starts to brown.  While the crust is baking work on the filling.

Quiche Filling:
5 Eggs
1/4 C Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
6 to 8 Sundried Tomatoes chopped
1/2 Cup Feta
1 Pkg Frozen Spinach
1 Pkg Bacon

Slice the bacon in 3/8" wide slices and fry until crispy. (If you have read the cast iron post, this would be a good time to use that skillet).  Drain the bacon on paper towels. 

Remove all but 1 Tbsp of bacon grease from the pan and add the spinach and cook until thawed.  Add the sundried tomatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in the bacon and remove from heat.  In a bowl beat the eggs with the coconut/almond milk. 

Pour the spinach mixture into the pie crust.  Add the feta cheese and use a fork to mix the cheese in a bit.  Pour the egg mixture over everything and pop in the oven.  I once again recommend using the covers for the edge.  Remove the covers with about 20 minutes remaining.

Bake quiche 40 to 50 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.  Set out to cool and try to fight off all the hungry people that will be flocking to the kitchen due to the wonderful smell.

I was skeptical of the almond meal crust, but the concensus was that the taste and texture was amazing.  Several comments were that the almond meal crust is preferred over a regular crust.  Try it for yourself.  I'm thinking of using it for a low carb dessert soon. Im open to suggestions.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seared Butterflied Salmon Steaks

I love Salmon but for some reason I had difficulty getting it to cook perfectly.  If you remove it from the skin then it will fall apart.  If you leave the skin on then the skin gets crispy and browned but the rest of the fish doesn't get that great seared crust.  I discovered this technique for cutting and preparing the salmon so that you get a nice crisp crust and a nice flaky center.

Buy a 6 to 9" long piece of fresh salmon fillet. Ask the butcher to cut you off the thickest part of the salmon (try to get the forward most part of the fillet where it is thickest and widest.  Preferably you want the salmon to be at least 1.5" thick.

Butterfly Technique:
Cut the salmon in 2-3" wide strips all the way through the skin.

Then take each piece of salmon and prepare to make another cut 1-1.5" from the edge, directly in the center of the fish. This cut should run lengthwise. When you make this cut, only cut through the flesh down to the skin, but do not cut through the skin.

The fold the salmon in half so that the skin is folded back to back.

Season both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger powder. 

Heat up a skillet and put 1 Tbsp olive oil in the pan.  When the oil is hot (just before it starts to smoke), add the steaks to the pan.  Place the steak so the open side of the fold is facing down.  This will allow the fish to sear and help hold the butterflied steaks together nicely.

For medium to well done grill the steaks 2.5 to 3 minutes on each side.  For rare to medium rare grill the steaks for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side.

You don't have to hassle with removing the salmon from the skin for presentation as it is ready to serve.  It also makes it very easy to eat as you just slide your fork next to the skin to remove the fish bite by bite.