This is… this is not even fake pho. This is a supremely lazy/fast approach to a slightly-influenced-by-Vietnamese-Pho dinner, but one that always goes off without a hitch in my house and can pretty much be done with any veg and meat you have. So here it is, my ultra-faux pho.
Your ingredients list can really go any which way you like, but here are the basics for 2-3 servings:
1 quart chicken, beef, or mushroom broth (or half and half meat/veg)
1 lb meat (meatballs, sausage, shredded chicken, etc)
1 vegetable that you can make noodles out of (zucchini, sweet potato)
1-2 handfuls green leafy vegetables (baby bok choy, spinach, etc)
1-2 handfuls chopped mushrooms (optional)
4-6 eggs Togarashi, to taste
Using a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or just a regular vegetable peeler, turns your noodling vegetable into said noodles. You can also buy pre-noodled zucchini or sweet potato – they are increasingly available in grocery stores (Trader Joe’s sells sweet potato ribbons and they are fantastic).
I’ll be honest, for most of my life beets have been a hard limit. No way, no how, they were not going in my mouth. The taste was fine, a little earthy, whatever; but the texture, ugh I could not get over that texture – and so I spent all my life pushing away my grandma’s borscht and every fancy beet salad at nice restaurants.
“What changed?” you ask. For one, taste buds evolve as you get older. There are so many foods that I used to despise as a child that I love now (mushrooms for one). This doesn’t really help if you have a thing with texture though, so let me just get to the beet story: I recently had the extreme pleasure of ordering my Passover Seder plate contents from authentic-Russian/Ukrainian Portland powerhouse Kachka. Let me just say, if you’re in Portland and looking for a place to eat – you will not be disappointed.
One of the components of the Seder plate is commonly a shank bone or lamb chop, but vegetarians often use root vegetables. Kachka’s z’roah was a phenomenal lamb chop with a beetroot purée. Guys, listen to me when I tell you, this was the most amazing vegetable item I had ever put in my mouth. I licked my plate clean… and the container the purée came in, and the Seder plate, and The Boyfriend’s plate. Revelation: I love beets, and have been on a mission to recreate the recipe since this discovery (took me about… four days). Kachka let me know that their recipe uses a bit of honey which I have obviously omitted as it is not a slow carb compliant ingredient, but feel free to add some in on cheat day or if you’re eating paleo!
If you have never worked with beets before, don’t panic! I hadn’t either, but it was very easy!
For this recipe, you will need:
Clean kitchen gloves (or two pairs disposable gloves)
Large pot with lid
Strainer (optional, but recommended) Blender or food processor
1 bunch red beets (3-4 large beets)
1-2 tsp olive oil
~ 2 tbsp warm water
Salt, to taste
While wearing gloves, remove greens from beets. Leave the beets whole including the roots (the long skinny part) and about 2″ of the stem – this will help keep the red color from going all over the place. Place the beets in a pot, season with salt to taste, and cover with water.
Cover pot with lid and bring water to a boil. Allow beets to boil until tender, about 40-45 minutes (very large beets may need some more time). Immediately drain beets and rinse them in cold water for 1-2 minutes. While wearing gloves, gently peel the skins off the beets – they should just slip right off along with the root, no peelers needed!
Allow beets to cool on a cutting board for at least 15 minutes. I gently cut the beets into a few large pieces so the insides would cool as well.
Once beets are cool to the touch, add them to the bowl of your blender or food processor with salt, olive oil, and 1 tbsp warm water. Blend until smooth or desired texture. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed – if your purée is very thick, you may need to add a bit more water or oil – and blend again.
Serve as is, or refrigerate and serve cool (I like it cold). Eat within 2-3 days.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since I first created SlowCarbSnacktime. It’s been a long road learning how to eat properly and fuel my body, and there’s still a very long journey ahead, but it has been such an amazing and educational adventure so far and I’ve come up with so many healthy slow carb recipes along the way. There’s many more to come, but for now, I’m celebrating two years of SlowCarbSnacktime with my top 20 recipes.
All 20 of these recipes are grain, gluten, sugar, corn, potato, rice, and soy-free. Two recipes use some dairy, but I’ll make sure to note that in the list. I will also note paleo and whole30 compliant recipes (they are obviously all slow carb compliant). Items marked “vegetarian” are either vegetarian or can easily be made so by changing an ingredient such as swapping out chicken stock for vegetable stock.
B^3: Butternut Bacon Bites – paleo/whole30 – It may take a few minutes to wrap these precious little pieces of squash in strips of bacon, but I promise it’s worth every second of your time.
Butternut Squeek Soup – vegetarian, paleo/whole30 – There are few things better than a hot butternut squash soup on a cold winter day… this soup with butternut squash plus leeks is one of them.
Chicken Liver Mousse – dairy – Okay, I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of butter in this recipe, but it is one of the easiest things to make for a classy dish to stun your guests without sacrificing protein. Also tastes great with eggs for breakfast, or by itself on a very large spoon…
Decontamination: Ginger Chicken Soup – paleo/whole30 – The perfect comeback to any cold, my chicken soup is infused with a ton of ginger to help combat the ickiest of feelings. A favorite of my dad’s to fight back against chronic sinus infections.
Duck Duck Asparagus – paleo/whole30 – Crispy asparagus oven-roasted in duck fat. The way to my heart is through my stomach.
Perfect ‘Stachio Guac – vegetarian, paleo/whole30 – My copy cat version of the stunning guacamole at Jose Garces’ El Vez. Never pay $14 for guac again.
Red Lentils are Dal-icious – vegetarian – My take on a traditional Indian dal, prepared in a slow cooker using red lentils and a ton of fresh spinach. I crave this all the time and it’s a great dish entirely on its own, paired with a meaty protein, or even reheated in a pan with some eggs!
Rosemary Bone Broth – crockpot, paleo/whole30 – This slow-cooked broth is made from beef soup/marrow bones and cooks on low for nearly two days to extract all the vitamin goodness from the bones. When it’s cold, it looks like jell-o, but warm it up for a mineral-packed cup of life. Seriously, I know how cheesy that sounds, just try it. It’s amazing.
Sweet Hundos: Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce – vegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This super easy tomato sauce is made with “Sweet 100’s” cherry tomatoes and is unlike any sauce I’ve tasted before. I just couldn’t get enough and ate half the jar with a spoon. Serve with just about anything.
Courtesy of our lovely next-door neighbors, late last week I found myself with close to four pounds of cherry tomatoes in the kitchen, mostly of the irresistibly orange Sweet 100 variety. We couldn’t possibly eat them all, and soup was out of the question – have you ever peeled that many tiny tomatoes? I certainly wasn’t going to. So here it is, oven-roasted cherry tomato sauce: so good, I literally ate half the jar before it had cooled enough to put away.
For this recipe, you will need:
Large baking pan (glass recommended)
Heat-safe jar (glass recommended)
Plastic bags for freezing (optional)
2-3 lbs cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100, or other variety)
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 tsp onion powder
2-3 tbsp high quality oil (olive or avocado)
~ 0.5 oz fresh basil (10-15 g)
Gently remove stems from all tomatoes and rinse with cold water (I saw a hobo spider while out in the garden, so I made sure to wash them really well).
Pour 1-2 tbsp oil in a glass pan, tilting the pan to cover most of the bottom. Add tomatoes, garlic, onion powder, and an additional 1-2 tbsp of oil and carefully toss – you want to be gentle so the tomatoes don’t break, but you also want them to be coated with the onion powder and in a flat layer.
Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and wrinkly and liquid is lightly boiling. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Transfer full contents of the pan (including any liquid) to a food processor. Add fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until desired texture is reached (some people like it chunky, but I like it pretty smooth).
Transfer sauce to a heat safe container like a mason jar and let cool before storing in the fridge.
Serve with… basically everything. I put it in my roast chicken and even in a sausage and pepper stir-fry! Or just eat it with a spoon, ’cause it’s really that good.
This recipe makes about one quart of sauce. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen in a ziplock bag for 1-2 months (to defrost, place bag in a bowl of warm water).
I’m sure by now you have heard plenty about clarified butter. No? Let me explain, ’cause it’s pretty wonderful. Clarified butter, also known as ghee, is made by separating milk solids from butterfat and removing them. This Yahoo article sums it up quite nicely: “A staple of Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cuisine, ghee is made by heating butter until the milk solids are separated and then removed, meaning it’s not dairy, just fat—mostly saturated—which is essential to brain health, muscle recovery, and immunity.” … “It’s ideal for cooking at high heat (less prone than olive oil to go rancid when crisping or frying). And, with a rich, nutty flavor, it’s delicious on everything from lobster to Brussels sprouts.”
Now that you know the truth, it’s easy to see why the dairy-free product has become so popular with slow carb and paleo eaters. The best part is… it’s ridiculously easy to make. I’ve made clarified butter before, it really is quite simple, but I tried a few new things this time and it’s pretty damn hard not to eat this batch straight off a spoon!
1 large pot
1 fine mesh strainer (small)
1-2 ice cube trays
1 sealable container (preferably glass)
Measuring cup or small pitcher
Large bowl or pitcher with pouring spout
~ 1 lb grass-fed butter, unsalted
4 oz fresh basil (bonus points if it’s homegrown!!)
Cut butter into chunks and add to a clean pot. Over medium-low heat, melt butter until completely liquefied, stirring often to prevent burning. While the butter is melting, rinse basil with cold water. Gently pat/roll dry with a paper towel and remove all leaves from the stems – I do this by lightly pinching the base of the leaf between my thumb and forefinger and it just pops right off; discard the stems.
Lay the leaves out and pat both sides dry again. Using your hands, tear the basil into small pieces – small enough to fit several into each individual ice cube mold (but don’t throw them in yet).
Once the butter has melted completely, remove it from the heat. Set up your strainer or a piece of cheesecloth over a large bowl or pitcher and pour the liquid through – this is the first step in separating the milk solids from the butterfat.
Now, set the strainer over a measuring cup and pour butter through again – you don’t actually need to measure anything here, I just found my measuring cup to be the best shape for the steps that follow.
At this point, you should see the butter start to separate – the milk solids will sink to the bottom while the butterfat will float to the top. Using a measuring teaspoon, layer a small amount of the butterfat only into the bottom of each ice cube mold. On top of this base layer, place a small piece of basil. Cover with butter and repeat the butter-basil layering process until all the cubes are full – I think I got 8-10 pieces of basil in each one, possibly more. Remember to only use the butterfat for this, the idea is to keep it separate from the milk solids!
So I used an entire pound of butter for this and ran out of ice cube trays. If you encounter the same problem, you can repeat the layering process on a larger scale in any container with a lid, but glass is preferable. Remember to put a layer of the butterfat in first so the basil doesn’t stick to the container.
Place ice cube trays in the refrigerator until the ghee solidifies – at least 12 hours. You can toss them into the freezer just like that, or if you are lazy like me, bang them all out at once and store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag for easy access later on.
A few months ago, The Boyfriend and I took a little trip through Seattle and Vancouver, BC to celebrate his 30th birthday. While in Vancouver, we had the good fortune to grab seats at the bar at one of the renowned Guu Izakaya restaurants. The special that evening just happened to be kimchi fried rice with pork intestine… and we’ve been talking about it ever since.
There’s just something about fried rice – it’s both exotic and comforting, simple and complex. I could philosophize for ages, but let’s just get to the cooking. I’ve made cauliflower rice before, so switching out regular rice for the cauli-good-stuff was no big deal. I had originally intended for this part of dinner to last us at least two days, but that just didn’t happen. Thankfully, cauliflower is packed with far more nutrients and other healthy goodies than rice so no real harm in filling up, other than the lack of leftovers. Guess I’ll just have to make it again!
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz kimchi
5 slices bacon (optional*)
3 large eggs
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Food processor or food mill
Large non-stick pan
1 small bowl
* if you are not using bacon for dietary or personal preferences, you will need about 3 tbsp of oil (avocado recommended) to replace the bacon grease.
Wash and clean the cauliflower, chop into medium-sized florets, and set on a paper towel to dry. Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or run it through a food mill until it resembles rice (you can see the full length recipe in detailhere). Place cauliflower “rice” in a large microwave safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds, and set aside.
Using a very sharp knife, chop 8 oz kimchi into smaller pieces (I make them just slightly larger than “bite size”) and set aside. Again using a sharp knife, slice bacon strips into smaller, bite-size pieces. Finally, using a fork or whisk, scramble three eggs together in a small bowl.
Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (~ 8/10). Add about half of the bacon pieces, using tongs or a spatula to make sure they don’ t stick together. After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the bacon pieces – varying the cooking times makes for a fun change in texture and keeps everybody happy (The Boyfriend prefers the crispiest of bacon, I’m less excited by this). Continue cooking bacon for 3-5 minutes, stirring/flipping often to insure even cooking and that pieces don’t stick together.
Add all 8 oz of kimchi to the pan, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Dump the entire batch of cauli-rice into the pan, stirring immediately so it’s not just sitting on top of the bacon and kimchi (it will start to burn this way). Continue cooking cauliflower mixture, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower begins to brown. Finally, dump the scrambled eggs over the cauliflower mixture, stirring/flipping all contents of the pan (so the eggs are fully incorporated) for about 3 minutes or until eggs are no longer raw.
Remove contents of pan to a large bowl and serve immediately.
I really love eggs, like.. a lot. They are the perfect slow carb food: one chicken egg packs 6g of protein, 5g of fat, less than 1g of sugar, as well as vitamins A, D, B-6, and B-12. As you can imagine, we eat a lot of eggs in this house. Duck, quail, chicken, I love ’em all. I also really really love deviled eggs, but rarely have the patience to neatly put them together when it’s just for The Boyfriend and myself. Enter: the deviled egg salad – same ingredients, half the time, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. (For the real deal, check out my Top Secret Deviled Eggs).
Appliances/Special Equipment: 1 medium-sized pot
1 medium-large mixing bowl
1 small baking spatula (rubber or silicone)
1 egg slicer or sharp knife
5 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2-3 anchovy fillets (canned in oil)
1/2 tsp oil from canned anchovies
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
Prepare eggs to medium temperature, according to The Perfect Boiled Egg (~5 minutes), and peel immediately. Using a sharp knife or egg slicer, cut the eggs in half, and then again into small pieces. Add chopped eggs to mixing bowl.
Using two forks, shred anchovies into small pieces; add extra anchovies if you like saltier foods. To the eggs, add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, shredded anchovies, 1/2 tsp of oil from the anchovies, paprika, and white pepper. Gently mix with rubber/silicone spatula, making sure to just coat the egg whites and yolks rather than making a mushy mess – you want this to hold up as a salad, after all.
Transfer egg salad to a serving dish or resealable container – other than looking pretty, this is a good way to make sure everything at the bottom was mixed well without risking it turning into mush.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving (or just dig in if no one’s watching).
Mmmmustard. So yummy. So much sugar… at least, in all the good store-bought varieties, and I’ve had enough! It’s probably the easiest condiment to make, and yet it’s constantly packed full of sugar and other crap no one needs to eat. Don’t recognize an ingredient? Neither will your body.
Right, sorry for that little rant. Back to the mustard. This is, in all seriousness, the easiest condiment to make at home and completely, 100% slow carb. It’ll take just a few minutes to pull together, then let it ripen on the counter for a few hours and you’ve got a spicy, pungent mustard way better than that $12 bottle on your shelf.
This recipe makes about 4 servings (two dinners for The Boyfriend and myself), we had the first half tonight mixed with a touch of mayonnaise for my Whatsername Fish Tacos.
Adjust proportions accordingly for a bigger group – this stuff is gonna fly away fast!
Mortar & pestle/molcajete (recommended) or equivalent, such as a spice grinder
Mason jar or other canning jar
Using your mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds to desired size. I prefer them quite coarse, but to each their own. Keep in mind: the finer your ground, the spicier and more potent your mustard will be.
Add ground mustard seeds to your jar of choice, and add in remaining ingredients. Mix well with a fork (forks have become my preferred mixing tool as the tines prevent too much product loss, unlike all the good stuff that would get stuck to a spoon).
Leave your mustard uncovered on the counter to ripen for at least one hour, up to eight hours (your mustard will stop ripening once refrigerated). I’ve read that you can actually cure it for several days at room temperature (covered of course), but have yet to try this – perhaps next time.
If you want to get really creative, replace the water with a dry white wine or even beer for a deeper, more complex flavor (haven’t tried this yet either, but one of the benefits of making small batches is plenty of opportunity to experiment!)
I love butternut squash. Love love love. It is definitely my favorite gourd, and one of my favorite vegetables period. There are only a few things that can really improve on the flavor of butternut squash and garlic is one of them (though to be fair, I think garlic improves everything). This combination of sweet squash and intense garlic flavor make for the perfect side dish with almost any protein.
Making this mash requires a bit of multitasking tasking so if you’ve got a toaster oven, get that baby ready – it will make this much easier.
2 medium-sized butternut squash
1 head of garlic, whole
2 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
5 tsp high quality oil, divided (olive or avocado)
1 tsp bacon fat (or equivalent)
Freshly cracked salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375*F and toaster oven to 400*F.
Remove stems and butt and cut the gourds in half. Using a spoon or fork, remove all seeds and as much of the attached fibers as possible (scissors may help). From the garlic, peel off as many outer layers as possible without breaking off any individual cloves. Using a sharp knife, behead your garlic (cut about 1″ off the top of the head to reveal the cloves).
In the bottom of a small oven-safe dish or ramekin – though foil will do in a pinch – pour 1-2 tsp of olive oil. Place the head of garlic right-side up in the oil, season with a pinch of salt, cover the top with an additional 1-2 tsp of oil, and cover with foil. Bake in the toaster oven for about one hour or until garlic cloves are completely soft.
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat. Coat the pan evenly with 1 tsp bacon fat (or equivalent, non-stick spray is okay too) and coat the inside of the squash with a light layer of oil, making sure to get all the exposed flesh covered to prevent burning. Cover the pan with a light layer or salt and place gourds, flesh side down, onto the pan. Bake in the oven for about one hour or until squash is completely soft.
Once the squash is cooked through, carefully flip over and gently scoop out the flesh into a large, heat-safe bowl (I just use a large serving spoon for this). Discard skin. When the garlic is cooked through, let cool for a few minutes before gently peeling all the cloves – the skin should be fairly easy to tear open at this point. Give the garlic a quick, rough chop with a knife if you do not want to risk the chance of biting into a full clove (The Boyfriend loves this so I usually skip this step). Add all of the garlic and 2 tbsp of butter to the squash. Season with salt and pepper, and gently mash with a large spoon, fork, or masher to desired consistency (we like that fine line between smooth and a little chunky).
Finish with a few pieces of coarse salt (optional) and serve immediately.
We’re back! I’m back! As I shared in my last post, The Boyfriend and I went off to celebrate his 30th birthday by exploring Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC this past weekend. We had a great time, a lovely experience with airbnb (our first), and ate an insane amount of great food. We only spent one night/day in Seattle, but thankfully got to spend some time at Pike Place Market (and picked up some of the most beautiful produce I’ve ever seen). On Saturday, we ventured out to Gastown in Vancouver for birthday dinner at L’Abbatoir and I tried sweetbreads for the first time! I’m proud to report, they are delicious. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the guts to prepare them myself, but definitely won’t shy away the next time I see it on a menu. (I will post plenty of pictures from our adventure once I have finished sorting through all of them!)
One last thing before we get to the recipe: I need your help! Yes, you! Right there! Saveur Magazine is holding their 5th annual Best Food Blog Awards and it would mean the world to me if you would take a few seconds and help nominate my blog for “Best Special Diets” blog HERE. Note: multiple categories are absolutely permitted, so feel free to click “new blog” and “cooking blog” too if you want. I will love you forever!
Okay, now on to the rebellion! The carrot is absolutely a controversial veggie for slow carb eaters, and should be eaten in moderation (if at all). That said, The Boyfriend and I did just get back from vacation so our fridge is practically empty, and my body is seriously craving some fresh veggies. I rarely use carrots otherwise so I’m going to let this one go and enjoy my vitamin-packed purée. You will need an immersion blender or food processor to complete this recipe, links to my products of choice are below.
5 lbs whole carrots
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 15-oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ghee or grass-fed butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp high quality oil (olive or avocado)
2 tsp salt (for the water)
freshly cracked salt, to taste
freshly cracked white pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
Immersion blender (recommended) or food processor
Remove any carrots split down their entire length (they are a pain in the @$$ to peel and I don’t like ’em), remove ends from remaining carrots and discard. Peel carrots and chop into rounds, 1″-2″ in length.
Add chopped carrots to a large stockpot with 2 tsp of salt, cover with water at least 1″ over the carrots and bring to a boil. Allow carrots to simmer for 30 minutes.
After the carrots have been simmering for about 15 minutes, begin the second half of the purée:
In a second, smaller stockpot, combine the butter beans, onion, and garlic with 2 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tbsp rice vinegar over medium-low heat. Stir often, gently mashing the beans as they begin to soften.
Once the carrots have simmered for 30 minutes and are mashable (you can test this with the back of a wooden spoon), drain and add carrots back to the stockpot. Return pot to stove over medium heat and dump contents from second pot into the carrots (bean mixture). Add 1 tbsp of oil as well as your salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir well.
Using an immersion blender in the pot, or transferring the carrot mixture to a food processor, blend until desired texture is reached – I like it mostly smooth with the occasional chunk of carrot.
Finish with a sprinkle of coarse salt before serving (optional).