This website is for ALL OF US DIABETICS AND THE FAMILIES OF DIABETICS That REALLY like to eat!
The GOAL of this site is to help people with Diabetes transform what we can or should eat, into what we WANT to eat!
My name is Ward Alper. I am a chef and food lover that is now diabetic.
Good tasting food is important to me so I won’t suggest you substitute one item for another just because it is lower in carbohydrates.IT HAS TO TASTE DELICIOUS OR WHY BOTHER TO PREPARE IT?.
As a Diabetic you need to alter your life, thinking, and eating in order to live and enjoy the life you have! It is worth the trip! I am here to cheer you on!
AS I SEE IT, THERE IS NO REASON FOR A DIABETIC TO EAT LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN!
The purpose of my website and the cookbook that is in the works is to celebrate our limitations, reinvent our diets, and applaud every positive step we make, every ounce we lose, every point our numbers go down and to let my fellow diabetics know:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE – IT WILL GET EASIER – LIFE WILL BE DELICIOUS AGAIN!
I hope to share with you that a DIABETIC COMPATIBLE RECIPE does not have to be a stand in for the “good stuff” but can stand alone as something wonderful.
enjoy, be Healthy, BE Happy, Be DECADENT
I do all of those things…and you can too!
If you want a reminder about my latest articles, go to Facebook and “like” Ward Alper, THE Decadent Diabetic The notice of a new post will show up in your “newsfeed”.
Disclaimer: I do mention some brand name brand products in some articles. I am not paid by the companies that make or distribute these products, nor do I own any stock in any of the companies. I mention them because…THE PRODUCTS WORK FOR ME!
Web Consultant: Benjamin Knopf
A Diabetic–Compatible Fish Tale
Fish gets a bum rap! When I was growing up, around 1911-1912 (just kidding) the Catholic kids on the block always had fish on Fridays. They HATED IT! My tradition was gefilte fish for some of the holidays. It tasted good, but: 1- the apartment reeked of fish for a week. 2- It looked like little brains (or worse). 3- It is kinda slimy. I didn’t hate it, but sometimes it was a little hard to get down, and the horseradish (I can’t believe I am saying this) was sorta nasty. Fish in those days was actually from a store that only sold fish. The floors were always wet and the smell could sometimes knock you out, assuming of course that you were able to get away without looking into the eyes of all those dead fish.
I was always told in the “old” days that you should NEVER buy fish on Monday because fisherman ONLY worked Monday through Thursday so all you could get was fish left over from Thursdays catch. Thank you Grandma! Trust me folks, fisherman work every day.
In the mid-western part of the United States, fish fry on Friday is a big thing. Wisconsin is the “Fish Fry Capital of the World”. People got through eating the “fish” by smothering it with batter and tartar sauce. Getting French fries and coleslaw was the treat that encouraged you to eat the fish. You didn’t go for the fish you went for the crunchy and the creamy stuff.
Good News! At some point “they” decided that fish was brain food. Better news! Scientists discovered that fish and the oils were actually good for your heart.
Even with the health and brain benefits, fish sales slumped when the Vatican relented on meatless Fridays. Recently, sales have picked up some, but according to MY fish-monger (yes they do still exist), sales are not what they were when his dad started the business. In those days there were lines around the block from noontime on. Did we realize we were eating healthier back then (gray colored casseroles not included)?
I don’t want you to think that this article is intended to change anybody’s mind about fish. Tastes are very strange. I have this friend that hates fish. She has hated it since her first day at Saints of Perpetual Patience High School and Girls Reformatory. The funny thing is that her daughter hates fish. Her daughter has NEVER even tasted fish. I guess if her mom hates it, well that is good enough for her.
Old habits die very slowly, even for me. If you think you hate fish, have always hated fish, nothing I can say will change your mind. We are creatures of old habits. When I was working a Monday- Friday schedule, I made it a point to get fresh fish every Saturday. Now, my schedule is more flexible; but guess where I am Saturday mornings? I can go any day of the week now, but Saturday is fish day.
Now what happens when you don’t actually think you like fish? Will all the good medical news make you like it more? Probably not.
Perhaps the way to re-think fish (or anything else you think you don’t like) is to look at it in a new way. Try a different preparation. Try a new sauce (like my Royal Caper Sauce).
Think that the only way you will eat any kind of fish is tuna from the can as a tuna salad? How about adding that tuna from the can, into a spinach salad. Better yet, try fresh tuna on the grill with some herbs and lemon, or think that fish tastes too strong? Balance out the flavor with a rich marinade like my orange balsamic marinade or spread some pesto (basil) sauce on the fish before baking.
What? You will ONLY eat fish fry! Go ahead eat fish fry. If you are wondering how a person with Diabetes can do that, do an oven “fried” fish. Less breading, less carbohydrates. Less oil or fat but the same crunch. Less calories but great flavor. You can even make oven “fried” potatoes to go along with your oven “fried” fish. There is no need to skimp on the slaw, it is naturally low in carbohydrates if you use a sugar substitute in the dressing (see my recipe for Skinny Slaw). Can’t tolerate fish without Tartar Sauce? No problem, make your own with mayonnaise and a sugar free pickle relish.
Still HATE fish? Simple solution, don’t eat it … would you maybe consider roasted shrimp? No, okay. Thought I’d try. There is plenty of food out there that you can have. Just keep an open mind and in the case of tuna….open can.
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!
Oven “Fried” Fish
Net carbohydrates 12 per serving
Chef’s Notes: Panko and dotted butter on the Panko are the keys to this dish being crisp (“fried”). You can of course just use plain bread crumbs.
Use any firm white fish you enjoy like Haddock or Cod. These fish contain a lot of moisture. Don’t be surprised at how much it shrinks.
This recipe works out better with powdered garlic and onion that with fresh.
2- ½ pound pieces of firm white fish
1 – Tbsp. vegetable oil
juice and zest of half a lemon
½ – tsp. powdered onion
½- tsp. powdered garlic
pepper to taste
1 –Tbsp. Chopped parsley
¼ – cup Panko
Butter to dot over the Panko
½ tsp. paprika
Oil or cooking spray to coat pan
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Pre heat oven to 425
Place fish on a baking pan coated with oil or cooking spray.
Drizzle the oil over each piece of fish.
Spoon the lemon juice and zest over each piece.
Dust with onion powder, garlic powder and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped parsley
Lightly coat the fish with Panko. Gently press the panko into the flesh of the fish and dot with butter
Sprinkle with paprika
Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until the Panko crust is golden brown.
Serve with “Oven Fried” potatoes and Skinny Slaw (see recipes)
SKINNY SLAW AND OVEN “FRIED” POTATOES
And don’t forget the Tartar Sauce
Quick Tartar Sauce
2 TBSP. Good Mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s or Kraft with olive oil)
2 tsp. Sugar free pickle relish
HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Mix together and serve
Many Diabetic-Compatible Happy Birthdays
(No need to Feel Deprived)
I am sorry…Where is it written that a birthday cake HAS to be some tasteless white, yellow, or chocolate (?) cake with an overly sugary frosting, icing roses or pictures and a sugar gel greeting?
If you ask my friend Sarah, she will tell you that her mom ALWAYS made her pie for her birthday. Why? Because that is what Sarah liked. In my household the birthday cake becomes a cheese filled crepe (blintz) for birthday breakfast because that is what my spouse really likes. As for me, my birthday cake is often The King of the Night Cake. So rich and chocolaty that even the smallest piece can satisfy you, but so low in carbohydrates that you CAN have a big piece.
I know, I know, who has time to bake? In the “old” days if you couldn’t bake, wouldn’t bake, or had no time to bake, you could go to a bakery and find something there to please the birthday boy or girl. Sadly, bakeries are few and far between these days. We are pretty much left with the offerings of the “stupidmarket”. The problem there is they don’t have a lot of good choices. Oh you can have a cake (?) with any picture or character you can imagine put on the top but… the cake has little or no flavor. The frosting is so sugary it hurts your teeth. Why suffer?
Imagine if you are a person with Diabetes. What choices do you have then? I say celebrate the Diabetes. You work hard enough all year to manage it, let your birthday be the day you triumph over it, at least in your cake choice.
My next door neighbor (type 1) had a surprise birthday party a couple of weeks ago. He loves my cheesecake, so I asked his wife if I should make some for him. Mary was very happy for the offer, but asked that I just make one cake for him. She did not want me to go to too much trouble and she was going to buy a sheet cake for the kids, anyway. With neighbors like mine, there is never “too much trouble”. I was happy to give a fellow Diabetic a treat that he could love. I listened to Mary and just made the one cake for the birthday boy.
Here is the punchline…Jim saw the way the people were looking at his cheesecake. It became clear that if he did not hide it away, he was not going to have even a sliver for himself. Now most of the guests at the party did not know me or my cheesecake. They took one look at it and just knew it was going to be better than the sheet cake. Ok the little kids did not but the adults were going to eat the cake from under him.
Getting back to thinking you are not capable of making a cake, not having the time to make a cake, I say piffle! My cake recipes are really easy. Well, not my King of the Night cake. That takes a little effort. As for time, part of every one of my cake recipes can be made a day or two in advance, and the cakes themselves can be made ahead of time.
So what do YOU have to gain from making a birthday cake or a cake for a party or just a weekend? A cake that is low enough in carbohydrates so you can have a real piece. A cake that tastes so good, you will want to have a real piece. If food is love, you also get to express you love for your person with Diabetes. What can be better than that? Could it be the knowledge that YOU can do it?
Just as a thought for your little ones with Diabetes, most of these recipes make six kid-sized cupcakes which my buddy, Sev says are “awesome.”
Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!
Almond Crème Cake
Serves 6 or makes 6 cupcakes
Net carbohydrates 13g.
Chef’s note: I like to use an 8-8 ½ inch spring-form pan (well greased) or cupcake tin lined with paper cups.
2/3 -cup flour (you can replace up to 1/2 the amount with whole wheat flour)
½ cup toasted almonds OR 1/3 cup almond flour
* 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (if you can find it)
1 – tsp. baking powder
1 –tsp, baking soda (1/2 into dry mix, ½ into wet mix)
pinch of salt
1/2 – stick (4 ounces) of butter at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 – cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
3 – large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
2 – tbsp. sour cream (Low fat is ok BUTNOT fat free)
1 – tsp. cider vinegar
*NOTE: Cardamom is sometimes hard to find sometimes. If you can find it, it adds a nuance to the cake. I keep my ground cardamom frozen.
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Bake in a Pre heated 350 oven
In a food processor:
Combine nuts, salt, and 1/3 cup flour. Pulse until the nuts are totally pulverized. Add the remaining 1/3 cup flour, and spices. Pulse until combined. Add baking soda and baking powder and pulse until combined. (I almost always do this a day ahead),
Easiest if you have a stand mixer
Cream butter and GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE until light and fluffy add the oil and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl
Add vanilla and almond extracts.
Combine the sour cream and vinegar. Add remaining ½ tsp. of baking soda to sour cream and stir.
Alternately add the dry ingredients and the eggs and sour cream mixture. Start with the dry. MIX ONLY UNTIL JUST INCORPORATED otherwise you wind up with bread.
Spoon the batter into baking pan and bake for 26-28 minutes (17-22 minutes for cupcakes) or until tester comes out dry from the center.
Allow to cool and remove from baking pan before frosting.
Almond Crème Frosting
Covers one 8 inch cake generously
Net carbohydrates 16 per cake or 2.5 per slice
8 ounces cream cheese (can use low fat but NOT Fat free)
½ cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE.
½ Tsp. Vanilla extract
½ Tsp. Almond extract
1 TBSP. Amaretto Liquor (optional)
HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:
Bring the cream cheese to room temperature either by leaving out overnight or by removing the cheese from the package and microwaving it for 12seconds then turning it a quarter turn and microwave it another 12 seconds and repeating until the cream cheese has softened, Beat all ingredients until smooth and frost cake when it is still slightly warm.
To keep the serving plate clean, turn cake out on to two pieces of parchment or waxed paper each big enough to cover ½ of the cake. Frost and remove paper before chilling.
Dr. Frankenstein meets THE Decadent Diabetic
Poor Victor, (that was Dr. Frankenstein’s first name). All he wanted to do was take the best parts of one thing and add to it the best parts of another in order to make something better than its parts.
As a Diabetic, and a chef, I sometimes feel just like old Doc Frankenstein. I am taking the best parts of a recipe, resurrecting an old recipe, and making them into something better for those of us with Diabetes. And frankly, I think I have the harder task. So many people won’t eat this, won’t try that, think that some foods are poison, or are allergic to this or the other thing. What is a mad chef to do? Old Doc F. only had the angry villagers to contend with. I have a world of people with different likes and hates.
Fortunately, most of my experiments don’t go too far astray. Did you know that Eeeuw really isn’t a word?
In the beginning desserts seem to defy my making something that I would be proud to serve in a restaurant to paying guests. I took my old recipes and replaced some of the flour with toasted and ground nuts. It lowered the carb count and added flavor. Success!
Breads made from scratch still don’t work for my budget of carbohydrates and my appetite. I can make the bread but the serving size is way too small to satisfy me. I don’t believe in eating a crumb and calling it a serving. Luckily I have found a few commercially available breads that do work like Arnold Double Fiber; Sandwich thins [or rounds], Joseph’s (Pita, Lavash, and Tortillas), and Thomas’ Light English muffins. They are all products that work for my tastebuds, texture sense, and carbohydrate budget. That being said, they are not a hunk of crusty French bread fresh out of the oven. And they are not a hunk of buttered cranberry/ orange bread or a corn muffin. But I am working on it. Who knows, I might be struck by a lightning bolt of an idea that works.
Breakfast too is a tough one for most people with Diabetes. Waffles and pancakes are no longer an issue for this Diabetic. Eggo (made by Kellogg’s) does a “lite” whole grain waffle with 14 grams of carbohydrate per waffle and now THE Decadent Diabetic has a pancake recipe to eat and live for.