A diagnosis of DIABETES is NOT the end of GREAT EATING
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 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 and recipes, 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
Article # 125
Holiday Portrait? Smile and say cheese…
CHEESECAKE that is
Every time I do an article on cakes, especially cheesecake, I get a great response from you, my readers.
“I gotta make this for Christmas!!
“WOW! I’m gonna make this”
So as an early holiday present (that is ANY holiday you wish to celebrate) I thought I should share some ideas on cheesecake. I am actually quite notorious for my cheesecakes.
As it turns out, my dad was a great merchandiser. Who knew? When you walked into our restaurant, the very first thing you got to see was a case full of desserts. My personal favorite was cheesecake. We had cherry cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, pineapple cheesecake and just plain old vanilla cheese cake. Actually they were all the “plain vanilla” cheesecake just with different toppings. Now the toppings were good but very sugary. I always thought that the fruit glop really got in the way of the flavor of the basic cheesecake. I like the flavor to be in the cake.
Cheesecakes are always show stoppers, whether for a birthday or for a special dinner. What can be more special than a cheesecake for a holiday dessert?
Cheesecakes are not all that hard to make. Way back, I was scared to make this wonderful treat. All those instructions and warnings about baking them in a water bath, changing the heat in the oven, etc. were far to frightening for me. Then I stumbled across a recipe that did not involve all that fuss and bother. Been making cheesecakes ever since.
Then…six years ago this month the other shoe of my life dropped. The test results came back and like my father, brother, and sister before me, I was handed the diagnosis of Diabetes.
It took me about a year before I put on my cooking glasses and started taking back what is rightfully mine, my table! Once I figured it out, there was no way, no how I was not going to have a piece of cheesecake (or most anything else I could create). And I mean a piece. I mean a piece, not some itty bitty spoonful while others eat their share. Me too, I found a way to make a cake that is still ABSOLUTELY delicious and Diabetes-Compatible.
Most chefs will all tell you to master one recipe, and then make variations on the theme. So this is what happened with my basic recipe for cheesecakes. All of them have one base but with slight changes. Changes that are important enough to make them taste and feel entirely different. The only constants are they are: Diabetes-Compatible, delicious, and easy enough to make.
So from the base of a very basic (low carb but absolutely delicious) I have some variations for you on the theme. I now make marble cheesecake, Amaretto cheesecake (look under the recipe tab), chocolate cheesecake and I am working out a recipe for turtle cheesecake.
My recipe below is for Razzle-berry (raspberry) cheese cake. It is red and pink and just the ticket for the season. It will change ho hum to: HO, HO, oh boy! It may even make someone at your table say: “Really…. a person with Diabetes can eat THIS good?” hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Just saying.
If your December holiday menu is already set, try this for Valentine’s Day. You won’t believe the love!
Just remember to:
ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!
“Razzleberry” (Raspberry) Cheesecake
makes 8 slices
net carbohydrates 13g. per slice
Chefs Note: It is pretty, pink and perfectly easy to prepare. It shows you that once you master a few recipes. the world is yours.
8 -8 ½ inch Springform pan
For the crust
2/3 cup flour
½ cup toasted Almonds
¼ c. GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
1 pinch salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. cardamom
½ tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. butter
1 large egg
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
How I prepare this recipe:
In a food processor with a steel blade pulse all of the dry ingredients until very well combined and the nuts disappear into the mixture. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is well distributed in the flour mixture. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until mixture forms a ball on the blade. Remove the dough pat into a disc about 5-6’’. Wrap disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hour but overnight will also work.
For the filling:
3 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese at room temperature
¾ cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Raspberry LIQUOR or ¼ tsp. almond extract
3 large eggs
6 oz. Fresh raspberries (1/2 pint package)
1 tbsp. flour
In the food processor combine GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE and cream cheese. Whip on high speed until combined. Add 3 oz. of the raspberries and combine with the cheese. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste for balance of flavor.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to form a crust about the same size as the bottom of your springform. Spray or oil the springform all over and press the dough into the bottom of the pan and an inch or so up the sides (don’t panic, it always falls apart a little. Just press it into place).
Pour filling into springform pan.
Bake at 300 for 45 min to one hour until sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Remove cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Decorate with any remaining berries from the package.
Regional Food Memories and Diabetes-Compatible Eating
(It is about NOT declining that Charlotte Russe)*
As many of you know, I am originally from New Yawk City. New York, like other cities all over the world has some amazing foods. But it is the memory foods that stick with you.
What could be more natural for a guy living in New York than to grab a bagel with butter or cream cheese on his way to work. I now have a couple of problems with this.
1- I now live in Maine, home of the…blueberry bagel. No self-respecting person would even consider this an acceptable variety. But it gets worse. What passes for bagels here in Maine is closer to doughy/squishy white bread with no flavor or texture. Hey guys, a bagel is SUPPOSED to bite back at you. Wait it does get worse. The other day I walked into an office and on the desk was this 6 inch long twisted and frosted thing. I asked what it was and was told: “it is a cinnamon twist bagel”. Whoa! folks, to paraphrase Julia Child: “ a bagel is round and has a hole in the middle”. A cinnamon raisin bagel in New York bears no kinship with this thing. So my taste memories will just have to wait until I get back to New York for a visit.
2-There is another little problem. Bagels are a high carbohydrate food. The recommended serving size is ¼ of a bagel. I don’t even want to think about that small of a portion. On the bright side, I can save a fortune on cream cheese.
So the same as being a Mainer, as a person with Diabetes, I will just have to wait until I visit New York and make my treat really count.
Southern Comfort foods
As I said, food memories are everywhere. A nice lady from the South commented on a post of mine on another site. She has just been diagnosed with Diabetes and said that as a “Southern Girl” she was used to her comfort foods. She wanted to have stuffing not just for Thanksgiving but also for her pork chops. Her other request was for rice. It really is easy peasy. For her stuffing, I suggested replacing the bread she was using with a lower carbohydrate variety and adding more mushrooms and nuts to the mixture. Rice. No problem if you keep an open mind. “Riced” Cauliflower works pretty well for me. Like rice it is a neutral flavor. It does look like rice, has the same texture as rice, and supports a strongly flavored dish just like rice.
So if you are from Wisconsin and it is grilled cheese you miss, try it on a lower carb, higher fiber bread like Sara Lee “Delightful” or Arnold Double Fiber or on a Joseph’s Lavash or Pita (our lunch today).
Philadelphia your home town … and you are missing cheese steak? Try it on a low carb pita bread folded over to form the bun.
Maryland your home … where Crab cakes are King? Try a little (and I mean little) panko in the mix. Just remember you are making crab cakes not pancakes.
I could go on area by area but you (and I) would get bored.
There is a funny memory for me. It is called a Charlotte Russe. No not that incredible confection of creams and lady fingers (that is great too) but this little cardboard cup with a little sponge cake and swirls of whipped cream topped with a maraschino cherry. The recipe below is a cross between the old rich form with the flavored creams and the little cardboard cup version. It just makes me happy and I don’t know why.
* From “This could be the start of something big” by Steve Allen (1956)
ENJOY!!! Be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT! –w!
Net Carbohydrates 11g.
Chef’s Note: By the time the Charlotte Russe had made its way to New York in the early 20th century—especially to sweet shops in Brooklyn and the Bronx—the confection had taken a dramatically simplified form. There, it was made from a thin disk of sponge cake topped with whipped cream and crowned with a Maraschino cherry. It was presented in a polka dot cardboard cup.
This recipe is a combination of the old style very fancy dessert and the very simple one I remember from my child hood.
I am showing this in a clear plastic cup to mimic the mobility of the original cardboard cup.
For the cake part (makes 12 small cupcakes)
2/3 cup flour (you can replace up to 1/4 the amount with whole wheat flour)
½ cup toasted almonds cooled
¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (use ground ginger if you can’t find cardamom)
1 – tsp. baking powder
1 –tsp, baking soda (1/2 into dry mix, ½ into wet mix)
pinch of salt
4 oz. butter at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 – cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
3 – large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 – tbsp. sour cream (Low fat is ok BUTNOT fat free)
1 – tsp. cider vinegar.
How to prepare the recipe:
Pre heat oven to 350
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 powder and ½ tsp. of the baking soda and pulse until combined. (I often 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
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 1 rounded tablespoon of the batter into each of 12 spaces of a well- greased or sprayed 12 cupcake tin.. This will ONLY fill the cupcake about half way up. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until tester comes out dry from the center. Allow to cool completely.
For the crème (Also can be done a day in advance)
-STOP!!- MUST be made in a food processor or it will be grainy. It will still taste good but the texture will be off.
Note: It takes less time to make the creme than to clean the machine you make it in.
¾ cup GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
1-30 oz. container of ricotta cheese
3-5 drops red food coloring.
Place GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE in the bowl of a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese and process for two minutes. Scrape down the sides and process for 1-2 minutes more. Add the Almond and vanilla extracts and process until blended.
Pour out 2/3 of the crème mixture into a bowl. Add red food coloring to the remaining creme (until you get the color you want) and process until completely blended.
You can either make your own whipped cream or buy it in a can from the store. MOST of the commercial products in the store have only 1 gram of carbohydrates per 2 tablespoon serving.
¼ cup finely chopped pistachio nuts.
Place a cupcake into a decorative cupcake paper. Place in the bottom of a 10 ounce plastic glass. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of the white crème over the cake. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pink crème mixture over the white cream. Top with 2 Tablespoons of whipped cream and a raspberry and sprinkle with chopped pistachios