THIS WEEK – Making your “old stand bys” Diabetic-Compatible

This website is for ALL OF US DIABETICS AND THE FAMILIES OF DIABETICS That REALLY like to eat!

Italian Cream Gallette Gallette A Showstopper Birthday cake

Italian Cream Gallette Gallette
A Showstopper Birthday cake

It is here to help YOU control your Diabetes and still eat Delicious Diabetic Compatible foods!

My name is Ward Alper.  I am a chef and food lover that is now  diabetic.

Chicken Parmesan served on a bed of Flavored Spinach

Chicken Parmesan served on a bed of Flavored Spinach

 

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!

 

Fresh Veggies and Cottage Cheese A different twist on an old dieter's favorite DON'T FORGET THE RADISH!

Fresh Veggies and Cottage Cheese
A different LOWER CARB twist on an old dieter’s favorite
DON’T FORGET THE RADISH!

 

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!

"Greek" Small Bite Spinach Stuffed mushrooms

“Greek” Small Bite
Spinach Stuffed mushrooms

 

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!

My WEDDING CAKE Diabetic "Happy" Amaretto Cheesecakes

CHEESECAKE!!!! Need I say More?

 

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

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07/16/2014

Article #103

Making the “old stand bys” Diabetic-Compatible again!

In the old days before my diagnosis (can I even remember that time?), I was a busy guy. I did all the cooking for my household as well as holding down a demanding job. What made it easier for me was to have two pasta dishes and two soup dishes each week. I also prepared big batches of meals on my days off (ready for a quick defrost and a great dinner).

The problem with this today is that the pasta (as a meal) is out of the question. The soups I made were very high in carbohydrates (because of flour, noodles, or a potato base, or all of those things combined). The pre-done meals were much the same. It would be chicken pot pie, pot roast, cowpoke pie (aka Shepard’s pie) All the great comfort foods. All of these dishes want crusts, noodles, rice, or potatoes to complete the meal.

I still manage the pasta as a side dish using either spaghetti squash or a bean based pasta. The “comfort” foods have been modified with crusts using parmesan cheese to substitute for some of the flour, mashed cauliflower or “riced” cauliflower or super-rich (but small portion) of real potatoes.

Cool as a cucumber soup Elegant but oh so easy!

Cool as a cucumber soup
        Elegant but oh so easy!

Then there are the soups. They were a great challenge for me. A little easier is the winter with chicken soup or onion soup, or cream of this and cream of that. The summer was a much bigger challenge. My standby soups for summer were: Borscht and Gazpacho. Borscht is a middle European soup made with beets. This is still a problem for me. Even not using sugar, the beets are so very high in carbohydrates. Real gazpacho is made using leftover bread to thicken the soup (and not to waste good bread). The flavor is from the tomato base. In small enough quantities, tomato is not so bad, as the main ingredient, the soup had too many carbohydrates for MY diet.

Cauliflower soup Cold or hot just scrumptious!

    Cauliflower soup
Cold or hot just scrumptious!

So, you ask how did I manage to get back into routine this summer? First of all, most of my cream of this and cream of that soups are as good, perhaps better, icy cold. Cucumber soup is just a great summer treat, as are creams of cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and spinach. All are very easy to make have very few (10 or less) grams of carbohydrates. The color alone makes you feel cool with icy whites and frigid pale greens.

I had to rethink gazpacho. It wasn’t the flavor of the bread I missed. It was the tomato. I do still eat tomatoes, but as the main ingredient, tomatoes have too many carbohydrates for me. You can roast or grill tomatoes for the base. Roasting or grilling just intensifies the tomato flavor so you can use less (therefore less carbohydrates) to get the same flavor. Too much work? I agree! San Marzanno tomatoes already diced for you are readily available at most markets and even online. They are from a region of Italy with the same name. The flavor is so intense, that like a roasted plum tomato, you can use less for the same flavor. All you have to do is open a can and add the other ingredients in a blender or food processor. To replace the thickening of the bread, I keep the onions, cucumbers, and peppers chunky. You get a little crunch when you eat the soup. I also like to add fresh basil and parsley to the soup. It gives it even more flavor and counteracts the “canned” taste.

No different than the way I have had to rethink all my recipes, soups became part of my life again, with a lot of thought but just a little work.

"Little" sandwiches for your soup Made with Joseph's Lavash and herbed cheese

“Little” sandwiches to go with your soup
Made with Joseph’s Lavash and herbed  cream cheese

 

What good is soup without bread, crackers, or better yet these “Little” sandwiches made with fresh herbs from my garden and cream cheese?

At 10 A.M. this morning it was 84 degrees with a dew point in the high 60’s. Can you guess what is for our supper tonight?

 

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

 

Icy cold Gazpacho Soup Thickened with chunky vegetables instead of bread

       Icy cold Gazpacho Soup
Thickened with chunky vegetables instead of bread

Gazpacho

Serves 3

Net carbohydrates               10g. per serving

 

Chef’s Note: This is a wonderful hot weather soup. No stove and no oven. It originated in Andalusia, Spain hundreds of years ago when olive oil and vinegars came into fashion. It was originally created as a way to use up stale bread (waste not, want not) but this recipe replaces the high carbohydrates of bread with wonderful chunky vegetables.

The easiest way to make this and keep it chunky is to chop each of the vegetables separately and add them to the tomato base at the end. I also recommend holding back a little of the chopped vegetables for garnish.

 

1 large cucumber, peeled and seeds removed (English/ hot house cucumbers work very well)

½ medium (4-6 ounce) red or sweet onion

¾ cup chopped bell pepper (any color)

3 cups diced canned tomatoes (San Marzano is my choice)

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

4 Tbsp. good olive oil

1-3 cloves garlic grated

Salt and pepper to taste (AND your doctor’s recommendation)

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp. dried basil)

 

HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Cut the peeled and seeded cucumbers into chunks and process (or chop) them into very small pieces. If using a blender or processor, don’t allow them to liquefy. Set aside in a small bowl.

Cut the onion into small dice and chop into very small pieces. Set aside in a small bowl.

Chop or process the bell pepper the same way as you did the cucumbers. Set aside in a small bowl.

In a blender or food processor, liquefy the tomatoes. Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and blend together.

Add ¾ of the chopped vegetables and stir to combine. Remember to reserve the remaining chopped vegetables for garnish and extra crunch.

Chill the soup for 2-3 hours or up to 2 days. Serve icy cold with a dollop of sour cream to smooth out the acid of the tomato.

 

 

07/09/2014

Article #102

Defying Diabetes with New friends and old recipes

 

I LOVE my readers. 

A few weeks ago, one reader (Mindy) asked me if I would be interested in a recipe of hers. It was something she created when she was in her teens.

“Like I said I was 15 and wanted glazed chicken, but having been diabetic since I was 8, I knew the store bought kind would have blown my diabetes to kingdom come.”

Mindy sent me the following recipe:

Low sugar glazed chicken

 

6 chicken breasts (skin on)

20 Oz 100% pineapple juice

Garlic powder -to taste

Season salt -to taste

Parsley flakes-to taste

Slit open skin to drain off fat during cooking for crispy skin

Set in fridge overnight to let juice soak in

Bake @350 /1 hour

 

When I looked at Mindy’s recipe, a huge smile started to grow on my face. About a hundred years ago when I was 11 or 12, it became my household task to cook for the family. My training in my dad’s restaurant gave me a better base than any other family member. Besides at that time, I thought it was fun. What wasn’t fun was trying to make different things that would please all members of the household from my 4 year old sister to my 20 year old sister. I looked at all types of cooking magazines. One recipe I found was “Hawaiian” chicken.

Hawaiian Chicken from years ago Image Credit Prudencepennywise

“Hawaiian” Chicken from years ago
Image Credit Prudencepennywise

Not unlike Mindy’s recipe, it was made with pineapple juice but also the each piece was topped with a pineapple ring. Very fancy for a 12 year old, don’t you think?

Well let me tell you that I reproduced this recipe in a million different forms over the years. Everybody seemed to love it. It was once one of the most popular items on one of my menus. Over the years the salt was replaced with soy for a darker finish to each piece. Cinnamon was added for another layer of flavor.

"Hawaiian" Meatballs Image credit Timewarpwife

Hawaiian” Meatballs
Image credit Timewarpwife

The same base was added to meatballs for “Hawaiian Meatballs.” (O.K. I am still embarrassed about that but it sold like crazy.) Just this week, I saw an advertisement for a steakhouse advertising… You got it, “Hawaiian” strip steak. As they say: “Everything old is new again”.

Over the years my taste for chicken or meat with pineapple changed. Rather than pineapple, I prefer orange juice (I use Trop 50 low carb juice). No different than the soy I added years ago for a darker finish, mustards got added for another layer of flavor with less sodium than the soy sauce. Infused oils like the Ariston Blood orange replaced the neutral oil. This too gave the chicken more flavors and it took less work to prepare the dish than grating orange zest into the marinade. Whether it was because I link the pineapple flavor to my childhood or that I have expanded my taste buds over the years, the subtler flavors of orange (or lemon) are now my go to for a fresh chicken dish.

All cooks change the recipes from time to time. Even Grandmother’s “sacred” recipe has had modern updates. I have a mortar to grind nuts and spices, but the food processor sometimes is the faster and easier way to go. “Work better NOT harder”

My thanks to Mindy. I am going to try her recipe. Her advice to “slit” the skin to allow fat to drain off is a great tip for all of us that like the skin and like it crisp. Yes, as a chef, I am going to make some “little” changes. I can’t help myself. Since I am always trying to encourage you to try new things and make it your own, I feel no disloyalty to Mindy’s recipe or to my memories. All I feel is thanks to Mindy for reminding me about something from my past and wanting to share her recipe with not just me, but all of you.

Thanks again Mindy!

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

 Orange Glazed Chicken

Orange Glazed Chicken

Orange Glazed Chicken

 

Serving                      1 Breast

Net Carbohydrates              5 g.

1 -2 –cloves of garlic, grated (or 1/4 tsp. powdered)

1 – small shallot., minced

OR

2 –scallions (white part only), minced

Salt and black pepper to taste (and your Doctor’s suggestion)

½ tsp. dried tarragon (or dried thyme)

¼- cup low sodium chicken stock or broth

1 -tsp. Dijon mustard

¼ – cup Trop 50 Orange juice

2- Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 – Tbsp. olive oil

2 – skinless boneless chicken breasts (optional to leave skin on)

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Pre heat oven to 350

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to marinate for at least ½ hour but overnight is even better.

Remove chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Bake skin side down for 30 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and bake for 20 minutes more. Spoon the remaining marinade over the chicken, raise the heat to 375 and cook for 10 minutes more until the chicken gets a light golden brown color.

Cold, this also makes “killer” chicken salad.

 

 

 

07/02/2014

Article #101

Mastering Diabetes one recipe at a time

 

Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa Photo by Lifestyle Food Australia

Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa
Photo by Lifestyle Food Australia

Okay, I admit it. I am shamelessly in love with Ina Garten. For those of you that don’t know about her, she is the author and television chef that owned The Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons on Long Island. And she smiles and laughs and enjoys cooking and sharing recipes with others and she cooks up a storm. Her positive attitude is an inspiration to thousands. Her phrases: “What could be better?” “What could be easier?” “Who wouldn’t like that?” just makes me smile. Most important, she is SMART! She knows just how much butter really is in the recipe. She is not ashamed because it tastes so good. This lady has no guilt about what and how SHE cooks. You and I may have to make a few adjustments to her recipes for us to have less guilt. However, there is NEVER a reason for less taste.

I have heard her say more than once “master a few recipes and you are all set in the kitchen.”  She is also RIGHT!

White Ricotta Crème You get to choose the flavoring

   White Ricotta Crème
You get to choose the flavoring

 

I realized the other day that for the last few weeks, I have been sharing recipes with suggestions for each of you to change them and make them your own. I suggested that my VANILLA ALMOND CRÈME easily transforms into chocolate, lemon, or berry crème. I shared with you the basic recipe for a salad dressing (vinaigrette) that changes from one flavor to another just by changing out the vinegar flavor.

Much of cooking is just like that. It is not a case of re-inventing the wheel for every meal, but adding new hubcaps and paint to take it to a new level and make it look and taste different…and maybe even better. Learning to love making a few recipes and changing just one or two ingredients in the recipes, takes a lot of the work and stress out of everyday cooking.

I have a cake recipe that serves six real people with good size pieces of cake.  I hate seeing a recipe that was created for six servings that then ups the number of servings just to lower the carbohydrate count. For me, that is just cheating us.

Mung Bean Fettuccini

       Mung Bean Fettuccini

(If you JUST eat one piece of macaroni, the carb count IS very low). Portion control is great as long as what winds up on YOUR plate satisfies YOU! Little changes turn it from a simple sponge cake to a carrot cake, to a simple chocolate cake, to a lovely lemon cake or blueberry lemon or raspberry lemon, or chocolate raspberry and on and on and on.. Learn to love making this ONE recipe and the sky and your imagination are your only limitations. The best thing is that it is easy. You can prepare parts of it in advance. Take the butter out at night, before you go to bed, or in the morning before you go to work and you don’t have to wait until the butter softens. Toast the nuts and let them cool when you have the time. They will be ready to use when you are ready to bake. If you are going to frost the cake, make that in advance and keep it cold in the refrigerator. Take it out when you pop the cake into the oven to bake.

Chocolate Cake Sweet and Simple With an Orange Cream Frosting

Chocolate Cake Sweet and Simple
With an Orange Cream Frosting

Now all chefs have egos. All people have egos. But I still am uncomfortable calling any of my recipes MASTER RECIPES. My problem is that calling them base recipes just seems dull and boring and I NEVER want you to feel dulled or bored by what you cook. So this time, ego in check, here is my MASTER DIABETIC-COMPATIBLE CAKE RECIPE.  Make it once, serve it with some berries and a little cream if you like. Next time you make it your own MASTER RECIPE!!!

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

 

The House of Orange Cake

The House of Orange Cake

“Master” Diabetic-Compatible Cake

 

13- carbs per 1/6 of cake

 

NOTE:  When using GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE cakes do not brown the same way or rise the same way as when using sugar.

 

I have replaced 1/3 of the flour in the original recipe with ground nuts. This cuts the carbohydrate count, adds fiber and protein.

Because substitute sweeteners don’t react the same way as sugar the cakes don’t rise, I use the sour cream, baking soda and vinegar to help the cakes get a little more height. THE CAKES IN AN 8 INCH ROUND WILL BE ONLY ABOUT 1-11/2 INCHES HIGH.

 

MASTER RECIPE:

I LIKE TO USE AN 8 INCH SPRING FORM OR SMALL (6 cup) BUNDT PAN WELL SPRAYED OR BUTTERED TO AVOID STICKING.

2/3  -cup flour (you can replace up to 1/4 the amount with whole wheat flour)

½ cup toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans) cooled

1-tsp. cinnamon

1tsp ginger (optional)

¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)

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 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

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:

Pre heat oven to 350

Spray or butter and flour an 8 inch springform pan OR 6 cup bunt pan

Dry Mixture

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. baking soda and  baking powder and pulse until combined. (I often do this a day ahead),

Wet Mixture

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

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 into baking pan and bake for 26-28 minutes or until tester comes out dry from the center.

THESE  CAKES MAY NOT ALWAYS BROWN.

 

06/25/2014

Article #100

The Diabetic and the salad BFF ?

For many of us with Diabetes, we have a food management plan that includes a lot of vegetables and a lot of salads. I think this is the hardest part of keeping your food interesting. This also can be a lot of work. Forget the planning, all that chopping is hard work. It is my choice to wash the greens even when they say pre-washed. Add to the work by making your own dressing and sometimes you think you would rather give up and dive into a pre-packaged Twinkie. And if you do the right (?) thing and make a salad, how interesting can it be compared to that Twinkie?

The good thing is that summer is almost here and the salad ingredients are getting better, easier to find, and cheaper. So this week I have some suggestions to make it more interesting without all that much work.

 

A salad made with Frisee lettuce. More flavor, More texture. More delicious !

A salad made with Frisee lettuce.
     More flavor, More texture.
          More delicious !

Change your lettuce. I sometime just love iceberg lettuce with bacon and blue cheese. I don’t care who frowns at me because of the iceberg. That simple salad does NOT work as well with any other lettuce I have tried. Well, yes, it is pretty good with a really crisp romaine. If you are like me and have to tinker with a recipe, try adding a little thinly sliced celery over the wedge. But if you want to give into lettuce snobbery while changing up your salad, there are lots of good choices out there. Red and green leaf lettuce is readily available all year long. It is a little tastier than plain iceberg, but you really have to wash it very well. I like to add a little white vinegar to the first wash water. Somewhere, sometime ago, I read that it helps to dissolve some of the pesticides. I don’t know for sure that it is true but I do it anyway. Boston or butter lettuce is this wonderful “soft” textured lettuce. It does not have that much more flavor, but it is such a good texture on your tongue. There are also a million kinds of pre-packages lettuce combinations. I found one that I like with a little bit of herbs in the mixture. A lot more flavor and somebody else did all the work. In some of the bagged mixes there is this “funny” looking lettuce called Frisee. I always liked it. I decided to do a very simple (keeping it simple can be great) salad using ONLY the frisee. Wham, bam, what a terrific salad!  I just did it with a little oil and vinegar and some shaved parmesan cheese.  The next time I went crazy and added a few tomato slices, radish, pea pods and a few walnuts. Make it small for a side salad or large for a dinner salad. And PLEASE add what you like to it to make it your own. Just so you know, when you can find it, frisee is pretty inexpensive. Ask your produce manager to get it for you. It is well worth the try. Last but not at all least, get yourself to your local Farmer’s market. Once a very rare occurrence, Farmer’s markets are popping up more and more.

A little cheese please Turns a simple salad into a simple joy

               A little cheese please
         Turns a simple salad into a simple joy

 

 

Add extra things. Let your likes and imagination guide you. Think easy and out of the box. Canned artichokes, nuts, cheeses, broccoli, snow peas, strawberries, raspberries, and anything else that you like to eat, eats well as part of the salad.

 

Try a new dressing. Do it from a bottle of low carbohydrate dressing if you want or mix it up for yourself.  Let your imagination run wild. Below is my simplest base recipe for a dressing. Change the type of vinegar to a rich syrupy Balsamic . (Ariston happens to be my personal choice) or raspberry vinegar and it is an entirely new flavor. Add a little (1-2 tablespoons) of trop 50 orange juice and it becomes fruitier and softer on the tongue.

If using your imagination is too much work…try some of the suggestions I have made here and easily salad will become one of your most intriguing new friends.

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

 

CHANGE the vinegar and COMPLETELY change the dressing. From rich syrupy Balsamic to Raspberry There is a whole world of flavor out there for you

CHANGE the vinegar and COMPLETELY change the dressing. From rich syrupy Balsamic to Raspberry There is a whole world of flavor out there for you

BASIC SALAD DRESSING

(vinaigrette)

Note: You have to find the vinegar that you love. They come in all price ranges and ranges of acidity.

If you buy a bottle that costs a buck fifty…it will taste like a buck fifty.

Makes about 1  cup of dressing

Carbohydrates                      less than 1g.

¼ – cup  vinegar

3/4  – cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 –tsp. Dijon mustard

½ – small shallot minced finely.(optional, but makes a world of difference)

 

HOW I PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together OR just put into a jar, cover and shake to combine

OPTIONS:

For raspberry Dressing                   use Raspberry vinegar

For Champagne Dressing               use Champagne vinegar

For Sherry Dressing                       replace vinegar with lemon +2 Tbsp. dry sherry

For Orange Dressing                      add 2 Tbsp. Trop 50 orange juice

 

You can also replace 2-3 Tbsp. of the olive oil with an infused flavored oil like Ariston Blood Orange, Lemon, or even Wasabi flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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