Diabetes Cooking: Can it REALLY be THAT good?

12/13/2017

Article #271

Diabetes Cooking: Can it REALLY be THAT good?

I have been writing to you (for you?) since 2012. In all that time, the one thought I have always wanted to get across is that eating to manage your Diabetes does not have to be anything less than delicious. Sure sometimes I stray into how easy it can be. Sure I even get into how wide a variety of foods you can eat. Certainly I like to remind you that there are foods that we have “always” eaten that we can still eat with ABSOLUTELY no change in the recipe. But first and foremost, Diabetes-Compatible eating can be and SHOULD be nothing less than scrumptious.

Chocolate Ricotta Creme and
Fresh Strawberries- How Romantic

A few weeks ago, I did a segment on the morning news where I made my Double Chocolate Ricotta Crème. When the segment was finished, the host tasted the dessert. His face lit up and he said: “This is really good”. I replied: “Of course it is”. That is my point. If it doesn’t taste good; why bother to make it? NO SECOND BEST ALLOWED HERE!

My positive attitude comes from knowing that we can re-create all kinds of good things if we are willing to put a little effort and a lot of thought into it.

We were visiting Austin, Texas last week. My friend Tony took us to a terrific Italian restaurant. ARE YOU KIDDING? An ITALIAN restaurant for a guy with Diabetes? Why not? This was a very good menu. It did not solely depend on pasta to feed their clients. I had an amazing appetizer of Fontina cheese with frisee lettuce, truffle oil and an egg all baked in the oven. If I were not concerned about being mocked by my friend, I would have ordered two more of this dish. Scrumptious and innovative does not even begin to describe the plate put before me. Best yet, we can easily create it in our own oven. As soon as I can find a source here in New Mexico for the frisee lettuce, it will be on our table.

Chicken Parmesan served on a bed of Flavored Spinach

My choice for an entrée was chicken and eggplant parmesan; also scrumptious and easy for us to prepare.

So now I come to the thinking part. Gene ordered a risotto with mushrooms and sausage. OH BOY risotto, something I have not eaten since my diagnosis. I was green with envy and felt a twinge of food depression.

I did not sleep well that night. Images of risotto danced in my head. I was all but overcome with a sense of loss and sadness.

Two days later, bang, it popped into my head. I make “riced” cauliflower all the time. Why couldn’t I make a risotto using cauliflower? The answer is I can. More important I did. It was ABSOLUTELY everything I hoped for. I will be making it a few more times before I share it with you. I promise, it is something to look forward to trying. I am still debating if my Diabetes-Compatible version was just as good as or even better than what I ate years ago. Texture was different, but the “sense” of the dish was right there.

I mention even better to you because it is not only possible; but probable that dishes we loved before can be made to work for us and please all the senses.

Sweet Tart shell
Easy as ….Pie

The crust I now use for my tarts and cheesecakes is so much better than what I used to make. By replacing some of the flour with toasted ground nuts, I not only reduce the number of carbohydrates, but also add a lot of flavor to the crust. The same thing goes for all of my cake recipes. OK, they do not rise as high as before; but they taste better. Trading a little rise in the cake for more flavor seems like a very positive trade off.

Does Santa deserve as good a cookie from a Diabetes family as one from a non-Diabetes family? This week I am sharing my recipe for peanut butter cookies with you. Maybe I should call them double peanut butter cookies. I replaced 1/3 of the flour with unsalted peanuts. They may very well be the most delicious peanut butter cookies I have ever tasted. I suspect Santa will agree. Since I have been soooo nice to him, wonder if there will be the new I-phone (WITH instructions how to use it) waiting under my tree.

Enjoy, be Healthy, be happy, be DECADENT

Peanut butter shortbread cookies

Makes 20-24 cookies

Net carbohydrates                  3 per cookie

Ingredients:

2/3 cup  flour

1/2 cup toasted, unsalted peanuts

¼ c. sugar alternative of choice

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

4 TBSP. butter

4 TBSP. peanut butter

1 large egg

How I prepare the recipe:

Pre heat the oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of a food processor pulse the dry ingredients to mix. Cut butter into 8 pieces to distribute in dry ingredients. Pulse until coarse pea sized bits. Add peanut butter and the egg and continue to pulse until the dough forms a ball that revolves on the blade

Remove dough, pat out to a log about 2 inches in diameter and 12 inches long. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 35-45 minutes or overnight. Cut into 20-24 cookies. GENTLY place on parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. This dough is fragile and may break. Not to worry just piece it together and re-roll. Using a fork, press the cookies down in opposite directions to form a Tic Tac toe pattern. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies slide easily on the pan. Remove to cooling rack and let cool completely. They will hold for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Better than JUST a substitute
A Deliciously Decadent Side Dish

Baked Zucchini pancakes (Latkes)

2 generous servings

NET Carbohydrates    >12grams

Chefs Note: Before you get crazy about the salt, the process of weeping the zucchini gets rid of most of it. Rinsing the zucchini before squeezing out the excess moisture gets rid of even more.

This makes a great meal on its own or can make them smaller (therefore less carbohydrates) and serve as a side for a main course.

2 -3 medium zucchini (about 1 pound)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

pepper to taste

2TBSP. Whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3 TBSP. plain bread crumbs, panko, or MATZO MEAL*

3 TBSP. grated parmesan cheese

 

* In many cities Matzo Meal is hard to find except at Passover or Chanukah time. Although I much prefer the texture (childhood memories no doubt) of the Matzo Meal, bread crumbs will work almost as well.

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Grate the zucchini in a food possessor using as coarse a blade as you have (can also be done on the largest side of a box grater). Place the grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl with the kosher salt and allow to “weep” for 20 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the sieve. Rinse it under running water then place in a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Discard the liquid.

Combine the beaten eggs, 2 Tbsp. of flour, pepper, chopped onion, the breadcrumbs or matzo meal, Parmesan cheese and baking powder and soda. Add the grated zucchini and mix to thoroughly combine.

You can stop now and cook later (up to 1 day) or

Preheat oven to 425° F. degrees.

Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease well. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture on to the sheet and flatten with the back of a soup spoon or your finger to about ¼ inch thick.

Bake for 12 minutes, turn over and bake for 5-6 minutes more until golden brown.

This recipe can also be fried in oil and butter for a crisper pancake. I find it easier to time out with the rest of dinner if I bake it.

Diabetes cooking: The choice IS yours

12/062017

Article #270

Diabetes cooking: The choice IS yours

So I am a diabetic and as you may now realize I love food. I love to eat it. I love to cook it. And heaven knows I love to talk about it. I am also fascinated with it.

The most versatile of all foods?

Think about the egg. A soft boiled egg tastes different than a poached egg. Those forms taste different than a hard-boiled egg. A fried egg tastes even more different. Scramble the egg and it even is more changed. Turn it into an omelet and it is different still. Each cooking method changes the simple egg into something else. It is all identifiable as egg, but each has its own characteristics. The same is true for chicken.

Chicken does not HAVE to be boring. It is up to you to make it wonderful. And it is easy.

This brings me to the true story of Chicken Osamara and her sisters.

Many years ago when I was working for a ballet company in Venezuela, we had a young man from Caracas staying with us at our apartment in New York City. While we were out one afternoon, a friend of ours called and left a message with this young man. When we returned home, he told us that Osamara called and it was important. Problem was we had no clue who Osamara was. It took a while and another call from the mysterious Osamara to realize it was our friend….Rosemary.

Is this how YOU see a chicken Dinner?
Image by cnbc.com

To celebrate knowing who called, I whipped up a boneless skinless chicken breast dish with Rosemary (the herb) and promptly dubbed it CHICKEN OSAMARA (see recipe below). It was a riff on Scarborough Chicken, you know: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”. I never liked much sage in the dish and found the thyme too perfume tasting. I made this dish for many years and oftentimes shared with other friends especially if they were named Rosemary.

It was the time when boneless skinless chicken was touted as better for your heart health. It may be. But over the years it seemed that the taste was bred out of chicken. I was watching Ina Garten’s show one day. Ms. Garten is a big proponent of using chicken breasts that had both the bone and the skin. It sounded like a good idea to me, so I threw caution to the winds and started using the chicken with bone and skin. Ina Garten was right. Was it perhaps the bone or the fats of the skin that made the chicken moister and much more flavorful? Probably. Even we diabetics should watch our fat intake so I guess I should suggest to you to remove the skin after cooking (I confess that I don’t). But that simple change made a big difference. However, when I made the skinless boneless chicken I pounded it out so it cooked evenly and is a bit more tender. This method too has its merits. So I continue to prepare the dish both ways as the spirit strikes me.

I love Rosemary. Sometimes that flavor too takes over and I need to change things up a bit. Oregano works equally well in this dish as does tarragon. Each one is sort of a sister to the original. It is this morphing of a recipe that helps us to have a much greater variety in our diets, keeping us from getting bored so easily with “the same old thing”…As for my friend Rosemary, she is unique unto herself.

These “monster” chicken breasts were on sale this week at $1.77 lb.
Did they really come from a little egg?

The other big part of the decision is: how much of that huge breast are we supposed to use? In the “old” days, I ate a half of a chicken breast. It “was” the perfect size. Today the breasts are raised to be so big they could easily feed three. Personally, if I saw one of these chickens crossing the road…I would run to get out of its way.

I find the decision about how much to use a benefit. I cut the breast half into a size that works for me. The rest gets baked in olive oil and herbs (usually tarragon). I always have chicken ready for the best chicken salad ever, or a soup or chicken pot pie or….

 

Enjoy, be Healthy, be DECADENT,

CHICKEN OSAMARA AND HER SISTERS

2 Servings

                                                                                  Net carbohydrates:

Method 1   6 grams

Method 2     0 grams

Chef’s Note: The difference in Carbohydrate grams is Method 1 used flour to protect the chicken and wine to create the sauce. .Method 2 does not.

If you use fresh Rosemary, Chop it very finely. If you use dry Rosemary, crush it in the palms of your hand. You may ask about the sisters. This same recipe can be made with basil, oregano, tarragon, or thyme.

Boneless skinless preparation Method 1

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 TBSP. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste (and your doctor’s orders)

Zest of ½ lemon

1 grated garlic clove

1 TBSP. fresh

or

2 tsp. dry Rosemary

1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

2 TBSP. flour

2 Tbsp. Olive oil or butter (or combination) for frying

For the sauce:

1 TBSP. butter or olive oil

1 shallot sliced thinly

Juice of ½ lemon

½ – cup dry white wine OR chicken stock

1 – tsp. Dijon Mustard

How I prepare this recipe:

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin or flat heavy skillet, pound the breast until they are about ½ inch thick and are even in thickness.

Place the chicken a bowl and add the grated garlic, oil, salt & pepper, Rosemary, parsley and lemon zest. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes or over -night.

Pre Heat oven to 350°F

Lightly dredge the chicken breasts in flour and allow to dry for 2-3 minutes. Place presentation side down in a frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in the oven while making the sauce.

Melt the butter and cook the shallot for just about a minute until it starts to soften but not brown. Add the mustard, white wine or stock and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced. Plate the chicken breasts and spoon the sauce over.

Skin on method 2:

2- Chicken breasts or thighs skin on bone in

1 TBSP. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste (and your doctor’s orders)

Zest of ½ lemon

1grated garlic clove

1Small shallot minced finely

1 TBSP. fresh

 or

2 tsp. dry Rosemary

2 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

Juice of ½ lemon

How to prepare this recipe:

Slightly lift the skin from the breasts to allow the marinade to get between the skin and the meat. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice in a bowl with the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour but or over- night. Add the juice of the lemon just before cooking.

Preheat oven to 325°F

Cook skin side down for 35 minutes. Turn and raise the heat to 350°F and cook 20-25 minutes more until the skin is brown.

Diabetes cooking: Black Friday, an excuse for breakfast?

11/22/2017

Article #269

 Diabetes cooking: Black Friday, an excuse for breakfast?

If you are not one of the millions of people working on Black Friday and are not at all interested in getting out there at some crazy hour of the morning to get a “deal” , and you have the day off, how about breakfast?

Work days we do what we do about breakfast. Even on our days off there is so much to catch up on. Black Friday and a few other well placed days off can be an excuse to indulge yourself in a really wonderful breakfast. Wonderful, yes; high in carbohydrates, no.

Delicious and moist, these Cranberry Orange muffins are a snap to make

These are the days to consider making a batch of low carbohydrate blueberry or cranberry muffins.

If you start the batter a day ahead, it takes just a few minutes to bake up. The really wonderful thing is that these freeze like a dream so you can have them ready to pack and go when you are back to your daily grind. It is the Black Friday deal that keeps giving.

Not a fan of muffins? How about a really great omelet or fritatta? They are really easy to make. Best thing is that you get to choose what to put into to them.

So easy to prepare yet so elegant to eat

It can be as simple as cheese or as decadent as smoked salmon and brie. You can (only if you like) try and be healthy and load your omelet with your favorite vegetable(s). Only your imagination, good sense, and the leftovers in the fridge limit your choices.

If the omelet is too much for you, take a few minutes to fry up some eggs. You get them cooked EXACTLY as YOU like them and you are not at the mercy of a short order cook. I remember ordering fried eggs at a restaurant in Florida. My choices were sunny side up or over easy. I like them hard fried and crispy yet, sunny side up. The poor server wasn’t sure if the cook could do them that way. At home, we are our own short order cooks. When I eat ham & eggs I like my ham thinly sliced and fried sorta crispy. And that is what I get 100 times out of 100 times at my home not some greasy spoon.

Eggs not your thing? How about a great cup of coffee or tea? How about going a step further and whipping up some milk to top off your cup. Better yet, sprinkle a little cocoa powder and cinnamon over the frothed milk for the coffee or cinnamon and cardamom on the tea. Fancy coffee shop stuff and you are still in your jammies. Pure bliss. You still have to wash up your cup though!

So relax. You either cooked up a storm or washed up a boatload of dishes or traveled for miles …or all three. Treat yourself to a fun and different breakfast. It may be the best Black Friday deal out there.

Enjoy! Be healthy! Be DECADENT!

Crustless-Caprese Quiche

4 servings

Net Carbohydrates 6 grams

Chef’s Notes: Fresh basil is available all year long in most areas. Perfect for that Black Friday breakfast. I had the tomatoes and cheese on hand and thought why not. Turned out so good I can’t wait to make it again.

Quiche is notorious for having a soggy crust. Not using a crust eliminates the problem!

1 shallot or 3 scallions chopped

1 Tbsp. butter

3 eggs lightly beaten

Enough milk, half and half or cream to make 1 ½ cups when added to the eggs

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch (1/16 tsp.) fresh nutmeg

1 small Roma (plum) tomato sliced 1/8 “ thick

2 TBSP. fresh basil chopped

Non- stick spray or butter for the pie pan

 

How to prepare the recipe:

Pre heat the oven to 375° F.

Butter or spray a 9 inch pie pan with a non- stick spray

Sautee the shallot or scallions in butter.. Allow to cool.

Beat the eggs lightly and add the salt pepper, and nutmeg. Add the milk or cream until you have 1 ½ cups of liquid in total.

Evenly spread the shredded cheese on the bottom of the pan. Distribute the chopped basil over the cheese. Arrange the tomato slices over the basil. Gently pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the quiche is browned and puffed.

Allow to cool a little before serving.

Diabetes Cooking: The Holidays can be DIFFICULT

11/15/2017

Article # 268

The Holidays can be difficult

November is here. Let the eating begin?

What is it about the fall and winter that make us feel almost obligated to eat until we bust? I suppose historically we ate more in winter to keep our bodies warm. Now we celebrate eating for months at a clip.

We have made it past the “trick or treat” season doing no worse than dunking for the smallest apple (whose dentures were those at the bottom of the barrel?). Now what?

You have invited Aunt Tilly and Uncle Theo and your semi-obnoxious cousins to Thanksgiving dinner.

There is more than one way to cook a turkey

The Turkey part is easy and works for everybody. It is the rest of the meal, the sides that are the challenge. You can make a set of sides for everybody else and some diabetes compatible sides for yourself, but aren’t you making enough dishes already? It is Thanksgiving and you want to keep it as traditional as you can. And still have all of your guests satisfied (who am I kidding, EVERYBODY happy?) Even if you don’t have Diabetes, this holiday eating can pose some strange challenges.

There was one year when I invited some of my friends and their kids to dinner. A week before the youngest girl announced to the world that effective immediately she was a vegetarian. I am sure tofu turkey is simply wonderful but……In addition to ALL of my usual “traditional” dishes I created some extra ones for her. Happy to do it. She was a sweet kid. I did get a bit miffed when two weeks later her devotion to vegetarianism waned and morphed back into a cheese burger and fries. We were all young once.

Perfect portion control
4 ounces of scrumptious stuffing
Made in a muffin tin

Another year my niece and her husband were coming and he is Muslim. I use pork sausage in the dressing I have made for eons. No problem. I just substituted turkey sausage for the pork. It still worked pretty well. Everything was fine until she called us an hour before dinner to say they were just leaving…..from two states away.

I never seem to learn that the easiest thing is to eat out. It must be the call of the roasted leftover turkey that causes me to give up my resolve and make the dinner. Even the days of preparation for 15-20 minutes of eating does not turn me away from the holiday stove.

I still make the “traditional” sides with a few alterations.

Diabetic Compatible Cranberry Relish
Fresh Pineapple “sparks” up this classic holiday dish

Pineapple cranberry relish rather than cranberry sauce. Baked sweet potato with a ginger butter in place of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. I prepare beautifully seasoned mashed cauliflower in place of mashed spuds. Last week’s recipe for the baked stuffed acorn squash is now back on the table. Fresh green beans with almonds take the place of that strange green bean casserole with canned soup and fried onion crunchies on top. I have always enjoyed that concoction, knowing fully there “has to be something better (?) and more nutritious that this”.

This year I am also doing a Carrot and Cranberry Cake. It is all the flavors of the season without the excessive carbohydrates. You can even save a little of the cranberry relish to top the cake.

Thanksgiving problem(s) solved. Now all I have to get through is:

Hanukah

Christmas

New Year’s Eve

Valentine’s Day

Easter

Passover

Can cookouts be far behind?

 

Enjoy! Be healthy! Be DECADENT!

Carrot Cranberry Cake

8 servings

net carbohydrates   13 grams per slice including frosting

Chef’s Note: I have replaced 1/3 of the flour in the original recipe with ground nuts. This cuts the carbohydrate count, adds fiber and protein. You can replace up to ½ of the flour with ground nuts.

Because Sugar alternatives 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 loft. BUT THE CAKES IN AN 8 INCH ROUND WILL BE ONLY ABOUT 1-11/2 INCHES HIGH.

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

Dry mixture

2/3 cup flour (you can use 1/3 white/ 1/3 whole wheat)

½ cup toasted walnuts, cooled and chopped

1tsp. cinnamon

1tsp ginger

1/8 – tsp. nutmeg (optional)

1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (if you can find it)

Pinch of salt

2 TBSP. sugar free INSTANT vanilla pudding mix

Wet mixture

4 TBSP. of butter (at room temperature)

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup or equivalent of sugar alternative (YOUR CHOICE)

4 large eggs at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1tsp. Baking Powder

2 TBSP. sour cream1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cider vinegar

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup fresh or frozen chopped cranberries

1/3 cup of walnuts chopped roughly

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°F.

Dry Mixture

In a food processor:

Combine nuts, salt, and 1/3 cup flour. Pulse until the nuts are totally pulverized. Add remaining 1/3 cup flour,  pudding mix, and spices. Pulse until combined. Add baking soda and powder and pulse until combined. (I often do this a day ahead),

Wet Mixture

Easiest if you have a stand mixer

Cream butter and Sugar alternative until light and fluffy add the oil and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl

Add vanilla

Alternately add the dry ingredients mixture and the eggs.

Add ½ tsp. of baking soda to sour cream and stir. Allow to double in volume before stirring into the batter.

When the wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts, and chopped cranberries and stir until just incorporated.

Spoon into baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out dry from the center.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (1 pkg.) cream cheese (low fat is ok but NOT Fat free )

½ cup or equivalent measure sugar alternative.

2 TBSP. butter at room temperature

1/2 Tsp. Vanilla extract

Beat until smooth and frost cake when it is still slightly warm. Decorate with ground walnuts.*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.

Diabetes: The joys of sharing and empowerment

11/08/2017

Article #267

Diabetes: The joys of sharing and empowerment

November is Diabetes awareness month.

My question to all of you that share information about Diabetes is:

Do you have a clue how wonderful you are?

I get reminded of the wonderful nature of most of the Diabetes community every week.

Very soon everywhere you look will be pleas for “joy of sharing” campaigns linked to the holidays. They will tell you how much your small gift will help so many others.

Gifts are not always about money. The greater gift may be in assisting someone that is having a difficult time. Letting them know that you are there for them. Making sure they don’t feel alone in the universe to struggle along the best they can.

Thank goodness so many of you don’t wait until the holidays to share the gift of information that helps you manage your Diabetes. I am not referring to just on my site but all of you sharing from all of the Diabetes-specific sites out there in cyberspace.

I want to thank you and congratulate you for sharing what you have learned, sources that you use, and yes, even recipes with others that are working to manage their Diabetes. For sharing with those who have been at it a while as well as with those freshly diagnosed with Diabetes.

Your generosity of spirt is a far greater gift than you can begin to imagine.

We all know that Diabetes is no walk in the park. Each and every one of us has been at the beginning of the journey, many not quite knowing what we should do. We start out in a struggle to get our numbers in check.

This is the simple form I used when I started out
Alter it to meet YOUR needs

There is more to life with Diabetes than cold numbers. The experience of others is comfort to many that think: “I am doing it all wrong”.

The internet is a great place to get information. But there is so much out there. Some is valid, some is not. How wonderful is it to have our friends and family (especially the Diabetes family) share what has worked for them or is of interest to them, with others? Hey, it worked for them. Perhaps it will work for me. It is a place to start.

By sharing what you know and like with others not only empowers you, but it empowers them. They don’t have to agree with you; but there is a comfort in feeling that someone out there is going through the same things as you are; and that those people care about your struggle.

Every positive comment you make on a Facebook page, every time you tag a friend, you are adding to the general knowledge. You are adding a tool a person in their fight with Diabetes. You are unknowingly giving them one more ounce of courage, one more foothold, and one more positive reason to take control of their life and their Diabetes.

THIS IS NOT A SMALL THING. Like it or not, you become a hero in someone else’s life.

How many times have you seen the saying:

“It is Diabetes NOT diabeat us”?

You are part of that universal “us”.

Stand up and be proud of yourself. You have no idea how much good you do.

Every Johnny Jones that has been tagged by Sally Smith for an article or recipe knows that there is one more person in their corner. Johnny may not agree with Sally on the content of the article, or hate the recipe for poached lima beans that she shared with him. But he knows that he is being cared about and loved.

ENJOY, be healthy, be happy, be….DECADENT-w!

Acorn squash stuffed with apples and cranberries

Baked stuffed acorn squash

Serves 4

Net carbohydrates 13 grams per serving

Chef’s Note: Whether you are the host or the invited for a holiday dinner, this do ahead stuffed squash will delight the guests at the table.

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash about 3-3 ½ inches in diameter

2 tart apples. Peeled, cored and diced

1/3 cup raw cranberries

2 TBSP. butter

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 TBSP. red vermouth

OR

2 TBSP. low carbohydrate orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste and your doctor’s advice.

2 TBSP. sugar alternative of choice

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the squash in half through the stem end.

Remove the seeds.

Cut a sliver of the squash of each rounded end so that the squash will sit securely.

Poke holes in the flesh of the squash.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients and spoon into the squash cavity. Cover tightly with foil.

Place squash half in an oven proof baking dish and add ½ inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350°F. for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes. until squash is tender. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.

Reheat for 20-25 minutes before serving

Diabetes Cooking: works in progress

 

11/01/2017

Article # 266

Diabetes Cooking: works in progress

One day it hit me that the whole process of controlling my diabetes is “a work in progress”. From diagnosis to today (where I genuinely enjoy eating and living again), took a while, some work, and lots of thought. It didn’t happen overnight. It is worth the journey. It became clear to me that there are only more good things to come. I can hardly wait!

When first diagnosed, I read as much as I could about diabetes. I discovered things about eating to control the disease. That it was not sugars alone but carbohydrates that needed to be controlled. So much for those who say:

Oh, you have Diabetes. So that means you can’t have dessert!”

Is it legal for a person with Diabetes to beat somebody about the head and ears for saying that?

I read that I should have so many grams of carbohydrates for breakfast, so many for lunch, etc. There were faster and slower metabolizing carbohydrates. Then there were carbohydrates vs. NET carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus total fiber). It felt like more information than my poor brain could handle.

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

For the first weeks, I spent too much energy being distressed about what I should not eat. I moaned about the loss of spaghetti and meat balls. I would have killed for some rice with my chicken. I looked into recipes that are lower in carbohydrates. I found them dull and boring.  I chose to eat proteins and salads. My eyes rolled back in my head at the sight of a cucumber. I was completely miserable at meal time.

I am a chef. I create wonderful things for people to eat. MY Diabetes eating was BORING!

Having Diabetes took over my life. In order to figure out what else I could eat that would not harm me, I bought books with the carbohydrate and fiber content of every imaginable food product. The books had information not only on foods that I can cook, but hundreds of fast foods and prepared items.

This is the simple form I used when I started out
Alter it to meet YOUR needs

Some of those products I haven’t thought about eating since I was a kid. I wouldn’t consider eating some of them again if I didn’t have Diabetes (candy corn comes to mind). Some foods are so processed that the sodium content alone would probably send me into heart failure.  To my surprise the books have become part of my reference library. When in doubt, I still consult them to double check. They are no longer a bible, just a tool.  I began to unconsciously memorize and record the carbohydrate content of everything I ate. I thought eating protein and salad was boring; but this ritual made eating salads seem like Christmas morning. It turned out that boring as it was to memorize all these numbers; it worked and eventually made my life and cooking/planning, easier.

The next phase was worry. With all the protein and fats I was eating, was I raising my cholesterol levels?

My cholesterol levels actually went lower.

The next issue: I was always hungry. If I watched the carbohydrate content of my meals, I found that in my mind, my plate looked empty. Mentally I was starving to death.

But my numbers were great!

Had I had forgotten that I was a chef? I had to learn to cook for myself, and others, all over again. I started to put flavor and color and texture back on my plate. I found ways to make what I eat fun again. I created dishes that I could gorge on if I wanted without raising my glucose levels.

Chicken Parmesan served on a bed of Flavored Spinach

I learned to create great tasting low carbohydrate recipes. After that, I changed them to make them taste more scrumptious than before. I look at some of the original thoughts for recipes and the ones I use and share with you today and marvel at how good it has gotten to sit down to a meal.

In the beginning, the thought of cheating loomed large. Since the A1C testing only covered a three month period, could I have meatballs and spaghetti the night after my blood was drawn? Who would know? Well maybe just on my birthday?

The answer is yes. Yes to both. An occasional “treat” is ok for most of us.

The new question is: Do I want to? I had trained what is left of my mind to watch what I eat so carefully and deliciously that I can not bring myself to cheat on myself. Better yet, I really have no need to do that.

A birthday for a friend is coming up and I am hosting it. I am the one with Diabetes, she is not. I have spent weeks pondering on what “special” thing to make for her to celebrate while I too can indulge. I have settled on my decadently delicious chocolate KING OF THE NIGHT CAKE. The main dish is still up for grabs.

KING OF THE NIGHT CAKE
Diabetic Compatible, CHOCOLATE, Need I say more?

The good thing and the bad thing is that life with Diabetes is a work in progress. I keep working at it and it rewards me with better health and even better foods. Hey, I had a drop dead low carb pizza (using lower carbohydrate pita for the crust) over the weekend, so that craving for the tomato, oregano, melty cheesy flavor was satisfied this week. What new dish will be the wonderfulness of next week’s menu? I am working on it!

ENJOY, be healthy, be happy, be….DECADENT-w!

Greek Taverna Chicken

(kotópoulo ston trópo tavérnas)

Serves 4

Carbohydrates   5 grams per serving

Chef’s Notes: This is the kind of simple chicken dish you might served throughout the Mediterranean. Easy to find  fresh and very flavorful ingredients. This dish is a “snap” to prepare either on the outdoor grill or in a heavy skillet.

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts or thighs (about 6 ounces each)

Zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic grated or minced VERY finely

salt and pepper to taste (and your doctor’s suggestion)

2 tsp. DRY oregano

1 medium onion sliced thinly

2 TBSP. olive oil

3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 tsp. DRY oregano

16 ripe Kalamata olives, cut in half

Juice of 1 lemon

2 ounces feta cheese, diced

1 TBSP. fresh parsley chopped

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Combine chicken, lemon zest, 2TBSP. olive oil, garlic, pepper, and 2 tsp. oregano. Refrigerate for at least ½ hour (overnight is even better). Bring to room temperature and either grill or sauté for 8-9 minutes per side.

While the chicken is cooking; sauté the onion in the remaining olive oil until it is a light golden brown. Add the tomatoes, olives, 1tsp. oregano, and lemon juice. Toss to combine and heat until the tomatoes JUST start to give up some of their liquid.

Spoon over the cooked chicken.

Serve over a bed of well- seasoned spinach or lemon scented “riced” cauliflower.

Diabetes Eating: Between the darkness and the light

10/25/2017

Article #265

Diabetes Eating: The darkness and the light

How many times have you heard?

1- “It is always darkest before the Dawn.”

and

2- “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

3-Let me add: “Damn you Darkness” -courtesy of Lucy Van Pelt one of my favorite PEANUTS characters.

Ms. Van Pelt has her own strange approach to life.

HUH? What in the world does this have to do with Diabetes?

1- When we are first given the diagnosis of Diabetes (I would rather have been given argyle sox), there is this terrible sense that we will never be able to live and eat the way we have in our prior life. The feeling that everything that tastes good is no longer part of the Diabetes world we now live in.

After a time, I discovered that I was not alone in this feeling. As I sat at my table “munching” on what tasted like straw and packing peanuts, I thought all was lost. Thank goodness for my local nutritionist. Thanks to her I got started on the road to “en-lightened” eating.

Dozens and dozens of foods and food ideas opened up for me. Foods that I had always eaten were still available to me with ABSOLUTELY no changes at all. New uses for other foods became part of my daily adventure into Decadently Diabetic dining.

Joseph’s Lavash bread was something I had used in the past to make fun pinwheel hors d’oeuvres. It was nothing at all strange, it is simply a very flat and pliable bread that I could slather with a soft cheese concoction and some chopped vegetable, roll up and cut into bite sized pieces.

Lavash and Veggie Cream Cheese Pinwheels

I could make dozens of them in no time flat. Now, I use this product daily for my lunch roll-up sandwich, chips for soup or dips, and yes, still for the pinwheels.

I never (before Diabetes) looked at much more than the sodium content and order of ingredients on nutrition labels. When Anne showed me this old familiar product and how to read the label (in terms of NET carbohydrates) I was sold AND on my way to a lunch normalcy. That plate of straw and packing peanuts was a thing of the past.

2- With the joy of tuna, turkey, roast beef, BLT and scores more sandwiches under my belt (and in my tummy), I moved on to finding other ways to use common foods in ways to keep my carbohydrate budget intact. Rather than looking at things the way they were used, I became open to find other purposes.

I have always liked cauliflower for what it is. Not everybody feels the same. Staying open to the possibilities for using cauliflower in other ways brightened my path to better eating. Rather than feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t have as much potato or rice as I might like (they are still part of my plate in moderation), I started using cauliflower to replace the higher carbohydrate potato. Does it taste the same? NO! Sometimes it is as good but different, and sometimes I really like it better than the potato.

Oven “Fried potatoes 2 Servings

 

Sometimes ONLY a potato will do. I have “oven fried” potatoes for eons. I get to really season them in different ways. High oven roasting of potato wedges gives me a really wonderful crisp and very tasty treat. I just use less of them on my plate and more of something else.

 

3-Yes, there are some things that I still don’t eat very often. Not NEVER, just not often. I would love to have some foods much more often (fast food fried chicken comes to mind) I save these things for special occasions, if at all. I know better than to make them a regular part of my eating; but boy would I like to.

I would often reward myself for a great A1c reading by splurging on some treat or another. What good is a birthday if you can’t indulge? I indulge a lot less now as my repertoire of dishes increases by leaps and bounds. Most of these new versions take a bit more work and time than my old choices.

I just remember two things:

A- These foods are a treat NOT a cheat.

B- They are not poison. I will not grasp my pancreas and slump over and die in my chair on the rare occasions I do choose to have these “special” foods.

And I will admit when the stresses of life get to me, I crave a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Damn you Diabetes!

ENJOY, be healthy, be happy, be….DECADENT-w!

White Clam Sauce

Makes enough sauce for 4 servings

Carbohydrates (Sauce ONLY)     3 grams PER serving

Chef’s Notes: This is one of my all-time favorite sauces. Ideally it is made with freshly steamed clams. Most home cooks don’t have the time (or interest) to make it from scratch. This recipe is just as delicious. I serve it over spaghetti squash (pictured) or shirataki noodles.

Ingredients:

2 TBSP. olive oil

½ small onion or large shallot sliced thinly

2-3 cloves garlic grated or minced VERY finely

2 tsp. dry oregano

8 ounces clam juice

1 8-14 ounce can of whole or chopped clams

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

¼ cup dry white wine

1 TBSP. fresh parsley roughly chopped

Grated parmesan cheese to taste.

HOW TO PREPARE THE RECIPE:

Heat a large (12-14 inch) skillet until a drop of water “dances” on the bottom. Add the oil. Add the onions or shallot and cook until a light golden color. Remove from the heat. Add the garlic and oregano and stir to combine. SLOWLY add the clam juice. Return to a medium heat and allow to cook until reduced by about ¼-1/3. Add the lemon zest and juice, clams, and white wine. Bring to a boil.

Add the “noodle” (spaghetti squash, shirataki noodle, or spiral cut zucchini to the pan and cook until heated through. Plate and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

A few of my favorite things….revisited

10/18/2017

Article #264

Pizza with sausage and creamy risotto, crisp crunchy cookies and big bowls of pasta; these are a few of my favorite things….revisited

 After you find out what you can’t have, comes the time to figure out what you can have and still enjoy. It is about substitutions, additions, and replacements. Some are close to the original and some that are better than the original; and some, well not everything in life is perfect.

Turkey Burger with Sharp Cheddar Cheese
and a big side of Cauliflower Salad

Where is the bun?

Hamburgers and turkey burgers are fine. The problem comes with the bun. Several companies make a thinner “bun” (ARNOLD and PEPPERIDGE FARM and WAL-MART) that are much lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber than the ordinary buns, lower even than whole wheat buns. Lightly toasted these make a great substitution for that old fluffy bun. Remember the “where’s the beef” ads?

I have brought these “buns” or my Joseph’s Low carbohydrate pita bread with me to a fast food chain on occasion (when traveling), ordered a burger or grilled chicken without the bun and placed the meat on these breads. The fast food chain did not mind at all, and I got the joy of holding onto a sandwich again. At home, for a little extra fun, I add a tablespoon or two of blue cheese or ranch dressing to the burger. It only adds 1-2 carbohydrates but really sparks the flavor.

Pizza made using JOSEPH’S low carb pita

Pizza with sausage:

There are a few choices here. The sandwich thins or rounds or better yet a JOSEPH’S PITA BREAD WITH FLAX SEED or low carbohydrate tortilla topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a little dried oregano, a tablespoon of a low carb sauce, crumbled cooked sausage (pork, chicken or turkey) a thick slice of mozzarella cheese.

Or

Encase the sauce, cheese and sausage in a sheet of JOSEPH’S LAVASH or low carbohydrate tortilla; brown in a pan on both sides. Ok it is more like a calzone than a pizza, but really easy, fun, quick, and satisfying.

Spaghetti Squash
Pictured as a meatless dish, but you can add beef or chicken for a GREAT casserole

Creamy risotto:

I find spaghetti squash mixed with butter, a little cream, and parmesan cheese a good replacement. Very similar texture and the additions are limitless. Try including mushrooms, sautéed onions, garlic, shrimp, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes or even fresh tomatoes are great with the spaghetti squash.

 

PECAN BUTTER COOKIES
Simple to make, simply delicious, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per cookie

Crisp, crunchy cookies:

This one is a little tricky. I make a really great cookie that crumbles in your mouth similar to a shortbread cookie. What I have done is replace some of the flour with ground toasted nuts, and the sugar with a granulated sugar substitute. For chocolate cookies, I use an unsweetened “SPECIAL DARK” cocoa powder to give it a great chocolate flavor. TRUTH, it has none of the chewy-ness of say a chocolate chip cookie. However, you can press some additional nuts into the cookie before baking so you see and feel them in your mouth.

Just a few of my DIABETES-COMPATIBLE CAKES

Tarts and cakes:

By replacing 1/3 of the flour in a recipe with toasted ground nuts, you cut the carbohydrate value by almost 1/3. On the (very) plus side you add greater flavor and texture to all your baked goods. Using a sugar alternative (whichever you personally like and trust) you bring the carbohydrates down even more. Sure the cakes don’t rise as high or brown; but there is a lot of bang for very few carbohydrates.

SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS

Big bowls of Pasta:

Just when I thought this dish was a goner, one of my regular readers suggested using Shirataki noodles. Pasta is back on my table with a vengeance. These noodles are very low in NET carbohydrates (1 gram per 8 ounce serving). They feel exactly like “old fashioned” noodles. I find it best to finish the dish by adding the Shirataki noodles to sauce in a big skillet. This is the same way that generations of Italian cooks have been finishing their pasta dishes. The other night I took the fettuccine cut of noodle, cut them up with kitchen shears, and made a mac and cheese to “curl up your toes and die for”.

ENJOY, be healthy, be happy, be….DECADENT-w!

French Apple Custard Tart

8 Servings

Net Carbohydrates              13 grams

Crust:

Chef’s Note: I use this sweet crust below for all of the tart recipes. It does NOT have to be blind baked!

9-10 inch removable bottom fluted tart pan sprayed with Pam.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup toasted nuts (either almonds or walnuts,)

¼ cup granulated sugar replace (your choice)

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp. cardamom

½ tsp. baking powder

4 tbsp. butter

1 large egg

Filling:

3 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar replace (your choice)

1/3 cup sour cream

1-2 Tbsp. brandy (Optional)

Or

1 Tbsp. Trop 50 orange juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon plus 1 tsp. to sprinkle over the top of the tart.

1 Tbsp. butter to dot top of tart

1-2 Medium eating apples (Jazz, Pink Cripps, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Tango etc.)

How to prepare this recipe:

Pre heat oven to 375°F.

Crust: In a food processor with a steel blade pulse all of the dry ingredients until very well combined and the almonds disappear into the mixture. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is well distributed in the flour mixture. Add the egg and vanilla. 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 .and makes life easier. This dough recipe can be doubled and frozen for 6 months.

Roll out the crust on flowered surface to about a 14 in circle. Using your fingers fit into tart pan. The dough is fragile and will break. Not to worry just piece it together with your fingers. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before filling

Filling: Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the apples in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat slowly to combine and then increase the speed to thoroughly blend.

Peel and slice the apples thinly and arrange in the slices around the tart shell. SLOWLY spoon the custard over the apples. Dot with butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon..

Bake at 375°F. for 26-30 minutes until the custard is set and the apples are a light golden color.

Allow to cool completely before removing from the tart pan,

Diabetes Eating: Bridging the gaps

10/11/2017

Article # 263

Diabetes Eating: Bridging the gaps

(NEVER-SOMETIMES-ALWAYS)

I want to remind you that after I was diagnosed 9 years ago, I was sent to see a “nutritionist” at a Diabetes clinic. It was my first negative experience with having Diabetes. I had so many questions and was met with so much negativity. I sadly suspect that many of you have had a similar experience along the way.

I believe very strongly in asking questions like crazy and NOT allowing anybody to intimidate you.

The question often comes up:

“Can I eat ____ brand of this? or Is it okay if I sometimes eat_____?

I almost hate that my answer has to be: “yes, but only if it works for you. We are all so different”.

So few of us react the exact same way to the exact same food or even the exact same number of carbohydrates we can consume in a meal or a day. When many of us are first diagnosed; it seems that there are all kinds of foods that can NEVER be part of our lives again.

Photo by Indiana Public Media. org.

For MANY of us, that is not true. Even pure cane sugar can be part of what we eat. We simply have to use it in VERY SMALL amounts: e.g., a teaspoon in a batch of something that yields enough for several people. I am working on a recipe for lower carbohydrate dinner rolls (yield is 30 rolls). The yeast NEEDS a little sugar (1 teaspoon, 5 grams) to work properly.

For the rest of the sweet taste in the recipe I use a sugar alternative (I use several depending on what I have available and what the final taste and volume is for that recipe). No, when it comes to sugar alternatives or replacements, I do not suggest a type or brand. It is one of the choices you get to make for yourself.

We all have our concerns about the foods we eat. I am very strict in knowing that the information is both accurate and scientifically provable. There was a product on the market back when I was first diagnosed that put out claims that it ONLY had x number of grams NET carbohydrates. However the total number of grams of carbohydrates minus the total number of grams of fiber did not bear that out. When I questioned the manufacturer they said that they could not explain how it worked because that would be giving away trade secrets. I did not feel comfortable buying into that and stopped buying the product. Interestingly, years later, the manufacturer stopped making those claims.

If you react negatively to a product or a food; that food or product might be a never for you. For the most part it is a case of trial and error.

Depending on how well you generally manage your Diabetes, there might not be a lot of never foods on your personal list. Sometimes can be a possibility.

Caprese Salad

Last night I made one of my favorite meals, Caprese salad. It is a simple dish of tomatoes (they are too high in carbohydrates for some people) mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil and….bread (?) to sop up the oil. The best bread is crusty French or Italian bread. These breads have too many carbohydrates for me, BUT are the best breads for the job. What I do is cut myself a couple of thin slices of the good stuff and use a low carbohydrate pita for the rest of the oil. I get a “taste” of perfection and keep the carbohydrates down for the entire meal. Sometimes this kind of trade off makes me feel too cheated. In this case, the low carbohydrate pita really is a good replacement.

What was hard for me in the beginning; and is hard for a lot of people, is to remember that a big portion of what you always ate is still ok for you to eat now. Often no changes at all are needed; sometimes with a little modification makes all the difference.

If we make it our choice to eat for our Diabetes health, what we do really isn’t so difficult if we stop and take a look at what is REALLY needed to manage our Diabetes.

I have always felt empowered with the ability to make the changes…. But that is just me and we are all different.

Enjoy, be healthy, be happy, be DECADENT!

3 1/2 inch round Whole wheat and nut pancakes
Today with a fresh blueberry syrup

Whole Wheat Nut Pancakes

Makes 18 3 ½  inch pancakes

Net Carbohydrates                          3.5 per pancake

Chef’s Note: Like most restaurants, I make the batter for these full flavored lighter than air pancakes the night before. This allows the solids to fully absorb the liquids and that way I wake up and am ready to go. My choice is to make them in a 3 ½ inch size, not too big not too small, but just right.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup toasted walnuts or almonds OR ¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. sugar alternative

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 egg

2 TBSP. Sour cream

2/3 cup milk

½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 TBSP. butter (melted and cooled) or

Oil ( orange infused oil or walnut oil are great)

How to prepare the recipe:

Combine the toasted nuts and whole wheat flour in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are pulverized and incorporated into the flour. Add remaining DRY ingredients and pulse to combine.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and beat with a whisk to combine. Slowly add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set up for 15-20 minutes (best overnight in the refrigerator)

Note: If you do use the refrigerator method you may have to add a few table spoons more milk or water to loosen the batter.

Heat griddle or frying pan to medium high. Spoon a tablespoon of batter for each pancake into the pan or on the griddle. Allow small bubbles to form before turning (about 1 minute) and flip and cook one minute more, Serve with fresh berry sauce below.

Fresh Berry Sauce

Makes two ½ cup servings

Net Carbohydrates              6 grams per serving

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. Butter

½ cup walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)

pinch of salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon

2 TBSP. Sugar alternative of choice (you might consider Agave syrup)

1cup fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, alone or in any combination)

¼ cup Trop 50 Orange juice

 

How to prepare the recipe:

In a skillet, melt the butter Add the nuts and salt. OPTIONAL: Stir until the nuts are coated with butter. Add the cinnamon/ and granulated sugar alternative and low carbohydrate orange juice. Stir to combine. Add the fruit and stir gently until warmed through and juices begin to release.

Diabetes Cooking: The ART of making it work

10/04/2017

Article #262

Diabetes Cooking: The ART of making it work

When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes, I thought I would have to give up all that I have learned on my journey to wonderful eating. I did have to give up eating the Arepas (pure corn flour) and some of the quantities of high carbohydrate foods I luxuriated in. I just saw my eating healthfully as a diabetic as a new road yet to be traveled, a new art form to play with.

Here is a diabetic friendly recipe for chicken breast:

Take a chicken breast, brush with a little oil salt and pepper and bake or broil until done.

Exciting ain’t it? Keeping up with a low carb diet isn’t that hard, or is it? OK, how about taking that same chicken breast and brushing it with REMOULADE SAUCE. Bake it or broil it until done. Better? It takes the same time to do both recipes. How about we try another recipe for this poor chicken breast?

Top with re-hydrated sundried tomatoes and chopped calamata olives. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Better yet? This one takes about four (4) minutes more to prepare.

All are Diabetes-Compatible, easy and fast. The question is which recipe will satisfy you more? Which recipe will you look forward to eating? A recipe does not have to be elaborate, difficult, or time consuming to be decadent, it ONLY has to be delicious and interesting. The more you enjoy what you cook, the easier it is to stick to a Diabetes-Compatible eating plan. The art (trick?) in being decadent is not JUST my recipes for cakes and tarts (although they are indeed DECADENT and delicious) but to take the ordinary and make it very special. A good simple steak can be made decadent by seasoning it with Herbs de Provence, more special by napping it with ROYAL CAPER SAUCE and perhaps adding a touch of red wine or brandy to the cooking juices.

Steak with pan sauce
From BLAH to AHHH !!! in 5 minutes

It takes no time to do this but takes the steak from slab o’ meat to Bouef in a flash. Much of the art of great cooking is taking the common and making it uncommon. Many dishes we think of as elegant are hardly more than common fare. The original Pates were created so as not to waste that part of the fowl or pig. With time and experiment the pate went from by-product to elegance.

I have mentioned before that after my diagnosis I went totally overboard with protein and salad. Sure, all of us have a batch of recipes that work and are low in carbohydrates. How quickly, even with my arsenal of recipes, did I get bored with protein and salad? I got stuck on NOT being able to have as much rice and pasta as I was used to all my adult life. Thinking back on it, I know that I did not have these items every meal. Because it became an issue, I missed them more that was probably reasonable. I was giving them up. It was a sacrifice for me. I was just miserable. It was in talking to other diabetics and sharing recipes with them that I realized how really easy it was to create interesting and decadent meals and still stick with my goals. It was also eye opening that so many people in this fast paced life (myself included) rely on very basic, if not boring, meals just to get us through to a weekend or free day.

To be decadent just requires having the background painted in. So I couldn’t have a lot of pasta. Could the dark green of spinach, so rich in vitamins and antioxidants, take the place and the space of the noodle? Let us go back to that chicken breast (do you think I am obsessed with chicken breasts?) We have cooked it with a little REMOULADE SAUCE or the sundried tomatoes and olives, now how about putting that on a bed of wilted spinach or if you don’t have the time, a bed of cooked frozen spinach, laced with a little garlic and olive oil. Let us now soften the food canvas with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Is dinner served yet? I am hungry as hell.

The plate is your canvas or think of it as the blank wall in your living room. It just has to be coaxed into life. One small picture on a 10 foot x 20 foot wall is a little dull. I know you don’t want to make holes in the wall, but how about your plate.

My advice, get that white china plate out of the cupboard and start painting a rich satisfying food picture. WARNING: Watch out for the pearl in the wine trick. It could get expensive and anyway one really needs a toga and a getaway barge for that sort of thing.

Making meals that are Diabetes-Compatible is one of the easy arts. No one (except you) expects every single meal to be a masterpiece. Do the best you can and enjoy the process.

 

Enjoy, be healthy, be DECADENT!

Lavash/ tortilla chips

32 chips

Net carbohydrates               8 grams

Preheat oven to 400-425°F.

Chef’s Note: I serve these with soup in place of bread or crackers. But just by themselves the crunchy salty taste is a great substitute for chips.

Because of the low net carbohydrates I use JOSEPH’S Lavash as well as low carbohydrate tortillas.

PER EACH SHEET OF LAVASH OR LARGE TORTILLA

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ Tsp. black pepper

2 tablespoons dry herbs (Your choices)

oregano

basil

thyme

rosemary

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

2 TBSP. grated parmesan cheese (or Romano cheese)

How to prepare this recipe:

Combine seasonings, cheese and olive oil. Using a pastry brush spread over the UNCUT sheet of Lavash or LARGE tortilla.

For Lavash: Cut in equal quarters and cut each quarter in 8 equal pieces to make a total of 32 chips.

For tortilla: cut the tortilla in 4 equal quarters and each quarter into 8 pieces of any shape that works easily for you.

Bake at 400°-425° degrees for 3 minutes, rotate pan and bake 2-3 minutes longer. WATCH LIKE A HAWK they burn very, very fast.

Cool on rack.