avocado hummus

I like to make this when I’m invited to parties where everyone is bringing an appetizer so that I can eat along with everyone else and still be sure I’m sticking to my low-carbiness. My favorite way to eat it is with raw bell pepper strips … the more colorful the better … but you can do it with any of your favorites : ) Sometimes, though, I just make this and portion it out to freeze and pop it in with my workweek lunches. It’s that good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked in water all the whole night long at room temperature, unless your room is an igloo. Or a sauna. (Oh, yeah. Also. Most recipes call for unsalted, but I go with salted.)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled. Give it a rough chop.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or so) of your favorite coarse salt (I’m currently using Red Hawaiian from Trader Joe’s 7 Salts of the Earth). Ob-vee, if you used salted macadamias, you might need less salt. Or, if you’re a camel, you might need more. You be the judge. I trust you.
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice (I go pretty light on this)
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed
  • Cilantro … if ya wanna. (I usually wanna)

If you haven’t toasted your sesame seeds yet, do so. Don’t burn them … but get them to a nice golden brown. There’s a basically only a nanosecond between golden and burnt, so don’t go hang out in the living room to catch a few minutes of a Daria rerun while they’re toasting. Not that I’ve ever done that super-specific thing of wrongness. Nope. Not me.

(I totally did.)

Drain the nuts. (Okay. That made me giggle. Sometimes I’m basically a teenage boy who thinks everything is euphemistic even though he probably doesn’t even know the definition of “euphemism.)

I should start over.

Drain the macadamias (eyebrow wiggle). Now’s the time to go watch Daria so they drain really well. Or you can let them drain while you toast the sesame seeds. Cuz you know you didn’t do that in advance.

Put everything except the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Give it a good whirl, and then drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches a hummus dipping like consistency. Serve with fresh veggies.

This will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. But there’s no way it’ll last that long. I’m just saying.

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bhindi masala with zoodles

Y’all. This is so good. So simple. So amazing. (Yeah, that’s my desk. I need a 12 step program for colorful writing utensils.)

It’s all about the okra.

My friend Jay taught me that you have to make sure it’s super dry after you clean it. And it honestly made all the difference in the world. I’ve always loved okra, but I only ever ate it fried because of the ewwy sticky gluey gelatinous okra stuffage I never really knew how to handle. Thanks to Jay, consider it handled.

Ingredients:

  • Okra (yeah, I don’t know how much. How hungry are you?)
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • 1 jalepeno, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 diced roma tomatoes (I mean, that’s what I used. You really can’t go wrong with a tomato, though, so use whatever you like. Or whatever you grow.)

Image result for steel magnolias growing tomatoes

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Garam masala spice blend (I make my own) … start with 1/2 tsp then add more to your taste.
  • Sea salt (currently, I’m on pink himalayan, but it changes according to how recently I’ve been to Trader Joe’s.)
  • Zoodles

So here’s the deal. You’ve washed that okra and you’ve let it hang out between some towels for a while drying off, right?

Let it dry a little longer. Go watch an episode of Dexter. Or Chopped. But not Justified. It’s impossible to stop watching after one episode no matter how many times you’ve seen it. That okra won’t cook itself. Anyhoo, chop it up. If the knife gets all gooey, wipe it off and keep chopping.

Heat the oil in a wok or iron skillet (really, a wok is best, but I don’t have one, soo…..). Add all the things that end in seed, the pepper, the garlic and the ginger. When things start poppin’ add the okra, onion and the garam masala. Stir and fry until the okra is good and done and the onions are all carmelized and stuff. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Toss all the rest of the things you haven’t already used in the wok along with a little more of the garam masala. Cook and stir until the tomatoes are all mushified and have made a nice gravy.

Combine the okra mixture with the tomato mixture, pour over a handful of zoodles and enjoy : )

Mediterranean Mini-kebabs with Carmelized Onions and Pecan-Tomato Tahini

Y’all. Srsly. Low-carb can be totes delish.

That’s also probably the longest recipe name I’ve ever posted, so I’m pretty sure I worked off some extra calories just typing it. Word bonus : ) I mean, like, word. Bonus.

So I have this super fancy-schmancy Ninja kitchen system that I got for free because I had all these omgyou’resoawesome points at my last job, and it was just sitting there on the gift website so … snag. Best thing ever. It has the food processor part where you can chopify or mincify or pureeify things, or you can change the blades to plastic for making doughy things, or you can attach the blender for frozen drinky like things, orrrrr … you can plug the bullet dude into it to make a single serve smoothie, but I don’t use it for smoothies.

I use it for pulverizing spices and making tahini. (After reading that last paragraph, I should probably use it for dissecting run-on sentences, but whatevs.)

aladin

Phenomenal flavor!

Itty bitty carb content.

Ingredients:

Kebabs

  • 1-1/2 lbs ground beef, pork, lamb, turkey … you choose! I used a combo of beef and pork because I procrastinated going to the grocery until there was only one tiny thing of ground beef left except for the super expensive organic grass fed stuff that probably isn’t so I mushed them together and that probably isn’t something one discusses in an ingredient list but this is my blog, so deal : )
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp freshly minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coarse grind black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt (I used smoked oak from this amazing set of salts I found at Trader Joe’s as a gift for someone who never got it because seven salts of the world, y’all.)
  • A handful of freshly chopped basil
  • olive oil

Grind all the spices except the ginger together (see why I dig the ninja bullet thingy?) Throw the meat  in a medium bowl, add the ginger, the basil and the spice mix and work it. Use your hands. I mean, unless you don’t want to. But do it anyway. It’s just best.

Shape them into kebabs about 3 inches long and an inch or so around. You should end up with around 12 kebabs … about 3 per serving. Fry them in a cast iron skillet in olive oil over a medium high heat, making sure they brown on all sides. Once you’ve got a good sear, lower the heat and continue cooking about 10-15 minutes to cook them through. Remove from the skillet.

Carmelized Onions:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 medium onions, cut in half and sliced (not too thin…you’re going to carmelize the hell out of them.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the same pan you used for the kebabs. Throw in the onions and the salt and pepper. Sautee until golden brown and nicely carmelized. Don’t take them off too soon! Live on the edge.

Pecan-Tomato Tahini

(omg, i love this stuff sooooo much)

  • 7 oz ripe red tomatoes, diced 
  • 2 oz toasted pecans (I’m dead serious about the toasting. )
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (throw them in with the pecans.)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (I used a Pinot Grigio vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil

Yo. Remember that bullet thingy? It probs has some spice powder from the kebabs all up in it unless you’re one of those people who cleans everything as they cook. Which would be a shame, because you should totally use that.

Pat the tomatoes dry-ish and throw them in the blender or bullet thingy. Or whatever thing you have that makes good tahini or other pasty spreads. Add all the rest of the stuff except the olive oil and blend into a paste. Add the olive oil a little at a time until it reaches a nice dipping consistency.

Plate the kebabs on the onions and serve with the tahini.

Chimichurri Shrimp with Zoodles

Okay. So here’s the deal. You don’t have to use shrimp. I mean, it’s delicious that way and I highly recommend it, but, much like politicians, you have alternatives. You don’t have to follow the rules : )

So skewer some veggies if you’re all veganastic. Have a shellfish allergy? Boneless, skinless chicken breasticles. Just don’t like shrimp? The ways of your people are strange to me, but shove some veggies on some skewers and go on with your shrimpless self.

The second best thing about this dish is zoodles. Zoooooodles … (it’s super fun to say.) I have a spiralizer, and you should, too, but I have to admit I tend to buy these already zoodlized from the grocery store. Some would say I’m lazy. I prefer the term “efficient.”

Whatevs. Get ready for delicious : )

Ingredients:

Chimichurri:

  • 1 small lemon, seeds removed
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed (give it away, give it away, give it away now)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed
  • A handful of fresh parsley (I mean, it doesn’t need to be a gigantic handful… just a good grasp and rip)
  • 2 garlic cloves (or more. I’m not saying I use more … but I do.)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (did you know that you should only get olive oil in tins or in dark dark bottles. It’s totally a thing.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Give the lemon a good squeeze into a food processor. I like to do it through a mesh thingy-dooly (I’m sure it has an official name) because no matter how hard I try, I miss a seed, and then I reach in to try to get it and stupidly don’t remove the blade and then … well, you get the picture.) Throw in all the other stuff, too. Blend until the sauce has a coarse but smooth appearance.

Shrimp (or chicken or veggie skewers) and zoodles

  • 2 lbs peeled raw shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • A dollop of the chimichurri
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 lbs zucchini (unless you did what I do, in which case, you can probs get by with a pound and a half. Or so.)

There’s a couple ways you can do this. I don’t grill out very often, but I have a cast iron grilling pan I use for things that should be grilled. You can also just saute the shrimp or chicken.

If you go the outside grill route, you’re on your own. (You can do it!) If you grill inside, throw down the olive oil and put your skewers of whatever you went with on the grill, then brush with some of the chimichurri. When it’s done on both sides, throw the asparagus on with some salt and pepper and let it get delicious. If you go the saute route (this is the way I always go) throw the shrimp in a lovely skillet with the olive oil and the chimichurri, cook it until it’s pink, then remove and cook the asparagus.

(By the way, asparagus was never actually in the recipe until the last time I made it. You’re welcome.)

Finally, the zoodles. I’m assuming you zoodlized and they’re amazing. Mine are super amazing too. (I almost broke a nail opening the container. Cooking is dangerous.) Some people like to quickly saute the zoodles, but I keep them raw. You’re going to put hot stuff on them anyhoo, right? Toss them with most of the chimichurri. (Reserve a couple spoonfuls to spoon over the top.)

Serve the shrimp and the asparagus over the zoodles. Enjoy : )

Nana’s Potato Soup

This. Soup. Is. Perfect.

Buttery, peppery and delicious, this is a thinner soup than you likely imagine potato soup should be. It is also incredibly simple and very Pennsylvania Dutch. Sadly, I cannot eat it anymore … but YOU can : )

I’ve always had trouble with the rivels. Mine either come out too dense, which makes them super hard, or they just fall apart in the soup. My daughter, Amanda, definitely has the making of this soup down, though.

Pepper is the key to this soup. Coarsely ground black pepper. Mos def have that on the table.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced (I added that. I’m pretty sure celery was never a part of Nana’s recipe.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter

Rivels:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it is coming to a boil, “chip” the potatoes into the pot. (I don’t really know if that’s a technique. I just know I watched Nana and Mama stand over the pot with a potato in one hand, a paring knife in the other, chipping pieces of potato into the pot.)

Saute the onions and celery in a little bit of butter or bacon grease, if you have it. (This is a step I added, too. Pretty sure they just tossed the raw onions on in there.) Once the onions have begun to carmelize a bit, add them to the soup.

Make the rivels. Put the flour and a bit of salt in a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the egg and stir with a fork until all the flour is moistened and it begins to stick together. Pull off small pieces of the mixture and drop into the boiling soup.

Add the butter, salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes or so.