Homemade Mayo and the glory that ensues

This is the part of the story where the hero decides that enough is enough and it’s time to kick some butt!  If you like that part of the story, read on.  Disclaimer, I am the hero in this story.  Well, me and my kitchen aid mixer but that’s a given.

When I started the Specific Carbohydrates Diet back  in May 2012, I was used to eating lots of creamy, delicious dressings and spreads and I was determined that changing my diet wouldn’t change that.  This was illogical for a number of reasons, the biggest being that I was brand new to this kind of cooking and pretty unconfident in the kitchen.  Still, two weeks in I decided to try a ranch dressing that called for 1/2 a cup of mayo.  The result was a running, eggy tasting mess and a sugar-withdrawal, prednisone induced cry.  About a month and a half later I tried a garlic aioli.  Aioli is mayo made with olive oil.  The running, non-cohesive result led me to the conclusion that mayo was not in my wheelhouse and that I should stick to apple cider vinaigrette.

This February, a promotion at work has left me scrambling for time to cook.  I think I have been more of less living off of almond thyme crackers and cheese.  And, the salad bar at Whole Foods where the most delicious tuna salad in the whole world gave me the courage to try again.  Here is how I did it.

Ingredients:                                                                              

Lenten Celebration.

Tuna Salad

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup canola oil*

Instructions:

  1. I separated the egg yolks from the whites.  I froze the egg whites for use later.  To the egg yolks I added the lemon juice, water and honey and carefully whisked in a small porcelain bowl.
  2. I used my sauce pan to heat about 3 cups of hot water until it was simmering.  I placed the porcelain bowl with the egg mixture into the sauce pan.  From here, I whisked the egg mixture constantly, heating until the egg mixture reached 135 degrees, measured with a candy thermometer.  Also, around 130 it started to thicken.  From here, I removed it from the heat and dipped the bottom in cold water to stop it from cooking and let it sit for 5 minutes to cool.  I think it’s pretty important to temper the eggs.  At 135, it will kill any bacteria present.
  3. I transferred the egg mixture to my kitchen aid mixture and started to whisk at a slow speed.  From here, I added the mustard, salt and cayenne.
  4. Now comes the tricky part.  Increasing the speed of the mixer, I slowly, almost drop by drop, added the oil down the side into the egg mixture.  The egg mixture has to “hold” the oil and so it needs to be slow.  Continue until the oil is gone.
  5. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes until cold.  And you’ve got some homemade mayo!

*I know there is a lot of debate in the SCD community about canola oil and its safety.  If you have concerns, feel free to substitute peanut oil or olive oil.

So creamy!  So fluffy!  So delicious!  And best of all, it enabled some truly awesome meals this week!  First out much further ado:

Tuna Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of tuna, packed in water with nothing added
  • 4 T. diced celery
  • 5 T. high quality mayonnaise
  • 2 T. Dijon or other good mustard
  • 1-2 t. finely chopped dill
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1/4 t. cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.  So simple.  Just mix it up and chill.  Serve with lettuce, on a sandwich or by itself!  Yum!

I followed 101 Cookbooks recipe for Egg Salad and served it with Almond Flour and Thyme Crackers.  It was great!  I would have loved it on cashew bread as well.

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Bacon Wrapped Dates and Chipotle Mayo Ingredients:               

This little piggy had bacon wrapped dates

This little piggy had bacon wrapped dates

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 t. chipotle chili mayo
  • 1 T. lemon
  • 2 t. finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 5 strips bacon
  • 10 medjool dates

Instructions:

1. Blend all mayo ingredients together and chill.  Delicious!

2. Cut 5 strips of bacon in half.  Wrap ten medjool dates in the bacon and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

To conclude.  The hero succeeded and was not defeated by soul-less food and made many delicious dishes and lived happily ever after.  The End.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut squash lasagna isn’t terribly original.  In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Rachel Ray do it, which means I usually pass but in this case I decided I’d give it a go.  Every gluten-free, paleo, low-carb blogger seems to have their own recipe.  I wanted to try and incorporate some signature “SCD” foods into mine, such as my homemade goat milk yogurt and favorite store bought (but still SCD legal) marinara.

I was really happy with the result!  It was hearty and the squash “noodles” held up very well.  Mike and I both agreed that similar to pasta lasagna, it actually tasted better re-heated!  I’ll definitely be making this again soon!

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna– cook in 10.5 by 7.5 inch pan

 Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (Try to get one with a long “neck”)
  • ½ cup SCD Yogurt (Goat milk yogurt is my favorite for this recipe)
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I like havarti, aged cheddar, and goat cheddar)
  • 1 TBS basil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups SCD legal marinara sauce (I use Lucini)
  • 2 TBS coconut oil

 Instructions:

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place squash in oven for 10 minutes to soften before removing.  Continue to heat oven.
    2. Mix together all spices.  This will make about 4 TBS of spice.
    3. Combine ground beef with 1 TBS of spice mixture.  Mix well, using hand to combine if necessary.
    4. Heat 1 TBS of coconut oil in a 10-inch skillet.  When hot, add ground beef and brown, stirring to prevent burning.  Decrease heat to medium to avoid burning if necessary.  Once it has finished cooking, drain oil and fat.  Keep warm.
    5. Remove squash from oven.  Use mandolin to slice squash into long pieces, approximately ¼ inch thick and 4-5 inches long.  If you don’t have a mandolin slicer, use knife to slice thinly.  You will need enough slices to create 3 layers of “pasta”.  How many slices you need will vary, depending on the size of your squash.
    6. Use the second TBS of coconut oil to coat the bottom of your pan, so that the first layer of “pasta” does not stick to the bottom.
    7. Assemble your lasagna!
      • First a layer of butternut squash
      • Next, spread a thin layer of yogurt followed by a layer of cheese
      • Sprinkle 2 tsp of your spice mixture
      • Add a portion of the ground beef
      • Top with about ¾ cup marinara
      • Repeat!
      • After you have three layers of squash, conclude with adding a final layer of cheese after the marinara
    8. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Serve while hot or refrigerate and re-heat.  The advantage of refrigerating and reheating is the squash will have absorbed more of the marinara, making it less saucy and more like lasagna.  Delicious either way!

 

Birthday Brunches and Almond-Flour Banana Cupcakes

There is something magic about opening up your home for entertaining.  Whether it’s the cleaning up the “lived-in” qualities of your rooms, planning the menu, considering the food restrictions of the guests, buying flowers for the vases or just anticipating the arrival of the guests, it’s magical!  It fills my thoughts for days before and drives me to spend way more time than I have preparing food.

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This past fall, my younger sister Anna moved to my town!  I wish I could say it was to be with her cool older sister, but really it was so should could get an awesome education, explore Chicago and make great new friends.  Check, check and check!  For her birthday this year, I decided to throw her a brunch!  Because I am a selfish cook that wants to eat all of the food that I make (and because I fear cross-contamination) I made all foods either SCD legal or Paleo.

A is for Anna!

A is for Anna!

I wanted to serve a variety of foods so after weighing my options, I settled on this menu:

  • Crust-less quiche made with SCD goat milk yogurt (Find my recipe here)
    • Broccoli, sautéed onion and swiss chard
    • Bacon, sautéed onion and kale
  • Grain-free granola served with fresh fruit and coconut milk (Find Danielle’s recipe here)
  • Fresh fruit with Paleo chocolate fondue (Find my recipe here)
  • Paleo chocolate cupcakes (Find the combo of recipes I used here)
  • Annie’s Blend Tea (A mix of two of her favorite teas in fill-able tea bags)
  • Anna Banana Cupcakes (Recipe below!)
Grain-free granola with coconut milk and topping options

Grain-free granola with coconut milk and topping options

When we were growing up, we would celebrate our birthdays at our Grandma Beth’s house and she would inevitably make us her famous Banana Chocolate Cake for our birthday cake!  Sweet, almost to the point of being too sweet, it was sheer birthday indulgence and we always look forward to it.  Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s, I haven’t been able to tolerate sweets as well and since beginning SCD, there has been no Banana Chocolate Cake for me.  I decided to try and re-create one of our childhood favorites in Paleo form.  I experimented with several different versions of this recipe before settling on this one.

They are light and moist with a lovely fruit driven sweetness.  Topped with rich Paleo chocolate, they brought a rush of nostalgic childhood memories for me and smiles for us all!

The original Anna Banana and her darling friends!

The original Anna Banana and her darling friends!

Anna Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients: Cupcakes 2

  • 2 1/4 cups of  almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or a mix of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove in diminishing proportions
  • 3 medium bananas (Make sure they are over ripe or they won’t mash and give you the texture you want)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Icing:

For the frosting, I launched from this recipe of Elana‘s at Elana’s Pantry.  However, I made some alterations.  First of all, I halved the recipe.  I used 1/2 of the Ghiradelli 100% Unsweetened Pure Cocoa Baking Bar (about 1/2 cup).  Second of all, I added 1/3 cup of raw honey and kept the 1/3 cup of coconut oil.  I decreased the vanilla to 1 tsp.  I followed all other instructions.

Instructions:

1.    Preheat your oven to 300.  Line a cupcake/muffin tin with paper liners.

2.    Mix together all dry ingredients until well mixed.

3.    Blend eggs, honey and bananas in an electric mixer until smooth with no large chucks of banana.

4.    Fold in dry ingredients.

5.    Fill the tin about 3/4 of the way with batter.  They won’t rise a lot but aren’t too dense.  (I use an ice cream scoop to fill mine).

6.    Cook at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

7.    Top with Elana’s icing after letting the cupcakes completely cool.

Me posing with empty plates and feeling soooo smug.  :)

Me posing with empty plates and feeling soooo smug. 🙂