Tag Archives: Low carb recipes

Pumpkin cheese-cake, with low carb version

Fresh pumpkin cheesecake

Crust

1/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 1/4 cup flour (replace regular flour with soy flour if making low carb version)

1 egg

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and press into spring-form pan. Bake at 450 for 5 mins. Remove and cool.

Cheese-cake filling

3 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

2/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

2 eggs

2 cups fresh pumpkin, steamed and blended

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together well. Add pumpkin and mix until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 1 hour or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on the whipped cream if desired.

NOTE: for true low carb version, omit the crust all together. Spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray.

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More cooking for Cullen: the dreaded dessert

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

I made this cheesecake a week in advance of the dinner  I was hosting for Nathan Cullen because I knew I would be out moose hunting right up until the day he was to arrive. I was a bit apprehensive about how it would turn out because I had never made a butternut pumpkin cheesecake before, and I did not have a recipe to follow. But, having fiddled with cheesecake recipes before I knew that cheesecake is both flexible and forgiving. In addition to these qualities (not to mention it’s sumptuousness), the fact that cheesecake freezes well is just another one of it’s–more than–seven wondrous features.

Having gone to the work of preparing a dessert, I was disheartened when, on the night he was to arrive, a friend (who had eaten with Cullen before) told me, “He’s not much for sweets.”  Always a good source of trivia, she had made mental note of the fact that he didn’t eat any of the sweets served on that occasion. Deflated, but not discouraged, “Well, maybe he’ll like cheesecake” I ventured.

With this in mind, I wasn’t expecting Nathan to eat any. However, I wasn’t too concerned that I’d be left with a whole uneaten cheesecake at the end of the night: I  knew one friend I’d invited would have difficulty stopping himself at one piece!

As I was getting the dessert out of the fridge, Nathan excused himself from the conversation, joined me in the kitchen and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Not one to turn down such gracious offers, I thrust the hand blender at him and searched for a bowl to whip the cream in. “How much?” he asked as he poured the cream into the bowl. Level decided, he went to work on the liquid as I tossed in some vanilla and sugar, and we continued our conversation over the whir of the beaters.

Whipped cream ready, he returned to the table and served up the cheesecake slices with generous dollops of cream, passing them around the table before setting himself up with a respectable piece.

NathanCullen&Kristeva

The very gracious Nathan Cullen and me after dinner still enjoying the evening's conversation.

After swallowing his first bite he looked up, face revealing a mixture of wonder and  disbelief, “Wow, this is delicious!” He took a second bite and as if the puppet master of his eyes, his eyebrows shot to the crest of his forehead and maneuvered expertly across it making his eyes dance between the slice of cake on his plate and the various people around the table, “Who made it?”

I was charmed by his lack of presumption (as to who made the cheesecake) and felt a sweet butternut pumpkin victory as I answered his question, “I did… I even grew the squash myself!”

HDR’s Butternut Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup graham crackers or ginger snaps, crushed into crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in crumbs. Press into ungreased 9″x9″ springform pan and bake 350°F for 10 minutes.

Filling:
2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 – small butternut pumpkin, steam cooked and peeled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Beat cream cheese and sugar together well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients being sure to blend in the pumpkin pieces well. Blend until there are no lumps left. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 50 minutes or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or ginger on the whipped cream if desired.

Serves 10-12.

NOTE: to make it low carb, omit the crust and replace some or all of the sugar with sugar substitute.

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Deep fried olives!

Deep fried olivesIMGP3029Take pitted green olives; pipe some mashed seasoned goat cheese into where the pit was; flour them, egg them, crumb them (mix a bit of Parmesan mixed into the breadcrumb mixture); fry them in, yes, olive oil. Let them cool a little while before letting yourself pop one into your mouth to enjoy the burst of warm, wet olive flavor. They go fantasically with goat cheese, crackers or a nice home made crusty bread, and a hearty wine!

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Low-carb chocolate cake

Low Carb Eating:

This low carb chocolate cake will fool people. It is very decadent with an almost fudge-like texture.

This low carb chocolate cake will fool people. It is very decadent with an almost fudge-like texture.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun to lean towards a lower carb diet. For one thing, I’ve managed to gain a shocking amount of weight, largely thanks to too much healthy home grown food coupled with a penchant for cooking! One of the things that really helps me take off the excess relatively painlessly is cutting out the starchy carbs: breads, potatoes, white flour, rice, pasta, and sugary food. In general, I find it quite painless to do right up to the part where I find chocolate in that ‘give it up’ category–I simply cannot do it. So, I search for recipes that either are low in carbs that include chocolate, or adapt my favourites accordingly. This recipe was already relatively low in carbs because it called for only 1 heaping tablespoon of flour. In order to make it even less carb laden, I substitute the sugar for Nutra-sweet and replace the wheat flour for soy-flour. Viola, I turn a nearly 200 gram cake into a 115.5 gram cake. So, each slice is lowered from 20 grams to 11.5 (considering 10 slices per cake). If you are opposed to using ‘fake sugar’ and more concerned with using natural ingredients, then this cake is still a relatively low in carb dessert thanks to the miniscule amount of flour used.

Note: this cake is best made a day ahead

1. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup  minus 1 Tbsp butter
  • 7 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 C sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 4 eggs
  • One rounded tablespoon of flour (I use soy-flour to make it even lower in carbs)
  • 1tsp vanilla (I have also used Kahlua, Amaretto, and Frangelico for a variance on the flavours)

2. Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (no need to if you’re using a non-stick pan).
  3. Melt together the butter with the chocolate (in a double-boiler or in the microwave slowly and for just a few seconds at a time).
  4. Transfer into a medium mixing-bowl. Add in the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and let cool a little.
  5. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Finally, add in the flour and mix well.
  7. Pour the dough into the pan, and put into the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off but leave the cake inside for another ten minutes, then put the pan on a cooling rack on the counter to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and take it out about an hour before serving.
  8. Fantastic with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the side–its carb free!

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Fresh mozzarella cheese

Origins of Mozzarella

According to the historian Monsignor Alicandri, Mozzarella cheese was first made in the 12th century by the monks of San Lorenzo di Capua in Italy. Originally, it was made with sheeps milk, but in the 16th century water buffaloes were introduced to Italy and the cheese makers soon discovered that the animals’ milk was rich enough to make cheese with. Henceforth the making the mozzarella from water buffalo milk was the norm and the tradition began.

Making young cheese

NOTE: When making ‘young’ cheeses, it is recommended to use pasteurized milk. If you have access to raw milk, then step one should be to pasteurize it.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

1 gallon pasteurized milk

1/8 tsp liquid rennet, diluted in 1/4 cup of cool, unchlorinated water

1 tbsp cheese salt (salt without iodine, I use canning salt)

Directions:

1. Add the lemon juice to the milk and mix thoroughly.

2. Heat the milk over a low flame on the stove-top until it reaches 88 F. (The milk should start to curdle. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.)

3. Stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion. Continue heating the milk until it reaches 105 F. Turn off the heat and let the curd set until you get a clean break. This will only take about 6-5 minutes. At this stage, the curds will look like thick yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

4. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and place into a microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently and pour off as much when as possible being careful to save the whey (then make bread using the whey as the liquid, or feed to the chickens–they love whey!).

5. Microwave the curds in HIGH for 1 minute. Drain the whey and quickly work the cheese like bread dough. You can wear rubber gloves if you wish as the cheese will be quite hot to touch.

6. Microwave the cheese twice more for 35 seconds each. Again work the cheese into a ball draining the excess whey each time.

8. Knew quickly like bread dough until it is smooth, sprinkling with salt as you work. When the cheese is smooth it is ready to eat.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

At this stage it is bocconcini and quite unlike the mass produced mozzarella of the grocery store. Hence, I use it right away. It is traditionally use on pizza Napoletana, though I found it doesn’t melt the way mass produced mozza does (this of course could be something I’m not doing quit correctly and you may have a different experience as so much about cheese making is precision related). However, instead of using it on pizza, my favourite thing to do with it is slice it thinly and layer it between slices of tomato. Then drizzle pesto sauce over top, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or plain crackers. YUM. If you have pesto on hand, it is a quick and easy–yet elegant–appetizer.

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