Sous Vide Fried Chicken and Waffles!

The consistancy of using a Sous Vide machine will result in perfectly fried chicken everytime!

We all want that bite. You know the one….that succulent, juicy tender center with that traditional crunch- golden crispy and perfectly brown everytime! Sometimes it’s hard for home cooks to achive the same results getting the interior of the chicken properly cooked while the outside may over cook.

This recipe allows the cook to achive a perfected piece of fried chicken, inside and out, every- single time!

You’ll Need:

For the Chicken

6-8 pieces of chicken, wings, legs or thighs or breasts

Salt and pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground Italian seasoning

5 cups good quality, high smoke point vegetable or peanut oil for frying

For the Flour Mixture:

3-4 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Egg Mixture

4 eggs, beaten 

Fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground Italian herbs

For the Waffles:

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup pecan or your favorite nut meal ( optional ) 

2 tablespoons palm or granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Here’s How: 

The Waffles

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until nearly smooth; a few small lumps may remain.

Spray your waffle iron with a non-stick cooking spray before preheating it. Cook waffles according to the waffle irons manufacturer’s directions. For an 8″ round waffle iron, use about 1/3 cup batter; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the iron stops steaming. 

Serve hot, or cool and crisp in the toaster before serving. Top with room temperature butter.

The Chicken:

Set your SV Precision Cooker to 155’F Degrees / 68.3’C.

Season the raw chicken with salt, pepper and a light dusting of Italian seasoning. Place into a resealable freezer or vacuum bag. Seal airtight.

Place the sealed bag of chicken into the water bath and circulate for 2 hours. 

Prepare the waffle batter and set aside. 

When the chicken is almost done, preheat the oven to 200’F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and a baking rack. Set aside.

Once cooked, remove the bag from the water bath. Prepare a dredging station with two casserole dishes side by side-one containing beaten seasoned egg mixture, and the other with the seasoned flour. Set aside.  

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed fry pan or Dutch oven to exactly 350’F degrees. While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the bag and begin dredging by gently patting the cooked chicken dry and then running the chicken pieces one-at-a-time through the egg mixture, then through the seasoned flour mixture. 

Only when the oil reaches the proper temperature, carefully lower each piece of dredged chicken into the pan. Working in batches, with tongs, turn the chicken parts after a few minutes to achieve a crisp golden-brown crust on all sides. 

Once the chicken is completely golden brown on all sides, remove from the oil, pat off any excess the oil with a paper towel, sprinkle with kosher salt. Set on the rack-lined baking sheet and place it in a 200’F degree oven until ready to serve. 

Make the waffles while chicken stays warm and crispy in the oven. Be sure to serve hot with warm maple syrup or honey!

Chef’s Note: 

Do not allow the temperature of the oil to go below 350’F degrees to achieve the optimal crunch and have oil return to the pan.

No Buttermilk? No Problem!

Combine 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed into 1 cup of whole milk. Let the milk stand for 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens very slightly and curdles- boom- you have buttermilk!

Leftovers? Make Mash Potato Bombs!  

Baked or fried these are a fun way to use up any left-over mash potatoes… or, a good excuse to make more!

You’ll Need:

Filling:

3 cups chilled mashed potatoes

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

½ cup bacon, chopped small dice

1 bunch chives, chopped

Pepper to taste

Breading Station:

1 cup flour or GF flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or GF breadcrumbs

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine

Xtra virgin coconut oil, Ghee or Organic Canola Oil for pan frying

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees, unless pan frying.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the leftover mashed potatoes with the eggs, cheese, chives and bacon bits. Mix to combine, cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare 3 breading stations. One bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of panko bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese.

Dust your hands with flour and use an 1/2 ounce portion control scoop to measure the balls. Or a Tablespoon.

Pat them gently to form them into balls and roll them in the palm of your hands to get them perfectly round.

Immediately dust them with flour again and set aside. Repeat until you have 24 flour-dusted balls.

Drop a ball into the egg mixture and use a spoon to turn the potato ball over until fully coated.

Lift the potato ball out of the egg mixture with a fork. Drain off any excess. Immediately drop the potato ball into the panko and cheese mixture and use another spoon to dredge it fully.

Pat in any excess bread crumbs that might be falling off the ball.

Set aside on a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with remaining balls.

Fry in batches in hot oil over medium high heat until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Or, bake at 400’F degrees for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with my homemade ketchup! 

 

 

Yum! Makes approximately 2 dozen potato bombs!

The Brussel Sprout Files!

Below is a formula sure to make your Brussel sprouts are a success no matter what flavor profile you’re after. Sweet, salty, or tangy!

Brussel sprouts are aggressive in flavor. You either love them or hate them. So many ways to cook them too– from baked chips to chopped salads. At my home we love our sprouts pan-fried with crisp pancetta– caramelized with lots of butter and my homemade infused olive oil, & lots of crispy fried garlic cloves.

Brussel sprouts caramelize naturally. On special occasions we make a few variations. Addition of maple syrup, or a sprinkling of brown sugar with a handful of candied walnuts will make your family roar! Sometimes we like to add crispy bacon, a nice citrus finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and lot of lemon zest– then an good dousing of parmesan cheese. I add a fair amount of fresh cracked black peppercorns!

Here’s How : 

To properly sauté brussels sprouts, you’ll need a fair amount of fat in the skillet. While bacon is a classic pairing, use your families favorite flavor. Ground pork sausage,  Italian sausage, apple sausage, duck fat, or –If you’re a vegetarian, good quality olive oil is perfect. As mentioned, I use pancetta. So delicious and I love the little crispy, crunchy salty nuggets. How much to use is up to you- I personally like a lot of Pancetta floating around in my dish- so I use a least a pound or two ( shhhh) per stock/stem of Brussel sprout! about 40- 50 spouts.

If using something like bacon or sausage, start by browning the meat in a very large skillet  – I use two of my largest skillets, and split the recipe between them. (Brussel sprouts contain lots of water– so, if you over-crowd the Brussel spouts in the pan, they will steam not caramelize. Tragic.)  Always halve the sprouts and trim the root-end clean.

Sauté the pancetta or your choice of fat, over medium-high heat. Render the fat. Once the meat is cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon set it aside for later addition. Add the halved brussels sprouts to the fat, shaking the skillet so that as many as possible landing cut side down or use tongs to ensure the sprout is positioned for optimum caramelization. Now, step away from the pan. Resist the urge to move them around. Distribution will prevent them from cooking through and becoming crispy golden brown  and delicious. They need to stay in contact directly with the surface heat. Cook until they have a nice  brown sear on one side, about 8 to 10 minutes. If a knife runs easily through, they are done.

Just before removing from the heat, add in  your favorite seasonings–like chopped garlic, sliced onions, fresh thyme, sprinkling of brown sugar, maple syrup, honey  or lemon juice  with lots of zest. Return the sautéed meat you rendered the fat from and toss to coat nicely. Cook for an additional 1- 2 minutes. If making an addition of candied nuts, now is the time to do so. Toss well and serve. (The candies nuts will remain crunchy if not added to the cooking process.)

Salt and pepper. Serve!

Steaming Method: 

Clean Brussels sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Fill a large stock pot with about 2 inches of flavored stock and water combination– place a metal steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a simmer, add the brussels sprouts to the basket, season with salt and pepper and cover. Steam until the brussels sprouts are bright green and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid from pot and let them cool slightly before removing. I like to shock my sprouts in cool ice water so they retain a bright green color. Then right before serving I dunk in hot boiling water or toss quickly in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper until warmed trough. About two minutes. See my method here for retaining color and nutrition in steamed veggies.

Baking Method:

Halve brussels sprouts (or quarter them, if they are especially large), making sure to hold on to any leaves that fall away (these get the crispest) and toss with plenty of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and scatter them onto a rimmed baking sheet, making use of every inch. Brussels sprouts contain a good bit of water, and if they’re too crowded on the tray, they’ll steam instead of brown. If you need to use two or three sheet pans, do it.

Roast in a hot pre heated 450’F degrees oven, tossing every 10 minutes or so, until the outer leaves have begun to almost char, and the innermost part of the sprout is just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Finish growing by making sure the cut side of the sprint is face down on the baking sheets surface so they get nicely caramelized. While they caramelize well on their own, tossing the sprouts with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, honey or light brown sugar will give them a bit of holiday flavor. Remove from oven– add your favor flavors to finish, like lemon zest and fresh thyme, or fresh rosemary, or pine nuts with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese — toss well and return to the oven for an additional five minutes. Remove, set aside to cool. You can even toss with a bit of reduced balsamic reduction –. Whatever flavors you’ve decided on — enjoy– it’s all you!

I’d love to hear about your favorite way to make Brussel sprouts. Leave me a message and tell me how.

Happy Holiday!

Grilled Pizza! Get Your Pie Out-of-the-Oven and onto the Grill!

The trick to a perfect grilled pizza is all the preparations. Roast, sauté, cook, slice, and grate whatever toppings you like before you begin your grilled pizza journey. Adding those pre-cooked toppings to the pizza as it is grilling is the trick.

The dough will only require a 3-5 minutes cook time per side.

Making the Dough

Keep in mind, yeast is a living organism, so don’t kill it by burning it with hot water or salt. I add sugar to my recipe to feed the yeast. Why? Honestly – I’m in a hurry. Shhhh.

The yeast will reconstitute in the water, wake up and be really hungry. The yeast eats- then it quickly begins to digest its food and yes, creats gas. Yes, I know it’s funny, and trust me when I say the kids will LOVE this Science lesson on C02 and so will you ! This step actually helps accelerate the dough’s rise faster! Definitely a win-win.

The important part about the end of the day, is also being with your family so– It’s also okay to use uncooked-prepared store bought pizza dough if you are short on time. Many grocers carry great organic uncooked pizza doughs today without tons of preservatives. The pizza police wont come for you, I promise!

You’ll Need

6 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
1 teaspoon active dry yeast ( rapid rise yeast if you are in a big hurry )
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
1-2 cups room temp water, as needed
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt


Here’s How

Whisk sugar or honey with the yeast in a medium bowl with 1 cup of the water. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes until foaming with bubbles. Make sure the water temperature is not above 105’F degrees or you will kill the yeast.

In a large gallon sized food storage bag or bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook attached, add the flour and the salt. Combine to distribute the salt throughout the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour if using the bag method.


Add the water with the yeast mixture, 1/2 of the remaining cup of water, and all of the olive oil. Close food storage bag by removing air and sealing all but a 1/2 inch up at the zip. Massage from the bottom of the bag up and incorporate well. Mix dough gently to form a nice dough ball. Add more of the 1/2 cup remaining water if water if needed. or, start the mixer on medium speed and mix until dough hook forms and ball.

If using a stand mixer continue to knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About 5 minutes. Remove into a lightly oiled bowl.

If using the food storage bag method – knead well until it all comes together and forms a ball. Open the food storage bag, and transfer the dough ball to a large clean lightly floured surface.

Hand knead about 10 minutes until dough seems smooth. Resting in-between if it becomes unmanageable. This is actually the gluten forming which is rubber-band like. Just let it relax and return after a minute or two once dough seems smooth- place in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature (about 72° F degrees) in a draft-free area until surface until dough has doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. Use rapid rise yeast instead of regular dried yeast if you are in a hurry- the rise will happen faster.

When dough has risen, transfer on to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide and cut into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour and set it aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining portions. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, an additional hour.

Planning Ahead

The dough can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in a gallon sized plastic food storage bag with rolled in a little bit of flour and chill in fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap for about 15-20 minutes before shaping.

To Make The Pizza
During the last hour of dough’s resting, heat your sauce, sauté your vegetables and grate the cheeses.

With one dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with floured hands stretch the dough into a rectangle or triangular form the best you can. Free form is the way to go with grilled pizzas.

Oil both sides lightly with a good quality cooking oil. Set on a clean baking sheet.

Prepare the grill by oiling. Once the grate is well oiled, place your raw dough on hot cooking grates and resist the urge to move it.

Grill the dough for about 3-5 minutes. Flip the dough when it releases from the grates when given a nudge. Look for deep colored grill marks and some crispy edges before tuning over. Repeat on each side.

When both side are cooked, move pizza crust to indirect heat choose a side of the grill where the heat element is turned off below, or to a side of the grill where there are no burning coals.

Top the rustic pizza dough with warmed pesto or pizza sauce if desired — then add your choice of pre-cooked toppings. Top with cheese, melt by closing lid or covering with a foil tent. Finish with flavored oil ( see my recipe here ) and serve. So delicious!

Variations : Add fresh chopped herbs to your dough or fresh chopped garlic for an additional favor layer.

Spring has Sprung in California! Try my Recipe for Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Lemon & Crunchy Toasted Almonds

aspargus

LOVE.. LOVE… LOVE…. Asparagus. Spring time is right around the corner, and asparagus season is closer than we think. Best measure is to always source  young fresh stalks of asparagus but if  you are using very thick stalks of asparagus, peel away the tough outer layers.

The easiest way is to grasp the base of the asparagus in one hand and use a vegetable peeler in the other, carefully peeling toward while stopping short of  your hand and rotating the asparagus as you peel. You’ll wind up with a short piece of stalk with the peelings attached; you can easily snap it off at the point where the peeling stops.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, cleaned and tough ends snapped off

2 – 3 cloves garlic, cleaned and smashed to puree

2 – 3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 Meyer lemon zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 -2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan sprayed with good quality cooking spray or, for easy clean up– line your baking sheet with foil and spray foil. Set aside.

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus or peel if necessary. Place asparagus and garlic in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Drizzle with oil, lemon juice and thyme leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Remove from casserole dish and lay single layer on prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until asparagus is crispy and tender, rolling once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and toss with toasted almond slivers and lemon zest. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with my home made mayonnaise recipe at 30 second mom.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

Skinny Garlic Pommes Frites

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In the production of a really good ‘French Fry” the type of fat used to fry with can make all the difference. Not to mention the type of potato and the potatoes sugar content will make a difference as well. Seriously, this subject for scholarly debate! Many establishments that place “Pommes Frites” on the menu are doing the potato justice because they are correctly frying them in animal fat (tallow, lard, duck or goose fat). I think there might be one thing we all agree on– we are all looking for the same great flavor and texture in a skinny pommes frites. If so, this recipe is for you!

Ingredients:
1/8 cup good quality olive oil
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and cut and smashed to paste
Grapeseed cooking spray, or your favorite high smoke point oil
3 russet potatoes, washed and dried
Kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup fresh grated, good quality Parmesan cheese ( optional)
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

 

Method:

Combine the oil and crushed garlic in a large mixing small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 F- 450°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. If you use Aluminum, lay a sheet of foil inside baking sheet and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will ensure easy cleanup. Set aside.

Cut the potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices; cut each slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Once cut, pat dry with a paper towel.

Toss cut potatoes in the bowl containing the oil and smashed garlic. Use your hands to evenly coat. Season with salt and black pepper after they have been coated with the oil and garlic mixture. Place oil coated cut potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake uncovered in the center of the oven until tender crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and toss with cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. if you like, serve with my HomeMade Ketchup Recipe at 30 Second Mom

Variations: You can use other root vegetables like sweet potatoes or parsnips.  Or try Yukon gold, or other variety of potato. Increase bake time for sweeter content root vegetables.

Empanadas- Savory Hand Pies

So many cultures have a recipe for meat wrapped in pastry. – I just love bold flavored, slow cooked juicy meats and veggies wrapped up in flakey pie crust served piping hot. Mmmmmm. Comfort food. 

I also love pasta sauce and Italian sausage or yellow curry and potatoes, but that’s a whole nother set of recipes. 

IngredientsFor the dough.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 oz unsalted organic butter (1 ½ sticks) 

1 egg

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water or nut or cows milk, adjust as needed to obtain a soft and smooth dough.

Method: For the dough. 

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.

Add the butter and pulse until peasize pieces form- but also careful not to over work the dough. 

Add the egg and the water or milk (in small increments) and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.

Turn out onto a clean floured work surface.  

(To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.)

Split the dough into 2 large ball, flatten slightly into the shape of disks. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated until ready to use (1-2 days max). I like to refrigerate any dough covered for at least 30 minutes before rolling. And it gives me time to clean up before moving to the next big step in this recipe. 

After both you and the dough have rested- roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 6-8 inch round disc shapes for empanadas (use large round cookie cutters  for small appetizer sized or draw your own template on clean cardboard. Wrap it in plastic and cut around the pastry with the tip to a sharp knife. Or use a plate. 

You can also make small individual balls with the dough and roll out each individual ball to a round shape (doesn’t need to be perfectly round) – if you have a tortilla press you can use it to flatten the dough balls like that too.

Assembling and Baking the Empanadas:

Make a good egg wash. 1 egg, a dash of cream milk or water and a pinch of salt. Beat with a fork like a scrambled egg. Set aside. 
To assemble the empanadas or handpies, place a heaping spoonful of the goodness filling on the middle of each pastry disc. The amount of filling will vary based on the size of the empanada, but in general, it’s easier to seal an empanada that isn’t overstuffed. Also, the more you make empanadas, the easier it becomes. It’s all in the repetition. 

To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If you’re having a hard time sealing the edges, you can use brush the inside edges with egg wash- it will act as a glue for the empanadas. Many times I just egg wash the insides of all the discs then fill and fold. It sorta speeds up the process. 

You can also use a fork to help seal the edges, just press the top of the fork against the edges. 

To seal authentic use the repulgue or churito method- ( the curl type seal) , use your fingers to twist the curl the edges of the dough. 

For best results, with the dough ( as most doughs) refrigerating for at least 30 minutes before using and chill the the empanadas before baking – this also helps them seal better and prevents the filling from leaking out.
Form and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Egg wash tops and sides. Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated hot oven at 375’F -400’F. The baking time also varies (again based on the oven and size of the empanadas) but in the range of 10-20 minutes or until the empanadas are golden brown.

Fillings

You can use any type of filling you want, sweet or savory. I love to use my Ropas recipe and add that for filling. Even vegetarian veggie only fillings are delicious. Breakfast fillings work too! 

I especially love vegan potatoes curry in my empanadas- but then, it’s not quite an empanadas anymore and we are into a whole new recipe. I hear a Samosas recipe in my future! 

Using your family stew recipe is a good start. Add chilies and boom you’re on your way. 

Here is a a simple recipe made with ground beef and pork.

Ingredients

1 pound ground pork, grass fed is best 

1 pound ground beef, grass fed is best 

2 medium yellow onions, cleaned diced small

2-3 Tablespoon good quality olive oil 

4-5 Yukon potatoes, washed- not peeled and diced small, the size of a US currency dime.

1 large carrot, peeled and small dice.  

3-4 Serrano chiles, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground Adobo chili ( optional) 

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) organic tomatoes, diced ( drained before adding) 

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional) 

1 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped

Method

In a large high sided 12-14 inch skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. 

Add potatoes, sauté until slightly golden about 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a paper towel. 

Add carrots and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent about 2 to 3 minutes – add the garlic and sauté in additional 1 minute. 

Add the meat season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Add the jalapeños, all the spices, add the parsley and return the potatoes to the pan. Stir in tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened and flavors are cooked through about 12 to 15 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper to desired taste. Fold in cilantro. Let cool. Form empanadas. 

Notes
Freeze unbaked individually then store in air tight container. Or bake immediately and enjoy.
To bake previously frozen empanadas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, rotating baking sheets halfway through, about 30 to 40 minutes. 

You can also egg wash before individually freezing.
Enjoy! 

High Protein, Low Carb Almond Crepes- Have your Crepe, & Eat it too! 

If you are watching your macros, and counting carbs while increasing fats – this is definitely the crepe recipe for you! These are so yummy! I usually double the recipe. 

Ingredients:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature 

4 large eggs

3/4 cup almond flour

2 tbsp granulated coconut sugar or sugar substitute 

1/4 -1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil or butter 

Few drops of almond or vanilla extract or your favorite essential oil 

Pinch Hymalayan salt

Grape seed oil cooking spray or butter for the pan

Method:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a a stand mixer, food processor, or standing blender – combine the cream cheese, the eggs, almond flour, sweetener, nut milk, oil, salt, and extract. Puree or mix until smooth and well combined. Should have the  consistency of a  melted milkshake. Add more nut milk if necessary. If lumpy, strain thru a seive. 

Set a 10-inch non stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add just enough oil or butter to lightly coat the pan. 

Once hot, add a ping-pong ball size ladle of batter to the pan and swirl or spread into a thin layer that reaches the edges, carefully not to roll up on the sides on the pan. 

Cook until edges are browning and the crepe is non stick to the shaking of the pan. Loosened with a spatula. Loosen all the way around and then lift one edge gently and work spatula underneath and flip it. Or, if you are brave, flip it in the air. Trust me – it’s fun and easy. Might take a few practice runs, but it’s worth it. Give it a go! 

Flip and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove and lay on prepared baking sheet, then continue with remaining batter. 

Continue to layer on top of the previous  crepe or on an additional piece of parchment on top of the first set of crepes as more come off the pan.

Fill with you favorite nut butters and homemade jams –top with fresh fruit. 
Whooo hoooo! Eat em’ up! 

Makes approximately 8 to 10 crepes. Each crepe has 3.06g of carbs and 1.16g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 1.90grams per Crepe. 6.30 grams of protein!!!! 160 calories each. 13 grams of delicious fat. 
Photo credit: Julia from, Julia’s kitchen 

Tzatziki Dipping Sauce     

English pronunciation ( Taet-Zeek -Key) 

Tzatziki is a sauce, or a dip. Made up of a combination of cucumber, fresh yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar- and fresh herbs. So delicious and refreshing. I like to use it on everything. I especially love to dip raw vegetables in it, and sometimes use it for salad dressing.

My kids love it and it’s a great source of protein on its own. I love Tzatziki on grilled meats, on Falafel and in Gyros too. I grew up with a portion of a Greek family, and this was a highly coveted culinary staple at most family gatherings. 

Ingredients:

1/2 large seedless cucumber, unpeeled, grated and set to drain- or rush the process by tossing in 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt

2 large garlic cloves, finely minced

2 Tablespoons extra virgin good quality olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Himalayan salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 -2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill

Method

Grate the cucumber, gently salt and toss – set to drain through a fine mesh sieve overnight in the refrigerator or allow to sit for 10-20 minutes and squeeze and excess liquid from cucumber wash off salt residue and squeeze dry using a clean kitchen towel. 

Add prepared cucumber to a small bowl and combine with the yogurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or as long as you can. 

Remove from refrigerator and add chopped fresh dill to the mixture and stir to combine. Check and adjust seasoning. 

Serve chilled with pita bread, fresh cut veggies for dipping or use as a side for grilled meats. 

Chef Notes

Cucumbers inherently release an abundance of water when cut. Make sure your grated cucumber is well-drained before adding to the remaining ingredients or your recipe will become watery and flavorless. If you have time, can drain it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve overnight. If you’re in a rush, you can salt the cucumbers let sit about ten minutes, rinse and use your hands to squeeze the remaining liquid out of the cucumber.

The longer the garlic rests in the yogurt, the less bitter it will become and the better it will taste. For best results, combine all of the ingredients except the cucumber and allow it rest overnight in the refrigerator overnight- while your cucumber is draining.

Add the fresh dill at the last minute so it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the flavors.

Pita Bread Made Three ways- Grilled, Baked or on the Stove Top.

I love making Pita Bread fresh. I can’t decide if I like it better made in my cast iron pan on the stove top, or my pizza stone baked in the oven, or… my outdoor grill; which gives significant additional flavor. You decide. Regardless how you make it — the key to making really good pita is keeping the dough wet, soft and spongy throughout the whole mixing and kneading process. Unlike making any other bread type products– if you begin with wet and sticky sponge and progress slowly adding flour, you will have billowy pitas. Is that a word? “Billowy” ?

Pitas

 

Ingredients: 

1 (.25 ounce) package rapid acting dry yeast

1 cup warm water 90 to 100’F

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1 additional teaspoon olive oil, divided or good quality cooking oil spray

 

 

Method:

Place the yeast into the work bowl of  your stand mixer and add 1 cup warm water. Make a slurry. Add 1 cup of the flour. Whisk together with a hand whisk and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Wait for the mixture to create air bubbles and form a loose looking foamy starter sponge. The mixture will look wet like a slurry and nothing like you would expect to begin a bread dough with. You baking instincts will tell you to add additional flour- but resist the urge.

Once the dough is spongey and full of foam and bubbles, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and the salt. Stir, and second addition of flour in small increments string in between each addition. The dough should continue to look spongy and sticky. With the kneading attachment, now combine together at low speed until ingredients are mixed through really well, but remember to keep the starter dough slightly sticky.

If dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl and not mix into a ball, add a little additional flour–a little at a time, not to exceed an additional 1/4 cup. Once dough is kneading without sticking to the bowl but still somewhat gooey. Begin to time your kneading  about to 5-6 minutes on very low speed– until the dough springs back to the touch, and is   very soft.

Remove the dough to a work surface and form into a large ball.

Wipe inside of the bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of the additional olive oil, or a quick spray. Place dough ball back into the mixing bowl and turn upside down to insure the dough is completely covered in a light coating of the olive oil. This will prevent air from hardening with dough during the resting time.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest until it has doubled in volume. Approximately 2 hours.

After dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place onto a floured work surface. Gently shape about 1 inch thick log. Use kitchen scissors or a knife- cut dough into 8 pieces.

Form each piece into a smaller round ball carefully pulling dough from the top center of each piece, pulling down and tucking under to form a ball. Do not work the dough any more than necessary. Place each ball on a gently on a silicon mat or parchment or plastic lined baking sheet and allow to rest covered for an additional 30 minutes until they have doubled in size.

Once the dough has completed its second rising- dust a clean work surface with a small amount of flour and top of the balls and your hands with a little flour. Gently pat dough ball flat with your fingers, forming a flat, round  disc 1/4 inch thick and using a rolling pin form a 6 inch pita. Continue until all the balls have been flattened into discs.

Rest an additional  5- 8 minutes. The continue to your preferred method of baking.

 

On the Stove:

Lightly coat a large cast-iron skillet with remaining olive oil or spray and place over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is to temperature before adding the dough disc.

Lay flattened discs into hot skillet and cook until bread begins to puff up and bottom is browning well, about 3-4 minutes. Some might not puff, don’t worry they will still be wide enough to cut open for filling. Turn the pita over and cook 2 an additional 2-3 minutes until browned and puffy. They will naturally deflate causing the center to be hallow enough to fill.

Stack pitas on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy Pitas as is, or stuff with your favorite fillings. I love the pan method because my pitas get a nice crispy coating on the outside while the inside remains soft and chewy.

 

In the Oven: 

Place a large pizza stone on the lower oven rack, preheat the oven and the stone to 500 F.

Place 2 pita discs at a time on the hot pizza stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bread puffs up like a balloon and is pale golden. Watch closely; they will bake quickly.

When browned and puffy, remove the bread from the oven and place on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes; they will naturally deflate, leaving a pocket in the center.

Stack pitas on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy Pitas as is, or stuff with your favorite fillings. I love the oven method because my pitas don’t get too many brown spots and they are soft inside and out.

 

On the Grill: 

When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Let the charcoal sit until it drops in temperature to medium heat.

Right before placing the dough on the grill, give each disc a few mists of water from a spray bottle on both sides. Place the dough on an oiled grill and cook until it starts to bubble, about 1 minute. Flip the dough and cook until it puffs and is cooked through, but not browned, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the grill and let cool. Reheat quickly on the grill before serving. You can also use a gas grill using indirect heat. Keep pitas warm until service.

I love cooking Pitas on the grill because they inherent a nice smokey flavor. Mmmmm!

Serve with skewered grilled meats, Tahini, my buttered Babaganoush recipe, or fresh Falafel with Tzatziki.