Monday, September 10, 2018

Keto crust recipe for a REAL pizza!

I wanted pizza - desperately. Despite continuing to bake a lot for other people (!) since July I have been following the Keto way of eating. It's a LCHF lifestyle (low carb/high fat) which to many seems counter-intuitive, but for me it's been transformative. My blood sugar levels have improved dramatically, and I've lost an impressive bunch of pounds. I eat delicious food, and seriously have very few cravings, though I thought pizza was out of my life forever. But it's not! I've found a wonderful recipe for a Keto pizza crust which uses shredded mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, an egg, and some almond flour. That's it. (see link at bottom of post for a number of sources). I had toyed with the idea of making my own cauliflower crust but it is WAY too work intensive, and the manufactured versions have all kinds of carbs from different types flours. Manufactured cauliflower crusts are a great resource for the gluten-free market but not for those of us living on a minimum of carbohydrates.

Last night I made my first Keto crust and I was floored - it is an amazing substitute for a yeasted pizza dough. The mozzarella cheese provides the same elasticity as a yeasted crust. The real key is to par-bake the crust for about 10 minutes so it has the structure to support the sauce and toppings which will bake for an additional 10 minutes. I cut it into 4 slices and two were plenty. I gave the other two to my neighbor Suzanne and she loved it!

Here's the recipe:

Keto Pizza Crust Recipe
(pre-heat oven to 425F)
makes enough for one approx. 10-inch round (or similar-sized rectangle) pizza. Can be doubled for a larger pizza.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. full-fat cream cheese (1/4 of a standard 8 oz. block)
3/4 cup almond flour (can be found in bulk bins at grocery stores and health food stores)
1 egg

Sauce:
Low carb pizza sauce: I used Rao's which is 3 carbs per 1/4 cup, some have more but still, for a whole pizza it's negligible. Rao's is comparatively expensive but tastes great. At $4.99, you still get 4 pizzas out of a jar, which is pretty reasonable.

Toppings of your choice including:
1.5 cups of more mozzarella cheese
A sprinkling of grated parmesan
A little dried oregano if you have it
Then, whatever you want!


Prepare pan:
Line baking pan with parchment paper. Spray lightly with oil

In large microwave-safe bowl, melt shredded mozzarella cheese with cream cheese for one minute.
Stir.
Microwave for 30 seconds more. Remove from microwave.

Vigorously stir in almond flour and egg until a soft dough forms. Mix as well as you can. It will be a "spotty" dough with areas of cream cheese and almond flour. Just do the best you can. It comes out fine.

Dump out onto parchment paper on baking pan.

THIS is the interesting part. Your hands have to be WET to spread this properly and so it won't stick to your hand. I used a small bowl on the side and immersed my palm in the water, and then patted the dough into shape, dipping my hand into the water often. Don't let it get too thin but spread it to the size you want. It's pliable and you can work with it. I made a rectangle about 8x11 but you could get a good 10-inch circle too.

Once your dough shape is formed to your satisfaction, place pan on center rack of preheated 425F oven and set timer for 10 minutes. You want some light browning to happen.

Remove crust from oven and spread 1/4 c. pizza sauce. It doesn't seem like much but it's plenty for a small pizza. I then sprinkled grated Parmesan and a few flakes of dried oregano.

Toppings go on top of that - first, the shredded mozzarella cheese. I used pepperoni (see photo) but plan to make the next one with thinly sliced mushrooms, green pepper and Vidalia onion. (Can't wait!).

Bake pizza for 10 minutes more at 425F.

Remove from oven. Let it sit a minute or two. Cut.

1/4 pizza crust is 4.5 grams carbs, 4.5 grams protein per myfitnesspal.com app

Inspiration source:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=fathead+pizza+dough&atb=v120-3&ia=recipes















Monday, July 23, 2018

Cape Cod Chocolate Chip Cookies!

CAPE COD CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I wish I could say this recipe evolved from a wonderful experience enjoying these cookies on a vacation on the Cape, but no. This is a recipe I made up in my head and then executed last week for my regular Weekend Platters that I deliver to friends in the area. Happily, it was a success first time out! This is a chocolate chip cookie recipe with the additions – to make it Cape Coddy - of dried cranberries and crushed Cape Cod Potato Chips.

They were a HUGE hit for all who tried them, especially my BF Russ who is a die-hard oatmeal raisin cookie fan (you'd never know his fondness for cookies by looking at him - he's 6'4" and no body fat!). He loved these so much he ate 8 of the remaining large cookies over 3 days this past weekend. He took the last one “to go” when we said good-bye on Sunday 'til the next time. It’s a good thing he did or I would have devoured it the minute he drove away!

Last Weekend's Platter: these cookies, banana bread muffins, blondie bars, and blueberry scones! 


CAPE COD CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Have a ¼ cup measure or ice cream scoop ready for portioning out cookies

Ingredients:
(makes about 24, 4-inch cookies) 

12 tablespoons soft unsalted butter, a bar and a half
4 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening (I know, but it is a small amount and provides a necessary light quality)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste, pricey but worth it)
2 large eggs

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet or darker chocolate chip morsels
¾ cup dried cranberries (I used a 6 oz. pouch)
1 cup coarsely crushed Cape Cod Potato Chips (regular flavor) – I put chips in a quart-sized zip bag and hit it a few times with a rolling pin to about ½ inch sized pieces so they don’t get lost in the dough.

Directions:
In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and shortening for a minute or two.
Add both sugars and mix very well until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until well mixed.

Stir in chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and crushed potato chips.

Using a levered ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measure, portion out dough on parchment-lined cookie sheets or baking pans. Leave a couple of inches between cookies, and squash each portion down a bit with a couple of fingers to flatten them out so they bake evenly. I get 8 cookies per standard cookie sheet.  You can reuse the parchment paper for the next batch.
Note: I keep two racks in the center of the oven, one just a few inches above the other. I bake two pans at a time and rotate them with about 3 minutes to go. This may seem a little OCD. If you don’t want to do that, just bake one pan at a time in the center of the oven.

Set timer for 10 minutes and check. What you want to see is a browning beginning around the edges and the middle still looks pale but not wet (see photo above). I always have to add a minute or two but it depends on your oven.


Cool pans on rack for a few minutes and then move cookies to racks to cool completely.  They can then be stored in an air-tight container or zip bags.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

CREAM OF TOMATO AND CHEDDAR SOUP

Yes, it's been forever since I've posted here, and today I am inspired to share a recipe I just made up about an hour ago. It's the simplest thing made with easy ingredients you might already have on hand. This recipe for Cream of Tomato and Cheddar Soup is something I was thinking about before it came together. I was driving home from Russ's house in Central New York this Sunday morning, about a 3.5 hour drive, made even longer by the winter weather and icy driving conditions we're NOT enjoying on April 15th!  For our breakfast, Russ made feta omelets served with Monk's Bread rye toast, and driving home I didn't feel hungry enough to stop for lunch. I broke up the ride with a visit with my grandchildren (who you've met before on this blog).

A lot of time has passed since my regular posting, and if you've followed this blog in the past, you might be surprised to find that Henry is about to be 10 years old! Peter is 7, and baby girl Willow is now 2. They are the joys of my life. We had a good time visiting today for about an hour or so, and then it was time for me to get going.

Henry, Peter, and Willow on a recent walk near Grandma's House, with bubbles!

I left my daughter's house around 2 pm, feeling hungry and wanting something really delicious but also nutritious. I pushed away the inclination to stop at Pizza Jerks in Glens Falls for their veggie barbecue pizza (so good!) and headed on home to make something from scratch.

In my cupboards I found a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, and an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. My wheels started spinning and I decided this cold and gloomy day called for cream of tomato soup, and this recipe came to life.

(NOTE: lately I've been using vegan and vegetarian recipes, and have found that my preference/decision is to have occasional dairy/eggs. I'm not labeling myself as any type of food consumer, unless I can call it "Jeannie-ism." Must have flexibility in my life!)

CREAM OF TOMATO AND CHEDDAR SOUP

Ingredients in order of use:

  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • One sweet onion, diced (I used Vidalia)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I buy pre-minced garlic in a jar)
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 14.5 ounces of diced tomatoes, including liquid
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I used frozen stock that I made a few weeks ago) 
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • two "splashes" white wine (about 1/4 cup total)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough cold water to make a thin slurry
  • two tablespoons grated parmesan or pamesan/romano cheese
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, diced in a 1/4 inch dice, or pre-shredded
  • More cheddar cheese for garnish

In deep saucepan or pot over medium heat, sautee onion in olive oil for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sautee for two minutes more.

In blender or Magic Bullet, pour in the 8 oz. of tomato sauce and add sauteed onion and garlic. Blend completely and return to pot, setting heat to medium.

Blend diced tomatoes in liquid and add to pot.

Add vegetable stock.

Add salt and pepper.

Stir in heavy cream, milk, and white wine.

Bring to a low boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add cornstarch slurry and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Stir in cheeses and turn heat to lowest setting.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with strips of cheddar cheese.

This tasted so good to me, I had to write it down and save it for future reference, and thus this sudden blog post. It came together in less than half an hour, so if you are in the mood for a warm, creamy, substantial tomato soup, give this a try. One idea that might take it over the top - grilled cheese croutons! Make a well-toasted grilled cheese sandwich, cut into small squares, and toss on top of bowls of this yummy soup! Or, pour over cooked tortellini. So good!






Friday, May 6, 2016

Homage to My Mom - Mother's Day 2016

Mom

Momma. Mommy. Mom. Madre. Mother. Grandma.

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s clear that my perspective of the day has changed. When my kids were little, it was all about me. Now, it’s about my daughters and how proud I am of their love for their children: Katie with her boys, Henry and Peter (now 8  and 5 ½, and Meghan with newborn Willow, just 6 weeks old). Of course, I can’t help but feel so blessed to have Mary Lou Eddy, my children’s paternal grandmother, in my life. She’s an incredible woman and I have loved her since I first met her in 1969; so many wonderful mothers in our lives to celebrate, as we should.

Initially, Mother’s Day was ALL about my beautiful mother; as I made her construction paper hearts with too much glue and glitter when I was little. Later, buying her the “perfect” card in a Hallmark store, so she would know how much I loved her. With six siblings, there’s a need to make your voice heard! There’d be a little gift to go along, nothing fancy, just something to show her my love. Later, there’d be dinners out and Mother’s Day brunches – I remember an especially lovely brunch at the Gideon Putnam Hotel, where the buffet featured fancy foods including Lobster Newburg and chocolate ├ęclairs.  My mother, Virginia McGeehan O’Farrell, loved dining out more than almost any other activity. When we asked her, as children, what she wanted to make for dinner, she’d respond, “Reservations.” Ba dum dum.

As my first impression regarding the institution of motherhood, my mom was the epitome of what a mother should be. She appreciated it. She and my father had been married a long time before their first child, my brother Michael, arrived. After almost eight years married and a slight medical intervention, Michael was born. The following ten years saw the arrival of six more babies – Patsy, Steven, Jeannie (me), Ginny, Danny, and Anne. While my mother was certainly flat-out busy, she always had time for a hug, a kind smile, a generous laugh. She was beautiful in that Irish kind of way – dark, dark hair and blue eyes.  Standing all of 5-foot two (and eyes of blue!), her presence was more than her height. Her clever sense of humor won her life-long friends. Life was not easy with one car and a husband who was away for a number of work days at a time. The minute he arrived home on a Friday, we’d all pile into the car and go for a “little spin” just so our mom could have a change of scenery, and maybe a dinner out for this family of nine!

My mom was a homemaker. That was her chosen career after working on Wall Street before babies. I don’t remember her working constantly (as she must have for a family of nine) with laundry and dishes and cooking. She managed it all so well. Our house was always presentable and people could show up at any time without notice. There were coffee klatches around our formica kitchen table, ash trays out, wafts of Newport cigarette smoke circling our heads (yikes) as we enjoyed the neighborhood banter and goings-on. It’s not like that now. People were home more in the 1960s and our home seemed to be a hub of activity for my mom and her friends, and for our friends as well.  Sometimes my mother would warn the ladies around the table, “Little kettles have big ears.” I know what she meant, but that statement doesn’t even make sense!

My mother was a devout Catholic. We observed every Holy Day of Obligation and never missed Mass on Sunday. Even after it was deemed OK, we never had meat on Friday. We went to confession (reluctantly), sometimes just before Mass which I found humiliating, exiting the confessional. If we didn’t have a hat or a veil entering church, she’d bobby-pin a Kleenex to all the girls’ heads. Our family took up the entire pew. My mother went to church to go to church, not to be seen. She let us leave after Communion if we had to be somewhere. As long as we made it from Homily through Communion, we were good.

We moved a lot, as kids. Here are the locations of our births: Santa Monica, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Dayton, Colonie NY, Saratoga Springs. No more births after Saratoga Springs, but the moving continued to Clifton Park NY, Moorestown NJ, Huntington  LI, NY (twice) and back to Saratoga Springs. My mother used to joke that she should have married Mr. Mayflower, of the moving van company.

I have so many memories of my mom. She suffered through a heart attack at 68, losing our Dad when she was 74 – they were a match made in Heaven.  To witness a love like that is a gift and a hard act to follow, I must say! But we were blessed to have been raised in that home.  After my dad passed away, the spark left my mother’s eyes. She had us and her grandchildren, all adored, but she missed my father. Virginia McGeehan O’Farrell lived to be 82 years old, and we’ve been missing her for over fourteen years now. She loved and was loved greatly, and we are left with memories that make us smile more than cry, now.  What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice once more, to hold her hand which I noticed, the very last time I held her hand, was so much like my own.

The memories sustain us. I must have been barely two years old, around 1956, when I remember being in our living room on MacArthur Drive in Saratoga. I stared as my mother was walking away. She turned and focused right back on me. It’s odd to think that I knew what beauty was as such a young child. She was beautiful. Her curled black hair, her bright blue eyes, but most beautiful was her radiant smile for me. It reached me and was inside me, and I realized joy. 

Jeannie O’Farrell Eddy

Mother’s Day 2016

Friday, April 10, 2015

Red Lobster-Inspired Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits Recipe!

My sibling family loves Red Lobster. It's our guilty pleasure when we want to get together for each others' birthdays (I'm one of 7 siblings, and here it is National Sibling Day!). It's an easy place to grab a big table, preferably tucked in a corner away from serious diners, where we can enjoy an hour or so of silly conversation, distorted memories (!), inappropriate birthday cards whenever possible, and gift-opening. There are some restaurants where you can do that easily, but none better that RL. The restaurant holds a sentimental meaning for all of us, as well, since our Mom loved to go there for our birthdays and "just because."

We always look forward to RL's Cheddar Bay Biscuits. They are served warm from the oven, tender, and so flavorful. I looked online for a copycat recipe, but most I found used a biscuit mix as the base. For our quiet Easter dinner at my daughter Katie's last week, I wanted to make them from scratch, so I adapted Alton Brown's biscuit recipe and added my own version of a hot butter and herb glazing at the end. The result - nailed it! They went so well with Katie's Easter ham and Bill's scalloped potatoes! I also made a birthday cake for my daughter Tricia - she requested retro with a strawberry cake mix with rainbow chip frosting (home-made version of rainbow chip, of course!). I made it just as she requested, and she loved it! But back to biscuits...

Here's a photo of the DEEE-licious copycat biscuits followed by the how-to:

My take on Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuit! 

COPYCAT RED LOBSTER CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Spray cookie sheet with vegetable spray
Makes 12+

In large mixing bowl, stir together:
2 c. all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Cut in to flour mixture:
 (with 2 knives or a pastry blender - or pulse in a food processor!)
4 tablespoons shortening (or 2 butter/2 shortening) until the size of small peas

Stir in:
1 cup cold buttermilk (no buttermilk? Make your own: add 1 tablespoon vinegar to a 1-cup measure and fill with milk, wait 5 minutes)

Stir in: 
1 cup very finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Stir until all the dry ingredients are well combined. Using an ice cream scoop or something that will give you about 2 good, full tablespoons (even a real spoon!), drop dough onto cookie sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed up and browning on all the little edges and nooks.

Take out of oven and immediately brush with this mixture:

2 ounces (half a stick) of butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley (I didn't have any, left it out)

Let them cool a bit, and then place hot biscuits in a towel-lined serving bowl.

Now, go on and enjoy these like my siblings and I do! (as well as the rest of the family!)

Circa 1961, Saratoga Springs, NY
L-R: Anne, Danny, Ginny, Jeannie (Me), Steven, Patsy, & Michael

Love my six terrific siblings (including that one odd ball!)! And God Bless our mother, Virginia McGeehan O'Farrell. We miss her terribly. Seven children in 10 years. She surely is a saint!








Thursday, April 2, 2015

And the winner is....Carol Facteau!

Congratulations to Carol Facteau of McCormick, SC. Carol won the March comment contest and will receive a dozen assorted scones which will be baked and shipped early next week! So, even if you are far, far away, if you win, I will ship! :)

In the meantime, this little goodie came out of my kitchen this morning. It's for my friends Ralph and Mimi who are taking it with them to Connecticut for Easter. They call me every time they need a little cake (and there was that one unfortunate time I completely forgot, but they forgave me!)...

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all my followers!
I am grateful for each and every one of you!


A new contest is underway for any comments posted to this blog during the month of April, winner announced May 1st. Who wants a dozen scones?!

Good luck!

Jeannie
the ADK Baker

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Green Smoothie!

SPRING GREEN SMOOTHIE

Last weekend I caught a show on PBS entitled "What Are You Hungry For?" where Deepak Chopra, among many wise and smart things, advised viewers to "Eat the rainbow." The more colorful the food, the more health benefits to be derived. One of the green foods he advised us to incorporate into our menus is, here it comes (and you know it already, I'm sure)…KALE. I am not a fan of kale. I have not given it a fair shot, though, and decided to let it back into my grocery cart and kitchen for another chance.

My work hours are crazy this time of year, and I am rarely home to cook a dinner meal. And when I am home, I tend to make it as easy as possible with (gasp) a bowl of cereal or, if I am feeling ambitious, a grilled cheese sandwich. True confessions from a food blogger, though I give myself a pass because most of what I post is baking-related!

So, I thought, how the heck do I actually get that kale into my body? The solution: a breakfast smoothie! I was hesitant to make a green drink, because, to me, they are visually unappealing. But, I decided to grow up, snap out of it,  and started stacking kale and other colorful ingredients in my Magic Bullet container.



Here's my recipe, in order of how I added them to the container:

SPRING GREEN SMOOTHIE

1 serving scoop of vanilla whey protein (you can use whatever protein powder you prefer)
1 loose fist-full of baby kale
6-8 Frozen pineapple chunks - makes your smoothie nice and cold
1/4 sliced banana
10 red grapes

Over this stack of color, I pour in enough unsweetened coconut milk to bring it about 1/2-3/4 of the way up the container.

And finally, 1 or 2 ice cubes

I screwed on the blade section to the Magic Bullet and let it whirl until it all looked smooth and incorporated.

It wasn't an ugly green! It was a light minty green that seemed to say, "Welcome spring!"

It was cool, and delicious, and tropical! I tasted NO kale, but it was beautifully flecked throughout the smoothie. The primary flavors were pineapple and banana.

Now, that's my new way to start the day with lots of color!