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Friday, September 01, 2017

Flax Seed Crackers



First day of September! How shall I celebrate? How about something LCHF/keto?

Most crackers are off limits on the lchf/keto diet. Shame, since cheese and crackers go hand in hand. I spotted Flackers at Fairway and decided to give it a try. I was expecting the worst, but it was really good! Looking at the ingredient list - flax seeds, apple cider vinegar, and seasonings - I knew I could replicate this at home.

There are quite a few flax seed cracker recipes out there, but it seems like most of them call for ground flax seed meal. And I'm sure that's fine, but I wanted to replicate the whole flax seed crackers I had. The flavor combinations are up to you, this batch was "cheese" and garlic flavored. Why the quotation marks? You'll see.

"Cheese" and Garlic Flax Seed Crackers

1 cup flax seeds
1 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast, plus more if needed (the cheese!)
2 teaspoons garlic powder

1. Mix the flax seeds and water in a large bowl. Set aside for 1.5 - 2 hours. Should be gelatinous, pour off any excess water.

2. Mix in the remaining ingredients. The addition of nutritional yeast should be enough to thicken the mixture. Add more, if necessary.

3. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a solid food dehydrator tray. Set on a low temp, ~ 150 degrees. Let it dry about four hours. If it's dry on top and still flexible, flip the cracker over and allow it to dry another 2-4 hours. Break into even sized pieces and store in an air tight container.

This can also be baked in the oven, I have not tested it yet, but I'm guessing same temperature and same length of time.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ratatouille


I must admit, working as a prep cook has been a good influence on my home cooking. The ease of making this at work encouraged me to make it as the main dish for the week. Ratatouille, if you are not familiar with it, is a French vegetable stew. It can be thinly sliced and presented in some pretty fashion, or roughly chopped into even sized pieces for quick and easy cooking. Traditionally each vegetable is cooked separately, and then combined at the end. Too much work, if you ask me. So much easier to cook it all together at once. Bastardized ratatouille, I'll take it.

Ratatouille

2 eggplants, peeled
2 peppers, cored
2 red onions
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 pints grape tomatoes
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped basil
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment/foil

2. Cut vegetables in even pieces, 1/2 - 1 inch sized. Combine in large bowl and mix to combine

3. Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small container. Pour over vegetables, add basil and parsley. Toss to combine.

4. Spread out on baking sheets, single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stir vegetables and rotate pan. Repeat in 10-15 minute increments, until vegetables are tender. Allow to cool before storing in air tight containers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First Days in the Kitchen

"You smell like bacon."






That was the first thing M told me Monday morning. After my first weekend working in a kitchen, I am not surprised. M will have to get used to it, as this will be a common occurrence.






So, to recap: I applied, interviewed, was offered and accepted a position as a prep cook in a local restaurant. I am not naming names, but it's local. You'll probably be able to figure it out, and if you do... please stop on in! Have a drink, have a bite to eat. I may have helped make some of it.






And just like my culinary classes, I was excited to start. More excited/nervous, but hey... have to make a good impression. Arrived early to make sure I beat the farmers market crowd for a decent parking spot. It was probably a good thing I got there early because I was thrown right into the mix - they got slammed the night before, and a lot of prep to get through.




My duties were a mish mash of things - portioned and formed scones, baked eggplant slices, prepared the house salad mix, sliced/portioned/stored meats for sandwiches, and made crepe batter. Not only did I make that batter, I was expected to make them as well. Most of my crepes were not pretty, but I think I've got the hang of it. Maybe. Cleaned by area, helped when I could. Most of the time I kept my head down and did what I had to do. By the end of the day I was sweaty, sore, and exhausted. I had enough energy to scarf down a slice or two of pizza before I called it a night.


The next morning I was there even earlier, but it was nice to walk around downtown before it got busy. Day two started off slowly, but picked up quickly after opening. I helped (mostly watched) how they make their quiches, before I started on three different fruit fillings for the crepes - apple, peach, and mixed berry. Made some more crepes (really need to work on my technique at home) and prepped more vegetables for the line. Cooked up ratatouille right before my break, and whipped up a batch of Devonshire cream before I left. Lots of portioning, labeling, and rotating stock.


Instead of heading straight home after work, I ended up meeting M and a friend for drinks to celebrate my new job. Not a bad start.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Interesting Development

I keep meaning to start this blog up again, but I don't know what direction to take it. It started just as a means to write down the food related things I was doing. But then came the boom of food blogs/food lifestyle things and it seems like niches are covered. So now what?



Just write when I'm in the mood, I guess. Did I write about this before? I wouldn't be surprised, I am known to get stuck in loops.



Moving on
.



A couple of weeks ago it was Julia Child's birthday. Exactly two weeks ago. She would be 105 if she was still kicking. Being the notable food person she was, people posted on social media Julia Child things. Pictures, videos, and quotes. Lots of quotes. And there was one in particular that rang true:






Passion. Interest. Food.


I feel like I've been in limbo for a while. What am I supposed to be when I grow up? Where is my life going? What am I making for dinner tonight?


The upside of my field of work is that I will always have work and will always be able to find work if I need it. I am at a state when I'm comfortable enough to be able to do the things I've wanted to do. Like taking culinary classes. Buying residences. Adult things.


But even though I have this ability to do what I want (and generally when I want it), I feel stagnant. Running around but still in the same place. I need a shake up.


I applied for a kitchen job at a restaurant.

Every now and then I would look at the help wanted section and read the descriptions thinking "this would be cool." Usually I think that and then close the window and get back to work. But a couple of weeks ago, I clicked on the link and filled out an application.


To be honest, I didn't think much of it. At least I applied. But the strangest thing... I heard back and scheduled an interview. I scheduled an interview after an impromptu trip out to Connecticut and back, with no sleep and running on coffee fumes. And from what I remember it wasn't bad... some talk about the job, but a whole lot of me rambling on about food things. I walked out of there thinking, that was a decent interview... but I'm not holding my breath.

A week went by, and nothing. I sent off an email because I was asked to do that if I heard nothing. The response back was a job offer.

Holy moly... I got it!

Immediately, I sent a text off to M and he was just as excited as I was. I think this will be a good thing.

I'll write again about my first two days as a prep cook. This post must be pretty long at this point.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Early Morning Rambles and Cooking

Hello. Still there? Well I'm still here.

Been busy. Big things... mostly trying to buy a place and a car. Place I kinda have, car I need to work on. 

Still doing the keto thing, which has been alright. Stayed on this a lot longer than the Paleo dealie. Which is weird, because they are somewhat similar. You read about people going on keto and they talk about all this weight they lose right away. I'm a month in and I have lost an astounding... five pounds. 

Meh. 

Maybe I'm more keto-ish than keto. Or maybe I don't have water weight that needs to be lost. I must say, I drink a crapton more water now than I used to. I bring my 34 oz water bottle with me to work every day and half of it is gone before lunch. I fill it back up with ice and keep plugging along. 

I kind of miss things. Like ice cream. Why did I start this nonsense in the summer, the peak of all ice cream-ness? Instagram taunts me with pictues of ice cream sammies, black ice cream, this week's flavors at Snowman. And yes, I know I can go and get some, eff the sugar... but I end up talking myself out of it and eating blueberries and calling it a day. 

Since I passed out at 7 last night, I am up bright and early. May even go to the gym first thing this morning. In the meantime, I am reading yesterday's WSJ and cooking lunch. This week's lunches/dinners are Mexican shredded chicken either in a salad or over cauli rice. And don't get me wrong, it is tasty, but I need something else. Which explains why I got some fish and calamari after work yesterday. Totally hit the spot.

Now I'm cooking up some Filipino food. Laing, to be exact. And as paleo as many filipino dishes are, they are also keto friendly. Some adjustments here and there, but doable. Kelp and shiritaki noodles are decent replacements, and hello! no more bloat.

I've posted a recipe for laing in the past years. But it is simple - sauteed onion, garlic, and ginger. Diced pork belly and tuna. Collard greens, coconut milk, and fermented shrimp paste. Not sure how this will be over cauli rice, but it's pretty good on its own.