Saturday, November 8, 2014

Roasted Garlic Burgers Topped with Caramelized Onion

Rummaging through my vegetable bin today, I found an overlooked bulb of elephant garlic.  It had begun to sprout, so I knew I had to cook it or plant it immediately.  I chopped the top off, drizzled it with olive oil, wrapped it loosely in a tent of foil and baked it in a 400-degree F oven for about 45 minutes until the cloves were soft and golden brown.  It is common to serve roasted garlic spread on bread but, because I don't eat bread, I needed to find another use for it and this recipe came to mind.  The caramelized onion pairs beautifully with the garlic-infused beef.  I served it with an optional drizzle of reduced sugar ketchup, which added another layer of flavor.  This recipe will undoubtedly become one of my favorite weekday meals!

Roasted Garlic Burgers Topped with Caramelized Onion
Makes 4 servings

1 large bulb of garlic, roasted (see directions above)
1 pound of grass fed ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (gluten free)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/2 TB dried)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
2 teaspoons butter or ghee* (or substitute coconut oil)
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 drops molasses
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Sprinkle of cayenne to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Reduced sugar or sugar free ketchup, optional

1.  Remove the cloves from the roasted garlic bulb when cooled and chop into small pieces.  Place the garlic into a large bowl, add the ground beef, tomato paste, pepper, Himalayan salt, Worcestershire sauce and parsley.  Mix until ingredients are well distributed throughout the ground beef and form into four hamburger patties.  Set aside.  (You can place the patties in the refrigerator for later.  Allow them to come to room temperature before cooking.)

2.  In a skillet, melt the butter or ghee.  Add the sliced onion, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally.  The best method for caramelizing onions is to cook them low and slow to allow the natural sugars to be drawn out.  (When the onions are translucent and begin to color, you can begin cooking the patties in another skillet.)  Add the molasses, vinegar and cayenne to the onions at the end of their cooking time, a few minutes before the beef is done.

3.  In a separate skillet, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium to high heat.  Add the patties and allow to cook, without disturbing, until seared and well colored.  Turn and repeat on second side and until done to your satisfaction.  (I like mine medium, with a hot pink center.)

4.  Remove patties to serving plates and top with 2 tablespoons of caramelized onion per serving.  Provide reduced or sugar free ketchup (2 carbs or less per serving), optional.  Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving (no ketchup and no bun): 296 calories, 7.5 g carbohydrate (1.1 g dietary fiber, 2.9 g sugar), 19.6 g total fat (8.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 74 mg cholesterol, 114 mg sodium, 27.2 mg calcium, 150 mg potassium, 22.1 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 6.4 grams

* For those with food allergies: To create a dairy, lactose and casein free meal, use ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil instead of dairy butter.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spicy Fish (or Chicken)

Just playing around in my kitchen with a few on-hand ingredients, I created this delightful meal.  I loved it so much, I've had it in various forms four times this week!  I've tried it with haddock, tilapia, salmon and chicken...and I'm certain it would be just as good made with shrimp or pork.  The secret is in the combination of ingredients: The crispy coating of nut flour, the flavorful blackening spice and the hint-of-heat in the spicy sauce.  It's one of those dishes that lingers delightfully on the tongue!  Blackening spice can be purchased or make your own, like I do.  (George Stella has a great blackening spice recipe here:  Adjust the seasoning to your own taste.  If you like heat, then use more blackening spice in the coating mix and a medium or hot salsa.  If you want it flavorful but tame, use a little less spice and mild salsa. It's a versatile recipe, so have fun experimenting with your favorite fish, chicken or meat to make your own unique dish.

Spicy Fish (or Chicken)
Makes 2 servings

2 fish fillets: white fish, salmon or shrimp (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3 tablespoons grass-fed butter or ghee*
1/2 cup salsa (no sugar added, look for 2 carbs or less per 2 TB serving)
1/2 fresh lime, cut into 4 wedges

Coating Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond or other nut flour (I used walnut flour)
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons blackening spice (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional (the blackening spice has some salt in it)
1 teaspoon dried parsley or cilantro
1 beaten egg OR a drizzle of coconut oil (to help the coating adhere to the fish or chicken)*

1.  On a shallow plate, mix together the coating ingredients.  Pat your fish or chicken with a paper towel to dry completely.  (If your chicken breast is thick, pound to flatten slightly for more even cooking.). Either dip your fish or chicken in beaten egg or drizzle with coconut oil and press into the coating mixture until both sides are well covered.  Set aside.

2.  In a skillet, melt the butter or ghee over medium-high heat.  Add fish or chicken and allow to cook, without disturbing or turning, for at least 3-4 minutes for fish (depending on type and thickness) or 5-6 minutes for chicken until coating begins to crisp and brown.  (Shrimp will take less time, only about 1-2 minutes.)  Carefully turn fish or the chicken and continue cooking on the second side for the same amount of time or until done.  Note: Fish is done when no longer translucent and flaky.  Chicken should be at least 160-degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast and juices run clear.  Do not consume undercooked fish or meat.  When cooked sufficiently, remove to a serving plate.

3.  Remove skillet from the heat.  To the drippings in the skillet, add the salsa and stir to deglaze the pan and loosen any brown bits.  (Note: Be careful and stand back when adding salsa to the hot pan because it will boil and possibly splatter.  If concerned, wait for a minute or two to allow the skillet to cool slightly.)  Serve sauce over fish or chicken with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Nutritional Information per serving (made with tilapia): 320 calories, 3.8 g carbohydrate (1.6 g dietary fiber, 1.5 g sugar), 23.9 g total fat (9.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 68 mg cholesterol, 359 mg sodium, 31.7 mg calcium, 443 mg potassium, 25.2 g protein (this may vary, depending on type of fish or meat used).  Net carbs per serving: 2.2 grams

*For those with food allergies: To create a dairy free version, use ghee instead of butter.  If you are allergic or sensitive to eggs, omit and use a drizzle of melted coconut oil instead.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014