Food is more than fuel for our bodies. When done right, food nourishes our souls, especially when it is prepared with love, and shared with the ones we love.
Anyone can post a recipe here, via comments. Please remember to label it for Protocol or Maintenance — and to ensure that it is Good To Eat — test it first with your own meter by eating a healthy piece or serving all by itself, then doing PP tests at the 15, 30, 60, 120, and 180 minute mark. Be sure to let us know you did, and that the recipe did not spike you!
Finally, please make sure to use a formal recipe format: ingredients listed first (by weight; your cup and my cup may not weigh the same!), then directions and finally any notes, which should include Fitday or Nutrition Data stats for the entire recipe.
CHICKEN NORMANDY — A Maintenance Recipe by SugarFree — added 1/2/2012
This is one of the few recipes I make where I need to be restrained from sticking my head into the pot and slurping down the entire contents in one go. It’s also a recipe that should be made, if not the very first time, then every subsequent time for company. Because when you take the finished casserole out of the oven, your guests will oooh and ahhh so vociferously their praise will remain one of your cherished memories.
I’m also pretty sure that neither you nor your guests have eaten a dish so rich and unctuous in a long time, if ever. It’s from the school of French Cooking that used to be served in fine French restaurants here, and is still served in the regions of France not yet hit with fat phobia. It calls for cream, really heavy-with-butterfat-cream, and lots of it. Barrels, given today’s skimpy “maybe add a teaspoon of cream to a recipe if you DARE” type of cooking we all now suffer when we dine out. Or, with some of us, in.
Plan to make this dish THE meal of the day. Trust me, served with a simple salad of bitter greens (and homemade vinaigrette) and a slice or two of baguette with butter, you won’t be able to eat another bite of anything all day. But oh, what a day it will be!
Serves 4 – 6
* 3 pounds of chicken thighs, with skin and bone, dried well, sprinkled with 2 T. of kosher salt (both sides), and left to sit at room temperature for one hour. This is known as a ‘dry brine’ and will make the chicken retain moisture while adding a lot of flavor. Do NOT rinse off!
* 3 medium crisp/tart apples — from Granny Smith to Honeycrisp to Gala or Jazz, peeled, cored and finely chopped.
* 9 carrots, not huge or woody, tips and trunk cut off, peeled, and cut in 2-inch pieces.
* 3 ounces unsalted butter.
* 1/3 cup Calvados (French apple brandy). You can use regular brandy if that’s all you have, but a bottle of Calvados is lovely to have on hand for everything from aperitifs to cooking many delicious meals.
* 4 cups heavy cream, cold. Yes, that’s an entire quart of cream for one dish (I did warn you). No ‘whipping’ cream allowed. Not enough butterfat and in fact useless for whipping. It’s kind of like the Ministry of Truth in 1984 — “War is Peace,” etc. Get the real thing — HEAVY cream — at Whole Foods if you can’t find it anywhere else. If there’s a restaurant supply house anywhere near you that sells “manufacturers cream” (a full 40% fat) buy that. Buy it for everything, in fact. I go through six quarts of the stuff a month.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. while you’re doing your other preparation. It takes a good thirty minutes to one hour to truly preheat an oven. Place a shelf in the middle of the oven.
Assemble equipment: you’ll need a LARGE skillet to brown the chicken and reduce the cream as well as a LARGE casserole dish (with a cover) in which to cook the dish. If Santa did not bring you an Emile Henry Flame casserole this year, start saving your pennies. As I’ve written about elsewhere, my Emile Henry collection is my most prized culinary possession, and can be handed down to many generations. The Flame line is made by a family concern in France from special Burgundy clay, and it can be cooked on direct heat, go from freezer to oven, or used in a microwave or convection microwave. It holds the heat so beautifully that everything can be cooked on medium or low, and washes up as if it were teflon, even if you’ve burnt cheese on it. Amazing stuff. But . . . I digress.
1. Into the casserole, toss the peeled, cut carrots. Top them with the chopped apples, toss together and cover. Set aside.
Optional: Should some fresh WILD mushrooms come your way (about half a pound), chop coarsely, then add to the carrot/apple mixture. This immeasurably enriches the dish, so much so that you may be willing to hock some of the family silver to always include it.
2. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat until all foaming has stopped. Add the chicken, skin side down for a few minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Turn over, and do the same to the other side.Remove the skillet from the heat. Remove the chicken thighs to the casserole and set the pieces, skin side UP, on top of the carrot/apple mixture.
3. Pour the Calvados into the skillet and return it to the heat on medium high. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the gorgeous (and oh, so delicious) fond off the bottom and sides of the skillet as the Calvados comes to the boil and reduces. When all the fond is scraped up and the Calvados is reduced to a few tablespoons . . .
4. Immediately pour in the cold cream and bring to the boil, stirring a few times. Once the cream is at the boil, immediately reduce the heat and let the cream boil (more than a simmer) very gently without stirring until reduced by half. This will take from 10-20 minutes. Once reduced, stir in a teaspoon or so of freshly ground sea salt to taste. Stir in freshly ground pepper to taste.
5. Pour the (now) two cups of cream all over the chicken, apples and carrots. Push the chicken thighs down into the cream but make sure the skin (with some cream on them, of course) remains out in the open.
6. Cover the casserole and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 15 minutes. When you remove the casserole from the oven the cream will be bubbling and have turned a golden brown on top, glorious to behold.
Serve in large soup plates with chicken, carrots and apples — and lashings of the cream sauce. A knife and fork is required but believe me, so is a soup spoon, or you’ll find your guests licking their bowls. They may do that anyway. Enjoy!
CHOPPED LIVER — A Maintenance Recipe by SugarFree — added 3/14/2012
Chopped liver is truly a super-food, made with a high fat to protein ratio and organ meat filled with every nutrient a human being requires for good health.
This recipe is made in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor – get one. It’s impossible to make really great food, including your own chopped meat for hamburger (no one should buy already ground meat from the store, unless you have a real butcher!), and so many other great dishes that you will be eating the rest of your life on Maintenance. It doesn’t have to be fancy or super-big. It should be sturdy and, with free shipping and no taxes, should definitely be purchased on Amazon. Read the reviews before you buy!
* 12 oz fresh chicken livers
* 4 oz calves liver in ONE piece (or beef if you can’t find calf)
* 4 oz rendered duck, chicken, or goose fat. Unsalted melted butter is okay if you don’t have those but it won’t taste as good. Do NOT use bacon fat, lard or suet/tallow.
* 4 oz melted UNSALTED butter, additional
* 3 oz medium-diced yellow onion
* 1 oz tomato paste
* 2 oz chicken stock (from can or bullion is fine)
* 1 large hard-boiled egg, peeled and cut in half
* 3 large egg yolks, hard-cooked (save the whites to eat with another meal if needed)
* 1 oz minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)
* 1 teaspoon fresh, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (optional)
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt or more to taste
* 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper (optional but really good)
1. Wash, drain and pat dry the livers with paper towels. Sprinkle all sides with a bit of the salt (you’ll use the rest later).
2. Dice the onion. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
3. Melt 2 oz butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the foam subsides. Sauté the onions until golden. Remove from skillet on to a plate with slotted spoon, leaving behind as much butter as possible. Scrape the onions into the food processor.
4. Add another 2 oz of butter to the skillet, still over medium, NOT high heat, and add the calves liver. Sauté for 2 minutes. Turn over and cook 1 more minute. Remove the liver to a plate and cut it. It should be pink and rosy. If it is still truly raw, return it to the skillet for no more than 1 minute, and then remove to plate. Cut into several pieces. Scrape the liver into the food processor.
5. Add the chicken livers and sauté them on one side for 3 minutes and 2 minutes on the other. Chicken livers should not touch each other or they will steam, so if your skillet is too small to handle all of them at once, do two batches. Livers should be pink and rosy inside, and NOT more done than that. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon (leaving behind as much pan dripping as you can) into a bowl, and then scrape (with any juices) into food processor.
6. Add the tomato paste, thyme and chipotle powder (if using) to the skillet, and stir until browned a bit and fragrant. Do not burn!
7. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, scraping the sides and bottom of the skillet to get up all the fond (the flavorful bits left behind by cooking), about one minute. Pour the sauce into the food processor.
8. Add the whole egg, egg yolks and parsley, the leftover salt and black pepper. Pour in a third of the 12 oz fat and pulse twice. Pour in the next third, and pulse twice. Pour in the remaining fat and pulse twice. Taste. If it needs salt — and it will taste less salty the next day, when chilled — add a bit more salt. Pulse once or twice just to mix. It should be NOT be paste, but coarsely chopped. Do not over-process!
9. IMPORTANT: Pour into a bowl set on your digital scale and weigh the entire recipe! You cannot add this to your Fitday as a custom food without knowing the total weight. It should weigh 41.7 ounces (2.6 pounds). You’ll enter it into Fitday as Total OUNCES, not pounds. Cover well and chill in the fridge overnight.
10. This makes 8 – 10 servings. The next day wrap 3 – 4 servings really well. Eat at least one/two servings (the amount depends on your particular ratios in Maintenance) and return the rest to the fridge. Eat the remaining servings within the next three days, and no longer than that!
11. Wrap the other five to seven servings well for the freezer (freezer wrap each, then put the servings in a freezer zip lock) and freeze. To eat, thaw overnight in the fridge.
Nutritional Data to enter into Fitday Custom Food for the ENTIRE RECIPE:
Header will read: Chopped Liver – 41.7 ounces
Total Fat: 467 g
Saturated Fat: 171 g
Carbohydrate: 21 g
Protein: 98 g
This means that one tenth of one serving (or .10 — which is what you would enter into Fitday if you wanted to eat 4.7 ounces on any particular day) equals:
Fat: 46.7 g
Carb: 2.1 g
Protein: 9.8 g
Three of these servings (14.1 oz) would be a perfect meal for me along with veggies and a slice or two of buttered homemade brioche. Very high in fat, very modest protein.
The Fat/Protein ratio is about 9 to 1 in terms of calories – perfect!
BEURRE BLANC — A Maintenance Recipe by SugarFree — added 3/28/2012
This is an astonishing “white” sauce, not just because it’s so delicious, but because it is one of the easiest French sauces to make. Literally, in minutes. And the only equipment you need is a non-reactive skillet and a whisk. That’s it. You can scale this recipe up by doubling or even tripling it. The only thing you cannot do is boil it (it will separate) or save it. Make just enough to eat, enjoy it, and make more tomorrow if you wish. It is superb over any fish and, as a cousin to Hollandaise, over eggs or steak and just about anything else.
The principle is the same as making mayonnaise: combining fat and water into a stable emulsion. In this case there are no egg yolks or mustard to aid the process, so an acid is used instead. And butter. Lots and lots of butter. 😀
This recipe is for a small quantity of beurre blanc, enough for one or two people.
* 2 oz dry white wine
*1 oz white wine vinegar
* 1 large shallot, very finely diced
* Optional: 1 tablespoon heavy cream
* 4 to 6 ounces of good unsalted butter, diced into ½-inch cubes and kept COLD
* Optional: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
1. Heat the wine, vinegar and shallot in a non-reactive skillet or saucepan until the liquid boils, then lower the heat and continue simmering until almost all the liquid is gone, about 5 minutes or so. There should only be about 1.5 tablespoons left.
2. Reduce the heat to low, and add the heavy cream if using. This is “insurance” for a smooth sauce. Sometimes I add it, and other times prefer the ‘bite’ of the sauce without it. Whisk well.
3. Take the butter out of the fridge and add it to the pan, one or two cubes at a time, while continuing to whisk rapidly. You don’t want the butter melting into a liquid pool, or the emulsion you’re creating will separate.
4. As the butter incorporates, add more butter and keep whisking. Continue until only a few cubes remain. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the last few cubes, and whisk a moment or two more. The sauce will be thick and smooth.
Season to taste with salt, and the lemon juice if using. Strain out the shallots if you like, or keep them in. Serve immediately.
You can play with this sauce by adding herbs, different flavor vinegars, more or less butter, and even different butters. The sauce’s flexibility is limited only by your imagination and willingness to experiment. But with all that butter . . . how can you go wrong?
SPINACH TWELVE WAYS by SugarFree — added 4/6/12
I could write some recipes, but frankly, Mark Bittman does it better, and he does it with pictures. 😀 You will need an account with the New York Times — but it’s free.
Cardoons (also: Cardones) for Maintenance or Protocol by Ariel — added 1/7/12
Cardoons look like giant, pale bunches of celery but are actually the growing stalks of artichokes, and taste like the best part of that veggie.
Though there are some fancy recipes out there, like —
http://giulianohazan.com/blog/the-secret-to-making-cardoons-tender-and-sweet-a-quick-and-easy-fall-recipe — I kept my first try simple. Just butter, salt, and parmesan cheese, because that’s how I like my artichokes. Garlic and lemon would be excellent additions!
— 5 oz cardoons/cardones
— 1 oz butter (on Maintenance or Protocol if you can have that much)
— Scant pinch of parmesan
1. Wearing kitchen gloves for safety (cardoons are related to thistle and so have tiny little thorns), scrape or slice off the edges of the stalks, then slice each stalk into 2-3 inch pieces.
2. Boil gently for 30-40 minutes, until they’re completely soft and tender; this will eliminate bitterness.
3. Saute in butter until they’re slightly more golden and delicious. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Dust a pinch of grated parmesan over the top. Enjoy!
Notes: After boiling cardoons freeze beautifully, so I recommend picking up more than one bunch and boiling up several servings at one time to save for later. They’re so hard to find in the market that when you see them, snatch them up! The Ocean Mist site has the nutritional information for the Cardoons/Cardones by themselves, but here is the info for my entire recipe (1 serving):
Calories: 232 Fat: 23 g Carbs: 7.2 g Protein: 1 g
Vegetable Template, by Booklover. Cook time about 30 minutes
Weigh and put vegetables in washing water to soak a few minutes. If making a slow cooking sauce for Maintenance such as a reduction sauce, begin it at this time.
In a large frying pan at medium low temperature, weigh and add the following:
* Meat, especially some bacon – (more than one kind of meat is great)
* On Protocol you will probably only be able to use an ounce of bacon.
* Fat – .25 ounces or so on Protocol, much more on Maintenance
* If you can get any beef tallow, lard or duck fat, these are wonderful fats!
* Onions, garlic and spices that do well with long cooking times, like sea salt
* Consult a spice book to identify long and short spice cooking times.)
– Saute everything until the meat is almost cooked.
– While the meat is slowly cooking, rinse the vegetables and pat dry.
– Chop the veggies. Chop first the foods that take the longest cooking times. This would include stems such as broccoli and roots like potatoes. Even kale stems can be eaten.
– Add the stems and roots to the pan. Be sure to add some more sea salt to taste.
On Protocol this is the time to add two ounces of stock. I prefer chicken. Use what you like. There won’t be enough fat to finish sautéing the meal so now switch over to steaming. This step is not needed in Maintenance.
Dry and break up all the leaves and veggies with shorter cooking times. Add this second set of veggies to the pan. Now cover the pan to allow the steam to work. Check on the food every 5 minutes. It usually takes 5-10 minutes to steam.
On Maintenance at this point you could be making a nice cheese sauce with heavy cream and a cheese you like.
On Protocol or Maintenance you could also break the cheese into small pieces and put the cheese in the pan while steaming or sautéing. You could also add the cheese when it’s finished cooking.
Parmesan cheese works well on Protocol because it has more protein. Cream cheese or almost any cheese works great on Maintenance.
On Maintenance at the end of the cooking time, I add lots of butter. Butter and olive oil have low smoke points so I prefer not to cook with them.
There are endless variations even though this template is pretty basic. Hopefully it will be a starting point for someone.
Homemade Fermented Mayonnaise
Unlike regular homemade mayo that only lasts a few days in the fridge, this mayonnaise is slightly fermented and will last for a month or so in the refrigerator. The choice of oil for mayo is crucial. But if you don’t use soybean or vegetable oils (PUFAs) — and you shouldn’t — what’s left?
I now use a combo of macadamia oil (with wonderful metabolic properties!) as 1/4 to 1/3 of the total because of the cost, and light olive oil, both of which are perfect for mayo. Coconut Oil won’t work because as soon as it gets in the fridge it hardens, and all olive oil provides too much flavor in this case. Mayo should be a behind-the-scenes player, not up front and center.
This can be made in minutes in a food processor that has a whipping attachment. Or in a blender. Or with a stick blender used in a long narrow container. Or with a standing or hand-held mixer — or even with a whisk, though that takes a bit longer. However you make it — once you’ve had it you will never go back to store-bought.
TIP: Buy a plastic squeeze bottle that holds 16 ounces and pour your oil into it before making the mayo. It make adding the oil drop by drop — as must be done initially — a breeze. If it’s dishwasher safe, even better.
** ALL ingredients must be at room temperature!
— 2 cups of good oil
— 2 egg yolks, preferably pastured
— 1 tablespoon kosher salt; more to taste
— 1 teaspoon of dry mustard or Grey Poupon
— Pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder
— 2 or more tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
— 1 or more tablespoons of vinegar. I use a mix of plain, rice wine, coconut, and apple cider vinegars. Make a mix you enjoy, or use just one.
— 1 drop of liquid sucralose
— 1 or 2 tablespoons of whey from yogurt.
If you make your own yogurt, save the whey you drain from it when you make ‘yogurt cheese’. If not, buy a small cup of plain unflavored organic yogurt. Pour it into a fine sieve balanced over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning, the whey will be in the bowl and you’ll have delicious ‘yogurt cheese’ in the sieve.
1. If making in a food processor with a whipping attachment, add both egg yolks, salt, mustard, pinch cayenne or chipotle powder, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
2. Process until you see an emulsion form, about 10 or 15 seconds.
3. With the processor running, squeeze in a few drops of oil, drop by drop. Drip in more oil until you see the emulsion ‘taking’ the oil. Then squeeze in the oil in a small stream, not too fast.
4. After half the oil is in, stop the processor and add another tablespoon of lemon juice. With the processor running, add another half cup of oil, then taste for seasoning. Add salt and/or a bit more vinegar or lemon juice or both, plus the 1 drop of liquid sucralose.
5. With processor running, add the remaining oil and the whey. Taste for seasoning and thickness of mayo. If it’s too thick, add more lemon juice or even water if you like. The entire process will take less than 10 minutes.
6. Spoon into a very clean glass jar. Let the jar sit out at room temperature for at least 8 hours, or up to 12 hours. Do NOT put it in the fridge at this point, or the good bacteria in the whey cannot populate the jar.
7. After 8 hours (or overnight) refrigerate.
Wisconsin Broccoli Cheese Soup — Maintenance Phase — by Trish
• 16 oz. chopped broccoli
• 8 oz. water
• 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (I use gluten-free)
• 2 oz. chopped onion
• 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter (I use Pastured)
• 1 oz. all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 16 oz. heavy cream
• 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine broccoli, water, and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, cook onion in butter over medium heat until onion is translucent. Stir in flour and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in cream. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the Cheddar cheese until melted.
3. Add in the reserved broccoli and its cooking liquid. If you want a creamy rather than chunky soup, use a hand-blender. Heat thoroughly and serve.
Nutrition Information for entire recipe:
Fat: 300 g
Carbs: 42 g
Protein: 72 g
Kale Chips – Protocol and Maintenance Phase – by Jazmine 4/24/12
• 1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces (yields 6-8 oz)
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (flavored salts are also good)
1. Position racks in upper third and center of oven; pre-heat to 400°F.
2. If kale is wet, use a salad spinner and/or very thoroughly pat dry with a clean kitchen towel; transfer to a large bowl.
3. Drizzle the kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage the oil and salt onto the kale leaves with your hands to evenly coat the leaves.
4. Fill 2 large rimmed baking sheets with a layer of kale on each, making sure the leaves don’t overlap. If the kale won’t all fit, make the chips in batches. Overlapping kale will not crisp as well.
5. Bake until most of the leaves are crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. If baking on just one sheet, start checking after 8 minutes to prevent burning.
6. If your menu allows, sprinkle 1 oz of grated Parmesan, Asiago, or any hard cheese on the baked chips immediately after removing them from oven. Or before the kale goes in the oven if you prefer to toast the cheese. Best when eaten immediately. Enjoy!
Nutrition info to add to Fitday: Weight: 9 ounces.
Calories: 352 Fat: 23 g Carbs: 24 g Protein: 18 g