White bean pancakes with maple syrup

23 10 2009

First the brownies, then the savory black bean pancakes, clearly it was only a matter of time until I crossed into more dangerous territory. But cross over I did. As a diabetic one of the things I really miss are pancakes on a weekend morning. I have some low carb baking mix, but I really do try and steer clear of ‘franken foods’ and limit the fake stuff to Splenda and sugar alcohols. I think it’s best to use foods that you recognize with names you can pronounce when at all possible! So all the bean experimenting got me thinking, why not try using white beans to make a pancake batter??

I know, it’s scary, but stick with me here. I promise it all turns out in the end.

Obviously the main thing about using beans is to overcome the beany flavor. With the brownies this is achieved by using the cocoa powder and instant coffee. With the savory pancakes there is no need to eliminate the beaniness because it just works. But for pancakes? The kind you give your kids with syrup?? Well, that just goes without saying that beany flavored pancakes might scar them indefinitely and could come up in therapy later on in life. So with the goal clearly defined, I set about fulfilling my bean pancake dream. I started with a can of white beans, drained them and rinsed the VERY well:

Be sure to rinse them well!

Be sure to rinse them well!

After I rinsed them I put them in a small mixing bowl and added 2 eggs, a full tablespoon of vanilla, a splash of almond extract, a tablespoon of melted butter, 3 tablespoons of Splenda and half a teaspoon of baking powder. Used the old stick blender to make it into a pancake looking batter:

Beans, 2 eggs, 1 tbl vanilla, Tbl melted butter, tsp baking powder, 3Tbl Splenda

Beans, 2 eggs, 1 tbl vanilla, Tbl melted butter, tsp baking powder, 3Tbl Splenda

At this point I was encouraged that it actually did LOOK like pancake batter. So, I heated up the skillet and put about 2 tablespoons of the batter in the middle and waited for it to bubble, which we all know is the international sign of a pancake being ready to flip…obviously:

ready to flip

ready to flip

So, I flipped it and lo and behold, it LOOKED like a pancake:

nice and golden

nice and golden

I proceeded to make 3 more so I could have myself a little short stack and I must admit, my anticipation was growing. I mean, how great would it be if these actually could pass as pancakes??? Finally, the stack was complete and the moment of truth had arrived:

the short stack

the short stack

I put a dollop of butter on top and covered them with my sugar free maple syrup and dug in:

the moment of truth

the moment of truth

Seriously. Good.

I know you must think I make this stuff up, but no, really, these are so good! The maple syrup helped facilitate the whole pancake farce, but these WORK! These work for diabetics. These work for those of you who are gluten free and these work for us who are eating low carb! I think your kids would like them. I think YOU would like them. After I took a bite, I gave some to Christopher and even he liked them!  There were no angels singing the Hallelujah chorus, but it was close.

White bean pancakes with maple syrup:

Shockingly good!

Shockingly good!

Once again, I have been blown away by the humble bean.

Advertisements




Black bean pancakes and an egg poached in plastic wrap!

22 10 2009

I always find it fascinating when my mind is opened up to new culinary possibilities. A year ago I would never have believed that I could make brownies out of black beans. It took a long time for me to get my head around it, but once I did, those brownies became one of the certain things that make my low carb lifestyle sustainable! So I was thinking, if I can make brownies out of beans, why not pancakes?? That’s not that big of a leap really. Well, maybe it is a leap, so I decided to start out with savory pancakes. I really love the yolks in fried eggs, but I MUST have toast to soak them up with. If I don’t have something spongy to soak them up they kind of gross me out. So eating low carb, I usually just have scrambled eggs since bread isn’t really part of the low carb repetoire. So, I made the black bean pancake batter pretty much the same way I make the brownie batter. Just a can of black beans drained and rinsed, 2 eggs, a heaping teaspoon of baking powder. I also added some salt and some cumin:

black bean pancake batter

black bean pancake batter

Lately here at casa de Foss we have been watching ‘Top Chef’. Now I don’t know about you, but watching cooking shows always makes me a bit cocky. I have no idea why. I just am always left with a ‘I bet I could do that’ feeling, which in reality, is really quite delusional. Regardless, someone made a poached egg on the show and I thought, ‘huh, I could do that!’. I’ve never made a poached egg, but really, how hard can it be?? I googled ‘How to poach an egg’ and got about 5000 different methods. Sheesh. Luckily the third link I clicked on was written by someone with my kind of sentiments and his solution was to just put the egg in saranwrap and plop it in the boiling water. BRILLIANT! I’m sure in the upper eschelons of cookery this is considered the ‘trashy’ method of egg poaching, but really, I don’t hang out in those upper eschelons, so it doesn’t matter. To poach an egg this way, line a small container with plastic wrap and crack the egg into it:

the egg in the plastic wrap

the egg in the plastic wrap

Then, pick it up and twist the wrap to make it secure. Maybe tie a little knot:

Twisted and ready to plop in the water

Twisted and ready to plop in the water

Then, just drop it into the boiling water:

poaching away

poaching away

Meanwhile, I drizzled some olive oil into a pan and spooned about 2 tablespoons of the bean batter into it:

looking rather pancakey

looking rather pancakey

It was frying up beautifully and holding together very well. I kept an eye on my plastic wrapped egg, but really, hadn’t the foggiest idea of how long to cook it for so I can’t really tell you if you are planning your own plastic wrap poached egg production. You just have to eyeball it and trust your egg instincts. And with my trusty slotted spoon, I lifted it out of the boiling water:

And out it comes

And out it comes

By now the pancakes were done and I decided on a Mexican themed breakfast: Blackbean pancakes with poached egg, bacon, sourcream and salsa. I tried to unwrap the egg, but it was very hot, so I resorted to scissors and just cut the top off and put it on top of the pancake:

Not too bad for an egg poached in plastic wrap

Not too bad for an egg poached in plastic wrap

And added my various condiments:

A perfect low carb, gluten free breakfast!

A perfect low carb, gluten free breakfast!

I took my first bite with gusto and high expectations and I was not let down! The egg was poached perfectly and didn’t have any pesky plastic wrap bits and the pancake absorbed the yummy yolk splendidly! It really was a delicious breakfast:

beany, eggy goodness...

beany, eggy goodness...

So, the bean revolution continues. I mean, really, who knew there were so many good things to be made with the humble bean?





Best Spring Salad. Ever. Spinach, Strawberries and Feta.

6 05 2009

I love it when Spring finally arrives in Norway. It usually happens around my birthday, May 1. That’s pretty late when you are from Houston where spring starts sometime in December. Needless to say, when the days start getting longer and warmer, I start changing my menus. Around this time in Norway, we start getting strawberries from Spain. They are pretty good, not as good as the Norwegian ones of course, but they do the job. My berry buying frenzy begins in April and goes through July. At this point, we have already had strawberry shortcake several times in the last week, and as you already know, countless number of berry cobblers!

I first discovered the Spinach Strawberry salad a few years ago. It really is an amazing salad. The sweetness of the strawberries is a perfect balance to the saltiness of the Feta. You really cannot go wrong. Unless of course you just don’t like spinach, strawberries or Feta, then I suppose that yes, you could go wrong with this salad.

As usual, if you go to Recipezaar, you will find many recipes for the salad, I have adapted the one we use to fit nicely into my diabetic lifestyle. So here is what you will need:

1 pack of baby spinach (fresh)

1 pint of strawberries

a hunk of Feta (the more fat the better)

a handful of toasted nuts. I used pine nuts and almond slivers

thinly sliced red onion

For the dressing:

a few TBL of red wine vinegar (or raspberry)

1/3 cup of canola oil

1 tsp of dried mustard powder

Splenda to taste

Throw it into a jar and shake it really well.

That’s it. The salad is beautiful and comes together in such a pretty way:

beautiful colors

beautiful colors

Adding the onion and toasted nuts

Adding the onion and toasted nuts

Toss it with the dressing

Toss it with the dressing

Enjoy!!

Enjoy!!

I hope some of you decide to make this! It truly has become one of our favorites and a spring/summer standby here in our house!





the one where we tackle mushroom, asparagus risotto

28 04 2009

I had one of those days where I got the idea that I really needed to have risotto for dinner. I’m not sure why, as I have not had a lot of risotto in my day and have no particular reason to be craving it, but alas, I was. I’ve never tried to make risotto before, mostly because I have heard that it takes ALOT of stirring.

Incessant stirring.

And we all know that patience in the kitchen is not one of my strong points, but I was feeling up for a challenge, so I consulted my good friend Recipezaar for a recipe. I settled on a basic risotto recipe which just so happened to be award winning and decided I could add whatever I wanted to that basic recipe. I chose mushrooms and asparagus:

Start with mushrooms, asparagus, onion and garlic

Start with mushrooms, asparagus, onion and garlic

Next, I melted a few tablespoons of butter in a large pan and sauteed some onion, garlic and the mushrooms until they were soft:

sautee the onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter

sautee the onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter

After about 4 minutes add the risotto rice, I used Arborio rice, and sautee that for about 5 minutes. Now, I’m not sure of all of the hard and fast rules of what kind of rice to use and when, but I am pretty sure you need to use a short grained rice to make risotto. Your Uncle Bens instant will not work here. So, add the rice and stir it for a bit and it will start to get a nutty smell and begin to turn golden:

add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes before adding broth

add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes before adding broth

Now comes the super fun part of slowly adding the broth and stirring constantly. You will know you are making risotto the right way when:

1. your arm feels like it may drop off

2. your husband keeps asking every 5 minutes if it’s done already

I didn’t take pictures of the adding the broth part cause I couldn’t reach the camera and I was under strict instructions to NOT STOP STIRRING, even for a moment. So, the next shot I was able to get was at the add the parmesean phase:

Adding about a cup of fresh parmesean

Adding about a cup of fresh parmesean

I added the asparagus when I added the parmesean so that it wouldn’t get mushy and just stirred everything until the parmesean was incorporated and fully melted:

just about ready to eat

just about ready to eat

That’s it! Dish it up and you have a delicious risotto that will only take you a little over an hour to make! So, yea, it’s NOT a quick dish to get on the table, but the flavors are excellent and you can’t beat the creamy texture that the slow adding of the broth brings about. Very tasty:

dinner is ready

dinner is ready

Yummy, ricey, creamy goodness:

bite-of-risotto





My daily breakfast obsession

27 04 2009

My breakfasts of late have become rather monotonous really due to the fact that I am obsessed with grilled cheese. I had my breakfast taco phase, but that was paltry in comparison, only lasting 1 week. My grilled cheese kick has been going on for well over a month now and is showing no signs of slowing. Every single morning in the beautiful diabetic house, there is a grilled cheese sandwich to be had:

grilled-cheeseI have perfected the art of the grilled cheese. I use a good bread and REAL butter, yet for some sick reason, I remain partial to the Kraft singles. I have some fabulous white cheddar and a great aged Gouda, but the fake orangey, yellow cheese wins out every time. I sometimes sing the Velveeta song when I made the sandwich even though I don’t have any velveeta here. It’s weird.

So, the grilled cheese is a given. The other parts of my breakfast are open for discussion, but 99.9 percent of the time it’s either a scrambled egg OR fruit and yogurt. Lately the the fruit and yogurt has been winning out. Today, it was Turkish yogurt and blackberries and strawberries:

berries-and-yogurtNow for the disclaimer. I want to take this opportunity to warn those of you who have never had Greek or Turkish yogurt. Once you have it, you will forever resent the fat free, chemically enhanced crap that we are force fed by the skinny mafia day in and day out. Sure Dannon and Yoplait have their place, but that place is just miles away from what I am telling you about here today. When you have Greek or Turkish yogurt, you will know, instantly, that you have been missing out on something all these years. It is thick. It is creamy. It is rich. It is NOT fat free. It fits great into my low carb diet, as it is pretty low carb. (I believe FAGE makes a low fat Greek yogurt that is fairly decent.) The yogurt I buy comes plain. I sweeten it with a little Splenda and sometimes use some vanilla extract to give it some pizazz. This is decadence, but in a good and healthy way. Your body will love you for eating it, unless of course you are lactose intolerant…

Seriously. Go find it and partake in its goodness:

yogurt-bite





Cobbler Confession

26 04 2009

Hello, my name is Kathryn and I am a cobbler addict. I don’t know why I have gotten ants in my pants for cobbler this week, but as of 20 minutes ago, I have made THREE in the span of 5 days. Mayhap being pregnant has triggered something in me that wants to pull up the past, because cobbler is one of those things that I have very strong childhood memories of. I remember spending hours picking blackberries in East Texas and returning with buckets of them, stained fingers and more than our fair share of scratches from thorns. I remember the smell of the blackberries when you stumbled upon a patch of them and the excitement of tumbling out of the car with my sisters with the hope that this patch would have the biggest and sweetest ones yet. And finally, I remember my great grandmother making us a cobbler out of the berries. The perfect conclusion to a day of hard work. Cobbler is one of those things that is so delicious, yet so simple. Any fresh fruit will do, but I am partial to blackberries and the occaisional peach:

blackberries

With any cobbler, the first step is washing and if necessary, cutting up,  the fruit and putting it in a mixing bowl. To the bowl add about 1/2 a cup of sugar, mix it together and set it aside. Obviously here at the beautiful diabetic, we try not to use too much refined sugar, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. When making cobblers you NEED that syrup that forms when the sugar and pectin interact and Splenda and other fake sugars, just don’t cut it. Half a cup of sugar in the grand scheme of the recipe isn’t alot and won’t have too much impact on your blood sugar. Here are the peaches after about 30 minutes of co-mingling with the sugar:

peaches

And here are the blackberries:blackberry syrup

Cobbler is one of those things that really is super simple to make. If you are easily intimidated by baking, this is a great place for you start. For the cakey part of the cobbler, melt about a 1/2 cup of butter in a medium sized casserole. To this, add 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, a dash of salt, 2 or 3 tablespoons of Splenda (or other non sugar sweetner) and a cup of milk. Simple huh?? Mix it all together and then spoon your fruit onto the top of it:

spooning-into-batter

Don’t mix it together! The dough will rise up through the fruit as it bakes. Pop it into the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so (your oven will vary, as I use a convection oven) and keep an eye on it. You are waiting for the batter to come through the fruit and start turning golden brown:

peach-in-oven

That’s it. Take it out. You have cobbler! Serve it hot with vanilla ice cream or whip cream. This is the peach:

peach-on-plate

The blackberry:black-bite

Now, can you blame me for making THREE of these this week?

perfect-peachy-bite





Amazing low(ish) carb and gluten free Peanut Butter cookies!

22 04 2009

Pardon me while I dust away the cobwebs around here, it seems as though I just abandoned the blog sometime in February. For that, I apologize. This whole gestating experience has been fairly all consuming! My doctor has put me on a sick leave for the remaining of my pregnancy until my maternity leave starts, so I find myself with time on my hands. I don’t do particularly well with time on my hands, but this morning I found myself itching to be the beautiful diabetic and endeavored to create something blog worthy in the kitchen! Read the rest of this entry »