I am a Type 2 diabetic who has to worry about his blood glucose levels nearly all the time. This is especially hard on me since I LOVE good crusty bread. The other fact of life is that almost every standard breakfast item is a carb loaded things; cereal, toast, breakfast potatoes.
Eggs are fine but you end up having to cook them. The other thing about eggs is that unless you do something to them the standard egg preps tend to get bland. The biggest issue for me is that I don’t want to turn on the stove every morning to make something with eggs that would fulfill the low carb criterion.
I started doing this a week ago and this has worked out OK. Make little egg frittatas and store them in the fridge. They should be fine for a week (from the USDA). Add whatever bits needed to make them flavourful and your imagination is the limit on what you want to put in them. For this one I went with Spinach, Garlic and nutmeg.
Let me pontificate a bit here. The reason everybody reaches for the Cholula hot sauce or tabasco or Sriracha or whatever version of the sauce sitting on the table or even smother the version of egg you have in front of you with salt and pepper is the one glaring missing ingredient in the eggs that we as humans crave in almost all of our dishes, “ACID”. If we think about it almost all of our food is acidic in nature. So take care of that when making these eggs.
- 4 large brown or 3 jumbo brown eggs (the fresher the better)
- 2 Tbsp half and half (milk is fine too, half and half is a little richer)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper. I love substituting regular black pepper with Aleppo pepper… Try it sometime, there is smoky sweetness to it that is just amazing. It is a bit like an Ancho without the harsh note associated with powdered Ancho chili.
- ½ packet of thawed frozen young spinach chopped up fairly fine
- ½ medium onion diced fine
- 2 cloves are Garlic smashed and chopped fine
- 1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
- Melt a pat of butter in a non stick skillet over medium heat with a dash of vegetable oil (the oil raises the smoke point of the mixture in the pan and will prevent the butter from burning)
- Saute the onions until they are translucent
- Add the garlic and after 45 seconds or so add the spinach to the pan and continue sauteing. Take care not to burn the garlic; burnt garlic is bitter!!!
- Season with salt and pepper and optionally add a couple of grates of nutmeg. Spinach loves nutmeg!
- Once the spinach is cooked through, add the vinegar and mix it well and take it off the heat and let it cook.
- Break the eggs into a non reactive bowl and whisk them with the half and half really well. As you whisk you will see the colour homogenizing and actually starting to lighten. Time to stop whisking.
- Season the eggs with salt and pepper (be generous with the pepper, it needs it) and scrape the cooked and cooled vegetables into the egg. Use a rubber spatula and get all of it including the liquid which has the acidity you are looking for. Mix well with the spatula.
- Pour the mixture into buttered or oiled (I use the vegetable spray) muffin pans. Fill it about ¾ of the way
- Bake about 10-15 minutes in a 350° F oven (just for fun, I believe it is Gas mark 4!!! 🤣 ) until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Optionally top it with some cheese and continue for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. If you do this fill it ⅔ of the way in the muffin pan rather than ¾.
- Cool, remove from the muffin pan and cool on cooling rack for another 15 minutes and store in the fridge.
- Microwave 30 seconds or so on high to eat when you pull it out of a fridge.
Sky is the limit of what you want to add into the eggs. Peppers and Onions or whatever you choose to add to your omelettes or scrambled eggs can go in here. Be careful with tomatoes since they add a bunch of liquid and will thin out the eggs as well as leave pockets of moisture. I like partially dried tomatoes by sticking them in the oven to remove about 2/3 of their moisture or use sun dried tomatoes.
Pho, a deep rich umami laden Vietnamese Soup that eats like a meal. It consists of a broth either beef or chicken, prepared from the usual starting point of almost all broths, roasted bones. But then the charred onions, with roasted spices like Cinnamon and Star Anise as well as the sweetness from some Rock candy” and a bunch of charred as well as dried Shiitake mushrooms takes it from a standard boring Beef Broth or Chicken broth into the realm of “Divinely rich”.
Start with the Beef broth, ladle it real hot over some rice noodles and a beef cut of your choice, garnish with a bunch of things at the table and you have a beef based meal. The condiments generally include Thai Basil, sliced Bird’s eye Chili (Chilé de Arbol is the closest in flavour), Wedges of Lime, Bean Sprouts and Cilantro. There is always some of the Chili sauce on the table to give it more of a kick if you prefer and the sweetish fermented bean paste. The common versions are “Pho tai” with thinly sliced tenderloin or rib eye (they stay rare since the only cooking they see is from the super hot broth poured over them), “Pho bo chin” with well done, Flank steak or Brisket, “Pho nam” with Flank steak and “Pho gau” with fatty brisket meat. For the more adventurous of you, you can always try “Pho sach” with tripe and “Pho gan” with tendon.
Start with chicken broth and you end up with “Pho ga”; let me just say this isn’t your boring chicken soup…
A couple of years ago, while visiting Gillian at UMass Amherst and eating at Berkshire (it may have been Hampshire) dining hall, I sampled their version of a vegetarian Pho. A vegetable broth with a very mild curry flavour (almost like the chef was afraid of the curry powder) with Tofu for protein. I decided I wanted to make a Pho but not Pho and go the Thai route, almost a Chicken Tom Yum.
Here is what I came up with and it actually worked.
- 4 Stalks of Lemon Grass
- 1 ½ cups of Basil with the thin stems included
- 1 cup of Cilantro
- 2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
- ¼ cup Tamari
- 2 ½ – 3 Tbsp Grated Galanga (Substitute with 2 Tbsp grated Ginger)
- 1 can of Cocunut Milk
- 2 Thai bird chilis
- 1 lb chicken tenders membranes removed and cut into bite sized chunks
- ½ cup Broccoli Florets
- ½ cup cut green Beans
- ¼ cup sliced red onions
- ¼ cup sliced Red Bell Peppers
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves (Optional); Use 2 tsp of lime juice instead
- Cooked Brown Rice
- matchstick sliced Carrots
- Bean Sprouts
- Thinly sliced Scallions
- matchstick sliced Daikon radish
- Bang the Lemon grass stalks with the back of the heavy bladed knife to loosen it up and then chop it into rounds about ¼” or thinner
- Boil 3 cups of water and pour over the chopped lemon grass in a pot and steep 20 minutes.
- While it is steeping, Add all of the ingredients for the broth with the exception of the coconut milk into a blender.
- Add half of the steeped Lemon grass tea and about half the can of coconut mil in the blender. Remember to strain the lemon grass tea through a wire strainer (you don’t need the woody stalks)
- Blend well; you need it to be as smooth as possible. Add a little extra of the lemon grass teas as needed to make the blending easier.
- Strain the blended liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into a pot. Use the lemon grass tea to wash out the blender and strain through the strainer with the extra coconut milk.
- Add the chopped chick to the strained broth and season well. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the Broccoli, green beans, bell peppers and the onions to the pot together with either the lime leaves or the lime juice and continue simmering for another 8-10 minutes.
- Ladle hot into bowls and garnish with the Garnish Ingredients as well as a scoop of cooked Brown rice.