Sugar-Free Crème Brûlée

This sugar-free diet is becoming easier as I discover better ingredients and learn new methods of baking and cooking. After many attempts in making sweet treats that are keto-friendly, I have finally discovered and now praise Swerve sweetener.

Truvia and Stevia have a terrible aftertaste and Splenda (sucralose) is straight up rat poison. Not to mention, things like xylitol, sucralose, and aspartame all just cause you to crave more sweets. The whole point of this diet is to strictly limit food intake and to cut cravings.

Swerve sweetener is erythritol, which has a glycemic index of zero. Therefore, it does not cause insulin spikes nor cravings after consuming it. My favorite part of using this sweetener is that it tastes amazing and measures just like sugar, though I prefer to use a little less than the recommended sugar measurements.

Amazingly, Swerve sweetener crystalizes like sugar. After accidentally making this discovery, I decided that sugar-free crème brûlée was a must.

To make this recipe happen, be sure you have six-8 ounce ramekins and a torch.




  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with pulp scraped out
  • 1 cup granulated Swerve sweetener
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • hot water


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add the cream, vanilla bean, and pulp.
  • Once it starts to boil, remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with (just under) 1/2 a cup of Swerve sweetener.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Then add the cream to the eggs a little at a time, continually stirring.
  • Pour the liquid into six-8 ounce ramekins.
  • Line the ramekins in a glass baking pan and add the hot water half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the mixture sets.
  • Remove from the baking pan, and refrigerate for at least two hours (no more than 3 days).
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, add about a tablespoon of sweetener and distribute evenly on top of the crème brûlée, torch the sweetener until light brown.
  • Put it back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 25 minutes.
  • Then, enjoy! It’s amazing how the top resembles real torched sugar.

IMG_7845Before Torching

Fundraiser Event & Tortilla Soup

Family, Friends, and Fans of Dutch Lovin’,

I’ve been given the opportunity to lend my culinary skills to Austin Achieve Public Schools, a tuition-free, open enrollment public charter school preparing East Austin youth to attend and excel at top universities. In early November, they are hosting a fundraiser called “Maze”, an interactive event presenting culinary artists and mixologists from Austin. The event will include a maze, where visitors will navigate a series of rooms featuring a seven-course, bite-sized tasting. To learn more about tickets and sponsorships, please click here.


As a featured chef, I will be sharing my popular Tortilla Soup. This is an event you do not want to miss. Not only will your purchase of a ticket go to a great cause, but you will get to eat my Tortilla Soup, too. People have begged for this recipe and/or faked being sick just so I would make it for them. If you are one of the lucky ones, you have tried this hearty soup before. I am so excited to have the opportunity to give back to the Austin community and I hope to see your face there!

DL's Tortilla Soup

Photo Credit: Jerrid Williams

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

At the end of May, my boyfriend and I started the ketogenic diet. As a foodie, this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The keto diet is strictly high-fat/high-protein, but limits you on just about everything else, including vegetables. Oh, you like fruit? Too bad! No fruit for you, except maybe 2-3 strawberries a day. UGH! Regardless, this lifestyle change is working out. We have both seen significant and positive changes with our overall health. However, my cooking brain has had to shift gears in a major way.

Now, I want to talk (rant) about cauliflower. I hate cauliflower. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst vegetables in existence. Understandably, cauliflower is used as an impostor for pizza crust, “rice”, mashed “potatoes”, and the list goes on. From what I can recall, my most favorite cauliflower dishes have been the Gobi Manchurian from Asiana Indian Cuisine in South Austin and the Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup from Snack Bar on South Congress in Austin, and that’s about it. I have had cauliflower in many other forms, and most of the time, I just don’t like it at all.

I am not a fan of this particular crust, because I can still taste cauliflower. So, why am I even sharing this recipe? Well, I have a refined palate, one that is picky for taste. Just because I don’t like something, doesn’t mean that the next person is incapable of appreciating it. What this really comes down to is that I miss bread — I used to love making homemade pizza dough. Cauliflower does not have me fooled in the least bit.

I am sharing my version of this recipe because even the buzzfeed video for making cauliflower pizza crust doesn’t share the extra step that I take to make the crust. GET YOURSELF SOME CHEESECLOTH! <– This is the big secret!

The first couple of times I tried the cauliflower crust, there was too much moisture. On my first attempt, I steamed the cauliflower, then pulverized it in my ninja blender. The second time, I just blended the raw cauliflower and then put the recipe together. Both times, the crust did not crisp up, the bites were soft, and didn’t resemble a crispy pizza crust in the least bit. Needless to say, by the third time I tried this recipe, just adding in the cheesecloth method helped tremendously.


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes for final pizza

Makes: 2 Personal Pizza Crusts


  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3/4 cup shredded pizza blend cheese (Mozzarella, Asiago, Parmesan, and Smoked Provolone)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Break up the cauliflower and put the florets in a blender or food processor, pulverize into fine pieces.
  • Place the cauliflower in the center of the cheesecloth, bundle up the rest of the cloth around, and squeeze out as much moisture from the cauliflower as possible.
  • In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and incorporate together.
  • On a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I use a silpat), divide the batter into two halves and place on the baking sheet into two flat circles.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, add your sauce and toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

After 20 minutes of baking:


After another 10 minutes of baking with the toppings on:


Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles

It’s my birthday month, I will be 30 on the 30th! Neat, right? Which brings me to this, my brother, Lawrence, was in town a few weeks ago and bought me a spiralizer as a very early birthday gift. I couldn’t be more thankful, because now I can make “zoodles” (zucchini noodles).

In an effort to become healthier, I have changed my entire diet. So, the blog will reflect some interesting recipes. For the most part, eating now is so boring. I can’t eat beans, bread, pasta, sugar, and most fruits — it’s insane, especially for me. However, because of the changes in my diet, it has required me to get a little more creative, in different ways — so, challenge accepted.

Since I am on a high-fat/high-protein diet, I added some heavy cream to this recipe, which is not something you typically find in most scampi recipes.

Zoodle Scampi

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 zucchinis, made into zoodles
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • juice from half a lemon
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning (optional, for some spice)


  • In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil.
  • Add shallots, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Stir occasionally until shallots become translucent.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, or until all of the shrimp are red.
  • Add the zoodles and mix everything together.
  • Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, lemon juice, cheese, and spices. Stir to incorporate, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a boil.
  • Once it comes to a boil, drop the heat to medium-low, and cover with the lid for 5-10 minutes.
  • When it’s done, transfer to a bowl or a deep plate and garnish with more parmesan cheese (something I forgot to do).

Europe, French Fries, and Mussels – Oh My!

Back in September, my mom and I went to Europe to visit with some family friends. My parents were newlyweds when they met Tammo in Houston, Texas (circa 1981), and they all worked together. Tammo was homeless, because of some unfortunate circumstances upon his arrival in Houston from The Netherlands. My mother asked Tammo to come stay with them in their one-bedroom house.

Long story short, they helped Tammo get back on his feet and he eventually went back to The Netherlands. When he returned, he got married and had two boys. The boys are four years apart and the oldest is just a year and some change younger than me. At a very young age, I remember when Odji and Gitchy would send us drawings and Tammo always wrote letters and sent photos.

During the summer of 2006, I had the privilege of meeting our life-long pen pals when I was in Europe for my study abroad in Spain. After the 5-week long study abroad, I took my friend Michelle with me to The Netherlands to meet them. The visit was short, we spent one night and day in Amsterdam and stayed with Tammo and his family in Warffum for four more days.

1927719_512536865147_4123_n[Left to Right: Gitchy, Tammo, Me, Michelle, and Odji – Amsterdam, June 2006]

I often laugh that my website is called “Dutch Lovin’,” because it works for many reasons. I definitely love my Dutch friends, but I also love Dutch ovens, as in the cooking utensil. Clarification is nice sometimes. ;)

IMG_0477[This is Tammo preparing breakfast in Wimereux, France. That’s fresh-squeezed orange juice he made for us. Thanks for spoiling us, Tammo. September 2014]

Making the trip to Europe with Mom this past September was long overdue. It was 33 years since Mom and Tammo had even seen each other. Obviously, they had a lot of catching up to do.

The trip was a culinary experience for me, because FRANCE!!! Ready to indulge in the culinary treasures of France, we spent about a week in The Netherlands and a week in North France. Having Tammo there was the best! One day, in Wimereux, he made “Suquet” and called me a pussy (I laughed my ass off), because I couldn’t help him finish off the rest of the soup. Sorry, Tammo, I was too busy filling myself up on French fries beforehand, or as they call them in France, “frites”.

IMG_9924[Second day in France, we were about to check-in to our apartment in Wimereux. First time I ever ate French fries in France. September 2014]

Tammo always told my mom that he wanted to take her to France. Not only did she love it, but she also made me so proud. Mom ate so many things that she had never tried before, including duck, veal, mussels, African food, and the list goes on. There were a few times where I had to tell her, “Don’t be a wimp, Mom.” This is also why Tammo called me a pussy, because I kept calling Mom a wimp.

Now, let’s talk about mussels and French fries, better known as “la moule-frite” in France. Before we got there, Tammo told me that in Lille, France they love their moule-frite. Already a fan of mussels, trying la moule-frite was one of the things I anticipated the most.

IMG_0568[September 2014]

First of all, let me admit to how much I just love mayonnaise. Tosh.O has a joke where he makes fun of people that dip their fries in ranch dressing. He says that it’s disgusting, because it’s one step away from dipping with just straight mayonnaise. I am guilty of this, I love dipping fries in ranch dressing and if it were socially acceptable in the U.S., I would dip my fries in mayo all the time. No shame here!

Needless to say, I was hungry and seated at an Italian restaurant in Lille on my third day in France when they placed my moule-frite in front of me with a side of mayo for dipping my fries. I was in heaven! Seriously, look at that face and the sun was shining through like I was Jesus.

foto (27)[Me with my first moule-frite. September 2014]

IMG_0040[Here is my view of the feast! September 2014]

I am positive that this was Mom’s first time trying mussels. I need to get her out more, because it was tasty and she didn’t seem to object.

IMG_0624[Here is another moule-frite I had on my last night in Wimereux, France. September 2014]

IMG_0248[Finally, here is a photo of a salad that came with fries at Restaurant de la Haute Ville in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. September 2014]

It’s no wonder that as Americans we call them “French fries.” The French really do love them and will serve them with just about anything. It’s funny, because Bob (my boss) told me that he was at a U.S. airport restaurant and the salad he ordered came with fries in the salad. He and I both talked about how that was a strange concept. It wasn’t until I got this salad in France that I realized it’s just a normal French thing to do and not a bad idea at all. This was a decadent salad, it had herring and a citrus dressing that just worked so well with the fries.

I have a lot more food photos to share from my trip to Europe. We ate out a lot, but I feel like we definitely did our fair share of cooking as well. I enjoyed cooking with Tammo, because I learned a few things from him and everything was so delicious. One thing is certain though, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl. After being there for two weeks, the only thing I really missed was breakfast tacos.

Beef Stew

This is a very hearty stew. It’s hearty in the sense that I like to use more vegetables than meat, it’s better for you and I am a sucker for cooked carrots. Feel free to add more meat to this recipe and cut back on veggies, if that is what you fancy.

There are a lot of ingredients here, but trust that this recipe is worth it.


Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours

Serves: 8


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs. beef stew meat
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 porcini mushroom bouillon cubes
  • 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2-32 oz. beef broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. golden baby potatoes, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 2-14 oz. bags frozen pearl onions


  • In a 10-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
  • After the oil heats up a little, add the meat, spices (salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and garlic powder), and herbs (oregano, thyme, and basil). Stir occasionally until meat is browned.
  • Once the meat is browned, add the butter and porcini mushroom cubes. Stir to combine.
  • Add the tomato paste and incorporate.
  • Drop to a medium heat and add the flour a little a time, incorporating after each addition. The flour will soak up all the fat.
  • Turn up to a high heat, add beef broth, and stir to incorporate the flour with the liquid.
  • Let the stew come up to a simmer and stir constantly.
  • Drop to a lower heat; add the 4 bay leaves, potatoes, and carrots.
  • Cover and let it cook for two hours on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • After two hours, add the frozen pearl onions, cover and let it cook for one more hour.
  • When it’s done, let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

I like to make the blue cornbread to accompany this dish. It’s deLIZcious every time.

As you can see, I used porcini mushroom bouillon cubes, a product I brought back from Europe when I went in September. I haven’t tried looking for them here yet, but I am sure Whole Foods or Central Market carry something similar.

I got the olive oil (amazing) and porcini mushrooms cubes from an Italian market in Groningen, Netherlands. My friend Tammo took me there, since his friend owns it. I also got away with some of the best garlic I have ever had and some vinaigrette. It was a wonderful little market.


Also, pictured here are the pink peppercorns I got from a market in France. The bottle says, “baies roses”. I use these peppercorns in my pepper grinder with some black peppercorns. It’s a nice little medley.

Happy eating!

Blue Cornbread


Not only is this a delectable treat, but the color of this blue cornbread is always so captivating to me. Now is the perfect time to share this recipe, because it can be paired with any stew or chili of the season. It’s been quite cold in Austin lately.

On that note, I am ready for spring. I like this blue cornbread, but I prefer to see bluebonnets!

I bid you good eating and please stay warm!


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12-14 minutes for loaves (or 18-20 minutes for glass pan)

Makes: 3 mini loaves (or one 9 x 9 inch glass pan)


  • 1 cup organic blue cornmeal
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. organic sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. iodized sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup oil


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt together.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all is incorporated.
  • Grease and flour pan(s) lightly.
  • Evenly disperse batter among mini loaves or pour all into the one 9 x 9 inch glass pan.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes for mini loaves or 18-20 minutes for glass pan.
  • Check for doneness before removing from oven, insert a toothpick into the middle of the bread and make sure it comes out clean.
  • Remove bread from oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting and serving it.


Gustoception and Chocolate Mousse

Back in April, I participated in an art show at The Museum of Human Achievement here in Austin, Texas. The art exhibit was called “In The Dark”, which was a multi-sensory exhibit minus the visuals. Basically, people were blindfolded and led through the museum in groups of four to experience pieces ranging from audioception to even thermoception.

In March, one of my best friends from Victoria called me and asked if I was interested in participating in this art exhibit at a new museum he was opening up with some friends. I was asked to write a proposal for the “gustoception” (taste) piece. As soon as I learned that I would get to feed blindfolded people, I was very intrigued. Immediately, I had so many ideas going through my head. I decided to go with a chocolate mousse with pop rocks as garnish. I wanted the bite to be tasty, yet surprising.

Needless to say, they happily accepted me into their exhibit and it was such a great experience. As the groups came to my station, I read this piece of prose (pictured below) to them, fed them, and they were on their way. The best part of all of this was seeing the look on everyone’s faces after they were spoon fed by yours truly. Some people really liked it, some people had squinty faces, and others had big smiles after they discovered the pop rocks.


I had a couple of good friends come to the exhibit and listening to their experience after the fact was awesome. To be blindfolded and led through a building that you are unfamiliar with, with people that you have never seen before, will leave the imagination to so many things.

I recreated the recipe, wrote it down, and made it for my roommate’s birthday back in August, which is what you see photographed here. Mousse is super rich and decadent, so it’s not something I do very often, but I thought I would share this recipe anyway. The recipe here doesn’t use pop rocks, since that was just a garnish that I used for the purpose of the art exhibit.


If you happen to find yourself interested, please feel free to read MOHA’s “In The Dark” showcase program.

Mousse(Click on the image to enlarge the recipe.) 

Photo Taking and Impulsive Baking

So far this year, my life has been pretty crazy.  The first half of the year came with many changes and misfortunes. The good news is that things are really starting to look up for me in some magical ways.

I haven’t blogged since March, isn’t that wild? Back in April, I was a part of an art exhibit where people were blindfolded and led through the museum in groups of four. I was the “gustoception” (taste) piece. I am going to dedicate my next blog to talking about that experience, because it was really interesting. The following weekend in April, my dad passed away. As a result, April was unexpectedly a busy month for me.

In May, I took my first photography course to learn my camera a little better and I’m so glad I did. The quality of my photos has improved tremendously. The class has already paid off and it has made me even more excited about my trips to Colorado and Europe. I plan on doing another food porn blog when I return from Europe in September. I just know I am going to consume lots of yummy food and wine.

I spent most of June helping my new boyfriend find a place/get settled in Austin. Now it’s July and it’s getting really hot in Texas. Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday month, but I have been baking a lot lately: cheesecake, blueberry muffins, cherry cobbler, cookies (of many varieties) and even a lemon blueberry cake.

Though I am not posting a new recipe here, I wanted to share a couple of photos from my photography class and re-blog the cookie recipe. During the first class, the instructor (Carlos Austin of Austin Photography) and I made a deal — if I brought food to the last class, he would show me how to photograph it. I showed him my post from the loaded oatmeal cookies that I like to make on the regular, and we both agreed that I needed better photos. Practice makes perfect, right?


This is a photo of what we did to set up our station. I took this photo on my phone, so please don’t judge the quality. My real camera is the one you see on the tripod.


This is the final product with my crazy cloth.  


This is the final product on a black cloth, with interesting lighting techniques.


This is a photo of the lemon blueberry cake I made for a birthday. Thank you, Carlos, for the mad skills.

Those are candied lemon peels that I made for the garnish. I am thinking about posting this recipe, because it was super deLIZcious. I wish I would have taken a photo of it when it was sliced. That just might be a reason good enough to make it again. We’ll see, because blueberries are rocking right now.

My next post will be about the art exhibit that I was a part of back in April. I have already started it, just need to get my chocolate mousse recipe together. Chances are, you will see that post from me sometime in August. I am heading to Colorado this Saturday with my new boyfriend for a week. Should be back in full swing and hopefully posting monthly again when I return. Cheers and happy eating!

Vertical Pear Salad, Food


I wouldn’t mind trying something like this! Grilled pear, maybe?

Originally posted on Ben Rogers Blog:

Vertical Pear Salad, Food
see the posting here

View original

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers