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.

ramekins

IMG_7862

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  • 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

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.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes + 10 minutes for final pizza

Makes: 2 Personal Pizza Crusts

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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:

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After another 10 minutes of baking with the toppings on:

IMG_7692

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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  • 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).