Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recipe: Melon Salsa

We've all gone to the store, bought what we thought was a delicious cantaloupe, and instead ended up with something bland and boring. While there are ways to avoid getting a tasteless melon in the future, there is no need to waste the less than perfect melon you have now. The texture of a cantaloupe, even if it lacks flavor, is still very interesting. Firm yet creamy, a cantaloupe's texture is just as important to its appeal.

This means you can take advantage of the texture of a cantaloupe to make a very tasty salsa where its lack of sweetness will not be a problem. Along with saving a bland melon from the store, this can also be a good way to use up cantaloupe from your garden if you are forced to harvest early because of frost. Just yesterday I found cantaloupe for sale at Walmart for only 20¢ each. I could tell they wouldn't have much flavor because of the green color under the netting and lack of aroma, but since I had salsa in mind, I bought one anyway.

If you do have a bit of nice, sweet cantaloupe on hand you need to use up, you can also use a combination of melon and cucumber to make a refreshing tasty salsa without to much sweetness. The amount and type of peppers can also be adjusted to make this a mild or hot salsa. As always, feel free to experiment and have fun!

Wifezilla's Melon Salsa

1 large under-ripe cantaloupe - flesh chopped fine
(about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro - minced
1 medium sweet onion - chopped fine
1/4 - 1/2 cup jalapeño or other variety of pepper - minced
(adjust amount and hotness level to taste)
1 clove fresh garlic - minced
1 lime - juiced
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients well and chill to allow flavors to blend. Serve with slices of fresh jicama or as a side to grilled flank steak or chicken.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ask Wifezilla: Plantain Pancakes?

Q: Hey Wifezilla, do you ever use plantains to make Paleo Pancakes? I found this recipe and it sounded good. Does using green plantains make the carb level lower?

A: While plantains easily fit within the paleo category, they are too carby for me. At 31.9g of carbs per 100g, they have even more carbohydrates than bananas (23g per 100 grams). This does sound like an interesting recipe for someone without serious metabolic damage who can handle a higher carb level. I could easily see making these as an occasional treat for kids. 

For people who have to keep the carb level lower, I recommend the fluffy coconut flour pancake recipe from Nourishing Days instead.

As for using green plantains instead of ripe plantains, while the green plantains would have less sugar, they will still have lots of starch. The ripening process converts the starches to sugar, but both sugar and starch are a form of carbohydrates. So the ripeness level of the plantain would not really make much difference. 

Ask Wifezilla includes direct questions to me or questioned I have answered in groups or forums. To ask a specific question, send your inquiry to wifezilla at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shopping Alert! Flat rate shipping from Xylitol USA

If you use xylitol, erythritol or coconut sugar, now is a great time to stock up. Xylitol USA (Formerly Emerald Forest Products) is offering flat rate $6.99 shipping for a limited time. I have ordered from this company for years and really like their erythritol. No, I am not a paid spokesperson, just a happy customer passing along a good deal.

Compared to what I pay for erythritol locally, ordering from Xylitol USA is cheaper if I order at least 5 lbs. Not only is it less expensive than what is available locally in store, their erythritol is sourced from non-gmo corn. I works great in baked goods and has a similar structure to sugar, making recipe conversion to low carb pretty easy. Erythritol is less sweet than sugar though, so you may need to add a little stevia or splenda to get your recipe to the right sweetness level.

I have gotten samples in previous orders of the xylitol and it was good. Some of their candies...well...not so good. You might want to stick to the xylitol and make your own treats. Just remember if you are thinking of trying xylitol instead of erythritol, xylitol can cause gastric distress for some people and it is toxic to pets.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RECIPE: Low Carb Sausage Stuffing

Stuffing is often something that people on a low carb diet have to forgo...unless you redefine what stuffing can be. This recipe replaces fattening breads with healthy squash, allowing most people watching their carb intake to indulge without guilt.

Meat from 2 acorn squash (baked in butter and cubed)
1 lb turkey sausage or other ground sausage (browned)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or any combination of the two)
1 cup chopped baby Portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup almond or hazelnut meal
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
Optional: cheyenne pepper to desired spiciness level

Bake squash at 350º until tender but not mushy. Allow to cool, peel and cut squash meat into cubes. Brown sasuage and allow to cool. Combine all ingredients and bake in a casserole pan at 350º for approximately 20 minutes. You CAN use this to stuff a turkey, but the texture is better when cooked outside of the bird. You can also take this recipe and form in to cakes ( think crab cakes) and bake them. Squash cakes (below) make an excellent side dish for turkey or any other main course.