Wednesday
Jun222016

Keto Tacos

Anyone who listens to my podcast, 2 Keto Dudes, which I do every week with Richard Morris, knows that my weakness is a certain tex-mex fast food chain which shall remain nameless. I'll give you a hint. It might rhyme with Choco-smell. okay? Yeah. I've blown my ketogenic diet on this food at 3AM and it took me a week to recover. Well, turns out you can make tacos at home that BLOW AWAY the fast food stuff. The key is to make taco shells out of cheese. That's right! Cheese. In this recipe blog post I'll also show you how to make taco meat without any of those crappy flavor packets. I use real spices and fats. The upside is a better shell than a taco shell because a) it doesn't crumble in your hands, and b) it actually has flavor. The caveat for this recipe is that I'm not going to give you exact measurements. This is definitely a "season to taste" kind of thing. Everyone is different. The only thing to remember is to buy more shredded cheese at the store than you are used to when you make tacos, because it takes a good 3/4 cup (a handful) to make one shell. The upside is you will only want to eat 2 because they are so filling.

Ingredients:

You will need:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of ground beef. 
  • ~2 pounds of shredded cheese (pre-seasoned blended taco cheese, monterey jack, whatever).
  • parchment paper and a cookie sheet
  • seasoning: chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon (optional), smoked paprika (optional), red pepper flakes or cayenne (optional).
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (Rao's or even Hunts).
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • garnish: chopped lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream, hot sauce.
  • Some kind of contraption for curling the cheese shells. I use a couple shallow bins and plastic straws from plastic water bottles.

Method:

The first thing to do is move your oven rack to the middle, and preheat the oven to 300 F. 

Place a fitted sheet of parchment onto a cookie sheet. You can use other non-stick methods of baking, but this works well for me.

Grab a good handful (3/4 of a cup to a cup) of grated cheese and make a pile on the parchment, leaving room for 2 more piles. Spread the cheese out so it's evenly distributed. Make sure to clean up any stray shreds.

Now let's make the taco meat while the oven is warming up.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

Add ground beef and chop into small chunks with a spatula while it's cooking. Brown.

Add spices. This is where you can spice to taste. You definitely want up to perhaps a teaspoon of salt. Start with 1/2 tsp and work your way up. Taste it (after it has browned a bit) to test for saltiness before moving on.

Add the tomato sauce. Be careful of carbs, but a little makes it much tastier!

Add any combination of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.. add some heat if you like. I like just a dash of cinnamon and a tablespoon of smoked paprika, but that's me.

Once the oven is up to temp, place the cheese on the middle rack and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Now, set up your contraption for bending the shells. This is the setup I use:

You can use spatulas, dowels, whatever.

You know the shells are done when they are brown around the edges and still have a little cheese color in the middle. They will be crispy and flexible. In my case, I used a blend that was pretty oily, and I had to tip the tray so the oil would run off to the edge. It pooled in the middle of each shell. YMMV.

 

Using a spatula (and perhaps rubber gloves, because these guys are hot!) place a shell onto a straw/dowel/whatever and bend it over with your fingers.

 

Let them cool for a few minutes and assemble your tacos!

Now, everyone is different, but here's how I eat mine:

First, I put a little sour cream in the bottom:

Next, I add the taco meat

Then the cheese

Then tomatoes

Finally lettuce.

That's it. Add guacamole if you like! Heck, add bacon! What do I care! It's yummy!!!

Wednesday
Apr272016

Pressure Cooked Beef Short Ribs

On my podcast, 2 Keto Dudes, Richard Morris and I talk about the great food we can cook on a ketogenic diet. This is one of my favorites, and very healthy, since the fat content is high, there's plenty of protein, and practically no carbs.

Let's talk pressure cookers.

I bought this one at a local kitchen store, and it works just fine. For the most part these things all work the same. They raise the pressure and temperature which raises the boiling point of water (or oil), allowing you to get the same effects of slow-cooking in only an hour or so.

Pressure cookers must be sealed. Also, there is a pressure valve on the top that has two positions: open and closed. Close the lid, close the pressure valve, and start cooking for the desired time. 

My cooker has "food settings" which kind of annoy me, as I'm more scientific minded. However, I've found that the "chicken/meat" setting works really well.

For short ribs, I combine all my ingredients, close the lid and the pressure valve, select "chicken/meat" and increase the time to an hour. Then I just walk away. 

After it comes up to temperature it cooks for an hour, after which the thing beeps. At this point I press the "cancel" button, and using a long wooden spoon or tongs, I open the pressure valve. It's important that you don't do this with your bare hand or you'll get a burn like you've never had before.

Once all the pressure has been released, the safety mechanism allows you to open the cooker. It will still be bubbling away. 

I take the ribs out and set them aside. They will be falling off the bone and very tender.

Now, all that lovely broth in there is going to make a very nice sauce. I strain it into a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and reduce it until the flavor gets REALLY rich and concentrated. Then add about 1/2 cup or more of heavy cream, bring to a boil, and let it thicken. Pour it over the ribs and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Four beef short ribs
  • 4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
  • 2 cups of your favorite red wine
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 to 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp worchesterchire sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger powder, or minced real ginger
  • 2 tbsp of your favorite sweetener. I use Xylitol
  • 1 tbsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Herbs: thyme, rosemary, parsley

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in pressure cooker. Close lid, close pressure valve and cook on "meat" setting (or high) for 60 minutes. Shut off pressure cooker and carefully (with long tongs) open pressure valve. Open cooker, remove ribs and set aside. Strain liquid into a saucepan, reduce over medium heat for at least 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (or more) of heavy cream and reduce until thick. Salt to taste. Spoon over ribs and enjoy.

 

Monday
Apr112016

Keto Recipe: Low-Carb Chocolate Mousse

Since I started a ketogenic diet in February, 2016 I have done lots of tests with artificial sweeteners. Many of them spiked my blood glucose. I found, though, that xylitol does not. What's more, I can't tell xylitol from sugar. So, here's a simple recipe for chocolate mousse that I eat one spoonful at a time. It's rich, sweet, and chocolatey, and being fat-adapted I don't have to eat a lot to be satisfied.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup xylitol crystals
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whip the cream. I use a stainless steel bowl that has been chilled in the freezer, and a hand mixer. Whip it to the consistency you like. Add the other ingredients and mix until completely combined. Chill in the fridge overnight so the xylitol crystals dissolve. Alternatively, you could dissolve the xylitol in cream over low heat, but you'd have to chill it before whipping. Enjoy.

Monday
Apr042016

Keto Recipe: Carnitas

This is a great low-carb recipe for Carnitas, literally "little meats," which consists of pork butt cooked in lard with added flavors.

It's very simple. Get a 3 to 4 pound pork butt from your butcher. The butt is actually the shoulder, but 'butt' sounds better, doesn't it? Chop it up into 1/2 pound to 1 pound chunks and completely submerge it in a casserole or dutch oven full of melted lard. You heard me. It might take a few pounds of lard to get it completely submerged. Cut an orange in half, squeeze the juice in, and throw the orange halfs in, peel and all. Add 1/2 an onion (cut up or not. up to you), a clove of garlic, half a lime (squeezed just like the orange), 1/2 cup of heavy cream (which I found out you should add after about an hour), and 1 teaspoon of salt. Slow cook it over low heat, low flame, or an open fire for at least two hours. Don't let it boil too much. I have a propane range, and I find I have to stack about 4 burner racks on top of each other and keep the fire on low to get just the right heat. If after a few hours the meat isn't falling apart, continue to cook it for another hour.  Take the meat out and shred it. Crisp it up in a frying pan over medium heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze the other half of the lime over it before serving. Serve as is, or with guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cheese, all the usual taco fixins. Just stay away from the tortillas. :)

Sunday
Mar272016

Keto Recipe: Broiled Brussels Sprouts

This is the simplist recipe ever. I always hated brussel's sprouts growing up, mostly because my parents steamed them and served them plain. Ick. When I was a grown up I went to a steak house in Vancouver. Somoene ordered the sprouts as a side dish. When they came to the table I knew I had to have them.

The recipe is simple. Cut them in half, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and broil in a cast-iron pan for about 5 minuutes, or until they start to turn brown and crispy. That's it.

In my house, after they are done, we add a bit of asiago cheese and stick them back in for a minute to melt the cheese. You could substitute bacon fat for the olive oil, and add crumbled bacon. Chopped hazelnuts also work wonderfully.

Turns out this technique will bring out the flavor of just about any vegetable: Peppers, mushrooms, onions, bok choi, parsnips, etc... So, have at it!