Category Archives: Background

Keto Cauliflower mash

There are so many great alternatives to mashed potatoes, I replaced them long ago here at 488 with rice, quinoa, and/or mashed cauliflower–depending upon what best suited the dish or meal.  Give this a try the next time mashed potatoes are on your dinner menu or just on your mind!

Keto Cauliflower mash

~4 servings

  • 1 head of cauliflower, separated into pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T butter or olive oil.  Optional, depending upon your preference.  
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • chipotle pepper flakes.  Optional
  • Fresh chopped herbs.  Optional

Steam the cauliflower and 3 cloves of garlic in a steamer basket for 20 or so minutes, until very soft.  Place in food processor or use your mixer to puree with the butter (or oil), salt, peppers, and herbs (optional) until smooth.  Crush the last two cloves of garlic into the mash and stir it well.  Serve nice and hot!

Roasted cabbage

med105471_0410_cabbage_wedge_vertWanna pig out on cabbage?  No, really!  Why not?  It is loaded with nutrients that will help your body clear out toxins, give you great energy, and keep the good bacteria in your GUT healthy and happy.

Once you taste this roasted cabbage you are going to want more, I promise.  IT ROCKS!  You can eat this as a side dish or as your main course.  PLUS, you can play with the seasoning so you have exactly what you are in the mood to eat.

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons avocado oil or toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • any herbs, spice, seasoning that you like!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice head of cabbage into thin pieces.  Brush both sides with avocado oil.   Season with your favorite spices and herbs, salt, and pepper, etc.  Carefully flip after 7-10 minutes and cook until your reach a cook texture for you ~15 minutes of total cook time is usually good.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Mashed sweet potatoes and carrots

I use this yummy smash as a sub for rice, regular mashed potatoes, and/or just to eat on its own.  It is absolutely delish and so, so good for the body.  Try this easy recipe for a change at your next meal.

Smashed sweet potatoes and carrots

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled.  and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (I like organic, white, japanese sweet potatoes–found at mama jeans)
  • 2 c baby carrots, cut in half
  • salt/pepper/hot pepper
  • pat or dash of butter/olive oil/truffle oil/toasted sesame oil

Place the potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket and steam for 20-30 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Place the cooked veggies into the food processor with some oil or butter, salt, pepper, hot pepper, and any other seasoning or herb (I love rosemary with this) you like and blend until smooth.  Serve and enjoy.

Cauliflower and carrot mash

There are so many great alternatives to mashed potatoes, I replaced them long ago here at 488 with rice, quinoa, and/or mashed cauliflower–depending upon what best suited the dish or meal.  Recently, I have started pumping up the mashed cauliflower to provide not only more important nutrients, but more color and FLAVOR!  The carrots, with just a hint of sweetness, pairs well with many of the herbs that I like to add to the cauliflower mash–rosemary, thyme, dill, basil, oregano, mint!  This colorful mash provides such a nutrient advantage over the traditional mashed pot, it won’t be just your tongue that is thankful for the change!  Give them a try the next time mashed potatoes are on your dinner menu or just on your mind!

Cauliflower and carrot mash

~4 servings

  • 1 head of cauliflower, separated into pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled or 3/4 c baby carrots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 T butter or olive oil.  Optional, depending upon your preference.  They taste fine without the fat, so you can leave it out if that better suits your dietary needs.
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • chipotle pepper flakes.  Optional
  • Fresh chopped herbs.  Optional

Steam the cauliflower, carrots, and 3 cloves of garlic in a steamer basket for 20 or so minutes, until very soft.  Place in food processor or use your mixer to puree with the butter (or oil), salt, peppers, and herbs (optional) until smooth.  Crush the last two cloves of garlic into the mash and stir it well.  Serve nice and hot!

Deconstructed Nachos

I know I promised you some of my favorite recipes from my stay at Anamaya Resort in Montezuma, and they will come.  Today though, I am sharing a recipe from my week with my hubby in Ojochal, Costa Rica.  Ojochal is a beautiful, small village on the Pacific coast, known for its  unspoiled beaches AND fabulous restaurants!  Once we were settled into our house, we conducted an extensive (ok, maybe about 10 minutes!) google search to narrow down our dining choices to only the very best-of-the-best, for our short week-long visit.  Through our search, we discovered a small, quaint place, Adelante, for a casual afternoon snack and drink.  It had a cool, comfortable atmosphere, with a great deck, a good beer list, and really spectacular and relatively healthful munchies.

Their deconstructed nachos were absolutely phenomenal and the presentation was simple and so stylish!  A couple of nights ago I decided to give them a try here at home.  Great idea!  They were so easy and we loved every bite.
Yes, they are just nachos, so you can use whatever toppings you like.  We prefer a meatless, minimal cheese nacho so that is exactly what I made.  What makes these nachos really special is the presentation, so make them fit your style!  Here is a picture of what I created.  Do you like my style??

Is your mouth watering like mine??

Deconstructed Nachos

Servings:  as many as you like!

  • corn tortillas, use a pizza cutter to cut into 4 pieces/tortilla
  • sea salt
  • pam cooking spray or oil
  • cheese of your choice.  I used shredded cheddar mix (very minimal) on these, but I think a thin slice of pepper jack, goat, or a high quality mozzarella would be great!
  • cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • black olives, cut in half
  • ripe avocado
  • ripe mango, cut into very thin and small slices
  • salsa
  • lime, cut into wedges
  • jalapeno, thinly sliced (not pictured)
  • cilantro, chopped (not pictured)

Preheat the oven to around 400 degrees F.  Use convection if your oven has that feature.

Slice your tortillas into quarters, place them on a cookie sheet.  Spray them with cooking spray or use a brush to add a very light oil to the top.  Sprinkle with a light dusting of finely ground (powdered) sea salt.  Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes in my oven).  You may need to turn the cookie sheet to make sure the pieces are cooking evenly.  When they are just starting to brown pull them out of the oven and add the cheese.  Bake for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the chips are nice and crispy.

While the tortillas are cooking prep the other toppings.  Cut the tomatoes and jalapenos into thin slices and mangoes into thin and small pieces.  Dice the onion.  Slice the olives in half and fill them with your favorite salsa.

Make the guacamole according to your favorite recipe.  I like my guac very simple.  Here is what I usually do:  mash the avocado with a big squeeze of lime, a generous sprinkle of sea salt, chipotle pepper flakes, and cumin.  Add diced red onion.  Mix well.

Build the nachos!  Take a look at my picture to build like I did.  I had two different nachos.   1.  guac, tomato, olive 2.  guac, mango.  I wish I would have had fresh jalapenos and cilantro to add to the festive dish, but no such luck!  Instead, I sprinkled a mix of ground chipotle pepper and cumin over the top and garnished the plate with a lime.  I served them with fresh salsa and a big mug of Matilda!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Arugula and avocado salad

Hydroponic Arugula

Betcha you didn’t know that I am an organic, hydroponic gardener!  Ok, stop it!  Do not go THERE–I love the show Weeds, but am not getting into THAT line of work!  I only grow arugula (spinach is coming soon) in my nutrient dense Jacuzzi tub!

Arugula is hands down my favorite green and we eat plenty of it here at the casa–which is why we decided to grow it year round in the storage room!  I can educate you on starting your own hydroponic garden later if you are interested, but this post is dedicated to the unbelievable salad I made for the first time last night.

The hot, very nutty, and just slightly bitter flavors of this Mediterranean green make it so much more interesting than regular lettuce.  Plus, it is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, folate, calcium, iron, and it surprisingly provides a high level of protein (about 25% of its content is protein!)!  On top of that (hee, hee), it has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times!   Sound good??  Then get out your cutting board and start chopping!  This one will only take a few minutes to prep and will make your tummy (and significant other?) very, very happy!

Green and gorgeous!

Arugula and avocado salad

Servings:  2 large, 4 small

  • 4 c arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
  • 1 champagne mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 large lime
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • dash of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 t agave nectar (or more, to taste)
  • 1-2 T chopped cilantro (more to garnish, as desired)

Mix together the EVOO, agave nectar, cilantro, salt, pepper, hot pepper and 2 T lime juice and let sit.  Stir occasionally to keep from separating.

Place the arugula, onion, and mango in a large bowl and add 1 T of lime juice, put a lid on the bowl and shake (if you don’t have a lid, just stir it well) to coat the vegetables with the lime juice.  Add the dressing and repeat the stir/shake.  Plate the salad and add the sliced avocado to the top.  Sprinkle with a little more lime juice and the cilantro garnish and serve.

 

 

 

 

Corn flatbread

Adding the butter

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make naan…honestly, it pains me to think about it!  How?  Why?  What??  UGH!!  It doesn’t matter…I am over you naan!!  But, the success that I had making tortillas, has made me a little stubborn and cocky so I thought I would try one last time for something similar to naan, but a little more forgiving.

This is it!  Not only is it easy, it is CRAZY good!  When I made it last week, I had a very hard time not cowing (yes, not chowing) down the entire stack before the curry was served!  I did save enough to sop up every last bit of the burmese chicken booyah, and it was soooo good!  Anyway, I would imagine this flatbread would work in just about every situation requiring a side bread or even when serving sandwiches.  I can even see making yummy breakfast burritos with this savory bread!  Anyway, have fun with it, be creative, and ENJOY!

Corn flatbread, perfectly brown!

Corn flatbread

Servings:  9

  • 2 c yellow corn flour
  • 1/2 c AP flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/4″ pieces of fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-1 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • PAM cooking spray, butter flavored

In a medium bowl, combine the flours and salt.  Chop the ginger and jalapeno in the food processor until finely chopped, but not pureed.  Add to the flour mix along with the onion and cilantro.

Drizzle the warm water over the flour mix 1 T at a time stirring as you go until the mix forms a nice ball.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead until soft (about 1-2 minutes).

Divide the dough into 9 balls.  Cover the balls with a damp towel and let rest until you are ready to cook them.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium/low and coat with PAM cooking spray.

Press out the balls into flat circles about the size of a small tortilla.  Carefully lift them to avoid tearing, place them one at a time in the skillet and cook until slightly browned on both sides.  Using a butter brush add a light brush of the melted butter to each piece.  Continue until all are cooked to your liking.  Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Pea and sweet onion rice

You must use this as the base for Burmese chicken booyah.  The sweet onions and peas are the perfect accompaniment to this rich and flavorful curry!  Because of the texture and mild sweetness, it marries well with many of my favorite indian and thai dishes.  I know you will love what it does for your Asian cooking, so give it a try!

Pea and sweet onion rice

Servings 4-6 (depending upon the size)

  • 1 c jasmine rice
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 c frozen sweet peas
  • 1/2 c minced sweet yellow onion or shallots
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • Splash of EVOO

In a small/medium stock pot add the evoo, chipotle pepper flakes, salt and pepper and heat over low.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 or so minutes.  Add the rice and stir in very well to coat with the oil and veggies.  Add the water and turn the heat to high until it starts to boil. Stir the rice well.  Cover and cook for about 30 seconds and then turn the heat down to low.  Cook for another minute and turn the heat off.  The rice will be ready in about 30-35 minutes.

 

 

Flour tortillas!

Flour tortillas

I can’t tell you how much fun I have scouring the web looking for inspirations for my blog.  A few months ago I ran across the most kick a** site – hilahcooking.com .  This gal has it going on!  She swears and often consumes adult beverages while whipping up easy and affordable dishes and cocktails!  She is an absolute riot and the creator of this adapted recipe!  Make sure you check out her site!

Anyway, I turned to her when thinking about making my own tortillas.  She has a video showing and hilariously describing how best to make these puppies!  Her recipe is super simple, so I went for it!  We don’t usually have cow’s milk here at the casa, so I have made them with coconut and goat’s milk and both worked perfectly!  I must warn you though–once you have had a taste of these awesome tortillas, you won’t have the stomach to go back to the ‘bagged in plastic, tastes like plastic’ grocery store version!

Don’t forget to use these when you make your own tortilla chips!

Flour tortillas!

Makes 10-12

  • 2 c bread or AP flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/4 t baking powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 3/4 c room temperature goat, 2 %,  or plain soy milk

Sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate container, add the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix together.

On a clean counter top knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.  I don’t have to flour my countertop, but throw some flour down if your are afraid of the dough sticking.  Place the kneaded ball back in your bowl and cover with a cool, damp towel for 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium/medium-high.  You want it nice and hot, but not smokin!

Divide the dough into 10 small pieces. Using a circular rolling motion with the palm of your hand against the countertop, roll them into small balls.  Let the balls rest under the damp towel for 10 minutes.  Again, flour your countertop if sticking is an issue.  Flatten a ball with your hand and then use a rolling pin to flatten it to a paper-thin thickness.  Carefully lift the tortilla off of the countertop and put in your heated pan.  I take my hand and twirl the sphere to brown nice and evenly.  Flip it over after it achieves the doneness that you desire.  Once finished start another one and keep going until you have cooked them all!  Try not to gobble too many of them down before you are finished!

 

Sesame broccoli

RAW broccoli!

I love, love, love cooked broccoli!  Raw?  Not so much.  Without ranch dressing (or veg dip) it just seems like I am eating a big hunk of bamboo or something equally dry and stalky…PLUS, the gas aftermath is just brutal!  Who is with me on that?!?!  If it wasn’t for all of those stinkin  nutrients I would skip it all together!  Instead of skippin it, I am going to try to create some recipes to help me ENJOY it.

So my broccoli journey began last night.  We had my mother-in-law over for dinner and I made this very simple Asian flavored broccoli dish for my side.  My expectations were fairly low, given the simplicity of it, but I was pleasantly surprised!  Letting the broccoli marinade in the sauce for some time softens and flavors it just enough to make it quite enjoyable!  I had two broccoli lovers at the table, and they both raved over this dish. It was a hit with both lovers and haters -which means I am 1-0!!  Whats next on my journey?  I don’t know, but I will definitely be putting this one on a fairly regular rotation here at the casa.   Now if I could just solve that gas problem…

Sesame Broccoli

Servings:  5-6

  • 1 head of broccoli, cleaned and cut into pieces (retain as much of the stem as palatable)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T sesame seeds
  • 1/2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 T grapeseed oil (or veg oil)
  • dash of hot pepper (optional)

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the broccoli and mix well.  Add the broccoli, place the air tight lid on the bowl and shake well.  If you do not have a lidded bowl, just make sure you are mixing the broccoli in so that it is completely coated with the sauce.  Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes (even better if you can go longer) at room temperature before serving.  Sprinkle more sesame seeds on as a garnish as desired.