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A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

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In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

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I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

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Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Just in time for News Year’s Eve! As a change this year I decided to have Oysters Rockefeller in place of the usual escargots. Alas, they were impossible to find as fresh and on second thought I did not want to have to shuck them. Third choice was either mussels or scallops. NO mussels to be found. I had to settle on frozen scallops. This recipe from Closet Cooking was not only simple, but really awesome with the mustard sauce. Since I neglected to take a photo, this is the photo which accompanied the recipe.

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It was perfect with the broiled asparagus AND very perfect with the leftover mustard sauce, so much so that |I had an idea for using this sauce on Eggs Benedict some time.

Let me know if you try it! It made a great and simple romantic dinner for two.

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time:10 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes Servings: 2

  • 1-pound sea scallops (about 1 inch thick) I used ten scallops
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard (or grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Pat the scallops dry and press on the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Met the butter into the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the scallops and sear until lightly golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the heavy cream, mustards and lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve the scallops in the sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Option: Replace the butter and oil with bacon grease or butter yet, start by cooking 4 strips bacon, use the grease to cook the scallops in and sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the scallops just before serving!

Option: Add 1/4 cup chicken broth or seafood broth or white wine to the pan before adding the cream and deglaze the plan by scrapping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers.

Option: Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the sauce!

I chose not to use any of the options this time around!!

Happy New Year!!

Ham and Bean Soup

For those of you serving ham for Christmas here is an easy recipe for leftovers…LOL

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Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (in Mexico I used a large can of charros)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

Instructions

Add olive oil to 5-quart soup pot and set over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot add in the carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions just start to soften and turn translucent.

Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and stir to combine.

To the pot add all the beans with the juice from their cans, chicken stock, diced ham and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.

Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley and serve hot. I put a dollop of sour cream on top when we had it…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

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Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Green Onion Cheese Ball

The holidays are always full of social events. What would it be without a cheese ball rolled in crunchy walnuts? Usually I make mine with Imperial Cheddar from Canada, some softened blue cheese and a package of Philly. This year, something a little different… did I mention it is Keto friendly, if you dip bacon rinds?

Blue Cheese, Bacon, And Scallion Cheeseball

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces bacon, chopped and fried and drained to make bacon bits
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 scallions (green onions), minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese crumbles (or more, depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped unsalted walnuts, raw or lightly toasted

Instructions

1 In a medium bowl, combine the bacon bits, cream cheese, scallions, 1 tablespoon parsley, blue cheese crumbles, pepper, and salt. Stir together to mix.

2 Using hands or a spatula, form the mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3 Place the walnuts and reserved tablespoon of parsley in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

4 Unwrap the cheeseball and roll it in the walnut mixture to coat all sides. Press the walnut coating gently to help it stay on if necessary.

5 Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For 1/10th Of The Cheeseball

Calories: 197

Fat (g): 12.9

Carbs (g): 2.2

Fiber (g): 1.3

Protein (g): 7

Net Carbs (g) .9

simply so healthy http://simplysohealthy.com/

 

Easy Deviled Ham Salad

Leftover ham from Christmas dinner? No ham? Buy some… this recipe really was good on crackers, etc. Try it Mikey…you’ll like it! (Who remembers that phrase?) Ignore the Keto reference, it really tastes good!

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EASY DEVILED HAM SALAD – LOW CARB & KETO

Author: Mellissa Sevigny      Yield: 5 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

2 cups chopped cooked ham

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

For the dressing:

1/2 cup sugar free mayonnaise (you decide, I used Hellamns Organic…)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Sriracha (or other chili sauce)

1 tsp fresh lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the salad:

Combine the salad ingredients into a food processor or magic bullet and pulse until a coarse, crumbly mixture is formed – don’t over blend into mush.

To make the dressing:

Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Spoon the ham mixture into the dressing mixture and mix until the dressing is fully incorporated into the salad.

Serve chilled on low carb crackers, celery, romaine, or another low carb base of your choice! It was great with bacon rinds!

Nutrition

Serving Size: 1/2 cup Calories: 268 Fat: 24g Carbohydrates: 2g  Protein: 13g

Turmeric and Ginger Chicken Soup

Ok…its a little chilly out there, depending on where you live. Actually it’s chilly in Mexico where the temperature last night dropped to 13 C. Forget Christmas…LOL. It’s chicken soup time! Dig in (to the soup, NOT the snowbanks).

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Turmeric and ginger are excellent additions healthwise BTW.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs , skin removed
  • 12 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems or fresh parsley stems
  • 2 shallots , quartered
  • 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic , smashed
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh turmeric (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley leaves
  • OPTIONAL – 1 liter of Campbell’s Chicken Broth

METHOD

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, water and vinegar; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding froth.

Stir in cilantro stems, shallots, carrots, garlic, turmeric and ginger; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; using tongs, transfer chicken to cutting board.

Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt.

Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve into separate large saucepan; discard solids.

I prefer my soups chunky, so I used my immersion blender to chop up some of the veggies before I added the chicken back to the pot. At this point I also added the liter of chicken broth.

Return chicken to broth; stir in cilantro leaves. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per each of 6 servings:

Sodium 493 mg

Sugars 0 g

Protein 30 g

Calories 171

Total fat 5 g

Potassium 611 mg

Cholesterol 155 mg

Saturated fat 1 g

Total carbohydrate 0.0

 

Keto Salad Dressings – 5 Minute Caesar & Keto Garlic Dressing

Needing a great salad for a change? Both of these dressings are incredible and cheaper than the bottled stuff! Sorry, no photos today…

Keto 5 Minute Caesar Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons anchovy paste (I substitute equal amount of fish oil when anchovy paste is not available)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Nutrition  per 2 Tablespoon – Calories 140, Fat 15g, Carbs 0.8 Protein0.1g.

Keto Garlic Dressing

Servings 16 (of 2 tbsp)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper To taste
  • (Optional) Fresh herbs (I used parsley)

INSTRUCTIONS

Making the Keto Garlic Salad Dressing is really simple! – Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s creamy and smooth. You can start with 4 cloves of garlic and add more after you taste the dressing, if you feel like it’s not strong enough.

Nutrition – Calories 123, Fat 13.5g, Carbs 0.5g, Protein 0.1g

 

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice

New diet equals new foods! Just in at Costco – Cauliflower Rice! Pinterest has recipes for almost everything…shown here with roasted peppers, grilled salmon and avocado salsa. Supposedly all Keto friendly.

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Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower “rice” is now widely available in many supermarkets, including Costco Merida. There are many different recipes for using it, but this one is very simple!
Ingredients
5 cups cauliflower rice
3 T butter
3 garlic cloves minced
7 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. EVOV (Extra virgin olive oil OR coconut oil)
Chopped parsley
Directions
In a small saucepan, combine butter and garlic, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t let it burn!
In a separate fry pan, skillet or wok add 1 Tbsp. EVOV (Extra Virgin Olive oil OR coconut oil). Medium heat. Stir in the cauliflower rice and continue stirring until it is warmed through.
Pour I the butter mixture and stir to blend.
Top with the shredded Parmesan and mix well. Add chopped parsley! SERVE.
Instead of the butter and cheese, try pesto sauce…OR cilantro and lime…

 

Greek Moussaka

In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!

Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.

150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)

1 medium egg, beaten

50g feta cheese or more

25g freshly grated parmesan or more

 

  1. Preparing the Aubergines

Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.

Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.

You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.

After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.

Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.

Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.

I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.

 

  1. Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)

    Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.

Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.

Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  1. Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe

    It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.

 

  1. Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!

    Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.

Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.

Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.