Low-Carb Clam Chowder

 

low-carb-clam-chowder

I enjoy chowders during the cold months. The only problem is that most chowders have flour and potatoes which are not allowed on a low-carb diet. If you have not tried it, you may not believe that cauliflower is an excellent substitution for the potatoes in this chowder.

I use cauliflower quite a lot these days. I never had it until I was an adult. Even then, it was always raw and on vegetable (or curdité) platters. It wasn’t until several years ago that I discovered what a versatile vegetable it actually is. It’s a great rice substitute, potato substitute, and I even have a recipe for paleo grits made with cauliflower on my blog.

For this recipe, I substituted cauliflower for the potatoes. I needed some extra thickness to the chowder so once I cooked the cauliflower I used my immersion blender to puree it, leaving a few bite-size chunks. It was incredible and my family never even noticed that it was cauliflower!

If you are not interested in a low-carb New-England Clam Chowder, visit www.notjustsundaydinner.com for a full carb version.

 

Low-Carb Clam Chowder
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 4 (6.5-oz.) cans minced clams, juices reserved
  • 2 to 3 c. bottled clam juice
  • 2 thick-cut bacon slices, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, diced fine
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 8-oz. cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp. dry sherry
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, optional, to taste
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
  2. Clean cauliflower and core. Place in a Dutch oven with a small amount of water. Cover and cook until tender. Remove from heat and drain well, and blend with an immersion blender, leaving a few bite-size pieces.
  3. Cook the bacon over medium heat in the Dutch oven until lightly crisp.
  4. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, and stirring cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Whisk in 2 cups clam juice, 2 c. of heavy cream, the prepared cauliflower, and cream cheese. Bring to a simmer, whisking until the cream cheese is completely melted.
  6. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and simmer about 15 minutes.
  7. Add the clams, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sherry. If too thick add additional clam juice. Simmer until warmed through.
  8. Serve warm.

 

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Venison Medallions with Blueberry-Sage Sauce and Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms

venison-medallions-with-blackberry-sage-sauce-and-compote-of-leek-and-wild-mushrooms-11

You can definitely tell that deer season has started here. Our lives revolve around food plots, deer stands, and trail cameras. Right now it's bow season and my son hunts with a bow. My guys both eat what they kill, but they kill very few deer. They are members of a deer management club, and the rules are pretty strict.  I can usually count on at least one of two deer per season going into the freezer though. When I first married Greg, I hated the thought of cooking and eating deer. However, almost 29 years later things have changed a little. One contributing factor is the quality of the food we buy. Knowing that much of the meat in our stores has added hormones and antibiotics discourages me from purchasing it. For that reason, and the fact that I have figured out to cook more than venison chili, I have grown to enjoy venison. Today I'm sharing a fabulous recipe from The Mansion on Turtle Creek Cook Book. It looks fancy, and you would think it would be difficult. There are a few steps involved, but this recipe is very simple to prepare and delicious to eat.  
Blueberry-Sage Sauce
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 c. zinfandel
  • 1½ pints blueberries, fresh or frozen, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 c. brown veal demi glace
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon or to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
Instructions
  1. Place Zinfandel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced to about ½ cup.
  2. Add the berries, and return liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until berries are soft.
  3. Add demi-glace and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain sauce nd whisk in butter. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste. Place sage in sauce and steep for 10 to 20 minutes or until ready to use. Keep warm. Remove sage sprigs before serving.
Notes
You can find Classic French Demi-Glace in some grocery stores. The brand I used was More Than Gourmet.

Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 lg. leek, white part only
  • 1 c. chopped assorted wild mushrooms
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon or to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut leek into 2-inch sections. Cut sections into fine julienne strips.
  2. Combine leek strips, wild mushrooms, and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cream has thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Keep warm.
  4. Compote may be prepared several hours ahead. Keep warm or reheat gently.
  5. Sauce may be prepared several hours ahead. Keep warm or reheat gently if necessary.

 
Venison Medallions with Blueberry-Sage Sauce and Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 8 (3-oz.) medallions from the backstrap of venison
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • Blueberry-Sage Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Season venison with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Bring oil to smoking point.
  2. Place medallions carefully in the pan and saute for 3 minutes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes for medium-rare. Repeat as needed to brown all fillets.
  3. Spoon Blueberry-Sage Sauce over the bottom of each dinner plate Place with 2 medallions in the center of each plate and nestle a small mound of Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms above the medallions. Serve immediately.

 

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Extra Special Grits with Creamed Scallions

 

creamed scallions 5

I like to cook a special breakfast during the holidays, especially on Christmas morning.  Sometimes I do breakfast casseroles, which I love, but I’m limited because Wes does not like Cheddar cheese.  Sometimes it’s just easier to make homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon or sausage, and grits.  Here’s a recipe that will take your grits over the top.

Extra Special Grits with Creamed Scallions are wonderful.  The addition of the half-and-half in the grits makes them really creamy and delicious.  Topping them with the creamed scallions makes them irresistible!  As I’ve mentioned in the past…I’m not a big egg lover but even scrambled eggs are good with the creamed scallions on top.

 

Extra Special Grits with Creamed Scallions
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. stone ground grits
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 bunches scallions, trimmed and chopped into about 1 to 1½-inch pieces
  • ¼ c. water
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a pan mix the grits, 3 c. water and 1 c. half-and-half or heavy cream. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add salt and butter. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  2. In the meantime, place the scallions and ¼ c. water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add ½ c. heavy cream and chopped garlic. Simmer, uncovered until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, spoon grits into a bowl and top with about a tablespoon of the creamed scallions.

 

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Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

This is one of the dishes that I plan to prepare at Not Just Another Holiday Dinner on Thursday, November 6, 2014.  Most of us are accustomed to seeing sweetened sweet potato dishes on holiday tables.  This is a savory sweet potato recipe and it is incredibly yummy!  I found this recipe on a Hallmark website and I first made it when we were planning the cooking demonstration.  I made several dishes to take over to the newspaper for a tasting.  The dishes included two sweet potato dishes and this one won, hands down.

I think there are some shortcuts that can simplify putting a good meal on the table, but preshredded Parmesan cheese is not one of them.  I always buy the good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  I buy a big block of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at Sam’s, cut it into chunks and pulse in the food processor, fitted with a metal blade, until the cheese is about the size of peas.  I keep the cheese in a jar, in my refrigerator, and use as needed.  It’s not cheap but the taste difference is one that I’m not willing to sacrifice!

This would be a great side dish on any holiday table!  It would be great with the traditional turkey or with ham or beef.  Your guests are sure to be wowed when you serve these Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp. thyme leaves, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 c. heavy cream
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ c. Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • 2½ lb. yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch slices
  • 3 lb. orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch slices
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and cook stirring, until the shallots are lightly browned and the thyme is aromatic, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in ¾ c. of the Parmesan and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a shallow 4-quart glass or ceramic baking dish, make one layer of sweet potatoes. Pour just enough cheese sauce over the potatoes to coat them. Sprinkle with a little of the remaining grated cheese and some salt and pepper. Continue the process until the potatoes are gone. Top with the remaining sauce and grated cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the top is browned.

 

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