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Archive for the ‘Spice Blends’ Category

Next time you bake low-carb bagels, baguettes or dinner rolls, try my new mock version of this popular spice/seed blend.  It’s real close to the taste of the real proprietary blend.  Not quite the same, but hey….I am guessing here for the amounts of each spice/seed that appear in the ingredients listings on the bottles.   It’s close enough to work for me anyway.   If you’d like to try a more aromatic blend, try my 8-Seed Blend sometime!  It’s got a wider variety of spices and is very good in its own right.

INGREDIENTS:

3 T. dried minced onion flakes

2 T. dried minced garlic flakes (I find at Sam’s)

3 T. white sesame seeds

4 T. toasted white sesame seed

1 T. coarse black pepper

1 tsp. Sea Salt (I used Himalayan pink)

4 T. Black Sesame Seeds (I order on-line)

DIRECTIONS:   In your broiler, toast the 4 T. sesame seeds on a small baking sheet until lightly browned.  Please do not get distracted as they can burn in the blink of an eye!  Been there myself a time or two.  Remove and cool.  Pour them onto a paper plate.  Measure out remaining ingredients and stir well.  Fold the paper plate to pour them up into an awaiting lidded jar.  I always keep my old spice jars when emptied as they are so convenient to have when I make a new homemade spice blend such as this one.  This blend will keep for months, as the only real perishable thing in the blend are the sesame seeds, with their high oil content.  As with all spices, store in a dark cabinet or closed spice rack.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 18 T. or 54 tsp.  1 tsp. contains:

12.44 cals, 1.6g fat, 1.09g carbs, 0.34g fiber, 0.75g NET CARBS, 0.4g protein, 44.7 mg sodium

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I have eaten Jamaican Jerked chicken in a cafe before but found it way too spicy for my palate.  I understand the spices (and amounts) varies a lot from household to household, much like gumbos vary in Louisiana from family to family.  I have always found most commercial Jerk seasonings to be too heavy with salt, and of course, I also cannot have the sugar anymore, or in my case, not even substitute sweeteners.  I worked around that adding a small amount of maple extract to the final marinade to mimic brown sugar’s taste.  Works for me!  I’m extremely pleased with my final version, having now tested it out on oven-baked chicken, grilled shrimp and air-fried pork.  We loved it on all 3 meats.  This spice is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets as well as Paleo and Primal Blueprint followers as well.

INGREDIENTS: 

1 T. Spanish Smoked Paprika (I order mine on-line)

2 T. onion powder or granulated onion

3 T. garlic powder

2 T. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. crushed red pepper (more if you like things real spicy)

2 T. crushed dried thyme leaves

1 T. allspice

1 T. ground cinnamon

2 T. dried parsley

1 T. coarse black pepper

1 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:   Measure out all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Stir well.  Spoon into an old empty spice jar or other jar with tight lid.  Tip:  when making spice blends, pour the mix onto a paper plate (in 2-3 portions), fold the plate to make a handy “funnel” to tap your new spice right into the receiving jar.  My Dad taught me this trick as he loved concocting his own blends.  As with all spices, store in a dark cupboard or spice cabinet that has doors. I use 2 T. for pork chops, 3 T. for whole chicken or equivalent parts, and 2 T. on shrimp.  I always rub either olive oil or butter all over the meat surfaces so the spice will adhere and marinate for 1 hour (covered) in the refrigerator before cooking.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about 14 tablespoons of spice.  Each 1T. serving contains:

20.6 cals, 0.31g fat, 4.71g carbs, 1.07g fiber, 3.64g NET CARBS, 0.72g protein, 169 mg sodium

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We just love Indian Chai tea.  Perfect for a cold winter day.

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

It was not until today, looking on the internet for the origins of the word CHAI, that I learned Indian hot chai tea, infused with all its lovely aromatic spices, actually gets its name from the Persian word for tea, CHAI (pronunced in Iran with second syllable stressed  CHA – EEEEEE )   Ya learn something everyday!

Having lived in Tehran, Iran for a couple of years when I was 10-12 years old, I just loved drinking their unspiced plain hot tea from the little 2″ tall sipping glasses they serve tea in there.   It always reminded me of my childhood days, playing “house” and having “tea parties” with my dolls.  In Iran, sugar was sold in huge solid blocks and they would just hammer off chunks, pop a piece into their mouths and sip the hot tea right through that sugar “cube”.  At age 10, what fun!  Pure sugar in your mouth!  🙂  What can I say?  My views on sugar sure have changed.  🙂  I very quickly learned considerable Pharci language at age 10, mostly from our maid, Fatimeh, who spoke little English.  When we would pass a tea shop in the bazaar she would make a sipping gesture and ask:  “Chai meekhawheed?” (sp?) which I quickly figured out meant “Do you want some tea?” I learned the proper response in no-time flat “Adeh, chai meekhawham” (sp?), “Yes, I want some tea!”.  I also knew in that setting, I’d get it served Iranian style, with those fun chunks of rock sugar, something my mother would never  allow at home.  Wasn’t I a naughty little 10 year old?   Mom was always worrying about that evil, Mr. Tooth Decay (those old enough, remember him from the Colgate TV commercials in the late 50’s?).  Moms always over worry, don’t they?  My teeth haven’t all fallen out after all!  LOL  Wonder if Chai tea is served with rock sugar in India?  Sorry, I digress with my boring nostalgia trip………..

I really avoid commercial spice preparations as much as I can, what with all the “extras” they add to those prepared mixes, beaucoup salt and sugar.  So I decided to take the most common spices I can taste in a cup of chai tea and just make up my own, using equal amounts (roughly) of the likely spices.  I quickly learned it needs to be a little top-heavy with cinnamon and doubled that 1 ingredient.  The final spice blend, brewed into a 2-cup pot of tea, was DELICIOUS!  So I thought I’d share my new blend here with my readers.

I’m a lazy cook by nature and don’t like the nuisance of shelling cardamom seeds from those big pods, so once I saw that Penzey’s sells it already shelled, well you know I was on that one like a fly on flypaper!  🙂  I order already shelled cardamom seeds from Penzey’s Spices on-line or their catalog.  Therefore, I have no earthly idea how many cardamom pods it will take to yield 1 tsp. seeds, but probably around 10-15?  There are about 8-10 little black seeds in the average green cardamom pod.

INGREDIENTS:

¼” slice of fresh ginger root (about 1 tsp.)

6 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 3″ stick broken up)

1 tsp. cardamom seeds

3/4 tsp. fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder (I use a dedicated cheap coffee grinder for spices) and grind until all is pretty fine.  Store in a lidded jar in a dark cabinet or your refrigerator if you’re worried about the ginger.   To make tea from this spice blend, boil your water in a proper teakettle and add your teabag(s) or loose tea in an infuser (my pot has a built-in infuser that lifts in and out).  Add 1 tsp. Chai Spice Blend to the infuser along with your tea for every 2 cups of water/tea you want to serve.  Steep for 5 minutes with the lid on and serve in cups with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes about 9 tsp. of spice blend, each teaspoon (amount to brew 2 cups chai tea) contains:

3 calories, 0.1 g  fat, 0.75 g carbs, 0.45 g  fiber, 0.3 g  NET CARBS, < 0.1g protein

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0031

Yum!!!!!

It’s what’s for dinner tonight!  This simple baked chicken recipe delicious and a wonderful choice when you don’t feel much like cooking. Those are the nights I tend to bake chicken as simply as possible.  The seasoning flavor profile is subtle here and once you try it, you’ll be baking this bird again.  I usually serve this tasty dish with an avocado/green salad and ½ roasted sweet potato.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and also for Paleo-Primal diners.  Clarify the butter if you follow a Paleo diet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, butterflied

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

½ tsp. guajillo chile powder (or 1 seeded, ground whole dried guajillo chile)

¼ tsp. smoky chipotle powder (or 1 rinsed, seeded & mashed/minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. onion powder

Dash of salt

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450º.  Cut up the back of the chicken (butterfly or spatchcock).  Melt the butter in your baking pan (I prefer metal pans for roasting meats) and brush over all chicken surfaces.  Mix the spices in a small saucer or paper plate and sprinkle over the chicken.  Sprinkle with a dash of salt to facilitate browning.  Pop pan in the oven and in 15 minutes, take it out.  Using a brush, baste the chicken with the melted butter.  Return to the oven and bake at 450º for around 20 minutes.  Remove and lower heat to 350º.  Baste again with buttery pan juices and return to hot oven.  Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer stuck into the leg/thigh joint and breast reads internal temp of 170º.  Baste one last time with pan juices and serve with a nice guacamole or green salad and/or your favorite, low-carb vegetable(s).

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  I will provide the nutritional info for 1/10th of the basting marinade as I get 10 pieces of chicken from a whole bird.  Bear in mind the pan juices are not all consumed, but there is no other way to break this down as it is dependent upon how much of those you actually eat.  You will need to add in the info for the specific piece(s) of chicken eaten.

Will coat 8-10 pieces of chicken (1 whole chicken); One serving of spice mix contains: (does not include the particular pieces of chicken, since I can’t know which you will eat, co add meat values to these spice baste numbers)

46.3 cals, 5.1g fat, 0.31g carbs, 0.08g fiber, 0.23g NET CARBS (seasoning only), 0.07g protein, trace sodium

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This lovely-tasting herb blend is common throughout the Middle East.  It is used both raw, mixed with olive oil for a pita bread dip as well as with olive oil atop hummus.  It is also sprinkled on roasted or grilled chicken, grilled fish, or grilled lamb.  I have even used it myself over roasted root vegetables like carrots and parsnips!  WE love the earthy herb flavor profile.  It is all herbs and spices, with some toasted sesame seeds, so it does have carbs, but not many.  This recipe is suitable once you reach the nuts and seeds rung of the Atkins carb re-introduction ladder.  Keto, Primal and Paleo followers can also enjoy this flavorful condiment.

Many more delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own copy of our cookbooks  LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  Volume 8 is almost exclusively comprised of my recipes with some new George Stella and Jennifer Eloff creations.  Order your books from Amazon  or our direct order site: amongfriends.us/order.php. If you’ve already purchased a copy, I sure would appreciate your taking a moment to stop by and leave a review of any recipe you’ve tried:  https://www.amazon.com/Atkins-friendly-Wheat-free-Sugar-free-Gluten-free-Cookbooks/dp/099829974X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523112817&sr=1-1&keywords=Low-Carbing+Among+Friends+Volume-8

INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp. dried marjoram

Shown as a pita bread dip.

2 T. dried oregano leaves

3 T. sumac

1 T. toasted sesame seeds

2 T. dried thyme leaves

1 tsp. sea salt (optional)

½ tsp. Aleppo pepper (optional)

2 tsp. onion powder

DIRECTIONS:  Toast sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet or in your oven.  Watch them closely to not over brown.  Remove and pour them onto a paper plate or into a jar (that has a lid).  Add all remaining ingredients and stir/shake well.  Store in a lidded jar in your spice rack.  Will keep as long as the sesame seeds keep, or about a month or so.  Add 1 T. to ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil for a pita bread dip or to use on hummus.  If using on grilled/roasted meats, coat meat surface with olive oil and sprinkle on 1 T. or the spice mixture and cook meat as usual until properly done.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about ½ cup, or 8 tablespoons.  1 T. contains:

26 cals, 1.51g fat, 3.07g carbs, 1.68g fiber, 1.39g NET CARBS, 0.98g protein, 350 mg sodium (salt can be omitted and added at table).

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I made the Indian version of of Creamed Spinach to have with our ham and yellow squash tonight.  I love creamed spinach so much I’m willing to eat it with so many different foods.  The flavors went quite nicely together!  Thought I’d re-share my Garam Masala recipe for anyone who loves Indian food as much as we do.    The Indian version of creamed spinach is quite unusual and very tasty.  Not hot/spicy, just aromatic with spices.  This spice blend has many uses.  Type “Indian” in the search box to see an array of Indian recipes here on my site to try this spice in. They are all tried-and-true recipes I’ve cooked many times. Give them a try some time!  I think you’ll be pleased if your an Indian food fan.

Many more delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own cookbooks from LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS, Volume 8, by Jennifer Eloff, Chef George Stella of Food Network fame, and myself.  Volume 8 is almost completely comprised of my recipes! Chef George Stella and Jennifer Eloff are also including several tasty new delights in Vol.  8! Order yours (or any of our earlier cookbooks) from Amazon  or our direct order site: amongfriends.us/order.php.  Remember, they make GREAT birthday or holiday gifts!  If you’ve already purchased a book, the team would appreciate it if you would please take a moment and drop by the our Amazon page to leave your personal review.  🙂

INGREDIENTS:

6 T. coriander seeds
3 T. cumin seeds
2 T. black peppercorns
1 T. whole cardamom pods (outer part and seeds inside)
5  small cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
2  tsp. whole cloves
1  whole grated nutmeg (about 1 tsp.)

DIRECTIONS:  In a dry skillet, over low heat, heat the first 6 spices until they become very fragrant. This step is most important, so do not skip it or your results won’t be as good.  When fragrant, turn off heat and remove pan from stove.   Using a spice/coffee grinder (I have a cheap dedicated coffee grinder for spices only), grind all toasted spices to a pretty fine grind, but it doesn’t have to be as fine as salt.  Add grated nutmeg at this point.  When adding this spice to curry recipes, I once again heat the dry skillet and reheat these until they become fragrant and then proceed with whatever recipe I’m making. This is outstanding in all chicken, beef and fish curries.  It’s great on charcoal grilled, buttered  fish and chicken, too!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Each teaspoon contains:

6  calories, 0.31 g.  fat, 1.1 g.  carbs, 0.6 g.  fiber, 0.23 g.   protein, 0.5 g. NET CARBS

 

 

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My husband and I just love Indian food!!  I cook it every other week and sometimes even more often.  There are garam masala blends available for sale ready-made, but like other blends, they can vary widely in flavor from bottle to bottle.  I haven’t found any commercial blends I like and most have been tossed out.

After experimenting with so many garam masala recipes, this is one that we keep coming back to and that has now become my “permanent recipe”.  This mix is well worth adding to your spice rack.  It is a little heavy with cinnamon, but we like that to round out the sharp coriander, which can be too strong in some recipes for this blend.  You won’t be sorry you added this to your arsenal of culinary “secrets”.   I have found it to be good in all curries, on all grilled meats and even on broiled or grilled seafood and Indian vegetable recipes.  It is also nice in a few dessert applications. Nearly 1,000 followers have copied this recipe and none have come back to complain, so I think you’ll like it.  As you get familiar with its flavor profile, you may want to increase one spice or perhaps decrease another to your liking.  That’s what makes cooking fun!

Type “Indian” in the search box to see an array of Indian recipes here on my site to try this spice in sometime. They are all tried-and-true recipes I’ve cooked many times.  Give them a try some time!

This spice mixture, like most herbs and spices, is Induction friendly.  If you like to explore other Garam Masala spice combinations, take a look at this list of other Garam Masalas:

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

INGREDIENTS:

6 T. coriander seeds
3 T. cumin seeds
2 T. black peppercorns
1 T. whole cardamom pods (outer part and seeds inside)
5  small cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
2  tsp. whole cloves
1  whole grated nutmeg (about 1 tsp)

DIRECTIONS:  In a dry skillet, over low heat, heat the first 6 spices until they become very fragrant. This step is most important, so do not skip it or your results won’t be as good.  When fragrant, turn off heat and remove pan from stove.   Using a spice/coffee grinder (I have a cheap dedicated coffee grinder for spices only), grind all toasted spices to a pretty fine grind, but it doesn’t have to be as fine as salt.  Add grated nutmeg at this point.  When adding this spice to curry recipes, I once again heat the dry skillet and reheat these until they become fragrant and then proceed with whatever recipe I’m making. This is outstanding in all chicken, beef and fish curries.  It’s great on charcoal grilled, buttered  fish and chicken, too!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Each teaspoon contains:

6  calories, 0.31 g.  fat, 1.1 g.  carbs, 0.6 g.  fiber, 0.23 g.   protein, 0.5 g. NET CARBS

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