Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Curried Zucchini Frittata topped with Mixed Greens & Smoked Salmon

I've been super busy lately with work and trying to pull together a destination wedding.  I want to keep Max and I on track, so I have to come up with simple meals that I can prepare quickly when I get home from work.  On your busy nights, have brunch for dinner with this yummy frittata.  
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. zucchini, chopped*
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
12 eggs*
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup smoked salmon torn into small pieces
4 oz. mixed greens

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add zucchini, onion, curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, approximately 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with remaining teaspoon of salt and pepper.
When zucchini is cooked, spread evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
  Pour eggs over the top and cook until the bottom is set.*
  Place the skillet* under the broiler* until the top is cooked and golden brown.
Cut the frittata into quarters, top with mixed greens, and a few small pieces of smoked salmon.  Drizzle with a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

P.s. Check out my new skillet.  My wonderful, soon-to-be mother-in-law scored us some previously-loved All-Clad pans on eBay.

I used 2 fairly large zucchini.  Because squash are often crooked, I cut off the ends and then stand the zucchini on end to slice it in half.  This technique is not foolproof, but it helps to get even cuts.  For a large zucchini I will cut each half again, lengthwise into halves or thirds before chopping crosswise into smaller pieces.
You can remove some of the yolks or use an egg substitute if you prefer.
You can tell if the bottom is set when the sides of the frittata can be pulled away from the edge of the skillet with a spatula.
If your skillet has a plastic handle, cover it in tin foil before placing under the broiler.
In some ovens the broiler is in the drawer below the oven and in some the broiler is on the top of the oven.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stir fry with Cabbage, Bell Pepper, Snow Peas & Chicken

I find that recreating Asian food at home is quite difficult... it just never tastes the same as in restaurants.  You won't mistake this dish for take-out, but it is simple and yummy and probably a heck of a lot healthier than what you might order from your favorite Chinese food joint. I adapted this meal from an Ellie Krieger recipe.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 head napa cabbage, sliced
1 cup snow peas
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 - 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken*
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil

 Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and ginger and saute, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 2 minutes.
 Add the cabbage and cook until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes
Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and snow peas and mix well.  Cover and cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 4 minutes.  
 Stir in chicken until heated through.  Serve in bowls and drizzle with toasted sesame oil.

Phases: In the Tear Down Phase use a full cup of chicken for 2 people.  Reduce to a 1/2 cup as you move on in the diet.

*I bought a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and used some for our lunch salads and some for dinner.  You can also cook extra chicken when preparing a meal earlier in the week and then use the leftovers in this meal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Broccoli Soup with Feta

It's been rainy and icky outside... time for soup!  One of our favorites is Broccoli soup.  It sort of sounds like a punishment  - here's your slop Little Orphan Annie - but it's truly delicious.  The original recipe from Food & Wine's February 2008 edition also has a recipe for Cheddar Crisps* - Yum!  You could enjoy a cheddar crisp on Gundry (the diet allows about 1 oz. per day), but I usually opt for something a little simpler... like stirring in some delicious, fresh, goat-milk feta (the diet allows about 1/2 cup per day). 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 small celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1.5 lbs broccoli, cut into florets
3.5 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the broccoli and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderate heat until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.  Ladle the contents of the saucepan into a blender and puree until smooth.  Season the soup with salt and pepper.  

Notes:  I usually substitute some of the water with vegetable or chicken stock, as I find it adds good flavor.  The soup is quite bland before you add salt.  Add slowly, but don't be surprised if you feel like you add a lot of salt - the soup needs it to bring out the flavor of the broccoli.  Slightly under season in the blender and then serve the soup with salt and pepper so each individual can season to taste.  

Phases:  In the tear down phase, you can serve this soup with some shredded chicken or chopped ham to get an adequate helping of animal protein.  

* For the Cheddar Crsips: Heat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sprinkle 4 oz. of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese on the sheet in eight 2-inch rounds.  Bake for 18 minutes until darkened slightly.  Blot the crisps with paper towels and let cool and harden.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taco Salad

So, in this Gundry life you don't get to eat the huge, crispy, taco shell. But, taco salad is still a yummy and very quick weeknight meal.

1 lb. lean ground beef
Taco seasoning package*
2 - 4 romaine hearts, halved, sliced thinly
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly or diced
1/2 cup fresh salsa
1 dill pickle, sliced thinly*
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese (optional)

Cook the beef according to the instructions on the taco seasoning package.  Put lettuce in a bowl and toss with salsa, olive oil, red onion, salt and pepper.  Divide among four plates.  Top with seasoned beef, pickle slices and a small amount of cheese if you wish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you're in the initial stage of Phase 1, omit the salsa or look for a green salsa (made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes).  In Phase 2, reduce the amount of beef and substitute with avocado.  In Phase 3, omit the beef all together and substitute with avocado, boca burger or a seasoned meat substitute (check ingredients to make sure there isn't a lot of added sugar).

*Most brands of taco seasoning have a small amount of sugar.  If you want to avoid this, you can make your own seasoning with a mix of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt and pepper.
* Trust me on this one!  Max introduced me to the amazing coupling of pickles and tacos when we were first dating and I haven't eaten tacos (or since Gundry, taco salad) any other way since.  The garlicky flavor or the pickles really compliments and brings out the flavors of the seasoned beef.

And if you're really hankering for a taco, make yourself one with a low-carb tortilla and serve it with salad on the side.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Smoked Salmon and Fried Egg Salad with Mushrooms, Pine Nuts & Leeks

This salad boasts an unusual but delicious combination of flavors. We've been enjoying this salad since our pre-Gundry day, but all of the wonderful ingredients work for the diet.  Keep in mind that the salmon, nuts and eggs are all proteins, so you'll have to adjust the recipe to fit your stage of the diet.  This recipe, now one of our "go to" week night meals, comes from the March 2009 issue of Sunset magazine.

1 large leek, white and green parts*
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
3 cups cremini (or other) mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 oz. smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
4 large eggs
8 oz. salad mix

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut leek into approximately 3-inch cylinders.  Cut each cylinder in half and slice the leek lengthwise to create thin slivers.*  Place the slivers on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss.  Bake slivers until some are golden and beginning to crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put pine nuts in a shallow pan and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add mushrooms and salmon and toss gently to coat.

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium.  Crack eggs into pan (or a cup first to make sure you don't get any shells in the pan), spacing evenly.  When whites are set (approximately 2 to 3 minutes) carefully flip eggs and cook until yolks are soft set, about 30 seconds.

Add salad mix to bowl with mushrooms and salmon and toss to coat.  Divide salad mixture among plates, top each with egg, pine nuts and leek slivers.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 2 to 4.
*Leeks carry a lot of dirt and need to be rinsed well. Sometimes you can get rid of most of the dirt simply by peeling away the outer layers.  You can also rinse the leek after cutting - place the pieces of leek in a large bowl of water, "swish" around, let sit (the pieces of dirt will sink to the bottom), and then pull out the pieces of leek and dry on a towel.
*I hold the leek cut side up and cut the very edge of the leek first, working my way toward the center.