Seedy Keto Cucee Crackers

Cucee CrackersIt’s Cracker Time!

No wheat, no eggs, no sugar. Seeds, nuts and crunch!

A friend of mine introduced me to these. She is an amazing baker. She can make a dessert from any limited set of ingredients. And it will taste good! The other night, she baked a Berry Tart using almond flour, oil, eggs, coconut milk, stevia, and berries. Nothing else! To die for!

That same night, she served us a bowl of crackers. She whipped them up together with her younger son who confessed they were too salty for his taste. They were not. They were a good balance of salt, crunch, and flavor. I loved them. I got the recipe from her the following day. I made them many times since then. Thank you, Svetlana :)

This recipe is modified. It is a little lower in carbs and a little thinner and crunchier than Svetlana’s. It works for me as I eat these crackers for dessert but if you plan to use them in dips or with cheese, look out for modifications.

Cucee Crackers

Seedy Keto Cucee Crackers

Don’t have pumpkin seeds? You can use sunflower seeds or sliced almonds.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 11×17 baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Reserve an additional piece of paper of the same dimensions
  2. Add the dry ingredients into a bowl and pour oil and boiling water over them
  3. Mix until a gel-like consistency
  4. Place “the dough” on a baking sheet. Cover with the extra piece parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough evenly. To make a thin cracker, spread the dough almost to the edges of the baking sheet. To make a thicker cracker, spread it to about 75% of the sheet
  5. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and bake for about 45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown
  6. Turn off the oven and check the crackers. If you rolled them out thin, they should be done! Take them out and leave them out to cool. If you went for the thicker version, check for dryness. If they are not super crisp yet, leave them in the turned-off oven to dry for about 20 mins, checking occasionally
  7. Once dried and cool, break into irregular shards. Store in an airtight container

Cucee Crackers

Drink Pairing


I have been looking for a bottle of Georgian Wine to purchase in the States that is “natural” and low in Residual Sugar. Let me introduce you to Doqi Saperavi. It is $18 and you can pick it up yourself if you live in the Bay Area or get it shipped to anywhere within the US

Cucee Crackers

  Cucee Crackers

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Georgian Egg Salad

Georgian Egg Salad

Did you miss me?

I’ve been really busy lately, so busy that I have not had any time to blog. But I do try to at least share photos of my daily food adventures on Instagram, so if you miss me between my posts, just head there.

Today I bring you a new recipe. This recipe will change your life. Period. It will make you question everything, but more importantly, it will send you into the kitchen to boil whole lotta eggs.

Eggs. I never liked them as a kid. I preferred a buttered toast with thinly sliced dry beef salami for breakfast, a Soviet go-to meal. Eggs tasted bland to me. Until about 8 years when I had to ditch my bad carb habits and learn to love animal protein. Including eggs.

But love is a strong word. I experimented with lots of different ways to give eggs “a better taste.” And there were successes. Do you remember that scrumptious Grilled Cheese Egg that some of your kids still ask you to make? Or the Eggplant Sandwich Tacos with that soft-boiled gooiness all over them? I can go on. BUT, what I really want to do is talk about the new egg recipe I just developed for you! And me!

Georgian Egg Salad!

I’ve never been to Georgia (as in Europe, not the USA.) But I plan on going there soon since I am a fan of the food AND the natural wine. Until then, I will be dreaming of Georgia in the mornings, when I indulge in this simple egg salad.

The original recipe has dairy. And walnuts. Both not allowed in my household. So I experimented a bit and came up with something just as good. No, better! Now, go boil those eggs!

Georgian Egg Salad

Azelila (Georgian Egg Salad)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Grade or mash the eggs. To grade, use the big holes on a standard grater
  2. Fold mayo and sriracha into the egg
  3. Crush the almonds. The easiest way is to place the nuts in a heavy-duty freezer bag and smash the bag with a rolling pin. Alternatively, grind them in a food processor for a second or two
  4. Add the almonds, onions, salt, and pepper to the egg mixture
  5. Mix well until the mixture is homogeneous
  6. Serve warm or chilled, in lettuce leaves or as is

 

Georgian Egg Salad

Drink Pairing

 

I really do enjoy a nice hot cup of Earl Grey after the first meal of the day. Harney & Sons Earl Grey Supreme is now my favorite!

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Cauliflower Liver Hash

Hash

Once there was a girl. And she loved eating liver. And every time she would ask for one, her mom would cook it. She’d make liver pate toasts, mashed potatoes with fried liver, liver-stuffed piroshki. And the little girl was happy.

The girl got older. She started cooking liver herself. And one day, she made it for her mom. It was Cauliflower Liver Hash. And her mom liked it. And the girl was happy.

The making of hash

 

Putting it all together

Cauliflower Liver Hash

Ingredients


Fried Liver

Roasted Cauliflower

Caramelized Onion

Directions

  1. Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower with the oil, salt, and thyme on a baking sheet. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower until small pieces are formed. Transfer to a bowl
  2. Liver: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Add the liver, working in batches if necessary, and fry until browned on both sides. Season with spices, salt, and pepper. Saute for another minute or two. Remove liver from skillet with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a food processor. Pulse until small pieces are formed. Set aside on a plate or bowl
  3. Onion: Add the oil in the same skillet. Add the onions and sauté until translucent and fragrant
  4. Hash: Mix the roasted cauliflower, fried liver, and caramelized onions together. Serve warm or cold

Wine Pairing


Wine and Champagne are allowed on a low carb diet. When picking the sparkling wine, make sure you go for Brut Nature (the lowest in sugar.) I like 
Biutiful Brut Nature

Hash

Hash

 

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Hunter-style Chicken Skillet

Hunter-style skillet chicken

The period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is known as the Ten Days of Repentance and I am already in reflections on the year past, planning for the one ahead. What a year it has been! One filled with many unescapable introspections and personal growth opportunities.

5779 marks a fresh start. I get to hit the reset button and “do this life” all over again as if almost from scratch. Consciously. Deliberately. The mistakes and the triumphs from the past guiding me in the direction of the future.

During this special time, I am also planning the changes in the kitchen. Fewer pork products is one of them. Another is lighting Shabbat candles on most Fridays. And the last – a repeat of at least one favorite Cucee recipe, on weekly basis.

Tonight, on Night Three, I am serving one of my all-time favorites – Hunter-style Skillet Chicken – and sharing a recipe with you.

Hunter-style skillet chicken

Hunter-style Skillet chicken

Save the leftover sauce for poaching eggs Shakshuka-style in the morning.

Preparation

  1. Season the chicken legs to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  2. Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chicken legs 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set the chicken aside
  3. Lower the heat, and add more oil to the skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and red pepper flakes; cook until soft for 5-7 minutes
  4. Add the garlic powder and basil and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute
  5. Add 1 can of tomatoes, olives, wine, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15  minutes
  6. Add the chard; continue cooking until wine almost evaporated
  7. Add salted chicken to the pan and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered until it is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes
  8. Serve in a bowl with an extra sauce or over Kelp Noodles

Hunter-style skillet chicken

Wine Pairing


The days have been really warm this fall and I cannot recommend anything heavier than a light bubbly beverage. 
Korbel is currently my favorite “table Brut,” especially because you can find it at any local store.

Hunter-style skillet chicken

Hunter-style skillet chicken

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Salmon

My son’s buddy, a sweet big-eyed 13-year-old boy, is a frequent visitor at our house. He is there so often that sometimes I feel like I am a mom of three.

This kid loves my cooking! So much, that sometimes he calls me back for a recipe for last night’s dinner. THIS is his most favorite dish!

Salmon

Salmon with Fire-Roasted Tomato Coconut Sauce

This sauce is a base for just about any kind of protein you crave, whether it is chicken, fish, even tofu.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, bell peppers and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 15 minutes
  2. Add fire roasted tomatoes, the broth (or water) and garlic powder. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Process in a food processor if you like a smoother consistency (I do)
  3. Add coconut milk. Simmer for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend
  4. Add salmon and toss lightly to coat with the sauce. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until it is cooked through
  5. Serve over Kelp Noodles, Cauliflower rice or Zoodles

Salmon

Wine Pairing


This Natural Biodynamic wine truly compliments this rich dish. The firm tannins in Meinklang Burgenland refresh the palate after each bite. You can get a bottle of Meinklang Burgenland, as well as other outstanding Natural Wines, at
Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wine

Salmon

Cucee Curry

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Chinese Take-Out

My parents brought me to the States when I was 13. We came here for a better life and the opportunities we wouldn’t have had if we stayed in Moldova. The three of us were poor but happy; after all, we were the fortunate ones with a shot of a better life, here in the United States of America.

The week after our arrival, my family celebrated our coming to America at a local Chinese Restaurant. It was our first Chinese food, and it was special. Celebrations over Sweet & Sour Chicken and Moo Goo Gai Pan continued regularly until I moved out.

Sad to say, but I have not had Chinese food in years. First, my son was born with all sorts of allergies; Asian restaurants were banned for us. Too much risk. Then he outgrew his allergies, but I developed a couple of severe intolerances. It has been rough!

No more. I am celebrating with you today, over my version of Moo Goo Gai Pan, excited to finally be able to eat Chinese food at home, with my family. I developed this recipe out of longing, for the past and the future. Now “My Future” often asks me to make Moo Goo Gai Pan. To enjoy and to celebrate!

Chicken Take-Out

Chinese Take-Out: Moo Goo Gai Pan over Ginger Cauliflower Rice

The original Moo Goo Gai Pan is prepared with sliced mushrooms. But since mushrooms aren’t great for my health, I have removed them and simplified the recipe without sacrificing any of the flavors.

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Ingredients  

Directions

  1. To marinate the chicken, add chicken, coconut flour, chicken stock, liquid aminos, vinegar, kaffir lime leave flakes, salt and pepper in a bowl, mix well and let sit for 10 Minutes or longer
  2. In a wok, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 more minute
  3. Add the chicken and cook for 5 Minutes or until cooked through
  4. Serve over cauliflower rice (see recipe below)

Chinese Take-Out

Ginger Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a wok, heat the Avocado Oil over medium-high heat. Add the chili flakes, ginger, bell pepper,  onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice and cook for 2-3 minutes or longer, depending on how much you want it browned
  2. Season with salt and pepper

Chicken Take-Out

Wine Pairing

When dinner is on the table, pour yourself a flute of Silvano Follador Prosecco. The crispness and bubbles of Brut Nature complements the umami of Moo Goo Gai Pan in a surprisingly delightful way

Chinese Take-Out

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Hearts of Palm Soup with Pepper Croutons

I just recently figured out why I love Latin food so much! It is because I come from a Latin country! Well, Moldova was actually one of those unfortunate European republics that got conquered against their will by the Russian Empire and then de-latinized, but this is a culinary and not a political blog, so let’s not get into the politics right now.

Anyways, if you don’t believe how much I love Latin food, just scan the recipe section of my blog! Vegetable Tortilla Soup, Mexican Bean Torta, Jalapeño-Corn Chowder, Creamy Poblano Chile Soup With Corn and Chanterelle Mushrooms, Quinoa, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Timbale With Roasted Tomatillo Dressing, and, of course, Salsa. Have I proven my point yet?

cucee mexican recipes

And given my healthy obsession with Latin cuisine, I really thought that I’ve tried my hand at pretty much every latin recipes known to men (or women.) Well, I realized I was wrong after stumbling upon this Hearts of Palm soup recipe in Mexican Today.

Having made this soup a few times now, let me tell you – it is a keeper! Not only is it kinda cool sounding (I mean, how often do you hear of Hearts of Palm soups), but it is also super tasty AND low-carb. Are you already on your way out to a grocery store with an ingredients list?

Hearts of Palm Soup with Pepper Croutons

Loosely based on a recipe from the Mexican Today: New & Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens

Ingredients

Directions

 

Bell Pepper Croutons

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray
  2. Place peppers in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat
  3. Spread peppers in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes and then stir. Roast for another 10 minutes and check for doneness. If peppers are very brown in spots and fragrant, remove from oven. If not, stir and roast for 5 to 10 minutes more and then check again

Soup

  1. In a large heavy pot, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely softened, 12 to 14 minutes
  2. Raise the heat to medium, add the hearts of palm, and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until heated through. Add the broth and ½ teaspoon salt, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Pour the soup into a blender and puree until completely smooth
  4. Pour the soup back into the pot, stir, taste, and adjust the seasonings
  5. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, spoon about ¼ cup roasted peppers into the middle of each bowl, and sprinkle the chives

Drink Pairing

What am I pairing my food with nowadays? Bubbly! It does not upset my stomach the way wine does, and it fits well into my low-carb gut-healing diet.

If you are new to sparkling beverages, know that some are very low in sugar while others are not! The cleanest of all is Brut Nature with less than 2 grams of sugar per 750 ml bottle. Extra Brut is at 0-6 grams. And Brut is at less than 9 grams. You can also go the Extra Dry rout with about 11 grams of residual sugar.

Brut Sweetness Scale

Finding Brut Nature can be a bit tricky (I buy mine at B&L Wines.) But this N.V. Besserat de Bellefon Cuvee des Moines Extra Brut Champagne, that you can get on Amazon, is of great quality and under 3 grams of sugar per bottle.

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Cuceebabs

cuceebabs

What does one do when it is below zero and they are under the weather? They shoot the next Cucee recipe of course!

As my asthma and her hangover both turned into a nasty cold, we needed something to distract us from our cough. I grabbed ground lamb; she went for the mini-tripod. I lined up my spices; she duct-taped the flashlight to the ladder. 2 hours later, we had a recipe created, dinner on the table and a time-lapse that you are watching right now!

 

Cuceebabs

Ingredients

cuceebabs

Directions

Shaping

  1. Soak 10 wooden skewers in water for at least an hour
  2. Line 2 large chopping boards with plastic wrap
  3. In a large bowl, gently mix lamb and next 11 ingredients
  4. Divide lamb mixture in half. Move half to the chopping board and press it down evenly with your hands into a flat rectangle about ⅓ – ½ inch thick. Repeat the process with the second half of the lamb

Assembling

  1. Take the pre-soaked skewers and layer them over one of the lamb rectangles, spacing them evenly, about ⅔ – 1 inch apart. Make sure you leave about half the skewer peaking out
  2. Cover them with another lamb rectangle. Gently press to seal the two rectangles together.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and move to fridge for 30 minutes or more

Grilling

  1. Lightly oil the grates of a gas grill and preheat it to medium high for about 20 minutes
  2. Remove the lamb from the fridge. With a large kitchen knife or a pizza cutter, cut evenly between the sticks. You will end up with about 7-8 cuceebabs
  3. Place the cuceebabs on the lightly oiled, heated gas grill. Grill on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on one side, turn over and grill for another 3-4 minutes
  4. Serve immediately while they are still warm

Wine pairing

 

I can finally drink wine again!!! But not just any wine – only clean sugar-free dry farmed wine that I have discovered at Dry Farm Wines

cuceebabs cuceebabs

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Salsa Love ❤

Two types of salsas

Let’s talk Salsas. Some salsas are red. Some salsas are green. Some are black. All salsas are great!

I came back from Punta De Mita, Mexico totally excited about my new addiction. The following day, I took all my cookbooks out, pulled out my laptop and started research. That day was a busy one for me – I was making dinner for 17 people in celebration of my 12-year-old’s birthday. Yet I was way too excited not to also try my hand at salsa making.

Here are the two that I made that day. These are the two I’ve been making regularly now. They are spicy, flavorful and, have I already said, spicy? Make at your own risk (or reduce the amount of chiles by half.)

Salsa Verde

Two types of salsas

Smoky Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Loosely based and highly altered recipe from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless

Ingredients

  • 3 medium fresh tomatillos, husked and washed (about 4 ½ ounces total)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, un-plealed
  • 2 chipotles peppers in adobo
  • ½ small white onion
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Roast the tomatillos and the garlic on a rimmed baking sheet about 4 inches below a very hot broiler until soft and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes per side. Cool, then scrape into a food processor.
  2. Drain the chiles. Place the chiles, tomatillos, un-peeled garlic, salt and 3/4 cup water in a food processor. Blend until nearly smooth.
  3. Chop the onion and add to the blended salsa. Stir in enough additional water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency.
  4. Season with more salt if needed. If a smokier flavor is desired, stir in a teaspoon or two of the sauce from the chiles chipotles.

Avocado Salsa Verde

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked and washed (about 9 ounces total)
  • 2 Serrano chiles
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine the tomatillos, garlic, chile, cilantro, lime juice, salt and ½ cup water. Process to a coarse puree.
  2. Add the avocado and pulse until nearly smooth.
  3. Season with more salt if needed.

Two types of salsas

Drink Pairing

I have one word – Clase Azul Tequila!

Taquila

SAlsa Verde

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Low-Carb Meatballs Mole

Mole

Lets just all admit that Mexican food rocks! All those impossibly fresh ingredients, bold flavors and textures… and, of course, tequila! Feed me Mexican for lunch and dinner every day, and I’m your best friend for life. Guac, fajitas, carne asada – I don’t discriminate, as long as it is fresh and low in carbs.

And since we are on the subject, I want to share with you one of my favorite Oaxacan recipes  that will literally blow your mind. Yes, it is made with a scoop of chocolate, a sprinkle of chile, and a dash of creativity.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to your newest obsession – a low-carb, totally cuceelicious Mole. Just so you know THE SAUCE is the center of attention here. So go ahead, make the sauce and smother meatballs in it. If you make extra mole, save some for tomorrow’s grilled chicken or baked tofu – I promise you will want to try it with every protein on the planet.

Making meatballs

Making meatballs

Meatball prep for Mole

Mole

Low-Carb Meatballs Mole

Adapted from Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less

Ingredients 

 

Mole Sauce

 

Meatballs

 

Directions

 

Mole Sauce (can be made in advance)

 

  1. Warm the oil in a nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat, 2 min
  2. Add the onion to the pan and saute until soft, 5-7 min
  3. When the onion is soft, add the garlic, chili powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pepper to the pan and stir for 30 seconds
  4. Add the tomato sauce, water and almond butter; stir to combine
  5. Simmer over low heat while you prep the meatballs, about 10 mins

Meatballs

 

  1. Mix meat, chili, salt and pepper with your hands
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls
  3. Add the meatballs in the pot
  4. Add the sauce
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 10 mins
  6. Stir gently to coat the meatballs in sauce
  7. Cook 5 mins more, remove the lid and cook for 5 more mins

Mole

Mole

Drink Pairing

Did I say tequila earlier in this post? My favorite tequilas are Clase Azul Reposado and Fortaleza Anejo

Mole

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