What’s the White Stuff on Cooked Salmon?

The white stuff on salmon is called albumin. Albumin is a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw that coagulates and becomes semi-solid when you subject the salmon to heat when cooking. As the meat cooks, the coagulated albumin gets squeezed out and becomes a white coating.
The more aggressively you cook your salmon the more albumin will appear on its surface.

Think of what happens when you wring out a wet towel. The water inside the fibers of the cloth is pushed out as you squeeze the fibers closer together. The same principle applies to salmon. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out albumin to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

To have as little albumin as possible visible on your finished dish, follow these guidelines:

  • Cook your salmon at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. It’s gentler on the fillet, resulting in a super-tender piece of fish with less nasty white stuff.
  • If you are searing salmon (and fish in general), always do so with the skin side down. The skin acts as a protective barrier between the fish and the hot metal pan. **TIP: Even if you plan on taking the skin off, cook your fish skin-side down for 90% of the way, turn off the heat, and then flip the fish so the skinless side cooks on the pan’s residual heat.
  • Don’t overcook your salmon. You want it medium to medium-rare in the center, still a bit translucent. Overcooking salmon is the easiest way to get albumin everywhere. **TIP: When you can push on the top of your salmon with a fork, and the the layers of flesh separate easily and seem moist, your fish is finished cooking.

Thanks to my friends at Epicurious for the cooking tips! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Low Carb Fruits & Veggies

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Keto Flatbread & Lemon Tahini Sauce

My next post is going to be for Chicken Shawarma, but I was really sad that, in order to really enjoy it I’d need to cheat with a high carb Pita and Tahini sauce.

After doing some research and taking a couple of tries in the kitchen though, I discovered that making an acceptable Keto flatbread to host the deliciousness of the flavorful chicken dish, kebabs, or any other Middle Eastern delicacy isn’t that hard at all!

flatbread

Keto Flatbread

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups (6 oz) Shredded Full Fat Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1+1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are light and frothy then add the salt and baking powder in, making sure to mix well.  Mix the mozzarella in with a spatula.  Add in the almond flour and mix everything well.

Wearing rubber prep gloves, put some oil on your hands and continue mixing with your hands, then separate the dough in 5 equal balls.   Flatten each section of dough into a disc and spread them out on a piece of parchment paper.  Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the flattened discs.

Use a rolling pin to flatten each disc further until they are about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Transfer the dough and bottom piece of parchment to a sheet tray, sprinkle with dried thyme, and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  When the flat breads have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

TIP:  Flatbread will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a zip bag, or can be frozen for 3 months.

lemontahini

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Sesame Tahini – I use Kevala Organic Sesame Tahini
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Crushed (2 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • Ice Water
  • 1 tsp Freshly Chopped Parsley

Put garlic in a small bowl and cover with the juice of 1 lemon.

Let sit for 5-15 minutes until the raw flavor of the garlic goes away.  Add the tahini to a blender or small food processor, or use a handheld immersion bender in a tall and narrow jar.

Add the garlic/lemon juice blend, the parsley, and the salt, and blend for a few seconds.  Add some ice water(about 2-4 tablespoons) while blending and keep going until the texture is smooth and creamy.  If you need to add more water, do so. If the tahini gets too loose, add more tahini.  Check the seasoning and put in the refrigerator in a sealed container until needed.

The tahini sauce will last for 5 days in the refrigerator but can’t be frozen.

Use the flatbread as your base to build your kebab or Schwarma plate and dress with the tahini sauce.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Thai Street Chicken

thaistreetchickenKeith Schroeder of Cooking Light Magazine wrote a book, and received a James Beard Foundation Focus on Health Book Award, Mad Delicious – The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing!, in 2014 that doesn’t just talk about the what and how of cooking great meals, but also the why.  This recipe is one that was featured in both his book and the magazine, and perfectly illustrates why guests at his table love every dish this Atlanta chef prepares!

If you replace the brown sugar with Sukrin Gold, this recipe can easily become a flavorful, Keto Friendly meal.

Thai Street Chicken

  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro Stems
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley Stems
  • 1 TBLS Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp White Pepper
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Oyster Sauce
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves (I use 4 tsp of jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 + 1/2 Pounds Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs (About 6)
  • Olive Oil Cooking SPray
  • 1 Cup Julienned Carrots
  • 2 Peeled/Scored/Sliced Cucumbers
  • 12 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 2 Limes Cut into Wedges

Put the parsley & cilantro stems into a gallon sized zip bag and, using a rolling pin or can of vegetables, bruise the stems by pushing down and rolling over the stems from outside the bag.  Add the brown sugar (or brown sugar alternative), the white pepper, the fish and oyster sauces, and the garlic and combine.  Add the chicken, zip the bag closed, and massage the marinade into the thighs.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the dipping sauce.

Thai Dipping Sauce

  • 6 TBLS White Vinegar
  • 6 TBLS Brown Sugar (or Brown Sugar Alternative)
  • 1/4 Cup Shaved Shallots
  • 4 TBLS Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Minced Thai Bird Chiles
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed (1 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

In small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the vinegar, sugar and shallots to a boil.  Simmer for another 10 minutes then remove from heat.  Puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender).

Cool and then stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, garlic and white pepper.

After 30 minutes, removed the marinated chicken from the zip bag and discard the remaining marinade.  Put the chicken thighs on metal skewers.  Make sure your chicken is long and flat, you don’t want cubes with this style chicken.

Heat an oven safe (if cooking in your oven) grill pan, sprayed with Olive Oil cooking spray, over medium-high heat (or in a 300° oven).

Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 15 minutes.  Flip the skewers over and cook another 15 minutes.  You should be able to easily pull off a cooked piece of the chicken when it’s done.  Remove the skewers from the heat, slide the chicken off of the skewers and place on one side of a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

On the other side of the patter, in rows, line up the carrots, cucumber, cilantro springs, and lime wedges.  Serve with the dipping sauce.

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Friendly, Low Carb Baked Cauliflower Au Gratin

Tomorrow’s all about talkin’ turkey, but tonight I wanted to look at an alternative to the usual sides and came across this recipe for baked cauliflower au gratin.  Anyone who is doing Keto or trying to avoid the bread and potatoes will definitely appreciate your (very limited) effort on this comforting side dish.

Baked Cauliflower Au Gratinlow-carb-baked-cauliflower-au-gratin-photo

  • 1 pound cauliflower cut into florets (or precut/bagged florets) 4 cups +/-
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp almond flour
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp coconut flour
  • 1+1/2 cups 2% or almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Preheat oven to 375° F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook 5 to 7 minutes until just tender.  Drain well and spread out on paper towels.  Using another layer of paper towel on top, gently press out as much moisture as you can.

While the cauliflower cooks, melt the butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat. Once melted, add in the almond and coconut flours and whisk, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk, salt, garlic and onion powder and pepper until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, until VERY thick, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan. Pack the cauliflower into the pan on top and then spoon the rest of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: broil for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat