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

Dairy-Free Dole Whip

Extra special thanks to the guys at Epicurious.com for sharing this tasty treat on this extra-hot Sunday!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

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Homemade “Dole Whip”

  • 4 Cups Frozen Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 Cup Canned, Unsweetened, Coconut Milk
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 4 Fresh Pineapple Wedges (optional)
  1. Process frozen pineapple, coconut milk, banana, and salt in a food processor (I used my Vitamix) until very smooth.
  2. Divide among glasses or cups and garnish with pineapple wedges, if using.

Nutrition Information (Serves 4)

  • 220  Calories
  • 12 g  Fat
  • 27 g Carbohydrates
  • 2 g    Protein

Foolproof Cauliflower Crust

If at first you don’t succeed…listen to the experts and get a pizza stone if you don’t have one.  I got mine at Pampered Chef, but this Weber 8836 with the carrying tray is a great one too:

Next, find a video how-to on Epicurious.com.


Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup finely ground almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 5 ounces), divided
  • Vegetable oil (for brushing)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; place pizza stone or inverted (if rimmed) baking sheet on rack. Preheat to 425°F.
  2. Working in batches if needed, pulse cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the blade, or grate using the medium holes of a box grater, until fine crumbs form and are rice-like in texture. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and tightly squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Mix cauliflower, egg, Parmesan, almond meal, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl until mixture holds together when pinched.
  4. Line pizza peel or second baking sheet with parchment paper; generously brush with oil. Form cauliflower mixture into a 12″ circle with your hands on parchment. Using a rolling pin, make thickness as even as possible. Carefully slide parchment onto preheated pizza stone or baking sheet.
  5. Bake cauliflower crust until golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating halfway through, 20–22 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups mozzarella. Top with sauce, using the back of a spoon to spread over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella.
  7. Slide pizza back onto pizza stone or baking sheet and continue to bake until bubbly and browned in spots, 5–7 minutes. Top with basil and red pepper, if using. Let sit 5 minutes, then cut into 6–8 wedges.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick Keto Crab Cakes

crabcake1After accomplishing my goal of losing the 33 pounds that 3 foot surgeries and 5 breast surgeries (for a total of 8 in a 5 year span) piled on me, in just 12 weeks, it’s become second nature to convert my regular recipes into #KetoFriendly versions.

See how this quick & easy version of crab cakes compares versus other preparations in terms of net carbs per serving of 1 crab cake:

  • Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs – 15 g carbs
  • Panko – 11 g carbs
  • Almond Meal (or Almond Flour but not super-finely ground) – 1.5 g of carbs

Quick Keto Crab Cakes

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 TBLS Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Scallions
  • 12 oz Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, drained and picked over
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal (or Regular Grind Almond Flour)
  • 2 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lime Wedges

Whisk egg, mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.  Squeeze in the juice from one wedge of lime and whisk until well combined.  Stir in scallions and almond meal.  Fold in the crab.  Form the mixture into four patties.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the crab cakes and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.  Serve with lime wedges and cilantro lime aioli (if desired).

Serving size: 1 Crab Cake  Calories 265 / Fat 15 g / Carbs 1.5 g / Protein 22 g

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Cilantro Lime Aioli

  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • Juice and Zest of 1 medium Lime
  • A drop or 3 😉 Franks Red Hot (or your favorite) Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic

Combine all ingredients in your blender container and process until well combined.

Serving size: 1 TBLS  Calories 100 / Fat 11 g / Carbs 0 g / Protein 0 g

Aguachile de Camarón

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Photo By Chelsea Kyle

It seems like every appetizer served at parties, large or small, is forbidden to those who follow the low carb lifestyles touted by the Keto, Paleo and Atkins diets, but who has the time, or patience, to spend making some of the recipes for snacks that are allowed?

I went to a couple of my favorite “regular recipe” resources, Epicurious.com and Emeril’s on Planet Green, to see if there were any easy snack recipes that were low carb friendly and was pleasantly surprised! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Aguachile de Camarón

  • 2 Quarts Water
  • 2 TBLS Kosher Salt
  • 1 Pound Fresh Jumbo Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 English Cucumber, peeled
  • 1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cold Water
  • 2 to 3 Fresh Serrano Chiles, sliced
  • 1 TBLS Chopped Fresh Parsley
  1. Combine 2 quarts water and 2 TBLS cup salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.
  2. Butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tail intact.
  3. Add shrimp and immediately turn off the heat.
  4. Let the shrimp sit until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Place shrimp in colander, run under cold water to stop the cooking, then drain.
  6. In a blender, combine the lime juice, olive oil, chiles, and 1/4 cup of cold water. Process until smooth then season to taste with salt.
  7. In a non-reactive bowl combine the shrimp with the dressing.  Cover and put into the refrigerator for 1 hour. (Can be made up to 4 hours before serving)
  8. Cut the cucumber into thin rectangular slices, about 3 inches long, and divide among 4 small plates.
  9. Arrange the shrimp on top of the cucumber slices, season as needed, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

**Non-Reactive Bowl:  Stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking with acidic foods, such as lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan.  Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor

Salami Crisps (Epicurious)Salami-Crisps

  • 1/4 Pound (very thinly sliced) Genoa Salami, Soppressata, Pepperoni, Pancetta, Jamón Ibérico, Finocchiona, Coppa, or other charcuterie type dry cured meat
  • Cracked Black Pepper (if using an unspiced meat)
  • Parmesan Cheese (if desired)
  1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Arrange salami slices in 1 layer on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. If using Parmesan Cheese, sprinkle slices lightly.
  4. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are crisp and beginning to curl, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Transfer slices to a rack to cool. (They will crisp as they cool.)

Serving Suggestion:  Small slices of cheese, olive oil marinated feta, or some herbs mixed into cream cheese are all Keto-friendly and would be good served with these crisps.

Amaretto Poached Peaches

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PHOTO: Chelsea Kyle, PROP STYLING: Alex Brannian, FOOD STYLING: Dawn Perry

I’m planning a weekend dinner party and love having a make ahead dessert that allows me to spend as little time during the party in the kitchen as possible.  Considering that it’s peak peach season, and very few people have a strong aversion for them, I’d consider it  prime time to dig into my favorite peach recipes at www.californiagirlsgonewine.

This one is fast, can be made ahead, and only tastes better the longer it sits before being reheated!  The very best thing about this recipe is you have two choices when you make it:  Hands on by cooking it on the stove top or hands off by cooking it in the slow cooker!  For what it’s worth, I prefer the more focused control over the end product that comes from using the stove top method.

Amaretto Poached Peaches

  • 6 peaches (about 3 pounds), pitted, thinly sliced
  • 4 strips lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 cup Amaretto
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBLS honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn if large
  • 2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cold water OR 3 tsp arrowroot + 2 tsp cold water
  • Vanilla bean ice cream (for serving)

For Stove Top:

  1. Rinse and dry your basil leaves and peaches, and scrub the skin of your lemon thoroughly before you start your recipe.
  2. Heat peaches, lemon zest, amaretto, honey, salt, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and 1 cup hot water in a medium pot over medium heat until simmering.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook until peaches are tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Cover and remove from heat until 15 minutes before you are ready to serve.
  5. 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls and place bowls into freezer.
  6. Mix cornstarch OR arrowroot with the cold water until a thin paste forms.
  7. Return peach mixture just to a boil.
  8. Stir cornstarch or arrowroot paste into peach mixture until sauce starts to thicken then remove from heat.
  9. Spoon peach mixture over the ice cream and add a full basil leaf or two. Serve immediately.

For Slow Cooker:

  1. Rinse and dry your basil leaves and peaches, and scrub the skin of your lemon thoroughly before you start your recipe.
  2. Toss peaches, lemon zest, amaretto, honey, salt, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and 1 cup hot water in slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on high until peaches are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
  4. Mix cornstarch OR arrowroot with the cold water until a thin paste forms.
  5. Stir cornstarch or arrowroot paste into peach mixture until sauce starts to thicken then turn slow cooker off.
  6. 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls and place bowls into freezer.
  7. Spoon peach mixture over the ice cream and add a full basil leaf or two. Serve immediately.

**Tip  You can save yourself time during your dinner party by scooping your ice cream into your serving bowls and putting them into your freezer before the party starts.  #GirlsGoneWine

Note that I made a few changes & notes to the original linked recipe:

  • They didn’t specify whether to peel the peaches or not, but the photo shows unpeeled peaches;
  • The Amaretto (almond liqueur) you use matters to the amount you use.  If you ci-disaronno-originale-amaretto-02f22ebe37e1d171are using Amaretto Disaronno use the amount shown in the recipe.  If you are using another brand you may want to slightly reduce the amount as some tend to have a more pronounced almond flavor.  Adjust according to your taste;
  • I found the recipe to be “too saucy” and the sauce to be too thin the first time I made it so I made 2 changes: I increased the peaches from 4 to 6 and added a thickening agent to the sauce (cornstarch or arrowroot).  In this case, use cornstarch or arrowroot to maintain your shiny sauce;
  • I read the reviews of the original recipe, on www.epicurious.com, and agreed that it needed just a touch more honey, so I added an additional tablespoon; and
  • I added 1/4 tsp cinnamon to compliment the peaches, and tame the spice of the red peppers and the peppery basil.

This recipe served 8 and was a definite crowd pleaser!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Seared Scallops with Pan Sauce

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Scallops are one of the most delicious seafood dishes when prepared properly.

In a November 2016 posting, Mark Bittman of epicurious.com shared some of his tips and tricks for making a foolproof seared scallop dinner.   This #FastAndEasy recipe will make anyone you’re serving them to think you slaved all day!

Seared Scallops with Pan Sauce (Serves 4)

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or water, or more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  1. Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into pea-sized pieces, put it on a small plate, and stick it in the freezer. Heat a large skillet over medium-heat high for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil and wait for the butter to melt.
  2. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, add them to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper; work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the skillet. Cook, turning once, until they are well browned on both sides but not quite cooked through, 2 minutes per side (less if the scallops are under 1 inch across; more if they’re over). Transfer the scallops to a plate.
  3. Stir in the garlic, lemon juice, and wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the liquid in the skillet thickens, a minute or two, then whisk in the butter you chilled in the freezer, one bit at a time, to make a creamy sauce, adding another tablespoon or two of liquid if necessary.
  4. Return the scallops to the skillet and add the chives. Adjust the heat so the sauce bubbles gently and toss to coat the scallops with the sauce. To serve, transfer the scallops to a platter and spoon the sauce over all.

Variation:

  1. Seared Scallops With Cherry Tomatoes and Basil: Skip the lemon juice. Cut 1 pint cherry tomatoes in half. Add the tomatoes with the garlic and wine and cook until they wrinkle a bit and release their juice, 2 or 3 minutes. Use chopped fresh basil leaves instead of chives.

Cooks’ Notes

  1. Releasing From The Pan: The scallops will offer no resistance when they’re ready to turn. Press down gently while the scallops cook to encourage full contact with the pan, then listen for a hiss: That’s moisture heating and evaporating.
  2. Getting A Good Sear: The idea is to brown the scallops well on both sides without overcooking them, so keep the heat as high as you can without creating too much smoke.
  3. Building Sauce With Butter: After you add the liquid and deglaze the pan, the addition of butter develops fantastic creaminess and richness.
  4. Finishing The Dish: As soon as the scallops are cooked through completely and coated with the sauce, remove the pan from the heat; they will continue to cook. Nick-and-peek into one if you need to check for doneness.
Tips**
  • Make sure you pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  Only a dry scallop will sear properly.  A perfectly seared scallop should be nicely browned on the outside and buttery in the middle.
  • A paring knife should slide in and out with almost no resistance, but as always, the best way to check it is to make a small slice into one and look (or taste).   The inside should remain translucent.   High-quality scallops are delicious raw and tend to dry out quickly: It’s better to undercook than overcook.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat