Not Quite Barbacoa

This is another of those ‘I went to the store wanting to make 1 thing, but they didn’t have half the ingredients so I adapted’ recipes. What I *wanted* was a nice barbacoa. Preferably nicely spiced and not bland (which is what usually happens when I try to make it).

Buuuuutt … the canned chipotles I saw a few weeks ago in one of the markets seem to have evaporated. Dried chilis are not happening. Should have learned my lesson from the enchiladas Turkiladas I made a few months ago and grabbed chipotles when I saw them.

Such is life. Teachable expat moments – even if I learn my lessons slowly.

This beef turned out pretty darn good, though – despite having to go back to olden times and use the oven (gasp!) instead of my electric pressure cooker that decided to up and die on me in the middle of cooking DH’s rice. The day before I was set to make this dish. I’m still not thrilled, and finding a replacement has proven itself a challenge – good thing people have been cooking meat in a liquid low and slow for thousands of years. (still whining though).

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Processed with MOLDIV

Not Quite Barbacoa

4 or so lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. Thai roast chili paste (see pic)
3 Tbsp. harissa paste (see pic)
1 – 2 onions
4 – 6 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 c. beef broth
Extra water on hand

First, preheat your oven to 300F.

Then, make a spice rub out of the oregano, salt and pepper. Rub the beef on all sides with the mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan over high and sear the beef on all sides.

While the beef is working, thinly slice the onions and place in a single layer over the bottom of a casserole dish or dutch oven. Add bay leaves down the center of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the chili and harissa pastes.

When the beef is done, frost like a cake with the seasoning paste, taking care to flip and get the bottom of the beef as well. Sprinkle any remaining spice rub over top.

Add 1 cup beef broth to the pan around the sides of the beef.

Cover and braise 4 hours. Check to see if the meat will shred and add half a cup or so of water if the mixture is looking a little dry. Chuck back into the oven until the meat will shred, checking every hour – mine took 6 hours to just shred, but honestly I could have left it in a little longer.

Shred the beef, adding more water to the onion mixture if it looks too thick – you don’t want the beef swimming in liquid, but you want enough that it stays juicy.

Makes a big meat you can nibble at all week – I served mine in lettuce wraps, over zoodles, over cauliflower mash, over roasted butternut squash, and DH had his with rice.

Quick Keto Tuna Bowl

This meal came about because I was too lazy to go grocery shopping after coming home from vacation, and had zero fresh food (but a lemon) in the house. I think I did pretty well for myself and was super sad that I didn’t have leftovers for lunch the next day.

gluten-free, keto

Quick Keto Tuna Bowl

2 ounces tuna in oil
1 tsp. white miso paste
1 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sriracha
1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
Squeeze lemon
1 cup roasted broccoli

In a small bowl, combine everything but the broccoli and mix well. Add the broccoli (or whatever vegetables you want) for a rounded meal.

Serves 1

Roasted Cauliflower with Shallot Oil

This isn’t the least fussy thing I’ve ever made, but it’s ready in under an hour and is freaking delicious.

Inspired by this Instagram post by Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks. I’d forgotten just how inspiring I find her take on flavors. /swoon

gluten-free, paleo, keto, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Cauliflower with Shallot Oil

1 small head cauliflower
Fat of choice
1/2 head garlic split into cloves
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. black cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. minced garlic & ginger
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1-2 large shallots
Salt & pepper
Optional: pulled rotisserie chicken

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.

First, peel and finely slice the shallots. Add to a small pot with enough fat to cover the bottom. Place over med-high heat until simmering, lower to med-low, and let go until the shallots are crisped up.

Break your cauliflower up into florets and spread in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves on one end – it’s ok if they are still in the paper skins. Drizzle everything with a generous hit of the fat you’re using and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake 20 minutes or so or until the shallots are done and the cauliflower is to your desired brownness.

While those two are working, make some curry-ish paste by frying the mustard and cumin seeds in 2 Tbsp. fat over medium-high heat in a small pan. When the seeds start to pop, add the garlic & ginger and turmeric. Stir quickly until the mixture is very fragrant. Set aside.

To serve, scoop out some cauliflower and top with pulled chicken if desired, a couple garlic cloves (take out of the skin), a Tablespoon or so of the shallot oil, some fried shallots, and a Tablespoon of the spice mixture.

Serves 2 – 3, depending on the size of your cauliflower and whether you’re including meat – would also be delicious with golden raisins and/or toasted nuts (I’m thinking sliced almonds, pine nuts or pistachios)

Instant Pot Lamb with Gremolata

I’ve been craving lamb a lot lately – not sure what’s behind that … maybe oncoming Spring? Is it possible to have Spring when one’s Winter doesn’t dip below 50 F?

Whatever it its, I’ve been wanting some slow cooked carnitas-style lamb in my life and recently found an electric pressure cooker — unfortunately not an Instant Pot since those don’t exist in this country yet, but it does the same thing.

gluten-free, keto, paleo

Instant Pot Lamb with Gremolata

3-5 lb. lamb roast
2 Tbsp. fat of choice
1/2 cup mixed shallots and garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup wine (red would be best; I had zinfandel – optional)
Salt & pepper


Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. parsley
4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper

Add 2 Tbsp. fat of choice to a large pan over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the lamb liberally on all sides. Add the lamb and brown on 3 out of 4 sides. While cooking, mince the shallots and garlic and add when you’re mostly done with the lamb. Sautee until the lamb is browned and the aromatics are soft. Hit with a little salt and pepper.

Add to your pressure cooker with the rest of the ingredients and set the timer for 50 minutes.

When your lamb is done cooking, release the pressure, pull the lamb, and shred with forks. You will have a lot of liquid left over – make a pan sauce by reducing in a saucepan by half or so if desired. I was too lazy and was really craving gremolata.

Chuck the shredded lamb under the broiler with 1-2 additional Tablespoons fat for 5 – 7 minutes or until browned and crisped up a bit like carnitas.

On to the gremolata. Blend all the ingredients together. Pour over the lamb.

This is fantastic served with leftover spaghetti squash reheated and fried a bit in a little butter, salt & pepper. Spaghetti squash can also be cooked in the pressure cooker – and quickly. I think it took 15 minutes? Nom Nom Paleo has an easy recipe.

Keto Ramen

If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a Japanese kick again lately, and I’m determined to lick this delicate-yet-complex flavor profile and bend it to my low carb ways (muahaha).

Gluten-free, keto

Keto Ramen

2 c. water
1 pkg. shiritaki noodles
2 Tbsp. dashi broth starter
1 tsp. white miso
2 Tbsp. wakame
6 ounces white fish
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 c. bok choy
1 Tbsp. soy sauce, ponzu, tamari or coconut aminos
1 tsp. rice vinegar
Furikake (I love the varieties with bonito)
White pepper

Season the fish with salt & white pepper and sautee in 1 Tbsp. sesame oil until cooked through. Flake into a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil to the bottom of the bowl, along with a squirt of sriracha.

In a saucepan, stir the dashi stock into the water and being to a boil. Add the miso and stir. Add the wakame and bok choy.

Drain and rinse the shiritaki noodles. Add to the pan.

Boil 3 – 5 minutes to cook the noodles and veggies. Add the soy and vinegar.

Pour the soup into the bowl and top with furikake to serve.

Makes 1 big serving

Keto Eggrolls

Mmmmm….. eggrolls. Sushi. These are two things I kinda miss on Keto. Sure, sashimi is great – buuuuuuut I can eat my bodyweight in fresh fish, and that ish gets expensive.

I’ve got my favorite egg roll in a bowl recipes, but I wanted something a little different.

Gluten-free, paleo, Keto

Keto Eggrolls

About 4 ounces shrimp
1/2 an avocado
1/2 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. soy, tamari, coconut aminos or ponzu
2-3 sheets nori
A few Tablespoons frying oil

Dipping Sauce

2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy, tamari, coconut aminos or ponzu
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. Sambal olek

Grate your ginger and garlic. Chop the shrimp. Peel and slice the avocado. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, warm a quarter of the frying oil.

Add the shrimp, garlic & ginger and stir-fry until cooked through. Set aside and wipe the pan.

Assemble the eggrolls by placing about 2 Tablespoons shrimp and a slice or two of avocado in the center of the nori sheet.

Gently roll the nori sheet, taking care to tuck the ends in like a burrito so you have an enclosed packet. If the nori rips a little, that’s ok – the frying will keep your eggroll mostly together.

Add the rest of the frying oil to the pan over medium-high heat.

When the oil comes up to temperature, place the eggrolls seam side down and fry 1-2 minutes or until crisp. Flip and fry. Be careful here not to burn your eggrolls to cinders – it’s easy. A little burned is fine; just no carbon.

To make your dipping sauce, combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small dish.

Serves 1

Japanese Style Chicken & Cabbage Noodles

This is a simple weeknight meal that can be expanded to feed a crowd easily – or can feed just two.

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Japanese Style Chicken & Cabbage Noodles

1/2 lb. ground chicken
1/2 inch fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp. sesame seeds
4 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 head green cabbage
4 tsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 stalks celery
2 eggs
White pepper

Heat 2 Tbsp. Neutral oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken.

Press or grate the fresh ginger and garlic and add. Hit with salt and white pepper.

While your chicken is cooking, core and shred the cabbage into long ribbons.

When the chicken is cooked 3/4 of the way through, add 2 tsp. sesame oil & 2 tsp. sesame seeds.

Set aside when cooked through.

In the same pan still over medium-high heat, add 2 more Tbsp. oil. When the oil is up to temperature, add the cabbage noodles.

Stir-fry until soft and beginning to brown.

While the cabbage is working, cut your celery on the bias into 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide pieces. Break your eggs into a small bowl.

When the cabbage is just about done, season with salt & white pepper. Add 2 tsp. soy sauce and 2 tsp. rice vinegar at the end of cooking.

Set aside.

Put the pan back on the heat and add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil. When the oil is up to temperature, add the celery. Stir fry until tender and beginning to brown, adding a couple Tablespoons water if necessary.

When the celery is done, add the eggs. Let sit a few seconds, then gently start to scramble. Season with 2 tsp. soy sauce and 1 tsp. Sesame seeds.

Add the noodles and the chicken back into the pan and give a good toss. Hit with a sprinkle white pepper and some more salt if needed.

Serves 2 for dinner

Keto Macadamia Goat Cheese Pizza

I stumbled across a version of this keto macros pizza on YouTube – I forget which keto channel I was watching, but I was super curious and started off making a version of my own. It’s a calorie and fat bomb, and man it’s delicious.

High fat low carb F-T-W.

Gluten-free, primal, keto

Keto Macadamia Goat Cheese Pizza 

1/2 head cauliflower (about 1.5 cups riced)
2 eggs
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
3 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 Tbsp. almond flour
Pink salt & pepper
Lactose free cheddar (either lacto free cow or almond milk cheese)
Goat cheese
Pesto (watch your labels!)
Macadamia nuts
Salami or pepperoni slices

Preheat your oven to 200C. Yes, I said C – I live in metric land now. 

First, make your crust by processing the cauliflower into rice and microwaving in a covered bowl with a Tablespoon or two of water 8 minutes. Drain, pile onto a clean tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze the water out.

Add the now dry cauliflower rice to a large bowl. Add the eggs (beaten), basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, coconut flour, almond flour, salt & pepper. Mix. Add more coconut flour if the mixture is too wet.

Split in half and form into two thin pizza shapes on a baking sheet that has been covered by parchment paper.

Bake 15 – 25 minutes or until browned.

Add the pizza toppings – about 2 Tbsp. lacto cheddar (grated) per pie, 1.5 – 2 ounces goat cheese, 4 macadamias (halved), 2 Tbsp. pesto and 7 or 8 pork chips.

Bake at 200C for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

Serves 2

Rough macros per serving: 595 calories, 51.6 grams fat, 6.1 net carbs, 27.4 grams protein

Low Carb Strawberry Parfaits

This dessert is delicious, low carb and light – aaaand it also tastes fancy because of the fresh fruit and different textures.

It’s also, as it turns out, dead simple to make and quick to set up.

Gluten-free, primal, keto

Low Carb Strawberry Parfaits

1 package sugar free strawberry jello
1 cup boiling water
8 ounces softened cream cheese
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup almond flour, almond meal or ground almonds
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup almond slivers or shaved almonds
12 fresh strawberries

First, make your jello by whisking the jello powder into the hot water until fully dissolved. Let sit 2 minutes. Full disclosure: I screwed this part up and had lumpy jello, so I slapped the whole mixing cup I was using back into the microwave for another minute or so, whisked the crap out of the mixture and crushed all the lumps I could with the back of a spoon. The result was mostly not-lumpy jello. 

When your jello has rested, add to the cream cheese and beat with electric beaters – or do things the hard way. I was already looking at grating my own cheese and wasn’t trying to exhaust myself by 8:30 am on Thanksgiving morning. #delicateflowerproblems

Spread into a metal or glass pan kinda evenly and let chill for an hour or two.

While the fluff is chilling, toast your almond slivers and make a simple buttery almond crumble by combining the butter and almond flour and baking (I think I baked at roughly 220C which is what I seem to bake everything at because I think it’s like 375F) for 5 – 10 minutes or until the mixture is golden and kinda looks like a cookie.

To serve, put a little crumble into the bottom of a teacup or glass, top with a sliced strawberry, a scoop of fluff, almonds, more fluff and more almonds – garnish with a second strawberry.

Makes 6 teacup sized portions

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

Ok, so an apparent theme of this Thanksgiving has arisen and it’s personal-sized appetizers and desserts. I made these balls, the mini apple tarts I shared last week, and the strawberry parfaits I’m sharing next week. Mini is in?

These little mini balls are just the right size to pop into your mouth, and since they’re covered in pistachio they don’t even need crackers. Whoo. Taking one of my favorite appetizers – a cheese ball – and making it less messy FTW!

Gluten-free, vegetarian, primal, keto

Personal Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls

4 – 6 ounces goat cheese
2 – 3 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. granulated onion powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 – 1/3 cup pistachios

First, make your pistachio dust by processing the nuts in a food processor or blender until tiny.

In a medium bowl, combine all the other ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.

Form into small balls – mine were about 1 ounce each – and roll in the pistachio dust to coat.

Chill a few hours to set up.

Serves 8 as an appetizer in a spread of a few appetizers comfortably