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A Tuesday Tip

I am going to try and start something new here and try to give a new tip, insight or idea each Tuesday.  Maybe a little food for thought from time to time, but good stuff, I promise!

Today’s tip is a quickie.  Trying to watch my carbs these days, you would be surprised what foods have added sugar, corn syrup or added sweetener (when in my mind, it’s not necessary).  Well, today I noticed that Vanilla Extract has added sugar.  I’m thinking a lot of people would be better off making their own extract (including me :)), and it is not hard to do.  There are recipes all over the internet and it just takes a Vanilla Bean and Vodka.  Steep for a few weeks and voila!  You have Vanilla Extract!

Now there’s your “Tuesday Tip”.  Enjoy!

Hatch Chiles

 

Note – I know this is not a local product, but I do consider it a find! Vacation to New Mexico next year? Sounds like a plan!

I only recently learned about Hatch Chiles by following Melissa’s Produce on Facebook.   Apparently this chile has a cult following.  Had it not been for Melissa’s Produce posting on Facebook, I probably would have never noticed the large display in my local Raley’s Supermarket. They are on sale right now for $.89 cents a pound, a bargain!  Hatch Chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico and it’s thought their uniqueness is because of the climate there in the growing season.

I thought these chiles were going to be mild like an Anaheim Chile (who I found out is a relative).  Don’t let their looks deceive you!  They are a mild chile but with a kick, as I was preparing them for cooking the air became quite potent with their aroma and I had a coughing fit!  Had to catch my breath, then I touched my face later (without thinking), a slight burning sensation ensued.  But believe me, the experience was worth it!

This is not a recipe, I am just telling you what I did as I did not measure anything, just eyeballed it.

I purchased 4 Hatch Chiles, Sliced down one side and seeded the chiles. They  are more potent than you think so be careful. I baked the chiles for about 15 minutes in my toaster oven at 350 degrees in a prepared dish. I let them cool.

I browned some sausage. On hand I had a 16 ounce package of Farmer John’s Spicy Pork Sausage and let it cool. I stirred the sausage with a little bit of low-fat mayo just to moisten and added some Monterey Jack cheese and stuffed the mixture into the prepared chilies.  Then I baked the dish in the toaster oven again for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Great side dish!

The verdict on this dish was that it was really tasty, but I wish the filling was moister.  I tried to keep it low carb.  Next time I might not fully cook the sausage before stuffing the peppers.  But all in all, those Hatch Chiles are a winner, so go out there and get yourself some Hatch Chiles, you won’t be disappointed!  These chiles are only available for a short time during the summer, I think until some time in September so you had better hurry and get your fill.

 

TIPS

There is a newly published cookbook called the Hatch Chile Cookbook by Gloria Chadwick which contains 300 recipes.

Here is a website you can purchase your Hatch Chiles and have them shipped to your home, if they are not locally available for you. (But hurry!)

UPDATE –

I visited my local Raley’s Market today (8/20/12) to take advantage of their sale and the Hatch Chiles were GONE!!!

 

Low Carb Cheesecake Pie with Butter Rum Sauce

This post is in honor of National Cheesecake Day (which I only found out about this morning!).

I have been on a little bit of a “low carb” kick recently. Although I miss some foods, like potatoes, bread, pasta and desserts, it has not been a bad experience in the end. And losing weight along the way has been an added plus.

For myself, at the end of the day, I always like a treat of some kind. I wanted something easy to make, no baking (if possible) and satisfying. Because of that, I thought I would experiment with this recipe. The filling needs no baking, and the crust I used for this came from a online store. For the crust, per serving is 1 net carb. For the filling the carb count is 25 for the whole pie! Divide that by 10 and the count is approximately 2.5 grams of carbs per serving (these counts are not accurate, but close). In the future, I plan to try and experiment with other products to achieve a low carb pie crust, such as coconut flour and almond flour, as a couple of examples. I will post those efforts if I find success.

Some of the ingredients for this pie may be unusual, but it is in an effort to keep the carb count down. One of the ingredients I had a hard time finding was Erythritol. Conducting a search on the internet, I saw a post that mention “Wholesome Sweets” has a product called Zero, which is Erythritol. Hey, I saw them at BlogHer Food 2012! So, I immediately dove into my swag bag from the conference, and sure enough they provided samples of that product! Yay!

Keep in mind, if you aren’t on a low carb kick like me, just swap the sweetener for 1/2 cup powdered sugar and your own type of pie crust.

On a little bit of a side note, I think in this day and age we add too much sugar to everything. Case in point. While doing some research for this recipe, I compared a recipe from a cookbook printed in 1981 with a recipe that was published this week on a Huffington Post blog. The older recipe used 1/2 cup powdered sugar. The more recent recipe used 3/4 cups powdered sugar AND 1 cup granulated sugar. To be fair, the older recipe used 8oz. of cream cheese, where the newer one used 16 oz. But even with that comparison, the older recipe still contained more sugar. Check your recipes, see if the trend I am noticing is the same for you too.

*Click on title to get the recipe.

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