Curious Appetite

Breakfast/Brunch

Zucchini flower recipe: Frittata-style (fiori di zucca)

zucchini flower frittata (fiori di zucca)

My love affair started with Italy 10 years ago. My love for food started as soon as I could say spoon. For those of you new to my blog, it is called “curious appetite” because I wanted to write about all the things I was curious about: food, places, drinks, cultures and such. If something is unique, I want to order it. If I see something new and/or seasonal in the market, I want to cook it. Like finding fiori di zucca/zucchini flowers. I’ll try anything at least once. Seize the day- there are millions of flavors out there in the world waiting to be loved and loathed! One of the intentions of my blog too was to write about restaurants I was curious about. I wanted to write about places that did something different and with grit. And to give my humble opinion about eateries that were on everyone’s lips and yelping finger tips. So here it is- a mix of experimenting in the kitchen and at eateries around the world, mostly the US and in Europe. Continue Reading

Carb-Fair Gluten-Free Blackberry Belgian Waffles

Did I just say what you think I said? Yes. It’s true.

This is my creation:

Blackberry Coconut and Almond Flour Belgian Waffles with a banana honey & yogurt “Creme Fraiche.”

And I made it for the love of healthy blood sugar. Eating out, I love me some truffle and parmigiano fries. But when I am at home, I keep it clean. But! Tasty. And this waffle is indeed!

Try it for yourself, you will thank me. So will your pancreas. November is also Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. According to http://www.pancan.org:

“Pancreatic cancer is 2 times more likely to occur in people who have diabetes than in people who do not have diabetes.”

“For people who are considered clinically obese, there may be a significantly increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”

“Lack of physical activity or exercise has been associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer in a large epidemiologic study”

Insulin is produced by the pancreas, eating high (simple) carb and high sugar foods stimulates a surge of insulin into the bloodstream. We know that excessive triggers for insulin (mostly caused by poor dietary habits) can lead to type II diabetes. It’s worth knowing this excess insulin in the blood signals the body to convert sugars to stored glycogen.┬áWithout high intensity exercise (aka cardio) that burns this sugary “glycogen”, it will soon be converted to fat. Which leads to obesity over time, another risk factor for pancreatic cancer. In other words, save your refined carbs for special occasions! This waffle is high in fiber, packs a good dose of protein and sorta low in sugar. The entire recipe calling for only 1/2 of a small banana, 1 tsp of honey and 1/4 cup of blackberries which are relatively low in sugar.

My little nutrition lecture aside, here’s the damn recipe!

For one person or 2, depending on how hungry you are ­čÖé

In one bowl mix the following dry ingredients:

3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp almond flour
1/4 tsp aluminum-free baking soda
a healthy dash of ground cinnamon and cardamom <3
Then…in another bowl mix the following “wet” ingredients:
1 local humane egg
1 egg white
1 tsp of melted grass-fed butter or good olive oil
1 shy tsp bourbon or Tahitian vanilla extract
Also:
about 1/4 cup of fresh blackberries (I am still finding at Farmer’s Markets!) or thawed frozen berries of your choice
Honey Yogurt and Banana “Creme Fraiche”
1/4 cup (or your desire) plain yogurt
1 tsp local honey
1/2 diced banana
Add the dry waffle mix slowly to the wet egg mix. Whisk by hand or with electric beaters until you get all the clumps out. The coconut and almond flour should absorb a fair amount of the liquid and get a nice batter consistency. If you feel like its still a little runny even after all the beating and mashing, let it sit for a few minutes. If its STILL runny, then add 1/4 tsp of Xanthan gum, Guar gum or Arrowroot to give it a push for thicker consistency. Add a pinch more if you truly feel the need. When batter is complete, mash up the blackberries and fold in.
When this batter is all made up, pour it in a waffle maker! If you don’t have one, I highly suggest you get one! It makes making brunch that much more motivating. You can also treat this batter like pancakes. It takes just a few minutes to cook, pay attention because this flour burns easily. You should notice the waffle take on a spongy-like form when ready to slide onto plate. If you are quick at the multi-tasking kitchen draw, make the yogurt topping while waffle cooks in the pan, or while its cooling down. It only takes a minute, just mix honey into yogurt well and then add the diced bananas. Top waffle with yogurt “creme”. aaaaand eat! Enjoy the tart blackberry notes, the creamy yogurt honey banana topping smooths it out while compliments the nutty backdrop of the “cake.” So many good textures here. Banana, sponge cake, mashed berry and the cardamom sneaks out and steals your heart.
enjoy with a nice strong cup of green tea!

Healthy, Easy Fall inspired Quiche.

The incredible edible egg. You can boil, fry, bake, poach, baste, whip, even froth an egg into just about 12 million recipes. Did you know they are used in some cocktails AND thought to be the perfect protein? Sorry vegans. If its any consolation, my eggs come from a happy local farm where I know I am always welcome to look the chicken in its beady eye and make sure they aren’t bluffing.

Quiche are unusually easy to make, especially if you prefer not to mess about with a homemade crust, which is also easy. But lets be honest, you might be busy and a store bought crust may be your time efficient option. Mine too. It helps that Wholly Wholesome makes spelt flour pie shells wholly delish.

Quiche is also great for putting left over veggies and eggs for a hearty week-long supply of a good thing. I put leeks,heirloom garlic, fennel root, heirloom tomatoes, broccoli and sharp cheddar in mine. To make it health(ier) minded, I only used 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites.

Here’s my stuff:

1 small leek, cut in discs

2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic

1 cup sliced fennel root

1 cup slightly (like 2 minutes) steamed broccoli florets

2 small heirloom tomatoes (I used a zebra and a brandyvine)

1/2 cup (or more if you’re cheesy:) of shredded sharp cheddar

butter and olive oil for pan

cumin, paprika, a dash of fresh cracked coriander and plenty fresh cracker pepper

optional: 1/2 sweet onion

Method: Saute’ the leeks and chopped garlic in olive oil and butter for a good 2 minutes on medium/med-low. I love cooking with a little butter and a little olive oil. This is not only for obvious flavor reasons, but also because olive oil alone burns easily. And I think food is too heavy cooked just in butter. Happy┬ácompromise.

Okay…so after 2 minutes add the fennel root. While thats cooking down, slice and chop tomatoes and drain out as much liquid and seeds as possible. The broccoli can steam in a rice cooker (granted yours came with the extra attachment) for about 2 minutes. Slice the florets down the middle.

3 minutes or a couple more may have passed by now so add the tomatoes, broccoli and your spices of choice (or mine) and let that merge together for a few minutes. Be mindful as to not overcook, all this with some egg is going in the oven next.

Once this veggie mix is ready…

…pour it evenly into the pie crust.

In a largish bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 4 egg whites OR 1 cup of egg whites (you can get just egg whites at almost any grocery store) with the grated cheese. Then pour the egg/cheese mixture over your veggie quiche filling!

You can bake this with or without a foil cover, I baked without. Leave this in the oven for about 30mins at 375 and you should get something that looks a lil like this:

If you want the cheese to be a little browned, put this under the broiler for a few minutes.

This is yummy, the leeks and garlic really dress the veggies well (and who can argue about the affinity cheddar has with broccoli?) And best of all, its semi-guilt-free! This pie is packed with quality  protein, B-vitamins, fiber, free-radical scavenging antioxidants, healthy fats, minerals (sure, why not?) and has a slow burning glycemic load.

Made in advance, this quiche can provide an energizing (and tasty) blood-sugar friendly breakfast or lunch for at least 4-5 days.

At dinner, it would be complete with a glass of bright, citrus, melon and minerally white wine such as a Riesling, Muscadet or go all out with the bubbly. If you really need some Vitamin C, go ahead and make a mimosa with the bubbly:)

And get creative! Come up with your own fillings and enjoy the convenience and comfort of some QUICHE!

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