Whole lotta bakin’ goin’ on

If you’re doing more baking during our current stay-at-home time, I’m sure you’ve noticed you’re not alone—judging at least by the bare grocery store shelves where the flour ought to be. I’ve been doing a lot more baking than usual, which is to say more than hardly any baking at all. Baking is tough when you’re trying to stay Keto. But we remain calm and carry on.

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The food revolution at scale

Any kind of new business, venture, cause, or movement eventually asks, “How do operate our solution at scale?” In other words, When new orders increase by a factor of 10, then 100, then 1,000, etc., how do we maintain our delivery promise, our ability to look and feel like we did when we were small and fresh?

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My first loaf

Another thing I inherited from Grandma—along with a deep appreciation for the warmth and sense of security that can happen in the family kitchen—was humility about my cooking and a certain dread that trying something new probably just won’t be as good as you’d hoped. “Oh, it’s not as good as…trails off…” always led to “Oh, it’s fine,” from my mom or another daughter-in-law. As the offspring of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and Norwegian Lutherans, I ask forgiveness for these feelings.

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“Food is something you eat with bread.” — Rick Easton

I avoided making yeast bread until now because it always seemed too fussy, time-consuming, and hard. Poor me. 🙂 Then, a friend started making his own sour dough bread. It’s reminiscent of San Francisco, our old home, and as good as any I’ve ever tasted. Now that I’ve got some time on my hands—you know why—I’m going to take the plunge. I’m starting with a no-knead recipe that I’ll adapt from recipes by Jacques Pepin and Mark Bittman. A day-and-a-half from now, I should have my first samples. Wish me luck.

Lime cream pie

I never make pie…well, hardly ever until now when we’re at home more. This take-off on key lime pie from a long-time friend, is an easy, fast, and fantastic diversion during a pandemic, or anytime. I have made this several times, trying out various store-bought Graham Cracker crusts. The one from the elves is best. I followed their (the elves) suggestion and brushed the crust with egg white, pre-baking it for five minutes. I sprinkled sparkling sugar for an extra kick and that really worked. I used regular old limes instead of key limes—not the easiest to get in Chicago—but was very happy with the result. The pie made it through three nights of binge-watching.

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Grandma’s stuffing

It’s what makes our Thanksgiving menu such a special, family-favorite menu. It is everyone’s favorite—back when I was a kid, when our kids were little, and now. It’s the #1 choice when we ask, “so, what should we have for Thanksgiving this year?”

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Chaffles (aka Keto waffles)

Chaffles are double good. They’re a way for Keto dieters like me, who can’t get used to almond flour, to use it anyway. And, they let Keto-ites have something other than bacon and eggs for breakfast. No small thing.

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Bacon

Bacon—the almost perfect meat—if you eat pork, of course. Delicious and versatile. I’ve always loved bacon, but appreciate it much more now because 1) it’s a Keto staple and 2) I’ve finally discovered the best bacon to buy and the best way to cook it.

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Pumpkin custard

We’re always looking for Keto desserts. Well, we’re always looking for desserts, and when you’re on Keto—you get it.

Make this to welcome fall into your kitchen; I normally only buy pumpkin between October and December. How about you?

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Keto Pumpkin Custard

A Keto dessert winner from DietDoctor.com.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: custard, Keto, pumpkin
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: dad

Equipment

  • six ramekins
  • 13×9 aluminum sheet pan. This just needs to be large enough to contain the six ramekins.

Ingredients

  • 15 oz canned pumpkin I get organic pumpkin puree by Libby.
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn vanilla
  • 2 tspn pumpkin pie spice or make your own
  • 1 tspn Stevia liquid
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Spray six ramekins with cooking spray and set them on the sheet pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix cream, pumpkin, salt, vanilla, spice, and sweetener.
  • Pour pumpkin mixture evenly into ramekins. Clean up any spills and place the pan in the oven.
  • Bake 45 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick or other favorite method, like a thin knife blade. The mixture should be just barely set. It will firm up after removing from oven.
  • Remove sheet pan from oven. Let custard cool for 10 minutes.
  • Make or use canned whipped cream to top the custards. Serve. You can make these ahead and store in fridge or a day or two, holding off on the whipped cream until ready to serve. If storing, use cellophane wrap to cover custards and avoid them drying out.

Notes

These are great for company meals, easy and acceptable to non-Keto types. We make up a batch and eat over several days when it’s just us. 

The versatile frittata

As you get the hang of home cooking, you get better, or not, at improvisation—making up new recipes or adapting old ones, to your current pantry or today’s whim. I suspect that my grandmother’s claims that she couldn’t pass along her greatest recipes was more about not remembering exactly how to make that Irish stew or knowing that she never made it the same way twice. Lesson learned.

For some, or until you reach home cooking nirvana, executing a precise step-by-step routine is all you care about. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But joy and bliss await when you can cook on the fly—unless you really screw it up. 😉

I really love frittatas because like my chili or soups and stew and casseroles, they are ready, willing, and able to be modified, amplified, adapted, or short-changed as your ingredient supply changes.

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