Comfort Foods Part 2- My Grilled Cheese Sandwich...
OK, so I promised you a recipe for a "paleo bread" and how I made myself a great grilled cheese sandwich last weekend. And, smart cookie that I am, I actually remembered to take pictures of the process - not an easy thing when I've never attempted either the sandwich or the photo-documentation before.
One of the biggest changes when going towards a low carb, healthy fat, grain-free way of eating is giving up bread and all of its cousins, such as buns, rolls, biscuits, pizza crust, crackers, muffins, cookies, pastry, and assorted other "baked goods". Though it's best to simply rearrange your mental picture of meals to not include those things, there are times when having something "bready" fills a need. Like when you just don't feel like eggs again, or when some wonderful prosciutto or cheese has crossed your path, or when a beautiful batch of home-made soup is just crying for something "biscuit-y" to dip into it.
There are an increasing number of "paleo bread" recipes on the internet and in recipe books, but many of them rely on a large amount of almond flour, generally held together by eggs and fat (butter or coconut oil), and end up containing hundreds of calories. Think about it - 1/4 cup of almond meal is 160 calories on its own - then add in a tbsp butter, an egg - the single serving bread ends up being over 300 calories, even before you do anything with it. For young active types, that's maybe fine, but for anyone wanting to access their own body fat stores, that's a pretty heavy calorie load for a "side" item.
Enter the Coconut Flour One Minute Muffin. Ground from dried, defatted coconut meat, coconut flour is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates. Best of all, because it is so very absorbant of moisture, the portion required for baking is miniscule. This recipe of mine uses only 2 tsp! The whole thing is only about 100-110 calories.
The Amazing, Versatile, Coconut Flour One Minute Muffin!
1 large egg
2 tsp coconut flour, preferably Organic
pinch (1/8 tsp) salt
pinch (1/8 tsp) baking soda
Butter for greasing baking dish.
Sweet alternative: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 pkts of a Splenda/Erythritol sweetener.
OR Savory alternative: 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried green herbs (oregano, italian seasoning, parsley, dried cilantro - your choice)
For this recipe, you will need a baking dish, such as a small ramekin or mug to make "muffin" shapes, or a larger flat bottom container for "bread". Make sure it's glass or ceramic, not plastic, as a microwave cooks the fats at too high a temp for plastic to be safe. In fact, just make it a rule to never put plastic containers in the microwave. The baking dish in the photo is a 2 cup Anchor storage bowl. Straight sides and flat bottom. Perfect for bread - round bread...
Here's the ingredients for basic, sweet and savoury variations:
Using your fingers, butter the glass dish well. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl, then add the other ingredients and mix well with a fork, working to get all the lumps out. Coconut flour is notoriously lumpy. When it's relatively smooth, scrap it into your greased baking dish (use a spatula to get it all) and microwave for 45 secs to 1 minute on High. That's it - bread is done!
Careful - glass bowl will be really hot! Carefully loosen and remove onto plate. At this point, you can just butter it and eat it, or add it to the side of your soup bowl, but I chose to continue to create. I cut it in half horizontally, not too hard, as it's almost an inch thick.
Build your cheese sandwich, same as always, and fry in butter until browned to your liking and the cheese is all melted and gooey. This would also be amazing grilled in bacon fat. Or cooked bacon could be added to the sandwich - oh, the possibilities are endless!!
This sandwich hit all the right comfort food buttons for me - crispy outside, gooey inside, buttery taste, decent texture (not totally like traditional bread, but certainly a good fascimile).
So, play with the recipe. Using the basic 4 ingredients to start, all kinds of variations can be made and it can be used to build lots of other things. I'm thinking personal pan pizzas would be great. Make the basic bread with savoury herbs and garlic, brush with olive oil (to prevent the tomato sauce from soaking in), top with sauce, cheese, pepperoni, veggies as desired, then bake in a hot oven for less than 10 minutes to melt everything together into gooey goodness. Might have to try that soon...