Quick and Easy Low Carb Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

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I’ve been cheating on my hollandaise on lazy weekend mornings. I don’t even clarify the butter anymore, just melt an entire stick and drizzle the whole thing right into 2 whisked egg yolks with the juice of one lemon and a little salt. It’s so much faster than going through the whole milk solids skimming process first thing in the morning and trying to get everyone’s egg poached, Canadian bacon grilled, and English muffins toasted while whisking till I’m sure I’m going to tear a rotator cuff…all before that first cup of coffee.

And the fact that we have seriously cut down on our empty carb. consumption means I can skip the English muffin toasting altogether and just serve a cute little poached egg (“the cutest little eggs in the world”, as we call them in our family) on top of a few warmed slices of the uncured ham rounds we always have on hand before drizzling my super quick hollandaise over all of it.

There are a few tricky aspects to making hollandaise sauce. The first is getting the whisk/stainless steel bowl/double boiler ration just right. Use a saucepan that’s too big in relation to the size of your whisking bowl and things may get too hot, too fast, resulting in curdled yolks. Using a whisk that’s on the small side means more whisking to prevent curdling. Temperature is also an important factor. I find that my largest stainless steel bowl paired with my largest whisk, resting over a medium sized saucepan full of water that has only reached a simmer before being turned off creates the ideal situation for a quick, efficiently whisked together batch of creamy hollandaise. It happens fast when the conditions are just right. It’s tedious and tiresome when things aren’t just right. Having all ingredients ready at your fingertips is also very important, so you can alternate between drizzling in lemon juice and butter at various times. I make my hollandaise before poaching eggs so that I can focus on the eggs and be done with all the whisking. I can also use the water in the pan I used as a double boiler to poach the eggs in, which also speeds things along since it is very near the ideal poaching temp. I will need. Another problem, if you don’t have another person handy to hold your bowl stationary while you whisk away, is hanging on to that big bowl. A trick I learned in culinary school for “one man whisking” is to take a dish towel and twist it before twirling it into a ring and placing it on the surface of your work area. It makes a nice “nest” for holding your bowl still and keeping it from spinning as you whisk.

Here is how I make my super quick hollandaise for my low carb eggs Benedict:

Ingredients:

2 large egg yolks

The juice of one medium lemon

1/2 cup melted butter, still very warm

Salt to taste

6 slices Hormel Natural Selections ham, per serving, X 4 servings

8 poached eggs

Paprika or nutmeg for garnish (optional)

Method:

Melt butter in a small saucepan, being careful to keep it from scorching or browning, and keep on a warm section of your stove so it stays relatively hot.

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Juice a lemon, making sure the seeds are sifted out ahead of time to make things easy later.

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Heat a medium saucepan filled halfway with water to a simmer. Turn the heat off immediately before beginning the sauce.

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Drop two egg yolks into the bottom of the large stainless steel bowl. Whisk vigorously to get them going for a few seconds, then rest the bowl on the pan of hot water. Whisk constantly until the yolks lighten in color and thicken.

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Remove from the heat and snuggle the bowl down into the prepared dish towel nest and drizzle, while vigorously whisking, a little butter into the yolks.

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The butter should emulsify and thicken the eggs well. Return the bowl to the double boiler and continue whisking to thicken the sauce, adding drizzles of lemon juice to thin it as necessary while whisking. Continue alternating these steps until all of the butter and lemon juice has been added. Salt to taste.

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Set aside at room temperature while the eggs poach and the ham is warmed in a skillet. Stack the poached eggs over 3 slices of grilled ham. Drizzle with the sauce and garnish!

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Yield: 4 servings

Low Carb Cheese & Onion Stuffed Mushrooms, My Favorite Chinese Buffet Cheese Wonton Substitute

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I’ve been low carbing again, through all of 2016. I just have to. I’m trying to avoid surgery so am doing what I can to heal myself. After a crazy few months on an ayurvedic diet at the end of last year, that had me drinking no water but large amounts of golden milk and eating mostly nuts, seeds, and grains, I ended up weighing more than I ever had in my life.

I know for sure, and have known since I ended a 5 year low carb lifestyle several years ago and started this “anything goes” food blog, that I cannot be on a high carb diet, ever, I don’t care how good the things I’m putting in my body are supposed to be for me. If I allow myself grains, I’ll be baking cookies. If I allow whole wheat pasta…I’ll be eating pasta. And I can’t eat pasta on a regular basis. It just doesn’t work for me. And eating low fat/high complex carbohydrate has never worked. So, I do what works for me and what makes me feel my best.

My health only been declined as I tried to stick to the things that were supposed to “heal” me. So, I quit drinking milk and eating yogurt and stuck to just cream and cheeses and kicked the grains back out of my life, with the exception of a splurge meal once a week, which translates into entire weekends, sometimes. Ugh. I never said I had much willpower, being a foodie (food addict) and all. But I’m back I’m in my old jeans and old bathing suit, after buying one of those grandma skirt thingies to cover my hiney for a trip that never happened, which I’m happy to report is now too big and will have to be donated, and am even wearing my old favorite jean shorts, something I’ve been avoiding for a few summers now. My health has improved, my rosacea is GONE, thanks to daily applications of tea tree/castor oil in place of moisturizer and kicking milk and cereal for good, and I have the energy I used to have before I found out I was anemic and things went south (literally landing on my hips and ass).

I’m hiking and kayaking and working for hours in the heat without melting, and am even training for the AT on a manual incline treadmill so I can join my son on portions of the thru-hike he has planned for next year. I feel so much better.  But I don’t blog much anymore because who wants to hear about my boring meat and cheese and veggie meals? Okay. Maybe some people do, so I will start trying to include my favorite go-tos along with my weekend splurge meals and travel discoveries.

These little cheesy mushroom puffs make me wonder why I ever though I needed carbs in my life to begin with. I don’t know how it can be, but to me, they really taste like those silly Chinese buffet fried cheese wontons that I used to love. BONUS!!

Cheese & Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 whole large egg

2 oz. cream cheese

2 T grated parmesan cheese

1/4 c. almond flour

1/4 sliced green onions

1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 c. grated parmesan for topping.

One large package of mushrooms, about 20.

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove stems from mushroom caps and lay them, tops down, in a baking dish.

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Mix together all the other ingredients but the 1/4 c. parmesan that will be reserved for the topping.

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Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps.

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Sprinkle with parmesan.

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Bake for 40 minutes or until the centers are firm and the tops are golden brown.

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No Duck Egg Omelets for Me for a While…We Have Ducklings!!

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So…Pekins. Yes, Pekins are the problem, I’ve decided. After years of eating big, fat, fluffy duck egg omelets because my female ducks won’t set long enough to hatch a nest of eggs, I’ve learned this past month that “domestic” ducks are not the problem, as I’d suspected. A lack of soft, moist ground beside a pond is also not the problem. Pekins are the problem. Big, fat, fluffy, ducks with loud mouths and bossy temperaments are definitely the reason behind “my” constant failure at raising ducks. I’ve just had the wrong ducks all along. My Pekins just give up after a while and go back to bossing everyone around.

But tonight, I found THIS…

IMG_0358 …hatchlings from our sweet, shy duck, KFC, so named because the day our Mennonite neighbor brought her to us, he’d put her in a square bucket with a lid. When I opened the front door he said, “I broughtcha a duck in a bucket.” We released her from her cramped position and into the backyard to be a replacement mate for Mr. Bickerson, after his soul mate disappeared, but not before we snapped a picture.

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KFC was actually the second replacement mate for the mallard we’d had for 8 years, after the Mennonites had brought a Pekin to keep him company. Mr. Bickerson liked both girls. The three of them were together all the time until a Khaki Campbell duckling, and a Mallard duckling, came to the farm last spring, via Tractor Supply.

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Amelia and Carl

The boys named the Khaki “Carl” because they said they wanted to be able to yell “CA-A-A-RL” all over the farm, Rick Grimes style, and Amelia, the little Mallard, wasn’t named until she took off flying one day. Amelia. Get it? She was our first flying duck. The other domestic ducks we’d had were too fat and heavy to fly.

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Mr. Bickerson in the center, by Amelia, our little flying Mallard girl.

When Mr. Bickerson also disappeared, after Carl and Amelia had matured and joined the flock, Carl became the stud of the group.

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Amelia in the background. Carl leads Bossy Dozer and KFC through the snow, trying to get to Amelia, his best bud.

In the spring I started finding clutches of eggs at the base of tree trunks, in one of the front flower beds, and various other places. I stayed on top of them, collecting eggs for us to eat, until they got better at hiding them.

Well, one day, little Miss Amelia disappeared. I thought she’d been eaten by one of the snapping turtles that infest the pond, or carried off by a possum or an owl, both of which hang around the dairy, but when she reappeared one day and then stayed absent again for a while, I knew she’d been sitting on some eggs somewhere. I’d call her and call her, but she’d never come running (or flying) like she used to do. I was so proud of her for taking nesting so seriously. At the same time, KFC decided to park it under the rabbit hutch on her own nest of eggs. I figured they’d both give up after a while and the eggs would have to be tossed into the compost pile. I’ve been here many times with my Pekins, hoping and hoping for baby ducks when all I get are old, smelly eggs. But then my husband came home from work one day last week and told me that he’d seen a duck that looked just like Amelia on the pond with four ducklings swimming behind her! I’ve been looking and looking for her and those ducklings, but haven’t seen any of sign of them. I figured the babies were long gone, maybe even Amelia, too, since there are just too many predators around.

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But this evening, when I was getting dinner finished up, I heard her calling in the yard. I ran to the side porch door and called her. I could hear her answering on the other side of the house so went to find her, expecting to see a line of ducklings running to keep up with her. She was with Carl and Bossy Dozer, our Pekin, but there were no ducklings with her. She was hyper and frantic and seemed desperate. I didn’t know what was going on, but I went to the house to get her some treats. She ate them like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. I was really sure, at this point, that the BIG, ornery rat snake who coiled up all “s-curvy” at me like he was a big, bad viper when I almost stepped on him the other day had eaten them. But then I saw something small and fuzzy move next to KFC under the rabbit hutch. There they were, seven little ducklings! SEVEN! And she was still faithfully sitting on at least a dozen. But there were only 3 broken eggs in her nest. So now I am wondering if four of them are Amelia’s and if mother ducks share childcare duties. I saw Amelia over with the babies a little while later, chasing off Carl and Bossy Dozer when they tried to sneak some of the food we put out for KFC and the babies. So I guess it is possible. And if some are Amelia’s, KFC is doing a great job mothering them for her, so it looks like they will be just fine…as long as the barn cats, rat snakes, owls, turtles, coyotes, possums don’t get them! Ugh. I’m so nervous! And I miss my duck egg omelets. But ducklings beat omelets any day.

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