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Columns May 16, 2017  RSS feed

Cooking Country

Sherry Matney

This column will be the last on the “inflammatory” foods and also the last for this season. Paul and I are taking some time off this summer and, I promise, I will be on the lookout for some interesting recipes. This week, we will continue with our foods that may cause trouble with inflammation and look at some that might help fight inflammation. But before we do, let’s review what we have already learned. The foods we discussed that may cause problems are: some processed oils and margarines, process sugars and corn syrups; fast foods, most grains, and dairy foods. Today we add to that list: Alcohol and caffeine, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, etc.), farm-raised catfish.

Now for the “anti-inflammatory” suggestions. Most wild caught fish is among those recommended. Salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, Atlantic mackerel and anchovies are on the list. (If I have to eat anchovies, I think I’ll just ache first!!)

Good fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil, butter from grass-fed cows, and beef tallow. Spices that might help are ginger, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, clove, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Most fruits and vegetables are on the “good list” (except those nightshade veggies that happen to be my favorites) as well as “grass fed” meats, pastured eggs and chicken (these are from chickens that are allowed to roam outside.) This nutritionist recommends 9 cups of vegetables and fruits per day.

Today’s recipes are the two best of the menu. The first is Spaghetti Squash cakes. Very, very good, especially with the Parmesan cheese and bacon added. The surprise is the chocolate ice cream made with avocados. Yes, I said avocados. I always have problems getting my homemade ice cream as creamy as I like, but the avocado made this one very creamy. Hope you try it.

Bacon, Spaghetti Squash & Parmesan Cakes

3 cups spaghetti squash (bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 425 degrees.)
2 eggs
1/3 cup multi-purpose flour (if gluten-free use almond flour)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/8 tsp. salt
3 green onions, chopped
5 bacon strips, cooked crisp and chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil or bacon grease

Take squash out of oven and after cool scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Drain the squash for any liquid. (You may refrigerate and cook the cakes the next day.)

In a large bowl, using electric mixer beat the eggs on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add flour and continue beating for about 30 seconds to combine. Add spaghetti squash, Parmesan cheese, chopped green onion, and salt. Mix until all the mixture has uniform consistency. Add chopped bacon and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.

Heat a large skillet on high-medium heat until very hot. Only then add olive oil. It should sizzle and smoke right away. Using a tablespoon, spoon a tablespoonful of the batter for each cake and drop into the skillet. Cook until the bottom side of each fritter is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Using a spatula, turn cakes over, and cook 1-2 more minutes. (Be careful with this. Since you are adding the cake when the pan is very hot, it can burn quickly.) Take out of pan and serve with a garnish of Greek yogurt and chopped green onions.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream made with avocados

1 (15 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. espresso powder
3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 medium California avocados
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. black pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, sweetener, and espresso powder until sweetener has dissolved. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit 4 minutes until chocolate is melted, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla.

In a blender or food processor, combine avocados, chocolate mixture, cinnamon, and black pepper. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate until cool, at least 2 hours. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and churn until consistency resembles soft serve ice cream. Serve as soft serve or transfer to an airtight container and freeze another few hours for a firmer consistency.

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