Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beet & Potato Latkes

If you are one of the many who have become carb-conscious in recent years, you have reason to be. Studies comparing low fat, high carb, low calorie diets to low carb, high protein, high fat diets have shown that the low carb diet weight loss results were better, as were improvements in certain risk factors for coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Further detail can be provided here:

And here:

Also here:

Starchy vegetables are often targeted by the carb police as their glycemic index (GI), the rate at which carbs are absorbed into the blood stream, ranks high compared to other vegetables. A low GI ranges between 0-50, a medium GI ranges between 51-69 and a high GI from 70-100. Beets have a medium GI at 64, while potatoes rank higher, but the numbers provided via several studies vary considerably. I've found GI's ranging from between 58 to 111 just for russet potatoes as an example. For a sample GI index, check out this link:

Worth noting is that fiber is a form of carbohydrate which, in soluble form helps block the absorption of cholesterol. As fiber is indigestable, it can be deducted from the carb calculation of the food in question. 

Here's something else to consider: you need carbs. Carbohydrates are the body's way of providing fuel to its' cells and tissue.  About 130 grams per day is a good target to work towards.

With this in mind, I made myself a batch of beet and potato latkes yesterday. In addition to carbohydrates, potatoes cover a lot of other territory. A russet potato contains more potassium at 620 mg each than a banana, a serving of broccoli or spinach. It also provides a healthy dose of vitamins C and B6. Beets on the other hand are a good source of manganese and folate and help balance out the GI index of these latkes.

Now that we've overanalyzed these latkes, let's make and eat them.

Beet and Potato Latkes

Serves 4


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 large beets
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • coarse salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • chopped dill to serve
  • sour cream to serve


Prepare the vegetables by peeling and grating the potatoes and beets and finely chopping the green onions. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, beets and onions with the flour, salt and pepper. Add the eggs, mixing well until the egg covers all the ingredients. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. Add a scoop of the mixture about a 1/4 - 1/3 cup in size to the pan and flatten it to form a patty. Cook the patty for approximately 6 minutes on each side. I opted to cook my latkes for longer than the original recipe specified, because I was experimenting with using less heat on my cast iron pan. The result was less smoke and spitting while the latkes were on the stovetop. Add a handful of chopped dill and dollops of sour cream to the latkes when serving.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Soup & Salad: Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup with a Chorizo, White Bean & Arugula Salad

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day in the blah, blah, blah... Day one of Fall is here and I'm in a hearty soup mood to help kick off the season. I found both the soup and salad recipes online and as usual they can be adapted to suit any diet. The soup is vegan, as it uses a base of coconut milk and vegetable stock. I'm sure I've made blended soups with coconut milk before, but really enjoyed the richness it added to this particular recipe once combined with the toasted and smoky vegetables. I displayed the salad in a jar, since that's how I packed it for my lunches. Now that I've tried my first jarred salad as part of a packed lunch, I won't be going back. This storage method keeps all ingredients in good form and ready to mix when you're ready to eat.

The common thread in these recipes is the use of fennel. Tis the season for it and while not everyone loves the slight licorice taste of this root vegetable, I hope these subtle combinations will change your mind.

Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup

Adapted from:

Serves 4-6


  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 2 medium heads of fennel
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic with skin on
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for drizzling


Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash then loosely chop the fennel and cauliflower florets. Chop the onion and then slice the tips off of the top of each the garlic clove, ensuring that the skin is left on on the rest of the garlic. Place all vegetables on baking sheets and roast them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the edges of the vegetables brown a little.

In a large pot, heat the coconut oil. Place the vegetables in the pot and toss them to coat them evenly with the oil. Add the stock and coconut milk and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender or food processor. Season with coarse salt and pepper and blend for another minute to mix in the seasoning. Drizzle each serving with a little olive oil and serve with crusty, buttered bread.

Chorizo, White Bean & Arugula Salad

Adapted From:

Serves 4


Four canning jars, approximately 750 ml each


  • 8 T olive oil
  • 3 t sugar
  • 4 t dijon mustard
  • 2 t honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  • One fennel bulb, sliced
  • Half a red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of white, kidney beans (I used canned and rinsed them)
  • 1/2 cup diced chorizo, salami or hearty cured meat of your choice
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • Handful of dill, loosely chopped


For the salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour a quarter of the salad dressing into the bottom of each of four jars. For the salad, divide all the ingredients into four and assemble the salad in a jar, one layer at a time in the order provided.  Ensure the jars are transported right-side-up to ensure the ingredients stay crisp and fresh. When ready to serve, invert the jar and shake to mix the ingredients with the dressing.