Mushroom Pizza Bites

Greetings from sunny Seattle!  That is to say, it’s sunny as I type this.  What it will be doing when you read it is anyone’s guess.  Seattle is unpredictable exciting like that.

Unlike Seattle, you may have noticed that I am fairly predictable in the kitchen and tend to work in themes.  One week I’m all about blueberries, the next I’ve gone gaga on turkey, then I’m crazy over cranberries, and suddenly along comes a large splash of lemon.  I am not entirely sure why this is so, but it seems reasonable to suggest that I buy too much of whatever ingredient it is for the first idea, and then have to think up other ideas to use up the rest.  I hate to see good food go to waste.  Another possible explanation is that once I get an idea about flavor combinations, or a theme, or some new technique for using something, my brain darts off in a myriad different directions about all the possibilities that offers up.  I am all for making the most of everything.  Strike while the iron’s hot!!  As they say.

A week or so ago I went on a bit of  a stuffed mushroom fest.  It wasn’t intentional when I started out, but after I had so much fun with the Mushroom Tuna Melt, every time I saw a mushroom I wanted to stuff it with something. Those Portobellos with Tuna Salad were really good, and I didn’t even miss the whole bread part of a traditional Tuna Melt.

So at the grocery store a few days ago I was staring at some mushrooms – wondering, as you do, what I could stuff them with – and before I knew it, my brain was being sabotaged by the word ‘P I Z Z A’.  Who knows.  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make individual pizzas out of Portobellos; then I thought how much more fun it would be if they were bite-sized pieces of pizza.

Like this.

Mushroom Pizza Pickups | Carrie Brown

Aren’t they fun?

I love eating food with my fingers – not very British of me, I know – but the messier I can get when eating, the better it is as far as I am concerned.  These totally fit the messy-to-eat bill.  More to the point, they’re scrumptious. 

Mushroom Pizza Pickups | Carrie Brown
Being single – with kitties that are not the least bit interested in eating mushrooms – I made this like a personal pan pizza and scarfed down the whole thing.  You could also serve it as a side – two mushrooms each for 4 people, or 4 pieces each for a couple of you.

I used Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Style Chicken Sausages, but by jove you can use any pre-cooked sausage you darn well choose.  I say pre-cooked because you really only heat the meat through under the broiler (grill), so pre-cooked sausages makes these super-easy, and ensure that the meat is cooked properly.  Look for sausages that have no added sugar, no starchy fillers, no artificial ingredients, and are high in protein.  Like sausages should be.

These are super-fun, super-fast, and super-flavorful – everything that your mouth and brain need to forget there’s no pizza dough involved.  All of the upside, none of the downsides.  We love that!

You can adapt these by topping your pizza bites with whatever you fancy – as long as it’s SANE of course.

Have yourself some mushroom fun today!

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mushroom Pizza Bites
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 or 4
 
Ingredients
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 8 large white mushrooms, stalks removed
  • 8 TBSP tomato basil pasta sauce (unsweetened)
  • ¼ tsp guar gum
  • 1 oz / 28g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 oz / 28g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 sausages of your choice, pre-cooked and sliced thinly
Instructions
  1. Spray an ovenproof serving dish with coconut oil.
  2. Place the mushroom upside down on the dish in a circle, with one in the center.
  3. Place the dish under the broiler (grill) for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the guar gum into the tomato sauce and stir well.
  5. Mix the two grated cheeses together in a separate bowl.
  6. Carefully remove the dish of mushrooms from under the heat.
  7. Spoon a tablespoon of tomato sauce into each mushroom.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese mix evenly over the mushrooms.
  9. Place 2 - 3 slices (depending on size) of sausage on top of each mushroom.
  10. Place the mushrooms back under the heat for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sausages lightly browned.
  11. Be very careful, the serving dish will be very hot!

Mushroom Pizza Pickups | Carrie Brown

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Wedsv - 5th street grill turkey sausage at Costco is great! Super flavorful and precooked! Great to buy and have in the fridge/freezer. Plus it would be great in this recipe!

Sahara - YUM!

carrie - HA! Sahara Pirie!!! :-D

Suzie price - Made these this weekend – and as I was eating, I thought, “this is brilliant!” That’s because it is so easy, so tasty, so quick and very SANE. The perfect answer to pizza. Brilliant ideas and recipes from brilliant carrie!

carrie - Glad you loved them, Suzie!!

Keri - Can I use xanthan gum instead of guar gum? I don’t have guar gum…

carrie - Hi Keri – in this instance yes you can sub out xanthan for guar. Enjoy!

MVP - I made these tonight with Baby Portabellos instead of white mushrooms because I couldn’t find any large enough, and it was AMAZING!! Even my almost 2 year old went nuts on them. She ate two all by herself!

carrie - HURRAH, MVP!!! We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE SANE almost 2-year-olds! :-)

Megan - Any thoughts on possible alternatives to the mushroom part of this awesome recipe? I have a house full of mushroom-dislikers (unless they’re chopped up into tiny bits). But I am always on the lookout for a tasty pizza replacement!

Mary - I’m going to try and make these, but I need some help with an ingredient I never heard of–guar gum. I’m assuming it’s a spice since I need only 1/4 t. Can I find it at a Kroger, which is comparable to your QVC. Oh yes, and a great big hi and I do miss the lovely Pacific Northwest and even the more lovely people out there!.

carrie - Thick, lightly baked slices of zucchini, Megan!

Jill - This was really good, though I didn’t use the guar gum since I didn’t have any. I also made some with pesto/chicken/Parmesan since I had that on hand. Thank you; my family and I really liked it, even my 80 year-old mother!

carrie - Hurrah, Jill!! Thanks for stopping by :-)

carrie - Hi Mary! Guar gum is a powder made from a bean. I use Bob’s Red Mill brand and you can find it in most grocery stores with the other Bob’s Red Mill products. Most stores carry it these days. Hope that helps! I miss you, too!!

Jodi - I haven’t tried these yet but they look AMAZING! I am just discovering this whole new way of eating. I have the book and I am blown away at this entire system. I can’t wait to get started! Going shopping this weekend and My mother is doing this with me. We are going to shop together and cook together. I’m printing all the recipes and putting them in a binder, by category so we can stay organized and do our meal planning. Thank you to you and to Jonathan for sharing this wonderful system!

How To Cook A Pork Chop

I really should have titled this post “Things I learnt In My Therapist’s Office”, but I am as certain as I can be that 99% of the things I learn in my Therapist’s office are of zero interest to anyone but me; oh, and my long-suffering Therapist.  I say long-suffering, but he’ll sure miss me when he’s finished fixing me.  I can be highly entertaining when I circle myself into some ridiculously non-sensical argument.  He’ll also miss the generous amounts of sass I serve up on a weekly basis.  I’ll definitely miss having someone hold my feet to the fire, and forcing me – ahem, I mean encouraging me – to view things in a different way.  I’ve learned a lot, in therapy.  I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my Therapist.

One of the things I learned in my Therapists’s office a few weeks ago, however, is something that apparently a lot of you are very interested in learning too, and that’s how to cook a pork chop.  I must have shown up way early that day because I had enough time to read some crazy scientific paper on the science of cooking a pork chop to retain maximum juiciness.  Nope, I am not kidding you.  It was like 7 pages of graphs and charts and data analysis and other scientific gobbledygook.  I suspect that you don’t have the time – or the inclination – to read 7 pages of pork chop geekery, so just like I tend to do with Bailor’s stuff, I am going to boil it all down into just 6 words for you.  There’s just 6 sweet little words between you and pork chop perfection.

But before I do, let me just say THANK YOU, Mr. Therapist, for putting up with my BS for over 6 long years, for telling me when I am being ridiculous, for being one of my biggest cheerleaders, for only calling the EMTs on me once, and for teaching me many, many, many important things. Including how to cook a pork chop. Eddie, you’re awesome.

Pork Chops  |  Carrie Brown
THAT, is a perfect pork chop, people.  Perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy, perfectly perfect.  So what’s the 6 word secret?

Do not heat the pan first.

Or, put another way:

Start with a stone cold pan.

That’s it.  THAT, ladies, gentlemen, and beloved SSoS’ers, is the secret to pork chop nirvana.  A cold pan.

I had to try it out because it sounds so absurd, but also because I really want juicy pork chops for the rest of my life.  So I got my cold chops, slapped them in a cold, dry pan, put them on the cold stove, and then whacked the heat up. 

And then I watched.  I seared them with a spatula.  I turned them over.  I seared them with a spatula.

Then I peered warily into the pan, my forehead wrinkled with worry when I saw that the pan was completely dry.  And I do mean COMPLETELY.  I became convinced I was going to have the driest pork chops EVER.  UGH.

Then I turned them over.  Then, when they were golden brown, I slid them onto the waiting plate, because despite not pre-heating the pan or using oil, they did not take any longer to cook than the way I had always cooked them before. Which is both impossible, totally weird, and completely awesome, all at the same time. 

Pork Chops | Carrie Brown
Then I ate them.

Want to know why the pan was completely dry while they were cooking?  Because all of those divine porky juices were sloshing around inside the chops.  True story.

I have no clue why or how this worked.  I don’t care.  It does; I have done it 7 8 9 10 11 times.

Now, hurry up over to your stove and getting cooking.  Chop, chop!

 

How To Cook A Pork Chop
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Pork chops
Instructions
  1. Remove the skillet or pan from the cupboard.
  2. Place the cold pork chops in the skillet.
  3. Place the skillet on the cold stove.
  4. Turn the heat on medium.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes. Do not touch them. Walk away if you have to.
  6. Turn them over and sear them with a spatula.
  7. Cook for 3 minutes. Do not touch them. Walk away if you have to.
  8. Turn them over and sear them with a spatula.
  9. Cook for 2 minutes. Do not touch them. Walk away if you have to.
  10. Turn them over and sear them with a spatula.
  11. Cook for 1 minute. Do not touch them. Walk away if you have to.
  12. Turn them over and sear them with a spatula.
  13. Cook for 1 minute. Wait there. They're almost done.
  14. NOTE: Cooking time will vary dependant on thickness of chops and whether they have a bone in. Mine were boneless 1" thick chops. They are done when they are perfectly browned on both sides.
  15. Slide onto plates.
  16. Watch in awe as a few minutes later the juices start to ooze out the sides.
  17. Eat the juiciest pork chop you've ever had in your life.

Pork Chops | Carrie Brown

PS. No, these were not fancy schmancy organic, grass-raised pork chops from rainbow-grunting pigs fed on truffles and warm milk, and housed in heated apartments with running water and duck-down mattresses.  These were regular pork chops from the grocery store.  Actually they were really cheap regular pork chops from the gorcery store.  I’m thinking that if this technique makes the beaten-up old Honda of pork chops taste like this, I am not sure I could handle a Rolls Royce pork chop cooked the same way.

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Sigi - Um, call me ignorant, but what do you mean by “sear them with a spatula”? Use a fiery hot spatula and press down on them? I iz confuzed.

carrie - Hi Sigi – searing means to press down firmly on the chop. The spatula does not neeed to be hot. Hope that helps!

Wendy - These are the BEST & JUCIEST chops ever! I usually shy away from cooking them because I hate looking forward to eating a great chop and end up eating a dry, tough result. Not the case at all with these. Thank you so much…the fam loved them!

carrie - Wendy – this makes me SOOOOOOOOOO happy!!!!!! :-D

Ellen - SO glad SIGI asked about the searing with a spatula part. I was confused. Cant’ wait for these to get done!

carrie - Ellen – let us know how you liked them!

ellen - Carrie, these were the juciest pork chops I have ever eaten!! Initially I was afraid that I had undercooked them, but the cooking time was about 12 – 14 minutes total, and the chops weren’t as thick as the ones you used. I was afraid they wouldn’t be tasty since I didn’t season them – but the final result was incredible. Who needs salt & pepper when you can taste the natural flavor of pork deliciousness?

carrie - Ellen – your comment makes me so happy!! Pork chops rule :-)

Stephanie - When you push them down with the spatula, doesn’t that squeeze out all the meat’s juices?

carrie - Hi Stephanie, it does not. The pan remains dry the whole time.

Paula - What kind of pan do you use? Can’t wait to try. I never cook pork chops cause they never turn out right.

carrie - Hi Paula – I have used all 3 of my frying pans to test this and it worked perfectly every time. Use whatever frying / saute pan you have!! Hope that helps!

Nick - Sounds good. Do you think this cold pan idea would work well for chicken breast?

carrie - Nick – I do not know, but I am going to try this technique on other meats to see if it is just a pork thing. Look for updates!

Beverly - Trying this method for dinner tonight.

carrie - Let us know how you liked them, Beverly!

Beverly - They were great. Even my husband liked them he usually complains that my pork chops are too dry. No complaints this time. Thanks for the recipe.

carrie - No more dry pork chops, Beverly! YAY!

Margaret H - Oh My, I am eternally grateful for this tutorial! The pork chops turned out just like you said they would although I had to cook my “mother of all” pork chops for much longer. I paired them with your Leek & Cauliflower risotto (yumminess) and yes, red wine (for the pork chop cooking anxiety) …meal perfection!
Thanks Carrie!

carrie - Margaret – that you can now enjoy fantastic pork chops makes me so happy!!!

Terez - Hi Carrie. These are not turning out quite as expected for me.

The first time I used a cast-iron skillet. I went a little higher than medium heat (using a gas flame).

At the first 3-minute point everything was still totally raw and the skillet wasn’t hot yet. So I gave it a couple more minutes before turning. Then I stuck to 3-minutes when I turned it, then 2 and 2, then 1 and 1.

Cooked them only a little longer and they weren’t as brown as your photo but I was worried about overcooking them so I pulled them off before they got much color. While I wouldn’t go on and on about them being juicy, they were not dry. And they didn’t have the looks I was expecting.

Today I tried again with just one pork chop in a small All Clad stainless steel skillet. I used a medium heat this time (not the medium-high that I used with the cast iron) and I followed your timing exactly (three minutes for the first two timings, then two, then one minute).

There was nothing more than a slight change from totally raw to almost entirely raw with the first turn.

I had to do the one-minute turnings a LOT of times. Finally they didn’t get as brown as I’d like but they were getting overcooked so I pulled them off.

The “medium” today was at 7.5 on the dial, which is “med-high” based on the number but it wasn’t a very large flame so I’m calling it medium.

Was my heat too low? Was my kitchen too cold, so that the pan was colder than yours starting out?

Are you using a gas range or electric? If gas, could you show a photo of a pan on “medium” and what that looks like to you?

Thanks,
Terez

Jan - My question also is what kind of skillet did you use? I normally use a cast iron pan so I think Terez is right it isn’t going to heat up the same. Also I use gas and med. may be different on every stove.

Blueberry Cheesecake Scones

My life, lately, appears to be revolving around blueberries.  This is quite odd because I never grew up with blueberries.  I grew up with raspberries – tons of raspberries – and strawberries, and gooseberries, and with the odd blackberry thrown in for good measure.  Not one single blueberry was to be had.

The first time I ate a blueberry was in Canada – pretty soon after I ate my first American pancake; which was a few weeks after I ate my first nachos, and a few weeks before I ate soft-serve ice cream that you could take home in a cardboard box.  That soft-serve-at-home moment got me way more twitterpated than it really should have, but when you grew up thinking that soft-serve could only come on a cone from the ice cream van, being able to buy it in a waxed carton to take home and eat at your leisure was THE BOMB.  Then there was my first view of a 15″ pizza, my very first ever hotdog, and canned pumpkin.  Gosh, Canada was quite the food experience now I look back on it.

I like blueberries, but they’re not my favorite.  Raspberries will always be my favorite because my father grew raspberry canes, and every summer I would get to go down to the bottom of the garden and pick bowlfuls of huge, juicy, magnificent red berries.  Some of them were so huge and heavy I wondered how the slender stems held them up.  We always had far more raspberries than my mother knew what to do with.  She made a lot of jam, and I regularly ate Raspberry Flan for breakfast.  (Note: Flan in England is completely different to flan in America.  An English flan is a light sponge cake with raised sides that you fill with fresh fruit and serve with cream.  In America, flan is what we Brits would call crème caramel or caramel custard).  Americans pronounce flan with a really long ‘a’ which always makes me want to giggle.

My favorite way to eat raspberries was to pop a frozen berry in my mouth and let it thaw onto my tongue.  My mother open-froze them before stashing them in the deep freeze, so in summer there was always at least one tray of raspberries balancing on top of everything else in the freezer, waiting for her to pack them into boxes.  Mmmmm, frozen raspberries.  Like the best popsicle ever but with none of the time or effort.

While blueberries would never be my first berry pick, I am always happy to eat them if they are there.  Blueberries are an American institution, though, so I completely understand that I need to make stuff with blueberries in.  My current blueberry-itis started with Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  It started when Fred Meyers had fresh blueberries on sale for $1.88.  To give you context, they normally sell – in Seattle anyway – for $3.99; so it was a given that I was taking some of those squidgy blue berries home to my kitchen.  Right away.

I started with SANE Vanilla Blueberry Pancakes.  “Not a day too soon!” I heard many of you cry.  Then I whipped up some Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, which went down an absolute storm at the first SANE Ice Cream Taste Test I conducted at the office.  Then I had a desperate plea on the Marmalade Facebook page from Deb saying that she had just bypassed the most amazing looking Blueberry Scone at Starbucks, and that I needed to make a SANE version.  PLEASE!!  So when I peered in my ‘fridge and saw blueberries left over from the ice cream and pancake adventures, I knew exactly what to do with them.  Blueberry Scones with a twist – because I was still high from Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream success.

Blueberry Cheesecake Scones | Carrie Brown

I am not sure what else I really need to say here.  These scones are stinkin’ awesome, and you should hurry off to your kitchen right now and make a batch.  And that’s coming from a non-blueberry lover.

I deliberately made these thick and rustic looking – a little bit rough and ready around the edges.  The cooking temperature and time reflect this, so if you choose to make your scones thinner so that you have more, you will need to tweak the cooking time and temp accordingly.

Blueberry Cheesecake Scones | Carrie Brown

They are a light, buttery scone studded with juicy blueberries that ‘pop’ when you bite into them.  Eat them hot out the oven, naked. (I meant the scones, not you – but hey, who am I to tell you how to dress when you eat your SANE Blueberry Cheesecake Scones?).  Eat them slathered with butter.  Pile on some SANE jam and whipped coconut cream.  Or eat them my favorite way – with SANE Lemon Curd.  However you decide to do it, just eat them.

GO, Blue!

PS. Want other SANE scoones and biscuits?  Go here.

Blueberry Cheesecake Scones
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 15 oz. / 420g almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 TBSP xylitol (I use Xyla)
  • 6 oz. / 170g unsalted butter, cold and chopped into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup / 4 fl oz. fat-free sour cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 oz / 170g fresh blueberries
  • Beaten egg to glaze
Instructions
  1. Place almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, xylitol and cold butter into a food processor and pulse just until it resembles breadcrumbs. Do not over process!
  2. Turn into a mixing bowl and add the egg, sour cream, lemon zest, and blueberries and mix just enough to form a rough, soft dough. Be gentle so you don't smash the blueberries.
  3. Turn onto a board (use almond flour to dust if sticky) and knead about 5 times until the dough is all together. Be very gentle. The dough will be very shaggy.
  4. Flatten the dough lightly with your hand until it is a 1½ inch thick. This is the same thickness as my cutter.
  5. Use a round 2½ inch metal cutter to cut into thick circles.
  6. Very gently push the dough out of the cutter and place scones on a baking sheet.
  7. Brush with beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the center of the oven at 325 F for 20 - 22 minutes until golden brown.

Blueberry Cheesecake Scones | Carrie Brown

 

 

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Sigi - Looks very nice, Carrie. I’m like you though – while I do enjoy good fresh blueberries, raspberries will always be my favourite, and I will always use them preferentially in any baking. Do you think raspberries would work in this recipe, or would they be too wet?

Sharon - Carrie – I can’t wait to try these scones; I haven’t made biscuits in 2 years! I do have a question though: Is the 6oz of butter by volume or weight?

carrie - Sharon – all ounce measurements are by weight. Enjoy!!

carrie - Hi Sigi – you can certainly try raspberries, but they may well be wetter than blueberries. I think it’s worth a go though. YUM!

Ruth - Looks really good, but just curious – where does the “cheesecake” in the name come from? I don’t see any cream cheese in the recipe. Can’t wait for the ice cream recipes!

carrie - The sour cream and the lemon. My regular Cheesecake Ice cream had those as ingredients, hence the name :-) I did make a version of these scones with cream cheese in but you couldn’t taste it so I took it out. SANE ice cream is coming soon!

Kerry - Could you use yogurt instead of sour cream? Thanks.

carrie - In this instance, yes, Kerry.

Rebecca (rsjo) - I tried them tonight Carrie – I was scared coz they looked like they wouldn’t work – but they did! yummo! thanks to you and your therapists magazine collection!! xox

carrie - Hey Rebecca! Are you talking about the Blueberry Cheesecake Scones or the pork chops? Either way – glad they worked and you loved them!!

Rebecca - oooh how did I get lost? I meant the pork chops! I’m going to have to make these scones now too – its fate :)

carrie - Yes, Rebecca! Make the scones too! :-)

Philippa - I haven’t any xanthum gum and I really want to make these.
Will they work without or is it absolutely essential?

carrie - Philippa – the texture will not be as good, but won’t they wont’ fail without the gum. Hope that helps!

Heather - I made these today and followed the recipe to the letter, apart from they were slightly smaller than yours. But they have come out soggy in the middle, even with extra cooking time. The blueberries were tasteless too, although I fear that’s because they are end of season so I’ll try with this fruit again next year. However, any tips? Hotter oven? Cooler? Even longer in the oven? I was so looking forward to them.

carrie - Hi Heather – my first guess would be that your oven was too hot when you put them in. Also, what thickness were they? If they were very thick then you would want to start at a lower temperature for the oven and cook them longer. I am so sad they didn’t work out first them for you because they are very yummy. Let me know if you try them again. I hope this helps!

Nancy - Can you replace te sour cream wit something else ? I cannot do milk.

carrie - Nancy I would use thick coconut milk instead of sour cream in this instance. Thick coconut milk comes in a can. Hope that helps!

Billy - Carrie – my wife and I are huge fans of most of your recipes you post. I’ve cooked these scones 3 times now and everytime I have the same problem. As Heather mentioned above, these scones always come out very soggy in the middle. I have followed the instructions very carefully and even purchased an oven thermometer to monitor any discrepancies with the temperate. This last time I even lowered the temp (as suggested to Heather), but they never seem to firm up. The top gets golden but the center is “doughy”. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

SANE Lemon Curd

I have no idea why my mother never made her own Lemon Curd, but she didn’t.  I have a vague recollection of her being scared of cooking anything resembling  an egg custard, so maybe that was it, although I don’t know why egg custards would scare her.  Really they’re just like making cheese sauce or instant custard, and she made those all the time.  The downside to her egg custard fear is that I inherited it.  Similarly, I still can’t swim because my father never went near water.

Luckily for me, becoming obsessed with making the best ice cream on earth cured me of my egg custard fear in about 73 minutes; because you just cannot make the most fantastic ice cream ever if it doesn’t involve an egg custard.   I just wish it hadn’t taken me as many years as it did to discover that egg custards are easy, beautiful, and making them is downright therapeutic – at least for me.  I lost count of how many egg custards I had made by the time I was in my 4th month of ice cream production.

Egg custards taught me – once again – that the fear is always worse than the reality.  Me and egg custards are best buds now.  Egg custards are the best excuse I know to stand by the stove and do nothing except gaze lovingly into a saucepan and stir the contents.  These days, when I need a break from doing, I make something that requires an egg custard; just so I can stand still for 12 minutes.  Egg custards rock.

I learned very early on in life that lemon anything that came out of a packet, was not even in the same ballpark as that same anything made from scratch with real, live lemons.  Lemons that used to grow on trees, and that you have to grate and squeeze to get the goodies out of them.  If my memory serves me correctly I learned that the day my mother made my father a lemon cheesecake from scratch for his birthday one year.  Prior to that she had only ever made cheesecake out of a packet.  After that we never had packet cheesecake again.  With most things the difference between homemade and packet is palpable; with  lemon, the difference is nothing short of profound.

Lemon Curd  |  Carrie Brown

I love lemon anything.  LOVE.  I’ll be using this SANE Lemon Curd as a base for many other recipes down the road, so if you like lemon stuff, I highly recommend that you get this recipe down pat.  We’ll be using it a lot – and not just as a brilliant topping for Blueberry Cheesecake Scones (recipe up next!) – although it IS brilliant for that.

Love lemon?  This *SANE Lemon Curd will make your taste buds sing.

Pucker up, Buttercup!

 

4.8 from 5 reviews
SANE Lemon Curd
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 oz / 200g xylitol (I use Xyla)
  • ⅓ cup / 3 fl oz. lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 oz / 110g coconut oil, melted
  • 4 oz / 110g butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Whisk the eggs well with a fork and pour into a small pan.
  2. Add the xylitol, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut oil, and butter.
  3. Whisk ingredients together well.
  4. Place on the stove over a medium heat and STIR CONSTANTLY as the mixture slowly thickens. It takes 12 - 15 minutes to thicken fully. Embrace it. Be patient.
  5. DO NOT ALLOW THE MIXTURE TO BOIL - it will curdle or you will get scrambled eggs.
  6. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, quickly remove it from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean glass lidded container (such as a Pyrex storage bowl). No, you cannot omit this step. It must be sieved!
  7. Stir the mixture in the sieve until you are left with only the zest pulp and a few strands of egg. You can use a second, clean spatula to scrape the underside of the sieve as you go.
  8. Once all the curd has been passed through the sieve, leave uncovered until completely cold, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent a skin from forming.
  9. When cold, put the lid on the container and place in the 'fridge.
  10. Once chilled it will be thick and spreadable.
  11. Store in the 'fridge.

 

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Brooke - I love lemon things too! I can’t believe how simple this is, I will definitely be trying very soon. Thank you.

Sigi - I adore lemony things too, and this recipe looks great … but egg custards still frighten the frack out of me. (I speak from bitter experience. So many sad and bitter experiences.) :(

Lorna Broad - oh my god…I’ve died and gone to heaven LEMON CURDDDDDDDDDD

carrie - Who knew Lemon Curd would be such an instant hit??!!! Sigi – please try this recipe – just don’t stop stirring. Brooke and Lorna can let you know how easy it is!! :-D

danielle - super excited to try! i am a lemon lover too! Thank you Carrie!

Matilda - I have a friend who has a lemon tree, so I’ll be making this.
Sounds super easy to make.
I’m looking forward to it.

btw, I had to create a separate folder for all my sane/paleo recipes, so you could say I’m making a carrie cook book, cause 99% of the recipes in there are yours

Sylvia - Carrie, you ROCK!!! I’ve just made this recipe and OMG, it is FANTASTIC!!
I decided to try it with some Cottage Cheese which I creamed in a food processor until really smooth and then I mixed in a couple of tablespoons of the Lemon Curd. End result……YUMMMM!!! Thank you so much.

NM - If you custard does curdle or split because of accidental overheating, just pour it into a jug and churn mercilessly with a stick-blender. Add another yolk if necessary. Then return to gentle heat and resume, saved!

carrie - Thanks, Nick! It really is just a lot easier and less stressful to not overheat it in the first place, but it’s always good to know that all is not lost if it does go sideways.

carrie - Ha ha, Sylvia! It is good isn’t it? I LOVE this stuff.

carrie - Matilda – I want a friend with a lemon tree!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your recipe binder :-D

Colleen - Sounds great Carrie, how long can it be stored?

carrie - Hi Colleen – I have had a glass container of this in the ‘fridge for 2 weeks and it is perfectly fine. The eggs are cooked, and xylitol inhibits bacterial growth. I would iamgine it will keep just fine for a month, although I have not had any last that long yet! Hope that helps!

danielle - Yummy lemon scrambled eggs! Lol! I’m the one in the group that over heated. I cook with gas and have never done this custard style before. My medium is way too hot! LOVE LOVE the recipe. Thank you again!!! Looking forward to making the lemon yogurt tomorrow!

Ann - Wow! I am typically a chocolate girl, but this recipe has won me over entirely! I am wondering how you had it in your fridge for 2 weeks because I want to eat half of it now… You’re idea of mixing it with the yogurt is awesome because it saves me from eating all of it at once :) Thank you!

carrie - Ann – I had it for two weeks because I quadrupled the recipe ;-) This made me love lemon even more than I did!

Julie - How safe are eggs to eat this way? I’m pregnant so have to be careful to eat them fully cooked, but this looks awesome.
Thanks!

carrie - Julie – the eggs are cooked – you’re good! Huge congrats on the wee one :-)

Mandy - Hi, I haven just made this and all went well until the last1min and it split. As I was pouring it into the jar. However not all lost, I used a stick blender and whizzed ir through. Nice glossy thick curd. Yum, the yogurt is in the fridge waiting for it. Thank you for the recipe. Me
Ind regards mandy

Elia - First – I was inspired to buy a kitchen scale because of this recipe. Second – this was great! It’s sweet, tangy, and creamy… All the things I like without all the death and chemicals. Thank you so much! Third – I’m thinking of playing around with this recipe some more to make other types of custard. Do you have suggestions for making this a chocolate custard?

Sandy - Can you freeze this?

Shawna - So….I cheated a bit. For some reason, I remembered hearing about blender hollandaise years ago and thought it was worth a shot on this recipe. My blender would be comparable to a Vitamix, so I was careful of speed. I whirled everything but the oil for 20-30 sec @ 40% power, then drizzled in the oil at the same speed. Set up perfectly and no straining required! Solves the overheating issue as long as you are careful. I address the chance that the eggs are not cooked by lacto-fermenting overnight with whey from yogurt.
Thanks for the recipe, it tastes amazing. So glad I found this site to enjoy SANE eating, even to indulge while staying SANE! ;-)

Lemon Sauce » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] can whip this luscious Lemon Sauce up in a New York minute – as long as you have some SANE Lemon Curd stashed in your ‘fridge.  It’s worth keeping some of that lemon curd goodness on hand […]

Lemon Mascarpone Tarts » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane - […] going on, I couldn’t think of anything better to fill it with than some fantastically lemony SANE Lemon Curd.  As a pretty piped topping I was going to go with simple whipped cream, but I determined that I […]

Claire - Oh my god, this stuff is dangerous, it should carry a health warning. I’ve had to put it away quickly to stop me from eating the whole lot – on it’s own. I’m making the mascarpone tarts with this tomorrow, bet they’re going to be amazing too!! You have one very happy reader/podcast listener here :-)

carrie - Hurrah, Claire! Enjoy those tarts!

Kathy - Love this recipes. When I made it the first time, I purchased a large bag of lemons at Costco. I squeezed the all and zested half of them and put them in ice cube trays and frozen it. I already had a mess going so why not finish what I started. What I love most is batch number two took no time at all. All those cubes with zest in them are now just waiting for me. Thanks again Carrie for yummy recipes!

Mushroom Tuna Melt

Hello!  I am writing this on a Saturday.  It will be posted on a Sunday.  What day of the week is it now that you are reading it?  I have no clue.  And more to the point, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.  Food is not day-specific.  We love that.

Another thing we love is that Mr. Bailor and I – I swear - share a brain.  He has one side and I have the other, and then there’s some connecting bits between the two parts.  When I stop to think how insanely (Ha! ha!) we compliment each other on just about every level there is, it about blows my mind.  We’re even in sync when we don’t hang out for ages.  Like telepathy, or something.  Here’s an example – the other day he posted on Facebook asking folks how they liked their Tuna Salad; which was frankly bizarre, since just last weekend I had created this Mushroom Tuna Melt thing for you.  Coincidence?  Well, yes…but given that I have never made any kind of Tuna Salad before IN MY LIFE, it seems a little bit more than coincidental.  Sometimes I wonder if he has my house wired.

Tuna Melt is one of those strange American things that I never really understood until I had been stateside for a while.  We don’t have Tuna Melts in England.  Well maybe we do now (anyone??), but we certainly didn’t when I was living there.  Thinking about it, we’re really not huge tuna (pronounced “chew-na”) eaters in England; we’re way more into salmon.  Americans, on the other hand, just loooooooove their tuna (pronounced “too-na”).  They get all excited about the difference between the albacore and the chunk light; we Brits didn’t even know there was such a thing as albacore.  Alba what??  I remember the first time I saw the dizzying array of canned tuna choices in a US grocery store.  Heavens to Betsy!  I just want a can of tuna, people.

Another thing that was a mystery to me when I arrived on this side of the pond was Portobello mushrooms.  I don’t remember ever having heard of them in England.  Portobello is the name of the world’s largest antiques market, and it’s in London.  That’s all I know.  Once I got to the good ol’ USA, however, I started seeing the word “Portobello”  on menus and hearing people talk about it; to be honest I could never quite figure out what they were on about.  Then one day I saw some ginormous Portobello mushrooms at the grocery store, and I knew I had to introduce myself.

I decided, in a random moment of “Let’s do something different!”, to marry a Portobello mushroom with a tuna melt, which after some cruising around the internet I discovered is essentially a tuna salad with melted cheese sandwich.  Or something very close to that.

Mushroom Tuna Melt  |  www.carriebrown.com

I grilled (broiled) a huge old Portobello mushroom, melted some cheese on it, and then, when it came bubbling and sizzling out of the oven, heaped tuna salad on top.  It was fun, fast and fabulous.  It was also delicious.  I’ll be doing it again.

Jonathan will love this one: fish, Greek yogurt and tons of veggies – and really more assembly than cooking.  Hurrah!  He does love meals that don’t require more than assembly.  That’s JB’s perfect kinda dish.  Another thing that would make The Bailornator happy is that you can make a large batch of the tuna salad in advance and then just grill (broil) up your Portobello and cheese in 5 minutes when you get home for a super-fast, super-SANE supper.  I took the rest of the tuna salad as lunch the next day, along with a Romaine lettuce.  Lunch splendidness right there waiting in the ‘fridge as I headed out the door in the morning.  Love that.

I love how all the textures work in this – creamy dressing, silky melted cheese and crisp, crunchy veggies; all topping a sturdy, substantial super-‘shroom.  I ate mine out on the terrace in the dwindling Spring sunshine.  It was quite lovely.

I have now completely embraced both Tuna Salad and Portobello mushrooms.  Twelve years late, but I got there eventually.

Please don’t wait that long before you try this!

Mushroom Tuna Melt
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 oz / 85g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 large stick celery, finely sliced
  • ½ English cucumber, sliced and then quartered
  • 4 TBSP fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ½ TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp guar gum
Instructions
  1. Spray a baking sheet with coconut oil, place Portobello mushrooms upside down on the sheet and grill (broil) for about 6 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the tuna, celery, cucumber, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and salt together well.
  3. Sprinkle the guar gum over the tuna salad and quickly mix immediately to incorporate it into the salad thoroughly.
  4. Spread the grated cheese evenly over the mushrooms and place back under the heat to melt the cheese, about 2 minutes.
  5. When the cheese is completely melted, remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  6. Carefully transfer each mushroom onto a separate plate.
  7. Pile tuna salad onto each mushroom.
  8. Grind some black pepper over and serve.

Mushroom Tuna Melt | www.carriebrown.com

 

 

 

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Susie - Sounds delish Carrie!!!
Two questions; where did you find coconut oil spray and did you use a 12 ounce can of tuna?
Thanks!

carrie - Hi Susie! Coconut Oil is readily available in US grocery stores. Since Trader Joe’s have recently introduced their own brand, I am now using that. I used a small can of tuna, but you could certainly double it if you wanted to up the protein. Hope that helps!

Susan - Made today for lunch. We don’t eat much cheese, but being a holiday we splurged. Didn’t have guar gum so didn’t use as we make tuna salad frequently with yogurt for lunch…usually over a big bunch of greens.

Loved the mushroom/cheese turna melt! Thank you.
-Susan

carrie - WOW, Susan – that was fast!!! I added guar gum as the yogurt tends to run with the warmth from the cooked mushroom, which wouldn’t happen with your usual greens, but if you found it went ok without then YAY! So glad you loved it!! :-)

Susan - Carrie – I had everything already so it was easy peasy! Keep them coming.

Sahara - We also tried this tonight (because it was fresh in my mind and I forgot to prep/marinate the chicken that was planned). So grateful for a quick and easy option. I also did not use the guar gum – because I didn’t have any and it worked just fine without it.
DH loved it – didn’t even notice the lack of mayo; DD – liked it but found it a bit too tangy; I thought it was just right. I never thought I’d be okay w/o the mayo, but the vinegar and lemon juice added just the right amount of zing for me. Thanks!

carrie - Sahara – different yogurts may work slightly different, so glad it worked out without the gum for you! So happy too, that you, DH, and DD all enjoyed it :-)

Philippa - Well that sorts lunch for tomorrow.

And to update you on England, we do have tuna melt (but it probably started in Starbucks), we now have Portobello mushrooms (at least M&S does) and canned tuna is beginning to get a bit more exotic – but I haven’t noticed albacore.

carrie - Great update, Philippa!!

Mushroom Pizza Bites » Carrie Brown | Living a SANE Life - […] fest.  It wasn’t intentional when I started out, but after I had so much fun with the Mushroom Tuna Melt, every time I saw a mushroom I wanted to stuff it with something. Those Portobellos with Tuna […]

Louise - I love to get recipies