Showing posts with label low carb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low carb. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tips for Making Low-Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad by Cleo Coyle #lowcarb #keto

With cookout season upon us, Marc and I are craving cold, creamy potato salad. We usually use baby reds and baby Yukon Golds for our salad. These varieties have thin skins, which we don't have to peel, and the different colors look pretty on the plate.

This summer, however, we're cutting back on carbs, so I gave the classic mock potato salad (using cauliflower) a try. 

Replacing starches like potatoes and rice with cauliflower is a smart trick for low-carb eaters, and my fellow mystery writing cook, Victoria Abbott, brilliantly blogged about the finer points of this switcheroo last year...

To get Victoria Abbott's recipe for mock rice, 
using our friend Mr. Cauliflower head, click here.

Last week, Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) shared news in a personal post about her husband's need to cut down on carbs, and I look forward to upcoming recipes from her, as well.

Today's recipe is based on what Marc and I like. You can easily tailor it to what you like. So let's get cooking...

Cleo Coyle's Tips for making...

Low-Carb Cauliflower "Potato" Salad

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

If you are planning to switch cauliflower for potatoes to create a mock potato salad, there are some tricks to getting the best results. In this recipe, I share what I've learned with you. 

Does it taste exactly like the real thing? No. But it's close. And if you or your loved ones are looking for a creamy, crunchy, low-carb side or salad for a summer meal, this one is definitely worth a try. May you...

Eat with joy and in good health!

~ Cleo

To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.
For the free PDF
of this recipe,
click here.

Makes 8 to 10 servings


1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces

2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 tablespoons chives or green onion, chopped (if you like the taste of onion, try adding chopped red onion, as well)

1 - 3 teaspoons yellow or Dijon mustard (more or less, to your taste)

1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more if needed) 

1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon
       coarsely ground sea salt or pink salt 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 - 2 tablespoons dill or sweet relish 
(While I don't add relish to my potato salad, I find dill relish works very well in my cauliflower "potato" salad, bringing crunchy, bright, and tangy notes!) 

Paprika or a peppery spice blend for garnish



COOK BUT DO NOT OVERCOOK - Steam your bite-sized cauliflower in a basket until fork tender. Be sure to stop the process before you smell the cauliflower cooking—this means you’ve cooked it too long and your cauliflower will have a stronger veggie taste. If done right, and you don’t cook it too long, your mock potato salad will taste close to real potato salad. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can boil the cauliflower as you would potatoes or use a microwave-safe bowl (add a bit of water before microwaving). However you decide to heat it, simply be careful to test it frequently with a fork to prevent overcooking.

COLD SHOCK - Immediately shock the cauliflower in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and prevent it from becoming mushy. 

DRY IT OUT - The biggest issue with using cauliflower in place of potatoes is the texture. If the cauliflower is mushy OR if you fail to dry it out after cooking, you will not have the texture needed for a decent mock potato salad. That's why you must drain the cooked cauliflower very well and dry it out. Set the cooked cauliflower in a colander over a bowl and place it uncovered in the refrigerator for around 4 hours or (even better) overnight. This is something I do for regular potato salad, as well. It’s an incredibly easy step that uses the arid environment of the fridge to help dry out your cauliflower (or potatoes) and create the best texture for the salad.

TOSS - Toss the chilled, refrigerator-dried cauliflower with the chopped hard boiled eggs, celery, and chives or green onion (and chopped red onion if using). In a separate small bowl blend the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and (if using) dill or sweet relish. Toss the cauliflower mix with the mayo dressing. Taste and add more mayo, salt, and/or pepper to your liking. If desired, garnish with paprika or a peppery spice blend.

CHILL - Chill very well before serving. Once again, I suggest keeping the salad uncovered in the fridge to prevent the cauliflower from becoming mushy. Chilling is another key to helping the cauliflower remain in its potato disguise. Be sure to serve the salad cold.

Click here for the free PDF
of this recipe, and...
May you...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * * *

Thanks to American University Magazine
in Washington, D.C.
for featuring us
in their Spring Issue...

To see the article online,
click here for the free magazine app

click here to read
the Cleo article and enjoy!


The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick - King's River Life

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews 
* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction 
* A Mystery Guild Selection

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Sign up for our Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send 
you a link to several past newsletters.

Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen! 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cauliflower: the great pretender

Brought to you by Victoria Abbott alias Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Maffini

We’re hearing rumors that cauliflower is the ‘vegetable of the year’.  Is it true or is cauliflower just pulling the florets over our eyes? Let’s face it. Cauliflower is the great pretender. It’s a cruciferous vegetable that behaves like a green and yet tastes like … well, you tell us. It can taste like almost anything, except possibly chocolate, steak or jelly beans.

Psst! Isn’t cauliflower the secret ingredient in so-called fauxtatoes?  I mean the mashed and whipped version of cauliflower that can almost fool you into thinking it’s really mashed potatoes?.

In summer (or anytime) roasted cauliflower makes a great and filling salad and tastes nothing like any other kind of cauliflower. 


Bake those tiny florets at 400 with oil and salt and you have a worthy substitute for popcorn.  Not every husband agrees with this, but never mind.
The one thing we don’t suggest is boiling it to death and serving it plain. Just promise you won’t do that.

Today, we’re talking Nice As Rice.

As you may know, we’re on the wagon where big white things are concerned. That means flour, rice, pasta, and ice cream. We think potatoes are really yellow, so they don’t count.

The only big white thing that is included on our diet  is cauliflower. But is it white, really?

On a recent visit, MJ’s doctor dropped his voice conspiratorially and said, “But you know that cauliflower is really green".   See? That’s all part of the camelion qualities of this apparently unassuming veggie.

You can find various recipes for cauliflower ‘rice’ in low carb cookbooks and online. We really love any cookbook by Dana Carpender.

Here's our version - it's a mash-up of many.


1 head cauliflower, trimmed, cut into manageable bits and put through the shredding disc of a food processor.
1 ½ tablespoons butter
½ cup slivered almonds
4- 5 green onions, sliced, reserve some green bits for garnish
2 tablespoons prepared parsley. We use Gourmet Garden and we like it better than fresh parsley in this – but suit yourselves.
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon concentrate or 2 sachets (or some other flavorful salty add-on)

Put the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water and ‘steam’ for about nine or ten minutes. You don’t want it overcooked!

In a heavy skillet, heat butter until foamy and add the first batch of green unions to the pan and cook for five minutes. Add the almonds and continue to sauté.  As you can see, we forgot to take the picture of the green onions, but trust us.

If you can’t do the butter thingie, you can toast the almonds in a pie plate at 350 F for about ten minutes or until brown. You could then sauté the green onions in a non-stick pan until slightly carmelized.  (We hope you can have the butter. After all, you’re not having the big white things.)

Add the parsley and the bouillon to the pan and stir until bouillon is dissolved. Stir in the cauliflower and blend well.

People who are not on low-carb programs like this too.  Just sayin’

  Enjoy your nearly carb-free treat!

You could add bits of chicken or shrimp or chicken and shrimp to this. Or slivers of fried egg. There’s endless fun to be had.

We chopped some cooked shrimp.
 We beat two eggs with a bit of water in a bowl, then fried them. After this part of the photo, we flipped the egg like a pancake and cut the cooked egg into strips.

We added the shrimp and egg to the Rice is Nice.  We think it would be good with strips of chicken too.

There you have it:  Shrimp fried Nice as Rice!

 Let us know how you make out with the great pretender.

Okay, who are these people? Well, we're not sure who the guys in the hats are, but
here's a little bit more about Victoria Abbott, author of the book collector mysteries. 

Victoria is an artist and photographer and MJ is the author of 13 books in three other series, as Mary Jane Maffini.  They really really like dogs. They try not to fight when they're working on their books or recipes.

Deep down, they really love each other and they really really love their book collector mysteries and are happily at work on The Wolfe Widow, third in the series.   

They're very excited about the The Sayers Swindle which is out now!

The Sayers Swindle, the second in the book collector mysteries is now available.

You can click here to order The Sayers Swindle!

Or here for the Kindle version!

Or order through your favorite bookstore - in person or online.

And don't forget to ....

Watch the trailer for The Sayers Swindle!


The Christie Curse, the first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 to great reviews.

The Christie Curse is also available in Large Print! Tell your local librarian!

 Walter, the pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend. 

 Come over and friend Victoria on Facebook

Tell  her  you love the pug!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Black and Blue Burgers

First of all, thank you everyone for all the shout-outs and support for my new book, Grace Interrupted. I'm really excited to bring out Grace's newest adventure because I had such fun writing it. Thanks to my Blog sisters for all the boosts, and congrats again to Wendy and Elizabeth (Riley) on your new releases!!

Now... to food! Believe it or not, Avery and I didn't secretly coordinate posts. Last week, as you may recall, she posted a "Hooray for Barbecue Season," titled Barbecue and Blue. You can read it again here.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm not only "Blog sisters" with all these lovely ladies, but that I'm "Brain sisters" with them as well. (A frightening prospect for them; a reassurance for me!) because this week I'm here to talk about blue cheese stuffed burgers---and I'm betting that when Avery was grilling in the sunshine, I was making these little delights indoors, longing for a little warmth. Fortunately for us, our weather has taken a turn for the better. As I write this it's in the 90s. About time, I say!

Apologies to my vegetarian daughter, but my husband and I need to watch those carbs. We haven't been particularly diligent about that lately, but burgers like these certainly help.

I picked up this recipe from The Low Carb Bible Cookbook, but, as always, adapted it for our use.

Black and Blue Burgers

1 lb (plus or minus) ground beef. I chose a lower fat-percentage chuck they had on sale and I think I had one and a half pounds to work with
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

Divide the ground beef in half, then half again, then one more time. You should have 8 small sections. Shape each into a patty. Set aside. I placed mine on aluminum foil, spread out like cookies on a cookie sheet.

Combine the cheeses, parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic. Toss gently, but make sure it's mixed well. Separate into four equal portions. Place a portion atop each of four of the beef patties. Top each of these with a plain patty and smash and seal the edges so that the cheese mixture is trapped inside.

Heat olive oil in skillet, add pepper strips and cook until the edges of the peppers begin to brown slightly.  Add salt, if you like (I didn't). Remove to a small plate.

Add the beef patties to the same skillet, cook on medium-high about 5 minutes. Turn each of them carefully so all the good stuff doesn't spill out.
Top with peppers and keep over heat until cooked through, about 5 more minutes.

Voila! Low-carb and delish! We served these atop a little lettuce. No bun required.

My husband and I liked them very much. One of our other daughters thought they were just okay, but she doesn't care for blue cheese at all. I think next time I might up the cheddar and lessen the blue, but that's just our personal taste. These were great and super easy!

Thanks again, everyone for giving Grace Interrupted such a wonderful launch! And, remember, if you're in the Chicago area Sunday, June 12th, please come by and say hello. I'm having a party and you're invited.

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
1:00 - 3:00
7419 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60131

I'd love to see you there!

* * * * *

Wendy Lyn Watson's new mystery A Parfait Murderfeatures a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain. 

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please. 

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name. 

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Riley Adams (Elizabeth Spann Craig) is also running a contest to celebrate the release of Finger Lickin' Dead, her new Memphis BBQ Mystery. 

To learn how to enter Riley/Elizabeth's contest, click here and visit her blog Mystery Writing is Murder

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eggplant Bruschetta?

9780451233806.jpgDon't Miss Out on Wendy Lyn Watson's Fun Contest:

A Parfait Giveaway

In honor of the June 7 release of A Parfait Murder (the third Mystery a la Mode), which features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant, Wendy is giving away a little cowboy couture:  a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a “rodeo queen” keychain. Eligibility:  This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada.  One entry per person, please.
How to Enter:  Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book, by e-mail to  Put the words “Parfait Giveaway” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17.  Wendy will randomly select one entry, announce the winner on MLK on Saturday, June 18, and contact that person via e-mail.  If she doesn't get a response within 7 days, she will draw another name. 



As you may remember from last week, I'm working at cross purposes this summer, trying to maintain a low-carb lifestyle for me and my husband while providing vegetarian meals for one of our daughters.  This week I'm attempting to recreate an appetizer we enjoyed at our middle daughter's graduation dinner two weeks ago.

We ordered an eggplant dish, the name of which I cannot remember. All I recall was that it was in Italian and the description sounded good. When it arrived at the table, I thought it looked like bruschetta -- little eggplant ovals topped with sauteed vegetables. 

When we realized that everyone at the table loved it, I decided to try to make it at home. As usual, I'll tell  you the verdict before I give you the recipe. Half of us loved it, half of us liked it. When it came to a vote, the "likers" voted that we *should* make this again, so to my mind, it's a winner. What I'd do next time is probably ease up on the zucchini or switch it out for broccoli (everybody's favorite).

One big caveat: You know how most people eat bruschetta with their fingers? This is not that kind of appetizer. This is a fork and knife moment, for sure. 

Here goes:


One small eggplant, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut up
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp oregano
6 oz fresh mozzarella 
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add garlic and allow to sizzle for a little bit. Add onion, zucchini, and tomato. Stir to cover all veggies with oil. Sprinkle with oregano and stir a bit more. Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to saute until all veggies are cooked.

In the meantime (and this takes a while), cook eggplant. I've always heard that you're supposed to slice it early and let it drain, but mine didn't drain a bit. I didn't salt it. Maybe I should have.

Anyway, I grilled my eggplant on a George Foreman grill. My eldest daughter (yep, we all got in on this one) decided she didn't want it anymore so it's here until she decides she wants it back. Ha ha.

You can choose to saute your eggplant instead, but I thought that since I had this fun new toy, I'd try it. And it worked out very nicely. Eggplant takes longer than a couple minutes to cook though. I thought maybe 4 - 6 minutes on the grill. Nope. More like 12 minutes.

Okay. Once the eggplant is cooked, place it on foil on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and top with little pieces of fresh mozzarella. On top of this, add spoonfuls of the sauteed veggies.

Place in preheated (350 F) oven for about five minutes. Watch closely. As soon as the mozzarella melts, they're done. 

Use flat spatula to remove from cookie sheet and place on serving platter. 

This makes a better side dish than appetizer, IMHO. You wouldn't want to try to pick one of these up with your fingers!

But they are very good and worth trying. As I said, I'd swap out the zucchini next time. Most of us love mushrooms, so that could make a nice alternative. Or just tomato, onion, and basil, like regular bruschetta. 

Have fun experimenting!

June is an exciting month and it's just around the corner! So many books coming out the same day. Wendy is running a fun contest (see below) to celebrate the launch of A PARFAIT MURDER, and I'm inviting you to my party June 12th! I would love to see you at Centuries & Sleuths that day! Sign up for my newsletter (next issue coming June 7th!) for updates! You can sign up here at my personal blog.

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE received a *Starred Review* from Publishers Weekly, and GRACE INTERRUPTED picks up where that story left off. I hope you'll join Grace, Frances, Bennett, and Jack in their newest adventure!

I tried really hard to get these two book covers to be side by side like my blog sisters do. Alas, no luck. 

They came out looking "almost right," but still a little bit off. So I decided for this 7 -10 split instead LOL

No matter what, I hope you enjoy the covers, and please visit my website: for more.