My son Valentino never ceases to amaze me. The other day we watched a food show on television featuring diners specialized in deep frying all over theUnited States of America. “Why don’t we make something deep fried together?” was Valentino’s innocent reaction to the health hazards we had just watched. (One of them was huge strips of bacon dipped in batter and then deep fried…)
“I want something with bacon and carrots”, he continued. Luckily he included something healthy. Carrots belong to the few vegetables he likes. Being an obedient Mama, the next day I went to work. Bacon it had to be, carrots also. I decided to balance the bacon with a wrapping made from the new diabetic flour you find now in the supermarkets. It is a mix of whole wheat with different dry beans. It has a lot more fiber and protein than the normal whole wheat flour and a low glycemic index – in short, something really good for our bodies. I used it to make simple dough with eggs and oil which we stuffed with bacon bits mixed with spring onions, garlic, carrots and mozzarella. “Now we also have to name it”, said Valentino after our work was done. Because of the shape we agreed to call our creation ‘Piggy Moons’.
My men liked them so much, they disappeared in one day. Our ‘Piggy Moons’ are great snacks and they go very well in Tiffin boxes. Just freeze them spread out on a plate, then pack them into an airtight container and fry them, whenever needed. I am always happy to have some easy meals for Tiffin boxes at stand by – they make my mornings easy.
Wishing you happy cooking, always!
Kornelia Santoro with family
‘Piggy Moons’: A high fiber shell hides a naughty filling
The following ingredients make around 35 ‘Piggy Moons’.
Ingredients for the filling:
1 packet bacon (200 grams), 1 packet mozzarella cheese (250 grams), 1 big carrot, 1 bundle spring onion, 2 cloves garlic
Ingredients for the dough:
2 cups flour (preferably flour for diabetics), 2 eggs, 5 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, water
You also need:
Flour for rolling of the dough, 1 egg for brushing the moons, peanut oil for deep frying
How to make ‘Piggy Moons’:
Cut the bacon into small pieces. I find this easy to accomplish when the bacon is still frozen. Put it into a nonstick pan and fry it over a small flame to release the fat slowly, but surely. While the bacon is frying, clean and chop the spring onions, the carrot and the garlic. I just throw them in a blender; you can also use a grater for the carrot. Grate the mozzarella cheese as well. When the bacon bits have turned crispy and released their fat, add the spring onions, the carrot and the garlic and fry them all together for about 2 or 3 minutes. The onions should turn translucent. At this point a mouthwatering aroma ought to fill your kitchen. Let the filling cool down before you mix it with the mozzarella cheese.
Now it is time to work on the dough. Put the flour in a bowl, add the eggs, the oil and the salt and start combining it with a spoon. Once it is mixed, take some cold water, put aside the spoon and go in with your hands. Knead the dough thoroughly with just enough water to make it smooth. If by mistake you have added too much water and the dough remains sticky, you can add some more flour.
Finally we are ready to make the moons. Take about a third of the dough, knead it into a ball and dust it with flour. On a smooth surface – I use my granite kitchen countertop – roll out the dough as thinly as possible. Now stamp out dough circles with a big glass or a round cookie cutter. Put one egg in a small bowl or a cup and jumble it up. Brush the dough circles with the egg wash to make the borders stick together. Place one teaspoon of filling on a circle and fold it into half, making sure the dough covers the filling well. Secure the round border by pressing it together first with your fingers and then by pressing it down with a fork. This not only secures the edge, it gives it also a nice pattern.
When you have made your way through all the dough, your ‘Piggy Moons’ are ready for frying – or freezing, if you want to fry them later on. For freezing spread them out on a plate and put them into the freezer. Once they are hard you can pack them properly. In this way they will not stick together and you can take out the pieces easily.
Now heat up enough peanut oil for deep frying your moons. I prefer peanut oil because it can be heated to high temperatures. The oil should be so hot, that the ‘Piggy Moons’ don’t stick to the bottom of the wok, but float up immediately. Fry them until they are golden brown on both sides, drain excess fat on a kitchen towel and serve. If you want your piggy moons spicy, just add some chopped green chilly to the filling.
About the Glycemic Index, insulin levels and losing weight
The Glycemic Index (GI) tells us how the carbohydrates we eat affect our blood sugar levels. The concept of the GI was developed beginning of the nineties by scientists of the University of Toronto. They wanted to know, which foods are best for people with diabetes. However the GI does not only serve people who suffer from diabetes. It can be a valuable tool when you want to loose weight.
As I wrote in my last newsletter, I ended the holidays with some superfluous kilos on my hips and belly. Now, one month after, I am happy to announce that I have reached my normal weight of around 60 kilograms again – without hunger, without dieting, and certainly without counting of calories. I just put the GI to the test: I avoided all white bread, pasta and rice, I avoided all sweets and I did not drink alcohol (although I made an exception on my husband’s birthday and during a dinner with friends).
Ok, it is not really easy to avoid all sweets and I look forward to baking my chocolate brownies again soon. Also I did not drink my morning coffee without sugar – some teaspoons a day don’t make you fat and I rather use sugar than some chemical replacement which can be dangerous for our health. Overall however, the weight just seemed to drop by itself. Now I want to see if I can reach my personal ideal weight of 57 kilograms – I will keep you posted.
So far I only had a vague idea about the meaning of the Glycemic Index. The other day I found this flour for diabetics in the supermarket and decided to try it out. So far I have just handled it like normal flour and it pretty much behaves in the same way – but it provides a lot more fiber and proteins than whole wheat flour. On the package was printed: “Low Glycemic Index”. To enlighten myself and interested readers, I did some research.
According to various sources on the internet, a low GI shows that the food gets digested slowly and its carbohydrates get absorbed slowly by our body. A low GI also indicates our bodies need little insulin to digest the food.
When we eat sweets and starchy food, our blood sugar levels rise quickly and the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates the glucose levels in our blood, but it also tells our bodies to store the extra calories in fat cells. Even worse, high insulin levels suppress two other important hormones - glucagons and growth hormones. These two promote burning fat cells and muscle growth. To make it short: High insulin levels not only make us fat, they even hinder the body to lose fat and constant high levels of insulin can lead to muscle loss.
If you want to know the GI for different foods, just visit the internet. There are plenty of long lists available. Here are some examples, which should give you a rough idea how you can keep your insulin levels steady. There are different methods of measuring the GI. Just look at the examples below: The higher the number, the more insulin the body needs.
Examples of foods that cause high levels of insulin
White Rice (130)…Corn Muffin (102)…Baked Potato (94)…Boiled Carrots (92)…Rice Crackers (91)…Gatorade (89)…Microwave Popcorn (89)…Rice Cakes (87)…Cornflakes (86)…Pretzels (83)…Power Bar (83)…Pizza (80)…Boiled Potato (78)…Cake Donuts (76)
Examples of foods that keep insulin levels stable
Apple (28)…Orange (33)…Barley (25)…Grapefruit (25)…Peach (28)…Cherries (22)…Plum (24)…Most Beans (20's)…Lentils (26)…Peanuts (13)…Raw Carrots (16)…Humus (6)… Light Yogurt (20's)…Cashews (25)