While I am exploring all things Ray Peat and now low fat in particular, one food I needed to make peace with is Cottage Cheese. (Note on dairy intolerance at the end.)
Real cheese is fine, but the fat content really blows your daily limit of fat in one mouthful, so it needs to revert to ‘a taste adding condiment’ of 1 or 2 tablespoons only, not the half cup or full cup normally added to a dish.
And before the low carb/keto peeps say ‘but fat doesn’t make you fat,’ this is actually true from another angle but this is particularly for the high fruit, high carb crew – high carbs and even moderate fats don’t really go together, if you are not that active and keeping trim is your aim. If you are sourcing your fuel from fats then it’s a different story, but if carbs are your fuel, then too many fats as well soon create body fat.
(My current aim is 15g of fat per day, and it’s important to give a measurement because too many articles or blogs say ‘lots of fats’ or ‘minimise fats’ and you don’t really know what they mean. Or they say it’s 10% of your calories, so then you have to go and work it all out!)
Now I remember the cottage cheese of old that was kind of a watery, lumpy, tasteless yuck and while the organic type I get now is no longer watery or lumpy, make no mistake, it’s still tasteless!
Like one commentor on social media said, “as if I’m going to eat low fat cheese, bleurgh!”
Well straight out of the tub, I would have to agree there, but it’s too valuable addition to your diet with all that protein (12g protein and 0.2g fat in a serve), so it’s worth experimenting and creating the flavours you love. That’s actually the best part about it – it’s really flexible like that.
So while I have my mind buzzing about all kinds of sweet and savoury options for cottage cheese and I’ve made note of them to bring to you down the track, I wanted to start with something that most of us eat all the time anyway…
Good old mushrooms.
Somehow the end result tasted like Parmesan cheese – don’t ask me how – but I’m not complaining!
Mushroom Cottage Cheese Dip (or sauce.)
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 tsp ghee (or butter)
½ tsp Himalayan Rock Salt
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp sweet paprika
1 TBS bone broth
1 cup skim cottage cheese
Simply fry the mushrooms with the ghee, bone broth, salt and spices until soft.
Wait until it cools a little then throw it in the food processor with the cottage cheese and give it a whiz.
Simple as that. Then spoon it in to a jar or container and store in the fridge to use as you need it. It will last about a week.
Just a few notes: I use ghee because the buttery flavour is so intense and when you are using so little fat, you want it to be the best tasting ever! But if you don’t have it, then butter will do.
Also with the bone broth – I am lucky in that I can get grass fed organic beef bone broth fresh in a jar from Byron Bay and always have some in my fridge to have as soup or just sip a little hot broth to assist with gut health. As the mushrooms tend to absorb the ghee very quickly and I didn’t want to add more fat, that’s why it needed a little bit of moisture to cook properly and this adds flavour as well. So if you don’t have don’t let that stop you – any liquid stock will do, or just water and a bit more salt.
Now the herbs – sure you could use fresh herbs in this, if that’s the way you roll, then go for it. Flat leaf parsley would work, rosemary would be amazing, even fresh garlic – sublime.
As for me, I battled with the whole ‘fresh herbs are best’ mind block for years, trying to grow them – worked for a bit but sometimes you need something other than chives and mint, and they’re not evergreen, so you have to keep replanting – pain in the butt. I tried buying herbs from the supermarket and when you finally get around to using them, they are shriveled up in the bottom of the crisper. Fresh onions and garlic for me are way too overpowering and make the whole house stink.
So I’ve made peace with my onion powder (make sure you get the right one that has only onion in it – not the onion salt which has all kinds of additives), sweet paprika (flavoursome and not too hot) and Himalayan rock salt – they’re always there ready when I need them and makes everything taste great. I also use garlic powder sometimes.
Lesson: Get over the guilt, just use whatever you can do easily to make your food taste amazing, and let the rest go. Whatever you want to do is just fine.
So this recipe is great as a dip, or to stir through your zoodles, topping for cucumber rounds or dry baked potato rounds, add a little milk to make it a little more runny for a salad dressing or over your eggs like as in eggs benedict. I bet it would taste great in between eggplant layers as in vege lasagne.
I’ve been eating it all week and the flavour it adds to dishes is wonderful. Time to make another batch!
Rock on low fat cheese!
PS: Dairy intolerance – is actually an issue with your gut, which needs fixing, otherwise it gets worse and you become intolerant to more foods. (Unless you are genetically pre-disposed which is a different story. I will write a separate blog post about this because so many are caught in the anti-dairy web and are battling along with their almond and coconut milk and missing key nutrients.)