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Low-carb winter feasting

Walnut pâté, mashed rutabaga, and Brussels sprouts gratin

Rutabaga loves Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts love Roquefort. Roquefort loves walnuts. There you have it. A menu for a snow day.

It’s amazing what you can get away with if you banish carbs. Not only have I maintained the summer diet that got me into shape for hiking in Scotland, I’ve continued to lose weight at the rate of about a pound a month after I got home. And not only do I not feel hungry. I also feel like I’m overeating, even though I’m not. We’re all different, though. Other people’s mileage may vary. But if you say goodbye to bread and pasta and sweets, something alchemical happens.

Rutabaga: For now, at least, turnips and rutabagas are the new potatoes in this house. A couple of weeks ago I made mashed potatoes for the first time in months. I was expecting a treat, but instead I found the potatoes cloyingly sweet. They actually tasted as though they had sugar in them. They were good potatoes, too — organic Yukon gold potatoes, mashed with butter and cream. I realized that I had enjoyed a recent pot of turnips much more. Last week at the grocery store, I intended to buy turnips. But the rutabagas were 50 percent cheaper, so I bought rutabagas instead. I boil them with a minimum of water and mash them with butter, salt, and pepper.

Walnut pâté: Nuts are a staple on low-carb vegetarian diets. Walnut pâté is as easy as pie. Throw walnuts, celery, onion, garlic, and seasonings into the food processor, with tahini as a binder. I added a tiny whiff of sage.

Roquefort Brussels sprouts gratin: I always have Roquefort in the fridge, though it usually goes into salad dressing (with lots of garlic). But Roquefort makes an excellent gratin if combined with parmesan. Today’s gratin also included milk and cream, in a buttered baking dish.

I go through stages, and I may well be back to making cinnamon rolls sooner or later. But, for now, trading carbs for low-carb pig-outs feels like a very good deal.

Brussels sprouts gratin with Roquefort, parmesan, milk and cream


  1. Jo wrote:

    The dishes you photograph look awesome. Planning to make the walnut pate this week.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
  2. Henry wrote:

    to me it looks like it could stop your heart from working by clogging it

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  3. daltoni wrote:

    Ha! A little Roquefort never hurt anybody … I hope … 🙂

    Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  4. Karren wrote:

    I wish you’d share your recipe for walnut pate? I’ve googled it a lot, and can’t find a recipe that has the ingredients you listed. Most have odd things that I don’t stock in my kitchen. Share please?

    Friday, December 14, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  5. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Karren… I almost never use recipes. I often read recipes to get a concept, but then I wing it according to my own tastes and what I have, or don’t have, in the kitchen.

    For the walnut pâté, here’s an approximate recipe.

    Soak about 1 cup of walnuts in water for about two hours to soften the walnuts. Into a food processor, put:

    • The walnuts
    • 1 stalk of coarsely chopped celery
    • 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped onion
    • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
    • A small pinch of ground pepper
    • 1/4 cup tahini

    Pulse the food processor until everything is well chopped and blended, but some texture remains in the walnuts.

    You should end up with something that has the look and consistency of tuna salad. Serve it cold or at room temperature. You can shape each serving by using a small bowl (smeared with olive oil) as a mold.

    I hope this helps! I apologize for not using recipes, but I am a very experimental cook.

    Friday, December 14, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  6. Karren wrote:

    Thanks for the recipe. I do the same thing, surf for a guide, then make it my own. When I looked for the walnut pate recipe however, nothing looked good at all, but yours seems much more like my kind of taste. Thanks for the guidance, and never apologize for being an adventurous cook-that’s how wondrous new tastes evolve. Happy Holidays to you.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

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