Fiesta – a long time Santa Barbara tradition – starts tonight, and lasts through Sunday. My bride long ago signed us up to provide a charity event for the Choral Society tonight at our house. I’ve been dragooned into helping get everything together for this Fiesta feast, which is NOT low-carb. One can follow a low-carb diet and still partake of much of the food, but not all. And certainly not the dessert: capirotada, a northern New Mexican bread pudding, which is the best bread pudding I’ve ever put in my mouth. One of my jobs today was to caramelize the sugar for this treat, which I will definitely eat a little of. I’ll take some pictures and share.
In order to help my beloved wife I’ve had to pretty much abandon my blogging duties today. I’m in the middle of a long post that I think everyone will find interesting. I’ll be back at it tomorrow.
One of the great things about coming home from Europe is that I get to chow down on MD’s home cooking once again. One of her specialties is Frenched rack of lamb. Here is a photo of my dinner plate night before last.
I took the picture just before I doused the meat with my addition to the meal: a malt vinegar mint sauce. I finely chop a bunch of fresh mint from our garden, then put it in a bottle of malt vinegar and shake it up. Tastes great and easy to make. My kind of sauce.
Last night we had one of my golfing buddies come over for dinner. He brought steaks and cooked them on our grill. MD was knee deep in Fiesta dinner preparation, so she tended to that. I got the grill going, selected the wine (a 2002 Sequoia Grove Cabernet, if you’re interested), and poured it. Once again, my kind of meal. Delicious and requiring minimal effort on my part.
Here is my plate before I tucked in. Grassfed beef steak with blue cheese, yellow squash, zucchini, and a poblano pepper – all grilled over the fire.
Yep, those icky low-carb fad diets. You really just don’t get any vegetables do you?


  1. Hi Dr. Mike–great photos as usual. Your post reinforced that even with all the carbs out there, it’s still not too hard to eat low carb if you’ve got the willpower. Just got back from a birthday dinner at a big-$$ steakhouse with my significant other. Seafood tower appetizer (shrimp, oysters, lobster), filet mignon with steamed buttered broccoli, good vodka, and two bites of creme brulee. Life is good.
    Indeed it is.

  2. First, I apologize, since this question is completely unrelated to the post.
    I have read somewhere that when carbohydrate intake is very low, the body produces extra cortisol. Is this true? Excessive cortisol is harmful to the body, right?
    Hi Kellen–
    This is one of those ideas that is both true and false.  A low level of blood sugar can stimulate a cortisol response.  Excessive cortisol is harmful over the long run.  But a low-carb diet doesn’t cause long term excessive cortisol.  If anything, it is just the opposite.  This whole idea is deserving of a long post. 

  3. Mmmmm, I want that steak sloshed and smothered with butter. Man that looks good, Dr. Mike! Kudos to MD on keeping you well-fed–the low-carb way.
    It was actually sloshed and smothered with blue cheese.

  4. just starting an IF thing, called fast-5 (… you eat all you want, but only during a five hour window, say, 5 to 10pm…
    so, here is my semi-relevant to your post question – do you have any idea what the effect of a refined carb indulgence, such as your bread pudding, or the mozzarella sticks I had last night, would have on your triglycerides, etc. when you’re IFing?
    Hi mrfreddy–
    As long as you stick to your window of eating, your triglycerides shouldn’t be a problem.  They will go up after you eat, but then go back down.  It is the chronically elevated triglycerides that seem to indicate a problem.

  5. Yum! capirotada…definitely not low carb. Just an FYI…capirotada is Southern NM. In northern NM they call it “Panocha,” which in southern NM is something totally different. -Javier (NM born and raised)
    Hi Javier–
    Point noted.  Thanks for the info.  According to MD, who isn’t a lifelong NM resident, but who knows a lot about food, Panocha is different because the bread is baked in the making of Panocha whereas in capirotada the bread used is already baked.


  6. LOL! Yep, it’s so tough to eat low carb! Your meals look excellent and very much like what I fix too.
    Even last night, eating out – a thick juicy prime rib steak with cabernet reduction, sauteed baby arugula with red onions, bleu cheese, and walnuts, and a glass of wine – pretty hard to take….
    Gee, I think I’ll go back to low fat…NOT!
    Mmmm….  I do love a good cabernet reduction on a steak.  Especially with some non-reduced cabernet on the side.

  7. You guys can come visit anytime – I’ll step back and let Mary Dan do the cooking! My goodness those meals look DEEEE-LISH!
    Hi Regina–
    Next time we’re in your neck of the woods, we’ll drop by, skillet in hand.

  8. Wow, those meals look great!
    How do you prepare/season your veggies prior to grilling? Have you tried grilling Broccoli and Cauliflower?
    Looking forward to your continued blogging…
    Hi Lena–
    We rub them with a little olive oil then salt and pepper them.  Nothing much to it.
    We have never grilled broccoli nor cauliflower, but we cook them a lot of other ways.


  9. See now that’s what I like about you guys. You understand that you can still be a foodie and eat good food. This is some serious food porn. I can’t stop looking and I might just try to lick the monitor.
    Hi Anne–
    I should have posted the pictures of the aftemath: nothing but gnawed bones.

  10. Confession: this is about the third or fourth time I’ve been back to just look at these pictures and the ones of the food in Italy. Those trendy pictures in the magazines have nothing on these photos — compared to yours, they look like they belong in a wax museum (yes, I know that there are reasons for that). So anyway, that’s how I’m entertaining myself lately, looking at pictures of real food on your blog!
    Hi Pam–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.  Maybe this will inspire me to put up some more.

  11. Ya, I’m suffering too on this low carb diet. Last night I had a T-bone as big as a dinner plate, covered in grilled mushrooms with a huge side of caesar salad (no croutons) with gobs of real parmesan cheese on top. Tea with lemon. I am so suffering 😛

  12. I must agree with the other posters about how appetzing those pictures are. Any chance we could see your recipe for the lamb? (I already know how to serve Cafe Americain for after dinner!) Cheers!
    Hi Mike–
    My kid has another project for film school so MD and I are going to do a short video on making the lamb as pictured.  Until then, here is the recipe:
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take a Frenched rack of lamb and salt and pepper both sides.  Mix together one finely minced clove of garlic with one tablespoon each of finely minced fresh thyme, fresh mint, and finely grated parmiggiano reggiano.  Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the microwave and stir in the herbs and garlic to make an herbed basting oil. Set aside.

    Lightly oil a large skillet and place over high heat; when hot add the lamb rack and sear fat side down for 1-2 minutes to brown, then bone side down for 1-2 minutes to brown.  Now brush the herbed basting oil all over the lamb, coating heavily.  Place the rack of lamb, bone side down into the skillet and put the skillet into the oven for 15 minutes.
    Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving into individual chops. (Leave a towel or thick pot holder on the handle of the skillet, since we know from first-hand experience how easily it is to forget the handle is flaming hot!) 

  13. Yeah, it really sucks to have to eat a caesar salad, a chicken breast topped with broiled gorgonzola and mozzarella and tomato slices, smashed cauliflower with parmesan and broccoli for dinner. I feel so deprived … not! 😀

  14. This suffering is so awful. Actually, I prefer my steaks slathered with butter AND blue cheese. Sometimes bacon as well.
    And Steak Diane… so monotonous on a low carb diet. Honestly, I could eat that every day.
    For Lena- grilling broccoli is simple. Slice up into the stems of the florets a little bit so they cook evenly. “Blanching” quickly (for about a minute) in the microwave allows the broccoli to grill faster, and the seasonings stick better.
    Cauliflower isn’t so great grilled, imo, because it’s flavor is so subtle to begin with. Julia Child once said that the worst preparation one can give to a veggie is grilling it.
    I disagree, but can understand where she came from.
    I’m with Julia on some vegetables, but not all. 

  15. Sirs and Madams have a go on’s implications are immense..truly superb and whislt literally off topic not at all given it’s axial to the way we view life and living and thus cooking !
    Hi Simon–
    It is a fascinating clip.  Thanks for sending it my way.

  16. I had that steak on my plate last night minus the blue cheese. It sure was tasty. The lamb looks so wonderful. Hubby won’t touch lamb although I know I made lamb chops for us when we were first married and he liked them. He swears he’s never eaten lamb and won’t because they are too cute. Oh well. At least he doesn’t think cows are too cute to eat. Meanwhile, I’ll just think fond thoughts of the leg of lamb mom used fix for Easter and other special occasions.
    Are those Fiestaware plates peeping out from under the food?
    Hi Esther–
    Nope, those are our everyday dining plates.

  17. I couldn’t help but notice that your veggies are not dressed in any kind of fat “after” cooking. Is it better to eat the veggies “plain,” rather than dressed with fat? I know you said you rub them with a little olive oil, but I doubt you’re eating much fat after the cooking… Just curious as to the “added fat” content of yours and MD’s meals?
    Hi Elle–
    We usually don’t use added fat on the grilled vegetables.  If there is some butter at hand, I may put a little on, but I won’t get up and walk to the refrigerator to get the butter if it’s not at hand.  In thinking about it, we don’t eat very much added fat at all – maybe a little olive oil in a vinaigrette salad dressing, but that’s about it.

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