Sometimes you want something crispy. And crispy doesn’t necessarily mean the crunch of fresh lettuce. Sometimes crispy means something fried. One thing that low-carb high-fat diets don’t provide a lot of options for is alternatives to crackers and fried chips. Even the things that you bake tend to be either a little bit on the soft side, or little bit on the moist site.
However, I’ve discovered the most amazing treat. It’s quick and easy, and it’s made my low-carb high-fat options much more interesting. I’m talking about cheese crisps.
If you’ve been doing low-carb high-fat eating for any length of time, I’m sure you come across recipes for making parmesan cheese crisps in the oven. They take more than 15 minutes time to make, they require specific types of cheese, they involve heating up the oven, they stick to the pan, and they’re absolutely delicious, albeit inconvenient. I knew there had to be a better way
So I started experimenting with the microwave. Microwave ovens are fascinating. We always associate them with heating up leftovers or cooking specific fast-food items. Raise your hand if you’ve ever made popcorn in the microwave oven (not that you would anymore). There are only certain foods we associate a microwave oven with, and we almost never think of making something crispy in there.
As someone who has cooked a lot, I’ve had a little bit of experience with more advanced microwave techniques. Under the right conditions, you can convince a microwave to give you remarkable and unexpected results. I knew it was worth a shot. So I took out my trusty silicone baking sheet, which I use for baking my low-carb high-fat sliced white bread, and I decided to put it to a new use.
I took a stick of string cheese, placed the middle of the silicone pad, set the microwave for 60 seconds, then crossed my fingers.
When I opened the oven, the cheese was very melty, and had spread into a lovely oval-shape. The edges were brown and crispy, and the middle was chewy, soft, and white. It released easily from the silicone baking sheet, and was so tempting I couldn’t resist gobbling it right up. It tasted like the cheese on my favorite pizza.
This was almost what I had in mind, but not quite.
I put another string of cheese on the pad, closed the door, and gave the cheese two minutes. That was aggressive, but I wanted to see just how far I could take it. After about a minute and 40 seconds, I started to smell something less than pleasant. I looked in the microwave, and discovered that my cheese had turned a very dark brown all the way through. It was crispy from the edge to the center, yes, but not very palatable.
After little bit of experimentation, I discovered that about 80 seconds works in the microwave that I have for one stick of string cheese. Your mileage may vary depending on your particular microwave oven. But at that point I was able to create a solid, tasty brown crisp out of a stick of string cheese in less than two minutes, and I could use that for wide variety of purposes. It was great for scooping up sour cream dips, and wonderful for making crispbread sandwiches.
I even brought revelation to the office. Our office manager likes us to eat healthy, and although his definition and mine don’t always line up (a lot of the snacks tend to be low-fat and high-grain) there’s usually a stash of string cheese in the refrigerator. We didn’t have a silicone baking sheet, but we did have some parchment paper, so I used that. It was just as easy as it had been at home, and the results were wonderful.
Once I showed my coworkers how to do it, it caught on like wildfire. They already know me as someone who likes to get creative with the office food, so people were probably just waiting to see what kooky thing I was going to do next. By mid-morning, the entire office kitchen took on this wonderful smell of toasted cheese, and everyone around me was crunching away.
Go get a silicone baking sheet or some parchment paper and give it a try. Don’t use waxed paper–it’s totally not the same thing! But experiment a bit and let me know what you think.