Galveston doctor uses kitchen to make healthier versions of famous Louisiana recipes
Old family traditions influenced the creation of the light-filled kitchen of the Haver home on Bayou Shore Drive in Galveston.
“Let me show you my favorite cookbook,” Dr. Mary Claire Haver said as she walked into a tall and roomy pantry, stretched to reach an upper shelf, and pulled out a well-used book with one page slightly sticking out of place.
“It’s my grandmother’s recipes,” Haver said.
The book was “Family Recipes: Secrets of Maude Landry’s Kitchen.” Haver was born into the Landry family of Lafayette, Louisiana. Willie G. and Maude Landry entered the restaurant business in 1952 and operated highly successful independent restaurants throughout Louisiana and Texas.
The idea to have numerous spacious drawers instead of cabinets in Haver’s kitchen came from chefs in the family advising her on storage and efficiency.
From a large, almost square kitchen island in the center of the kitchen, Haver can command a view of English Bayou as well as the entire living room and backyard. The natural stone top of the 7-foot-by 8-foot island is two pieces of metamorphic sandstone with a geode.
Haver, her husband, Christopher Haver, and their two daughters have lived in the home for about five years. When they saw a lot on English Bayou was for sale, they were interested.
Haver had been taking mental notes and adding ideas to her Pinterest photos for years as she planned her dream kitchen. She had an idea of the type of bayou kitchen she wanted. She also wanted to entertain, so she paid attention while she was at parties to the places where people congregated, where they stood, where they stayed. Not only did she see the kitchen was the most popular spot, she knew how to open the kitchen and living room into one large space that still felt traditional.
“Nothing is hidden here,” Haver said.
A large piece of butcher paper rolled out over one end of the island is the base of one of Haver’s favorite buffet-style meals for guests. She creates a charcuterie spread on the butcher paper, grouping deli meats, gourmet cheese, special crackers, fruit and vegetables. She writes directly the specific name of the meat or cheese on the paper, distinguishing the prosciutto from the salami and the Edam from the Gruyere.
Haver, who is an obstetrician and a gynecologist, founded The Galveston Diet in 2017 to help middle-aged women lose weight. Her program combines low-carb meals, intermittent fasting and anti-inflammatory foods.
Her old family recipes don’t always fit a low-carb diet, but Haver is working on that, she said. With the help of a sister-in-law who is a chef, Haver is collecting new healthy versions of the old Landry dishes. Much experimentation happens in the open air of her home kitchen.
Even more food prep happens there. Haver believes in keeping healthy food ready for grab-and-go snacks. Every week, she slices carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, fruit and berries to keep available in the fridge.
Every fall, she participates in a soup exchange with a group of friends. Her fall soup recipes include one for butternut squash, one for turkey and kale and one for chicken with lime.
Ever since her family moved in, the kitchen has been filled with teenagers. The wide space and clear views made the kitchen a fun and relaxing space for teens as well as the soup-exchange friends and diet-learning friends. It’s the center of entertainment for Haver she said.
“People tend to hide kitchens in the back of the house,” Haver said. “Make it the center of your house.”
4 large portobello mushrooms
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup cauliflower rice (Haver prefers the frozen version here, cooked according to package instructions)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dried Italian seasoning to taste
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place portobello mushroom caps on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until warmed through. Remove from oven.
In a pan, add oil and cook garlic in it. Add ground beef and cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until extra moisture is evaporated.
Add Italian seasoning according to your taste.
Place mixture in portobello mushroom caps, divided equally.
Top each stuffed mushroom with
2 ounces of Parmesan cheese.
Bake stuffed mushrooms on cookie sheet until cheese is melted.
Serve with cauliflower rice.
6 grams net carbs
40 grams of protein
35 grams of fat