Jovina cooks: Spinach stuffed salmon

spinach

Stuffed Roasted Salmon Rolls
For 2 servings – this recipe is easily doubled.
Ingredients
12 oz center-cut boneless, skinless salmon fillet, cut lengthwise into 2 strips
4 cups fresh raw spinach leaves, stems removed, cooked and squeezed dry
1/4 cup cream cheese with onion and chives, if available, or regular cream cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking dish with olive oil.
Mix together the cream cheese, garlic and spinach until well blended then season with salt and pepper.
The mixture will be firm.

Season the salmon strips with salt and pepper and spread each fillet strip with the spinach filling.
Starting at one end, roll the salmon up tightly, tucking in any loose filling as you go.

Insert a toothpick through the end to keep the pinwheel from unrolling. Place the rolls in the prepared dish.

Repeat with the remaining salmon strip. Sprinkle the rolls with the lemon juice.
Bake the salmon rolls until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

 

Jovina cooks: a magnificent Mexican feast

Planning a Mexican themed party is a great way to entertain. Much of the organization can be done in advance and guests can serve themselves. Offer options for toppings and sides that you think will appeal to your guests. If you know someone is vegetarian, then plan a vegetable filling along with fish and meat fillings. Don’t forget the margaritas and ice cream is great as a dessert for this type of meal.  You can provide tacos and tortillas for friends and family who are not low carbers. Plan on 2-3 tacos or tortillas per person. The beans are also a high carb item so eat sparingly or not at all if you are low carbing. As you can see there are some great options for you in this selection.
For the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 scallion, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

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For the Pico de Gallo
2 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 small clove garlic, grated
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
For the shrimp marinade
2 teaspoons ground Ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound large shrimp (about 24), shelled and deveined
For the swordfish marinade
1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon Chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz swordfish fillet
For the steak marinade
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoons Chipotle chili powder
Two 12-ounce, 1-inch thick, boneless Ribeye or New York strip steaks
For the tacos (optional) 
12 6-inch corn tortillas or more depending on the number of guests

if not using tacos put these items out on the buffet table:
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
Grated Cheddar cheese
4 limes, quartered
Directions
To make the lime-cilantro sour cream sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a 2-cup serving bowl and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, up to 4 hours until ready to use.
To make the Pico de Gallo:
In a medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, oregano and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature, covered, until serving time.
To prepare the shrimp:
In a small bowl, combine the Ancho powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Add the oil and whisk until a loose paste is formed. Add the shrimp and mix well to cover the shrimp in the spices. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
To prepare the swordfish:
In a small bowl, combine the chili powders, oregano, coriander and garlic. Stir in the oil to make a paste. Rub on all sides of the swordfish and set on a plate. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare the steak:
Combine all the ingredients for the steak rub in a small bowl and rub over the steaks. Place the steaks on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To grill the shrimp, swordfish and steak:
Light a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on high. Oil the grill’s cooking surface. Let the coals burn down to a medium-hot fire or adjust the gas grill burners to medium.
Place the swordfish on a section of the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the fish half way through the cooking time. Let rest on a plate.
Place the steaks on another section of the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the steaks half way through the cooking time. Let rest on a plate.
Thread the shrimp on skewers. Grill over direct heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and transfer to a serving platter.
Cut the swordfish and steak into thin slices. Transfer to the serving platter with the shrimp.
Divide the tortillas into 2 stacks and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on the grill until heated through, about 5 minutes.
To assemble the tacos:
In each tortilla place 3 grilled shrimp or swordfish slices or steak slices, a tablespoon of the sour cream sauce, a tablespoon of the Pico de Gallo and some of the cabbage and cheese. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the filling and fold the tortilla.
Guacamole Salad
Ingredients
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely minced
1 ripe avocados, pitted, skinned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Lettuce leaves
Directions
Mix together the tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain 15 minutes.
Combine the scallions, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Let sit 5 minutes, then slowly whisk in oil.
Add the jalapeno chilies, avocados, cilantro and drained tomatoes to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in lettuce cups.

Beans On The Side (optional as also high in carbs)
The beans taste better if made the day before serving.
Ingredients
To cook the beans:
1 ½ cups orca beans (white and black colorings), washed
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
To finish the bean dish:
½ cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
Directions
Place the beans in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold water by two inches high. Cover and soak overnight.
The next day, add the onion, garlic and salt to the soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 ½ hours until tender.
Chill the beans overnight in the refrigerator in their cooking liquid.
The next day, drain the beans. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and chili powder. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and heat. Serve as a side dish.

 

Courtney Pine: My pizza substitute frittata

Originally published in The Observer 3.9.17

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” I just found this recipe and it’s unbelievable.

You take six eggs, garlic, onions, parmesan and sun-dried tomato paste and put them in a blender. Then fry in olive oil till slightly solid. Fry peppers and sliced Portobello mushrooms until caramelised. Add these to the top, add grated cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

It’s so simple. I must admit to improvising a bit when I cook. This is usually billed as a pizza replacement meal. Now nothing really replaces pizza, but this comes close.”

Jovina cooks from the Med: Versatile vegetable dips

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Marinated Olives

Ingredients

1½ cups mixed black and green olives, a combination of Sicilian green olives, Greek Kalamata olives and Spanish green olives
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary,
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced thin

Directions

Remove the needles from the rosemary sprig. Discard the stem and chop the needles.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the olives from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. Store any leftover olives in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.

Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
15 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)—rinsed and drained
½ cup tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup jarred or homemade roasted red peppers, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Pour into a serving bowl and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.

Tzatziki

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or mint
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Scrape the seeds out of the cucumber halves using the pointy end of a teaspoon and discard.

Grate the cucumber flesh into a bowl then squeeze out any excess moisture using your hands,(a small handful at a time.

Place the grated cucumber into a large bowl and add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Place the tzatziki in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and preferably overnight) to let the flavors blend.

All-Purpose Dressing

Ingredients

2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
½ clove garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Shake together all the ingredients in a jar until well combined.

Tapenade

Tapenade can be used to season grilled fish or chicken. It is also delicious spread on toasted baguette slices and topped with chopped tomatoes or simply serve it with crackers or crusty bread and vegetable crudités for dipping.

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup pitted black olives
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy fillets
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Peppers and Onions

Ingredients

6 bell peppers, a variety of colors
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 thinly sliced medium onion
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for cooking
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

To blister the peppers, place them on a hot grill or under the broiler. Turn on all sides until the skins are completely blackened.

Immediately transfer to a large resealable plastic bag or place in a large bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap to seal. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.

Working with one pepper at a time, transfer to a work surface. Remove the skin, stem, and seeds.

Cut the peppers into 2-inch strips.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan (over medium-high heat).

Add the sliced onions and sauté until the onions soften. Reduce heat to low heat and add the garlic and the sliced peppers. Add the salt and black pepper

Cover the pan and let the mixture stew together for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a storage bowl.

Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Toss with the olive oil, vinegar and parsley just before serving.

Sautéed Greens

Ingredients

3 lbs fresh greens, stems removed and washed in several changes of water
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Directions

Place the greens with the washing water still clinging to the leaves in a large pot.Cook on low until completely wilted and tender, depending on the type of greens used.

Drain and cut the leaves into smaller pieces.

Place the olive oil, garlic and chili in the empty pot and heat over low until the garlic is tender but not brown.

Add the drained greens and cook just until hot. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in salt to taste and the lemon juice.

Fit to serve: Lasagne using spaghetti squash

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Fit to serve: Bacon carbonara casserole

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Once we made eating a low carb keto diet a lifestyle change, we really thought we would never have anything that even remotely looked like pasta again. This of course was until I discovered spaghetti squash. Although not devoid of carbs, it’s certainly a much healthier lower in carb option.

Using spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative is great because of its mild flavor. It simply takes on the flavor profile of whatever sauce you choose to use. In addition, it has an amazing pasta-like texture that has you questioning if you aren’t just have a real bowl of pasta and cheating. You can actually even twirl the spaghetti squash around your fork, like you do with real spaghetti. Now that’s when I was sold.

Unlike zucchini and other vegetables that are spiraled into a pasta-like texture, spaghetti squash does not give your dishes extra moisture. Don’t get me wrong I use zucchini all the time to make a low carb lasagna, but if not eaten right away the extra moisture the zucchini releases can turn some people off.

I finally decided to sit down and share a recipe using spaghetti squash after getting a few family requests. Although it’s a very popular pasta option in our low carb keto community, it’s still has not been discovered by many.

My creamy bacon carbonara sauce with spaghetti squash is filling enough to stand as a meal, which is why I opted not to add any additional protein in the form of chicken.

Low Carb Bacon Carbonara Casserole

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash (cooked)

3 eggs

¼ cup of butter

1 small onion finely chopped

½ pound bacon (reserve ½ cup for topping)

½ cup of chopped mushrooms

2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 ½ cups of grated cheese parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for topping)

dash of nutmeg

¼ cup of finely chopped parsley (for topping)

½ teaspoon of sea-salt

1 clove of crushed garlic

¼ teaspoon of black pepper

½ teaspoon of sea-salt (or to taste)

dash of red pepper flakes

Spaghetti Squash Cooking Instructions

Cook your spaghetti squash sliced in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Or if you prefer you can do what I do and cook it whole in the microwave oven. I pierce the skin of the spaghetti squash several times and microwave at a high temperature for about 6 minutes. Once cooked and allowed to cool, I slice the squash in half and take out the center seeds. Using a fork, scrap the inside of the squash to get the spaghetti-like strands. Place the squash strands in an oven-proof bowl in preparation for the sauce.

Low Carb Bacon Carbonara Sauce

  1. Cook in a large frying pan over medium-high heat the bacon, once slightly crispy set aside. Reserve ¼ up of the bacon grease to cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender.
  2. Remove the sautéed mushrooms, garlic and onions and add the butter to the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to low-medium and add the cream, parmesan cheese, and spices minus the parsley. Cook on low until the sauce starts to thicken. Turn the stove off and allow to cool. Whisk in the 3 whole eggs, making sure that the eggs are fully incorporated. Note: It’s important that you don’t add the raw eggs to the sauce if it’s really hot, to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  4. To the now thickened sauce add the cooked mushrooms, onion, garlic and bacon and stir to combine well.
  5. Pour the carbonara sauce over the cooked spaghetti squash and transfer into an oven-proof casserole.
  6. To the casserole add the reserved parmesan cheese, bacon and parsley as a toping.
  7. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-35  minutes.

Makes 6 servings at 9 net carbs.

Enjoy in good health!

Leoni from Low Carb Store: Sauces for meat, fish and vegetables

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Parsley and Lemon Sauce 

 

This goes well with fish or vegetables

1/2 shallot
75ml double cream
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Lemon juice
1 tsp butter
Salt & pepper

Finely chop the shallot and cook gently in the butter until softened. On a low heat add the cream and parsley and cook until hot, stirring. Add a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of milk if you prefer a thinner sauce and pour over your fish and green vegetables.

 

Creamy Mushroom and Garlic Sauce

This goes well with white or red meat

100g mushrooms
75ml double cream
1 tsp butter
1 garlic clove
Salt & pepper

Crush the garlic and add to a pan with the butter. Cook gently for 1 minute then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms soften then pour in the cream. Heat gently until hot. Season with salt & black pepper and serve over white or red meat.