Have you ever been on the keto diet? Ever tried eating with the majority of your food being fat and protein, and very limited carbohydrates? My wife and I decided to put ourselves on this diet to see what it was all about. It hasn’t been my favorite diet, but what is? I have managed to lose 10 pounds relatively quickly and easily though.
Having friends over and cooking for them can be difficult while on a diet. The look you get when you tell them you are on a high fat diet is worth it though. People never believe you.
My mind starts pondering things about cooking for them right away. What cut of meat is the highest in fat? How about the belly? Whats the best way to cook belly without it coming across as serving bacon without eggs? How about doing a surf and turf bbq style using pork belly and salmon belly? Sounds like a good idea to me.
BBQ Belly Surf & Turf
I didn’t want it to be too standard, so I decided to make a blue berry mint bbq sauce. Does pork belly and blueberries go together? Whenever I get a random idea, I decide to google it. Google seems to know everything, almost. However, I’m pretty sure my grandma could’ve proven google wrong somehow.
Anyways, in my searching, I came across a wonderful blog, www.aninas-recipes.com and found she had made a crispy pork belly with a blueberry compote. Great! If another blogger used it, I’m sure it will work. I just like to reinforce my ideas, then make them my own. Here is how.
She made a fantastic dish and stuck to simplicity. Roasting the belly is a wonderful way to pull out the fat, crisp the skin, and make a tender piece of meat that everyone enjoys sinking their teeth into. I love slow roasted meat, but I crave smoked meat. Time to light up the smoker. Fatty meats, like belly, do well when cooked low and slow. They absorb the smoke flavor very well, too. Which is why pork is the most common meat for BBQ. So I coated my cuts in peppers, mustard, salt, cumin, and coriander. Unfortunately no brown sugar this time do to the keto diet. You can use whichever spice blend you want.
Smoking meat doesn’t always make the skin crispy though. Because of this, after the smoke, I put the meat in the oven at 400 F until the skin crisped up nice.
I wanted the sweetness from the blueberries for my sauce since being Keto means being off sugar, and I don’t like stevia. It worked quite well. I boiled the blueberries down into a nice sauce. I added paprika, dijon mustard, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar to give it a little tang. To lighten it up, and make it more spring like, I chopped some fresh mint and mixed that in once the sauce was off the heat.
Keto Gnocchi Carbonara
What type of fatty side can I have with the fatty meat? How about keto gnocchi? I need some vegetables sometime though, and somehow I need to get the carbs in there. I decided to do a gnocchi carbonara, but how do you make gnocchi without potatoes or flour?
I needed to follow her recipe exactly for the gnocchi alone. That stuff by itself just tastes like a light cheese curd, so it definitely needs a sauce and toppings. I decided to make it like a mushroom carbonara.
Mix your parmesan, egg yokes, cream, salt, and lots of pepper in a bowl and let it sit. I sauteed my mushrooms in lots of butter and thyme. Fry up your bacon, chop it, and add it to your heated peas. Feel free to add, or subtract, whatever ingredients you would like.
Gnocchi is the easiest pasta to tell when it is cooked. You drop the balls, regular and keto – whichever you are cooking, into boiling water. When they are cooked they will float to the top. Remove them from the water and drop them in a hot buttered pan. Pan fry them and set them into a bowl.
Once all the gnocchi is cooked, pour your cream, yolk, and cheese mixture in. The heat from the noodles will thicken the sauce without creating scrambled eggs. Mix in the bacon, peas, and mushrooms, stir and serve.
Everyone loved the food. Don’t worry though, it wasn’t all fatty. We had a wonderful salad as well. The skin on the pork belly crisped up and tasted like a blend between a kettle cooked potato chip and fried pork rinds. Unfortunately, the salmon skin became so crisp that it was inedible. That happens at times, especially when experimenting.
The gnocchi carbonara disappeared much quicker than I anticipated. I even made extra so that I could enjoy leftovers. That didn’t happen.