Cooking Keto: you don’t have to be a chef

Do you love to cook? If so, that’s really a plus if you go Keto. But it’s not an absolute requirement. It could be that when you discover food can be your friend instead of an enemy that’s out to destroy and make you unhappy, you may even develop an affinity for spending time with it in your own kitchen.

Keto is not hard, really. It’s back to basics. Meats and fish. Healthy fats in which to cook those meats and fish. Some veggies. Eggs. Eventually berries and nuts. And for most people, cheeses. See how much is not there? You will spend your time finessing flavors and freshness with the healthy things you CAN eat rather than having so many things (not healthy) to choose from that you end up eating a lot of the wrong ones.

If you have things on hand in your fridge like boiled eggs, avocados (ok, mine go in the fridge after I see they are getting too ripe on my counter top, and I need to slow down that process), cheeses, lovely sausages of all kinds, and just for kicks and crunch…pork rinds and a few nuts. I will be doing another post about “Keto Shopping” to help with a few tips and tricks we have picked up to make sure you have plenty of Keto foods on hand and don’t panic when a winter blizzard is bearing down on you. I don’t miss the days of rushing to the grocery store for milk, bread, eggs, and bananas the night before the storm. I already would have the eggs on hand, and those other things…well, french toast isn’t Keto anyway.

Let’s do Surf n Turf!

First, the “Surf.” When you do have time to make a lovely, simple Keto meal, just decide which protein you want and, if you’re like me, just remove it from the freezer in time to be thawed out by dinner time. A nice cut of steak brushed with avocado oil, seasoned simply on both sides with freshly ground sea salt (we LOVE our Redmond Real Salt) and black pepper, and it’s ready to cook. Outdoors on the grill, it doesn’t take long at all, and the flavor is by far the best. But when you’re driven inside by the weather, the next best thing is an old-fashioned cast iron skillet.

First, sear it off nice and hot on both sides in a thinly brushed coat of that avocado oil with some healthy grass-fed butter, then put into a preheated 375 degree oven a few minutes to finish it the way you like yours cooked. I love to put a sprig of rosemary on top of it while it’s cooking to let that aroma and flavoring subtly cook into it. Rest for 5 minutes on a cooling rack or cutting board, covering the steak with foil. Then reheat that butter with the rosemary sprig in the skillet just a bit, then throw away the sprig of rosemary and spoon the butter over your steak. (If you want to get really crazy and a little elegant, slice some mushrooms–I love Baby Bellas–cooked alongside the steak in that butter, and serve on top of your steak!

A nice leafy salad on the side, and you have a meal you would find in a fancy steakhouse for your pennies on their dollar. You will also find that even without the potatoes, breads, pastas, and other carby sides, you will be so full you’ll wonder how you were ever able to eat all that before! The best part? You won’t get hungry again and need to “snack” in a couple of hours!

The steak pictured here is 10-12 ounces, and it cost $3.50 because (1) it’s an inexpensive cut (chuck eye–my favorite cut), and (2) I bought it on a buy-one, get-one-free special so that cut the cost of this one in half.

Cooking Keto is not hard. And eating the fruits of your labor makes it well worth the effort!

And now for the “Surf”

We’ve covered some “turf.” If you’re into “surf,” you can’t go wrong with salmon! It’s a bit difficult to find wild-caught salmon or steel head trout in fly-over country. When you do, snap it up because it has the Omegas that your body needs–the farm-raised doesn’t. You’ll be paying more, but you’ll be benefiting more. The method is very similar to the “turf” above, with a few modifications.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Avocado oil is brushed liberally over both sides of the salmon, as well as seasoned with RealSalt and freshly ground black pepper. Place some avocado oil and a good dollop of grass-fed butter in a cast iron skillet, heated to medium heat. Place your fish SKIN SIDE DOWN in the skillet and let sear until the skin is a bit crispy. Then using a fish turner or large spatula, turn over gently and place into oven. Let bake for 4-7 minutes, depending on how thick your filet is, and how well-done you like salmon. Remove from oven, put onto a plate while you put some sprigs of fresh dill, whole, or cut up with kitchen shears, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice into the remaining butter in the skillet. You can rewarm just a little if needed to make sure the sauce is nice and hot but not hot enough to wilt your dill. Spoon sauce with dill over salmon and serve immediately. (If you don’t have fresh dill, some capers will add about the same flavor)