Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Low Carb Sushi Rolls

My Opa & Mother-in-Law attended a sushi class and taught us to make our own sushi rolls. This inspired us to try to make sushi rolls at home and we figured we could use low carb cauliflower rice to make the rolls fit into our diet.  I know they showed us the correct techniques for making sushi rolls but I had all sorts of difficulty once I tried it for myself with the cauliflower rice. Some of the techniques I discuss below are self discovered by trial and error and are likely to offend someone who is skilled at making sushi, but I don't care because it tasted amazing.

Sushi Nori Paper
Low Carb Cauliflower Sushi Rice
Smoked Salmon, Crab, or Sushi Grade Fish
Carrot slivers
Cream Cheese
Soy Sauce

Cauliflower Sushi Rice:
Do not cook the cauliflower first. Grate the raw cauliflower through a small grater or process with the grater blade on the food processor.  Place in a microwavable bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Nuke for 3 minutes. Mix in 1 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 packet of splenda, & 1/8 tsp xantham gum.

Place one Sushi Nori paper on your cutting board shiny side facing up.  Spoon some "rice" on the paper.

Spread the "rice" into a thin layer covering the bottom 3/4 of the paper.

Add your toppings in the center of the rice. Smoked Salmon...

Alvacado slices....

Carrot slivers....

and some cream cheese.

Start to roll the paper from the bottom by folding it over the toppings.

Use your fingers to tuck the end under and roll as tightly as you can.  Stop about 1" from the end and take a dab of soy sauce on your finger and spread it on the exposed 1" of paper to help glue it together.

Start your first cut about 1" to 1-1/4" from the end. Place your index finger on one end of the cut and use your thumb and middle finger to hold the paper on the other end of the cut.  Use a sharp serrated knife to carefully cut the roll into slices.

Serve with soy sauce & wasabi.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mesquite Grilled Vaquero Fajitas

1 Pkg Beef Skirt Steaks
1 Pkg Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle Italian Dressing
Fajita Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Minced Garlic
Onion Powder
Juice from 3 Limes
1/4 C Tequila
Sliced Onion
Sliced Bell Pepper

Season the steaks and breasts with salt, pepper, fajita seasoning, and onion powder.  Place them in a bag and add the dressing, garlic, lime juice, and tequila. Place meat in the fridge to marinate at least overnight.  Note, you can marinate then freeze them for later if required.  When ready to cook, light the grill and cook over some hot coals until done.

Heat some oil in a skillet and saute the onions and bell pepper until they are tender.

The chicken can be sliced into strips.  When you slice the steak slice it across the grain (perpendicular to the direction of the grain) and at a diagonal angle (meaning your knife will be at a 45 deg angle from the top of the cutting board).  This will ensure that when you bit into the fajita taco you can easily bit off a tender piece and not end up pulling the entire slice of meat out of the taco.  If you are unsure at how to slice it don't over-think it and instead try a few different directions until you end up with a slice that is very easy to bite off and chew.

For fajita tacos, serve with warm tortillas (low carb), sour cream, grilled onion/bell pepper, guacamole, shredded cheese, and salsa.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zucchini Spinach Lasagna

1 lb Ground Italian Sausage
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Jar Marinara Sauce
Italian Seasoning
Minced Garlic
1 Diced Onion
2 Large Zucchini
2 Cups Shredded Cheese
1 Pkg Cream Cheese
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach (or 1 pkg Frozen Spinach)

I was initially inspired to make a low carb lasagna from some of the other blogs that have made some pretty good looking recipes. I found some delicious low carb lasagna recipes, but I still longed for a low carb replacement for the noodles that would provide the lasagna some body and a noodle like texture between the layers.

In a skillet saute the onions and garlic.  Add the sausage and turkey and brown.  Drain any excess grease and add the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning and reduce heat to a slow simmer.

Take the zucchini and slice them lengthwise as thin as you can, or approximately 1/16" thick.  I would highly recommend a mandolin slicer to get nice thin slices, but you can use a sharp knife as long as you have patience and a steady hand.  Don't fret about having perfect slices, as you can easily piece everything together in the dish.  Note, as seen from the photo below I did not have a mandolin slicer for the zucchini and I could probably use a bit more patience but it pieced together fine.

Spray a 9x13" casserole dish with pam.  Line the bottom of the dish with a layer of zucchini slices.

Then top the zucchini with a layer of the sauce, then some spinach, then some dollops of cream cheese as shown below.

Repeat zucchini, sauce, spinach, cream cheese until you run out or the casserole is full, whichever happens first.  The top layer should be a layer of zucchini slices topped with the shredded cheese.  Place in the oven @350degF for 30 to 45 minutes.  The lasagna should be bubbling and the cheese melted.

Note, this was the point in the experiment that I thought I had failed miserably because as I took it out of the oven I noticed that the zucchini slices had put off a significant amount of water.  I was afraid that all was lost and we would end up with a soupy mess.  This however was one of those mistakes that turned out to be good in the end.  I was able to easily drain all the excess water off of the casserole and I was left with a fairly stable lasagna.  I know, I know...you are not supposed to have to drain lasagna, but trust me, it's worth it.

Slice and serve.  Continue to drain any excess water as needed.  Even though the water is a bit of a pain, the taste of the lasagna was amazing.  The zucchini "noodles" added a good flavor and decent body to the lasagna.  A future experiment (maybe pre-cooking) is planned as an attempt to pull some of the water out of the zucchini prior to assembling the lasagna.