My apologies for the late posting, but the holiday season has begun and we had two guests for dinner on Sunday. This got me to thinking about holiday parties and how to cope if you are on Keto and want to host a small party (depending on your local restrictions during COVID 19).
This year in lieu of a larger party which usually sees us having 40 plus guests, we have had to make significant changes in how we entertain. In our region, we can have 6 people together and for the next four December weekends, we will be entertaining four other people beside ourselves each Saturday.
The easiest way to handle this is to avoid cooking!
Charcuterie is a way of entertaining in France which involves presenting a variety of cold meats and cheeses, along with some fresh fruits and nuts and a selection of breads and crackers. Keeping in mind KETO, a charcuterie can easily be assembled on a lovely wooden cutting board or two or just spread out on a layer of butcher block paper on a convenient hard surface, along with paper plates, napkins, etc. Make it finger foods by cutting up your items in bite sized portions in advance. BYOB means you don’t have to supply alcoholic drinks!
The trick is to choose KETO items ONLY , especially with the breads and crackers!!!
FYI… no two are ever alike! It all depends on what items you wish to choose. Vary the amounts depending on the number of guests you are contemplating. Whatever you choose be sure to carefully check the contents label for the total percentages of carbs, protein and fats !!!
A charcuterie can easily be modified for those who are not on a Keto program, by including non-KETO items.
The following is a suggested Keto board I came across on Pinterest. There are many more to view on that site.
INGREDIENTS for 5 servings…
6 ounces sliced prosciutto
6 ounces genoa salami
5 ounces spicy capocollo
4 ounces herbed chevre
6-ounce sliced Manchego cheese
5 ounces sliced peppercorn white cheddar
4 ounces garlic white cheddar
¼ cup Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup mixed nuts
½ cup fresh blackberries
10 strawberries hulled and halved
½ cup pickled artichoke hearts
10 garlic stuffed green olives
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
¼ roasted red peppers
½ cup Low Carb Pickled Red Onion
20 pickled asparagus spears
¼ cup stone ground mustard
1 sleeve low carb crackers
Select a large platter from the list of options in this post and carefully arrange all of the ingredients on top.
If you should get invited to a Spanish ‘tapas’ party, this makes a perfect dish to bring. Okay, in English we might say appetizer, in French hors d’oeuvres ??? No matter it was another great find on Pinterest. It was also quick to prepare.
Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemons
one block of sheep’s milk feta (sold in the brine) about 10-14 ounces
1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 – 2 cups mixed olives* (recipe calls for whole and pitted) see below
a few sundried tomatoes chopped
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
a few coarse grindings of black pepper
Set oven to 350F
Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also serve out of.
Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives* (I would suggest using ONLY sliced olives as they whole ones fall off when you lay them on the cheese when serving) around the cheese, with the rosemary. I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all. I also added some slices of sundried tomatoes.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
Ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”) is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. This was a dish we had in Havana in 2014. The beauty is that it is done in a slow cooker.
You can omit the olives, but trust me on this one. Serve with your favorite rice or use it with fresh tortillas.
Add the beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Stir.
Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce so it gets coated. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and garlic cloves, mix those items together to combine on top of the meat.
Cover and cook on low for 9 hours on LOW without opening the lid during the cooking time. Shred the meat with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.
If you have been following me you know that our slow cooker cooks faster for some unknown reason. When I looked up cooking on HIGH (because I was short of time) it suggested 5 hours as the equivalent. Guess what? It was done in a little over 2.5 hours using an arrachera of 1.3 kilos.
LESSON—-dont let it cook while you are away at work unless you know your cooker very well. Keep checking for doneness.