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The Low Carb 
Luxury Newsletter: Volume II / Number 3: February 9, 2001
Issue Date:
February 9, 2001

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome and Overview
  2. Lora's Column"Not-Quite Potatoes"
  3. Richard's Corner"A Taste of the Orient!"
  4. Recipes!"Members' Favorite Recipes!"
  5. Stuart's "Rant""History Speaks... Will We Listen?"
  6. Letters"The right 'whey' and more!"
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

I want to call everyone's attention to the News section at the site, where we give you the skinny on low-carbing in the news media. This week, there are two articles of particular interest. There is a paradigm shift coming, people...

Now, on with the newsletter!
___________________________________
lora's 
column

Not-Quite Potatoes

Potatoes...

A word that meant comfort for so many of us for so many years.

It might help a bit to know that potatoes were not always popular — from the time of their sixteenth-century discovery by Spaniards until times of famine and war, potatoes were known as the food of the poor and remained out of favor among the gentry. Even the peasants did not appreciate the strange plant that formed odd sprouting tubers, which they declared to be "of the Devil". Even by the end of the seventeenth century, potatoes were a table food only for the starving Irish. The English and French fed them to their livestock.

It might have been best had potatoes kept their lowly place in human culture, but having entered the mainstream as everything from a basic mashed or baked with American meals to the fast-food add-on — fries — we as a people have come to love them and consider them a comfort food. Their high natural sugar content might be a part of it, causing the same warm chemical blanket effect that all starches do. But much of our attraction is tradition.

That's the part we can do something about and can offer up some substitutes that are comforting themselves. It goes without saying that we can't really incorporate any substantial amount of the "real" thing into most low-carb diets. But we can come up with some fantastic "fakes".

Some you might already know, and some might be new to you. But since so many of you requested "potato substitutes" in your Newsletter SignUp Comments form, we decided we'd better come through!

Most of us know by now how to make "mashed" potato substitutes, but our biggest request is always for FRIES!

There are three veggie substitutes that actually make very good — but somewhat different — fries:
  • Celery Root
  • Turnips
  • Jicama
Learn more about these veggies at our site in a new feature article called "And playing the part of the potato...". All three are made into fries much the same way. And with all three, I use the following technique:

Peel each veggie. They each offer up their own challenges to peeling, so be careful. The celery root is the hardest to peel because it's so knotty, bumpy, and well... weird. Use a good sharp knife and peel down below the "pithy" part to the creamy center that looks potato-like. With turnips you can use a vegetable peeler, if you have a sharp one. Jicama is easiest, but again, peel below the pithy part. Slice each in rounds and then into strips — just like fries. Do this by hand or with a mandoline (see more about mandolines below.)

Once in strips, soak each in a bowl large enough to contain them with at least 2 inches extra space on top. Fill 3/4 of the way with ice cold water. Then add 1/4 cup heavy cream and either a sprinkle of Splenda, or 2 tablespoons DaVinci Sugarfree Vanilla syrup. Then finish filling to cover veggies completely with more water. (In the case of celery root, add a Tablespoon of lemon juice to the mix as well.) Mix well and allow to soak for 5–10 minutes. Sound weird? It takes some of the "sharp" flavor away and returns them to blandness — more like a potato. This is especially important with the turnip (that can be bitter) and with the celery root (that can have a celery-like flavor.) Then drain in colander, rinse and pat dry. Season with seasoned salt, or spices of choice and drop into hot oil. Fry until browned to your preference. Without the starch that potatoes have, these will resemble "softer" fries and won't crisp as much, but they're delicious.

I make the celery root fries often with Southern Fried Chicken. I eat them with low-carb ketchup and it doesn't feel like I'm low-carbing at all! ;)

For working with low-carb veggies, a good mandoline is hard to beat, especially for root vegetables that can be a bear to slice by hand. If you don't own one, you might want to make the investment.

You can spend a lot for a great one; you can get a middle of the road one that I think is very good; or you can get a "cheapie" one to get you started!

Now, go have a big plate of fries!


       Lora
___________________________________


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richard's 
corner

A Taste of the Orient!

Chinese Cooking I'm not really the cook in the family, but I do like to "dabble". What I enjoy is making specialty type things — especially ethnic dishes (from Mexican to Chinese!) It's something I can experiment with and make for Lora when she's worked especially long days. This past week I put together an Oriental feast and (taking a bow), Lora said I should be sharing these recipes with you guys. So, instead of a column this week, I've put together some of my favorite Chinese/Japanese creations — low carb style, of course! I hope you enjoy them. If I get positive response, I'll post more in the future!



Chinese Chicken and Peppers

  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 8-oz)
  • Marinade of 1 teaspoon dry sherry and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 green peppers
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Splenda
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut oil

Slice the chicken breast into thin slices. Marinate the chicken in sherry and cornstarch for 5 minutes. Halve the peppers, seed, and slice into very thin slices. Combine 1 tablespoon of sherry, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the Splenda and set aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan for 30 seconds, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, wait 30 seconds, add peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove peppers to a plate. Add remaining two tablespoons of oil, and stir-fry chicken until it turns white. Return the peppers to pan, add the seasonings mixed earlier and continue to stir-fry until all ingredients are well mixed (about 1 minute). Serve immediately.

7.9 grams of carbs in entire recipe.

           

Chinese Shrimp Egg Foo Yong

Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Additional salt if desired
Pancakes:
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon Splenda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons additional peanut oil

To make the sauce, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add soy sauce and cornstarch. Boil 1 to 2 minutes until sauce turns clear and thickens slightly. Keep warm over very low heat while you make pancakes.

Dice the shrimp and mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Heat a wok or frying pan for 30 seconds, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and continue heating for another 30 seconds. Add shrimp and stir fry until pink. Add the sauteed shrimp to the eggs, then add the mushrooms and bean sprouts to the eggs, along with salt, sherry, and Splenda.

Brush the bottom of the same wok or of a 5- or 6-inch frying pan with 1 teaspoon oil, reduce flame to low, and pour in approximately 1/4 cup of the egg-shrimp batter. Allow it to cook for 1 minute without touching it. When lightly browned (you may peek), turn it, and cook another minute or so until that side is lightly browned, too. Remove to a warm plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repease until all 8 pancakes are made, brushing pan with 1/2 teaspoon oil before making each pancake. Serve these pancakes hot with the sauce spooned over them.

14.4 grams of carbs in entire recipe;
Makes 8 pancakes — each pancake contains 1.8 grams of carbs.

           

Sukiyaki

  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup sake or dry sherry
  • 5 Tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 2 pounds lean beef sirloin or tenderloin, sliced paper thin
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 scallions, cut in 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound Chinese celery cabbage, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
  • 4 cakes tofu, cut in 1-inch cubes (firm or very firm tofu)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Combine in a small bowl or pitcher the beef stock, sake, soy sauce, and Splenda and set aside. This is the sauce that the other ingredients will be cooked in.

Slice the beef into paper-thin slices. (This is more easily done if the meat is partially frozen.) Have 2 large trays ready and arrange half the meat on each tray. Divide in the same way the sliced mushrooms, scallions, celery cabbage, and tofu cubes. Form a decorative design with the different ingredients as you arrange them; Japanese people give a great deal of attention to making their food look beautiful.

Sukiyaki is customarily cooked at the table with a little of the ingredients added at a time. Have ready an electric skillet or small electric 1-burner stove that can be brought to the table with a wide heavy casserole.

Oil the pan thoroughly with the peanut oil. Cover the pan bottom with a few beef slices and brown them on both sides. Push the meat to 1 side, then add some of each of the vegetables and some cooking sauce.

Continue cooking over low heat. Serve the food and eat it while you cook more. Just add more beef, vegetables, bean curd, and sauce as the food is removed. Serve green tea in small Japanese cups with the Sukiyaki.

55.5 grams of carbs in entire recipe.
If serving 8, each serving contains 6.9 grams of carbs.

      

Try serving Lora's Chinese Fried "Rice" with these!

       Richard
___________________________________



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recipes

Last time, we brought you a host of Valentine themed romantic dishes, but no main courses. This time, by special request we are bringing you star-of-the-meal dishes that are easy to make and extremely low in carbs. To do this, we asked several members of our Product Review test group to share their favorite hearty dishes. We asked that they be easy to make, use few ingredients, and use *no* "specialty" ingredients that might be harder to come by on this late notice for a Valentine (or any other special) meal! They came through with some real winners. Hope you'll agree!


Tammy's Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • 4 sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil or dried
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves

If using oil packed tomatoes, drain and finely chop. If using dried tomatoes, cover tomatoes with boiling water in a bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain and finely chop. Place 2 Tbs. chopped tomatoes and half the lemon zest in a small bowl. Add butter, parsley and salt. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Combine remaining tomatoes and zest in another bowl and mix thoroughly.

Using a sharp knife, cut horizontally through the center of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Do not cut all the way through. Divide tomato and lemon zest mixture into equal portions and spread in pocket of each chicken breast. Turn on broiler. Arrange chicken on a broiler pan and place 4 inches from heat source. Broil 5 minutes. Turn and broil another 4 minutes. Spread tomato and butter mixture over chicken breasts. Broil another 1-2 minutes or until chicken is opaque throughout.

Serves 4 - 1 gram carbs per serving.



Joe's Broiled Sole with Almonds

  • 1-1/4 lbs. fillets of sole
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon sliced almonds

Sprinkle fish with black pepper to taste and lemon juice. Melt butter in a shallow oven-proof serving dish. Add fillets and turn to coat evenly with butter. Sprinkle with paprika. Broil 4 inches from heat source about 4 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Sprinkle with almonds about 3 minutes into broiling time.

Serves 3-4. Less than 1 gram carbs per serving.



Marty's Ribeye with Red Pepper Butter

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ribeye steaks

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn on broiler. Arrange steaks on a broiler pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Broil 4 minutes. Turn steaks and spread 1-1/2 tsp. pepper butter over each steak. Broil another 3 minutes for medium done meat. Transfer steaks to serving plates. Top with another 1-1/2 tsp. pepper butter.

Serves 4 - Trace of carbs per serving.



Albert's Beef, Spinach and Egg Scramble

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté onion about 3 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add ground beef and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often to break up meat, until browned. Add spinach and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium. Beat eggs, basil, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture to skillet and cook about 1 minute, stirring often, until eggs are set. Sprinkle cheese over top and serve immediately.

Serves 4 - 4.5 grams of carbs per serving.



Joy's Breakfast Meatballs

  • 2 lbs. breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons grated or instant minced onion
  • 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients and pepper to taste in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls or drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Makes 2-1/4 lbs. to 2-3/4 lbs. meatballs. Each 4-meatball serving is approximately 1/2 gram carbohydrate.

If you wish to freeze meatballs: Cool quickly in refrigerator to retain freshness. Place the amounts you will use at one time in freezer/oven-proof containers or on sheets of aluminum foil. Seal tightly. If using foil, wrap and fold edges to seal and place on a flat baking sheet (to preserve shape) and place in freezer until frozen. Then you can remove baking sheet and place package where you wish in the freezer. Freeze up to 6 months.

To reheat: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place container of meatballs in oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until hot. Or microwave on high until hot.



___________________________________





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Stuart's 
Rant

History Speaks — Will We Listen?

Arthur Kent is sort of a Guru of History. I watch his show — History's Mysteries many of the nights it airs – especially when its topic fascinates me. Tonight's episode was about superstitions, and the history behind many of them.

Did you know that the idea of "knocking on wood" actually came from many ancient cultures that believed that trees were instruments by which one could directly communicate with the gods? Because of their great height and expansion, knocking on one was a way to get a particular god's attention before a request.

The "something blue" from weddings originated over three thousand years ago in Egypt as a symbol of the eternal nature and heavenly expansion of the sky.

A famous writer would never enter or leave a building without crossing the thresh hold with his right foot.

Even today, in our networked, cyber-ized world, where matter-energy teleportation is possible*, a physicist sitting on an airplane in the 13th row has am impulse to change his seats when turbulence is experienced. If a man of his intelligence is prone to superstition, even for just a moment, aren't the rest of us?

Superstition begins as a way to control those things that are beyond our ability to govern. Then, it is handed down from one generation to the next. By definition, it is a belief that is held in spite of evidence to the contrary. In my humble opinion, this can be directly related to the medical/dietary establishment's overall belief in a grain rich high-carb diets.

Recovered texts, as well as the Bible (Genesis, and other very early books) speak of humans living what even today we would consider very long lives. These ancient people didn't eat grain. Wild grain was looked at like we look at grass today. They ate meat, berries, and rudimentary dairy. These texts, as we move forward in time, also indicate the lifespan decreasing as new higher carb foods are introduced into the human diet.

Around the time of Christ, unraised flat bread was often eaten, as well as other starchy foods. Here we are seeing people living to the ripe old age of forty and even fifty. What happened to the people living to 132? What a difference a carb can make.

As the centuries pass into the middle ages, and the population grows, meat becomes more scarce. Man has learned to grow grains, and bread becomes the mainstay of his diet. Were they thin? Yes. Were they healthy? No. What do we see as the result in this? A lowering of the average life expectancy to 30 years! In fact, skeletons of this time show marked deterioration of the bones and teeth - weakness and decay. Whereas bones found from pre-agriculture man is taller; bones stronger; teeth intact. This is one of the most direct cause and effect cases we have ever seen.

The wealthy of that era had both meat and their breads (and even some sugars - just not the bleached processed white stuff of today.) They were both unhealthy and fat. Here we see irony come into play. Socially, being overweight becomes a symbol of wealth and health. Heavy women are revered as the most beautiful and desired, because they were obviously of the proper class to be eating so "well". Did they live longer than the aforementioned bread-eater? Yes, but not much longer, and not for any other reason than their lives were that of luxury. Their every day was not a labor-intensive fight for survival. In today's world, the breads and sugars we eat are much more potent and dangerous, but we counteract them with drugs and various medical procedures, allowing us to live much longer. But to those ancient peoples that lived to 140, according to an abundance of record keeping, what a pitifully short existence they would see us as now having! It should be noted, though, that in the last 20 years (as low-fat has become chic and prevalent), a sudden marked elevation in even more processed sugars can no longer be successfully countered with medical intervention, and diabetes, heart disease and cancer are on an alarming rise.

If you are on an island and are starving to death, bread will save your life. For a starving man, a Snickers Bar can save his life. However, in the long term, Snickers Bars will destroy him. I would surely have to classify a lifespan as being "long term". People used to call cigarettes "nails", referring to them as the bindings of your own coffin. As a child, I'd heard that every time you smoke a cigarette, you were shortening your life by five minutes. I think you could look at empty carbs and sugars the exact same way. Bringing me back to superstition...

If you tell yourself something long enough (or hear it spoken long enough) – in spite of hard evidence to contradict it – your prior belief will continue to hold on. Indeed, bread remained a viable option to those people of the past because (even if it took 3 days from the end their lives), because it held off starvation one more day, now in the present. It was therefore viewed as a "healthy" life saver – being dubbed the "staff of life."

This superstition has transcended to the current-day medical establishment. Bread and grain rich diets are superstitiously still considered healthy, in spite of direct evidence to the contrary. In an age when I can stand in the middle of a field, flip open a device smaller than my hand and have a real-time conversation with someone in Australia 4,000 miles away, why are we still afraid of black cats and knocking on wood? Why are some of our smartest people recommending that nutrient stripped sugar-filled Wonder Bread be a fundamental part of out daily diets? Our daily bread?

Perhaps in a thousand years, Arthur Kent's great great great great great great great grandson can explore this era of history, and tell us why.

* Japanese Scientists in 1993 arranged 11 carbon atoms into the shape of a human using an electron microscope. Then actually converted the carbon atoms to a subatomic state of pure energy, transmitted it to a new location, and re-assembled the exact same atoms. This was verified by the unique covalent bond between the atoms produced by the electron microscope. One day, with enough power, you too will be transported this way.

       Stuart
___________________________________


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letters

Each of the e-mails we've answered below are ones we've gotten quite often with very similar questions. Since they're simple issues coming up with such regularity, I thought it might be helpful to re-print them here so everyone can benefit:

Dear Lora,
I went out in search of "Whey Powder" as called for in many low-carb recipes (including yours). The health food store clerk told me what I wanted was called "sweet whey" and that other "whey" is only for making protein shakes. Did I get the right stuff to use in your recipes?

  – Jackie

Dear Jackie —
No, sweet whey is not the same as whey protein!

Sweet whey is a by-product of making cheese or cottage cheese. Milk is separated into two parts — casein and whey. It is called sweet whey since it is about 70% carbohydrate (mainly lactose) and 30% protein. Whey protein powder (or whey protein isolate) is the protein constituent ONLY. It is usually around 1 gram or less of carbohydrate per serving.

In most of my recipes, the Whey Protein I use is Ultimate Low Carb Whey. It's 1 gram per serving and bakes up excellent in everything we use it for. (We reviewed it last October.) It has a slight vanilla aroma, but it's not detectable when you bake with it. It's very close to tasteless.

You can get it at Low Carb Connoisseur.  (Search for "Ultimate Low Carb Whey")



Dear Lora,
I am having some problems determining if certain items actually contain "sugar" or not since I'm not sure of all the names that sugar goes by in ingredient lists — especially when I buy things from our deli that shows ingredients but not nutrition breakdowns. Can you help?

  – Mark

Dear Mark —
You should be aware that all of the following are classified as SUGAR by the FDA in food products: glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, maple sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, levulose, corn syrup solids, concentrated fruit juice, and other ingredients containing sugar (i.e. jams and jellies). Many manufacturers use a number of these in the same product so beware, look for all the ingredients and you'll be amazed at how much sugar some products contain.

Be extra careful at the deli and speak with the food preparers if possible. One thing to be very wary of is seafood dishes that contain imitation crab meat. Remember, nearly all brands of imitation crab (or lobster) are actually a mix of white fish, sugars, and starches and are very high carb!



Dear Lora,
I see many recipes that call for making a sauce or gravy from pan drippings, but how can you do that without using flour and making it full of carbs?

  – Cindy

Dear Cindy —
After pouring off the excess fat, deglaze the caramelized juices with a flavorful liquid — white or red wine, meat or fish stock, balsamic vinegar, or a nice sugarfree fruit juice (the Diet V8 Splash Drinks, or the Ket-OJ work nicely!) You can use this simple pan-deglazed sauce as it is or as the base for a more involved sauce, which might include sautéing shallots in the pan and then adding cream or butter for body, and herbs, spices, and mustard for more flavor.
                             

Keep those letters coming in, people!

___________________________________




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Thanks for reading! Keep your suggestions and questions coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear about the most or offer the greater potential to help others will surely make their way here.

       Lora

Contents Copyright (c) 2001 Low Carb Luxury. All rights reserved. http://www.lowcarbluxury.com  E-mail: newsdesk@lowcarbluxury.com. Please do not reprint or republish this newsletter elsewhere. You may share the link with low-carb friends, but we encourage you to have them sign up for their own free subscription.



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