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The Low Carb 
Luxury Newsletter: Volume II / Number 21: November 10, 2001
Issue Date:
November 10, 2001

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In this issue:
  1. Welcome
  2. Lora's Column – "Giving Thanks"
  3. Recipes! – "Thanksgiving Style - Main Dishes"
  4. More Recipes! – "Thanksgiving Side Dishes"
  5. Letters – "Meats: A Cut Above"
Hi all! This is definitely the time of year when food is a major player.
While we've offered lots of recipes at the site, in our previous newsletters and in our Thanksgiving Guide, all of you have made it clear you still want MORE. Okay, in the words of Frasier Crane, "I'm Listening..." This issue is devoted mostly to food, cooking, and recipes.

While most of our newsletters come two weeks apart, our next issue will come in one week, so that we can complete our Thanksgiving recipes and commentary.

For planning tips, scheduling and survival philosophy, our Thanksgiving Guide is now online at the site. Enjoy, and have a great Low Carb Thanksgiving!!

On with the newsletter!
___________________________________
lora's 
column

     "Giving Thanks"

It's been a tradition at our house to make sure we remember what Thanksgiving is truly all about, so each year Richard and I make a list to share of what we are most thankful for. The very act of making the list is often very affirming and reminds us that even where situations seem less than perfect, you can complain that a rose has thorns, or rejoice that the thorns have a rose.

Over the last two years, I have made mention of an abbreviated form of my 'list' in my journal at the site, but this year I decided to share my list with all of you — especially since you're ON my list. ;) I strongly encourage each of you to take just a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to sit down — preferably in a quiet place — and make note on paper what you are thankful for this year.

Thanksgiving 2001:
  • Each year I am more thankful than the last that I share my life with a wonderful partner and true best friend. Richard, as I tell you every year, you are my rock.


  • This year especially, I am thankful for the bravery of the men and women in America who have shown that there is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle.


  • I am thankful for my readers and site visitors. Each day new stories, ideas, and challenges find their way to my desktop because you care enough to write. True, I cannot answer every letter I receive (though I so wish I could), but each one is a gift to me. You truly are my extended family.


  • I am grateful for my friends and fellow-troopers who trudge over to our home several times each month to help with recipes, taste-test new products, and always share their honesty and sense of humor so that we can pass what we learn on to all of you. These people go above and beyond the "call of duty" and I am so thankful.


  • I am grateful for family — and for the sense of belonging they bring. Those of you who know me well, know I have lost most of my blood family. But though we are now small in number, we are that much closer.


  • A special thanks to my son, Stuart. I've known few people with so much inner strength. His road has not been a smooth one. Heck, most of the time it's been roughly hewn of rock. But he forges ahead and remains a good soul.


  • I am thankful that this last year brought the greatest level of spiritual awareness I have known to date.


  • I am grateful for the physical challenges of life as a "fat girl". It forced me to be better, to be smarter, to work harder. It taught me humility and acceptance. It made me strong. And it allowed me to see my viable talents.


  • I am grateful I found the low-carb way of life and made it work for me. It allowed me to find health and energy rather than wishing I was "someone else". I learned that to dream of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are.


  • I am grateful for all the brave souls out there fighting the good fight to prove (against the tide of commercial and medical "correctness") that low carb is the way... making it clear that absence of proof does not mean proof of absence.


  • I am thankful for creative and fun outlets that I now find I enjoy to their fullest. Great music (from Matchbox 20 to Jordan Hill... from The Calling to Pink Floyd... from Creed to Ronan Keating — music is life sustaining.) For great television... whether I want a laugh from Frasier, Friends, or Scrubs. Or to enjoy a great drama in ER, CSI, or The Practice — Americans have amazing entertainment available right at our fingertips.


  • I am thankful for my love of cooking given to me by my Mom. She was the best cook I ever knew and even as the world became more "modern", she was never ashamed that her first love was her creativity in the kitchen.

    And on a related note, I am grateful every day for having had terrific parents who taught me to love the beauty in life; give everyone a chance; and always want to know more. I am thankful I still feel their presence in my life each and every day — though they crossed over three years ago.


  • I am thankful for my career and the fact that it's filled with challenge. I am largely in charge of how high I set the bar for myself. And I am thankful that it allows me opportunity to travel. Seeing life from a new perspective from time to time is a very good thing indeed. And I am most grateful for my time in Southern California. I adore it.


  • Lastly, I am thankful for dreams. Dreams that I fight to fulfill. Dreams I want all of you to fight for too. Our aspirations — our goals — they are the wind beneath our wings every day. Motivation is the key to all success in life. And it all starts with a dream.
Woodrow Wilson said, "We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Next week, Richard will share his list as well.)

       Lora
___________________________________


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recipes

Thanksgiving Style Main Dishes!

From Turkey to Pork to Ham to Duck, an elegant star attraction can make your meal a great success and leave your guests full and happy. Here's a collection of winners to add the right touch to your celebratory table.

Crown Pork Roast with Apple-Walnut Stuffing

  • 7 lb Crown pork roast (12 rib)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Apple Walnut Stuffing:
  • 1/3 cup Butter
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks, fine chopped
  • 1 cup Red cooking apple, chopped
  • 1 cup Green cooking apple, chopped
  • 2 cups low carb bread cubes, toasted *
  • 1 cup Walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Dried whole leaf sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried thyme
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
ROAST:
Make sure roast is well trimmed; season with salt & pepper. Fold a piece of aluminum foil into an 8" square; place on rack in roasting pan. Place roast, bone ends up, on foil-lined rack. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.

Cut a piece of foil long enough to fir around ribs. Wrap foil around ribs and fold over tips of ribs. Spoon stuffing into center of roast; cover with additional foil. Insert meat thermometer into roast without touching fat or bone. Bake at 325°F for 1-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 160°F.

Remove foil from roast; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

STUFFING:
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Combine apples, bread cubes, walnuts and seasonings in a large bowl; stir in vegetable mixture, egg and remaining ingredients.

NOTES:
• For Bread Crumbs use about 5 slices of your favorite low carb bread (either made yourself from one of our site recipes, a mix like Keto or Carbolite, or pre-packaged like Irene's Bread) cut in 1/2 inch cubes. Remember to dry bread slices well before using.

• Stuffing can be made separately. Spoon into a lightly greased 11x7" baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Serves 5 to 6 people. 6 to 8 carbs per serving.



Super-Moist Roast Turkey

  • 12 lb Turkey, thawed to room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Turnip, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Tuck wings under turkey. Place turkey in an oven roasting bag. Scatter onions, carrots, celery, turnip and garlic over and around turkey. Fold the top of the bag over and place turkey, breast up in a small roasting pan. Add 1 inch of water.

Roast turkey 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg (but not touching the bone) reaches 165°F to 170°F. Carefully tear open and remove the bag. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Roast 30 minutes longer, or until the thermometer registers 180°F, basting with the pan juices every 5 minutes. Turkey should be golden brown.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully transfer turkey to a platter, letting the juices run back into the pan; reserve the juices for gravy. Cover the bird with foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. (In the meantime, make gravy.)

Makes about 16 servings — 2 carbs per serving.



Roast Duck With Cranberry Sauce

Here's a recipe that works great if your holiday is for 2 people. However, it can be doubled or tripled to serve more.
  • 4 pounds To 5 lb. duck, thawed
  • 1/4 cup Port wine
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • Guar or Xanthan Gum (or 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch)
  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Diet Orange Soda
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar Twin (Canadian if possible)
  • 1/2 cup Cranberries, fresh
  • 1 dash Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
Rinse duck under cold water and pat dry. Remove any large lumps of fat from skin. Rub inside cavity and skin of duck with lemon and season cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Truss bird, place on rack and set in shallow roasting pan. Roast at 350°F for 30 minutes, then pierce skin all over with fork to release fat. Continue roasting until duck is completely cooked, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

About once every hour, remove all but 1 cup of fat from pan, some remaining fat will keep pan from scorching. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees for the last 15 minutes of roasting to crisp skin. Remove duck from oven and set on warm plate. Pour off and discard fat.

Place roasting pan on top of stove. Add port and heat over low heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add butter and heat until melted. Add cornstarch, stirring until smooth. (If using Xanthan or Guar gum to keep carbs low, sprinkle a bit at a time — a salt shaker works well — until desired thickness is reached, whisking after each addition.) Add chicken broth and whisk until smooth and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in orange soda and sweeteners and mix well. Add cranberries and cook over high heat until cranberries pop — 2 to 3 minutes. Add cayenne and more salt and pepper to taste. If mixture is too tart, add a little more Splenda or other sweetener as desired.

To serve, cut duck in half lengthwise, using poultry shears, and place on two serving dishes. Pour half of sauce over each serving. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. 7.8 carbs per serving using gum; 9.3 carbs using cornstarch. (Double or triple this recipe if needed.)



Ginger Glazed Ham

  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup DaVinci Gourmet Sugar Free Gingerbread Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 5 lb boneless Ham
Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring about 1 minute.

Set aside to cool.

Cut diamond pattern on the outside of ham. Place ham on a lightly oiled roasting rack. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Brush ginger mixture over ham. Bake 7 minutes, reduce heat to 325°F and bake for another hour, basting with ginger mixture every 15 minutes.

Remove ham from oven and set aside 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6 — 1 carb per serving.


___________________________________


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recipes

Thanksgiving Sides, Appetizers & Desserts!



Holiday Stuffed Mushrooms Appetizer

  • 36 fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Stem the mushrooms. Reserve 1/3 to 1/2 of the stems and mince them. Whip the cream cheese until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine minced mushroom stems and crabmeat. Blend the cream cheese into the stem and clam mixture. Add garlic salt and mix well. Stuff the mushroom caps with the cheese mixture. Arrange the caps on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake mushrooms at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms and crab mixture are hot, and most of the liquid from the mushrooms has collected in the pan.

Serves 10 — 3 carbs per serving.



Almond Ice

This refreshing gelatin salad recipe with a wonderful twist comes from Hawaii. It's a conversation piece as well... great for parties! The Almond Ice will have everyone guessing why these 'ice cubes' don't melt! It uses low-carb, low-sugar fruits to offer a refreshing dish on your holiday table.
  • 5 (.25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 1/3 cups Splenda
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup ripe cantaloupe cubes
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered blanched almonds

Soften gelatin in 1 cup cold water. Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water and Splenda. Stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add 3 cups cold water and the almond extract. Mix well.

Pour gelatin mixture into a 9x13 inch pan and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cut into 1 inch squares and serve in a bowl with cut fruits and almonds.

Makes 20 servings — 2.8 carbs per serving including fruit.



Company's Coming Asparagus

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 5 hard cooked eggs, chopped
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Trim asparagus and cut into 3/4 inch pieces; blanch in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and drain.

Place asparagus, ham and eggs in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl combine the onion, bell pepper, cheese, tapioca, parsley, lemon juice, cream and sour cream; mix well.

Pour mixture into baking dish and stir together with asparagus, ham and eggs.

Bake at 375°F for 25 to 35 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 — 5 carbs per serving.



Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3/4 cup almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Splenda
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Set aside. In medium bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, extract, melted butter, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased sheet cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes being careful not to over bake (remember – ovens and baking dishes vary!)

When cool, top with cream cheese frosting:
  • 12 oz softened (no low fat!) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • 1/4 cup DaVinci Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup*
Whip all ingredients at high speed until you achieve a light frosting consistency. Frost cake, refrigerate at least 1 hour, and serve!

  • NOTE: For a great variation, use DaVinci's Gingerbread or Egg Nog Syrups in frosting.

Makes 12 servings — 6.5 carbs per serving.



Fried Pumpkin

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Atkins Bake Mix or Low Carb Chef Bake Mix *
  • 1/4 cup butter

Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds, pith and outer skin. Cut into 2x3 inch pieces.

Place 1/2 of pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds) in large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add Bake Mix and stir to evenly coat.

Melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin and cook, turning often until golden brown and tender.

Serves 7 — 4.3 carbs per serving.



Cranberry Ginger Sauce

This is a lower carb sugar free version of an amazing cranberry sauce loved by my family. It's NOT extremely low-carb, but it's manageable if you can take a few extra carbs for your special meal.

Use firm, dense apples such as Granny Smith, Fuji, or Pippin, which will hold their shape when cooked. Fresh ginger gives this sauce its gentle bite — don't substitute the ground kind.
  • 1 1/2 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 1/4 cups Splenda
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup DaVinci Sugar Free Vanilla, or Almond Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh orange zest

Stir together all ingredients in a nonreactive 4- to 5-quart deep heavy pot and bring to a boil, stirring for the first 10 minutes. Boil sauce (adjust heat if sauce spits too much), stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. If you want a bit more thickening, in the last few minutes gently sprinkle (from a salt-type shaker) a bit of Xanthan or Guar Gum a little at a time. Cool about 30 minutes and chill at least 1 1/2 hours.

Cooks' note: Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. If some of your family prefers it, puree half the recipe before serving.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups. Serves 12 — 6.8 carbs per serving.

NOTE: If you have liquid Splenda on hand, you can greatly reduce the carbs in this dish. If it's available, substitute 40 drops for 1 cup of the granulated Splenda. Carbs are reduced to 4.6 grams per serving.



___________________________________





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letters

        A Cut Above

Dear Lora,
Until I started low carbing, I ate very little meat, so now that I am buying it regularly, I am embarrassed to say I know very little about how to buy good meats, what the "grades" mean, and what I should look for. Can you help? I have lots of dinners planned through the holidays and want to be able to serve the best.

Thanks,
Marilyn Equie

Dear Marilyn —

We hear this a lot... no need to be embarrassed. We hear from vegetarians who are buying meats for the first time in years. And there's little doubt that low-carbers definitely want to know their meats. So here's a little primer. Hopefully this will answer your questions.

• Meat Grading for Beef •

Beef is graded for quality according to standards set by the USDA. Since many cuts of meat — such as steaks, chops, and roasts — are labeled with a USDA grade, you don't have to be a meat expert to identify the quality you want.

The grades provide a guide to the eating qualities of meat — its tenderness, juiciness and flavor.

Regardless of their quality grade, some cuts of meat are naturally more tender than others. Cuts from the less-used muscles along the back of the animal — the rib and loin sections — will always be more tender than those from the more active muscles such as the shoulder, flank, and leg.

From highest to lowest:

PRIME:
Prime is usually found in exclusive restaurants (i.e. Morton's, Ruth Chris). It has abundant marbling — flecks of fat within the lean — which enhances both flavor and juiciness. Prime roasts and steaks are unexcelled for dry-heat cooking (roasting and broiling). If you want Prime meats at home, some better butcher shops can supply it.

CHOICE:
Choice has a moderate amount of marbling and is found in most moderate to fine dining establishments. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and are, like Prime, suited to dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade chuck, can also be cooked with dry heat. Most groceries carry at least some Choice grade meats as well as Select (below.)

SELECT:
Select has the least amount of fat marbling and is typically found in all grocery stores. Less tender and more dry, you'll want to allow for that when cooking and add extra moisture.

Until a few years ago, nearly all grocery meats were "Choice", but because of the "low-fat movement", more and more stores are carrying a larger selection of "Select" because it's lower in fat. Sadly, people are actually paying MORE in many cases for a lesser quality grade of meat because they believe they are buying a premium low-fat meat. Many don't know that "Select" means less tender, more dry,

Consumer demand for lower fat meats is also why it's become harder to find a great roast (like a pork roast) with a natural crown of fat intact to melt over the roast as it bakes. Butchers are trimming off this valuable fat.

There are other grades not generally sold in groceries, butcher shops, etc. Mostly used for processing, lunch meats, frankfurters, etc are:

• Standard
• Commercial
• Utility
• Cutter
• Canner




• Aging •

Just as fine wines are aged to bring out the best taste and flavor, meats are aged to bring out the best flavor, texture and bite.

Aging is a natural form of tenderizing that requires controlled temperature, humidity and moisture levels. Meat is stored in air tight bags for a 14 to 21 day period. During this time, natural enzymes within the meat begin to break down the connective tissues and change the cell structure creating a more tender piece of meat.

Retail stores typically do not offer aged meats due to higher handing costs, but a few higher-end ones, do.



Other Meats:

Lamb and Mutton is offered in similar categories:

• U.S. Prime
• U.S. Choice
• U.S. Good
• U.S. Utility
• U.S. Cull

Veal Grades:

• U.S. Prime
• U.S. Choice
• U.S. Good
• U.S. Standard
• U.S. Utility

Pork Grades:

• U.S. No. 1
• U.S. No. 2
• U.S. No. 3
• U.S. No. 4
• U.S. Utility

As far as steaks go, remember, after grading, cut is also quite important. Cuts of steak can be broken down into three sections. Starting on the upper back and moving down to the mid-back you have the rib, the short loin and the sirloin.

The rib contains cuts such as the Rib Roast, the Ribeye Steak and the back ribs. This is the least tender section of the three. The short loin produces the T-bone, Top Loin Steak, Tenderloin and the Porterhouse. The Sirloin gives the Sirloin Steak, and the Top Sirloin. Other steaks like the chuck, round and flank steak come from those respective areas and tend to be tough cuts of meat. Strips steaks, like a New York is cut from the T-bone.

The most tender cut of meat is the tenderloin. From this area you will get cuts like chateaubriand, filet mignon and tournedos. Though these cuts are tender they are less flavorful. The ribeye, or rib steak are less tender but far more flavorful. The same holds true about the sirloin cut.

For more information on cuts in general, it can't hurt to forge a relationship with your local butcher so you can learn from him/her. Many meat departments in groceries also have charts that show what cuts of meats are what.

Good luck!

                             

Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.

___________________________________

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

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