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and playing the role of the potato...      
Just because we can't have starchy potatoes, doesn't mean we can't have many of the potato-themed dishes we've come to love. Here's a list of veggies that take on a great acting role!



Cauliflower Cauliflower

Cauliflower belongs to the cabbage family, and is so closely related to broccoli that both are designated as of the same variety. Good quality in cauliflower is indicated by white or creamy-white, clean, firm, compact curd, with the jacket leaves (outer leaf portion remaining) fresh, turgid and green. Small leaves extending through the curd do not affect edible quality. Large or small heads, equally mature, are equally desirable.

A slightly "ricy" or granular appearance is not objectionable unless the flower clusters are spreading. Spreading occurs when the flower clusters have developed enough to cause a separation of the clusters which makes the curd open or loose. Spotted, speckled, or bruised curds should be avoided unless they can be trimmed without excessive waste.

Carbohydrate Information:   1 cup cooked (boiled): 5 grams carbohydrate; 3.3 grams fiber.
Low Carb Uses: Their best use is probably as Mashed "Potatoes" (see recipe), but it's a very versatile veggie and can be used in Scalloped, to make Stuffed "Potatoes", and in salads. Add it to stews, soups, and chowders. It's great in a New England boiled type dinner with cabbage. Cauliflower can also be used as a substitute for rice as seen in this recipe for Chinese Fried "Rice". You can even make a "Rice" Pudding with it!




Turnip Turnip

A member of the cabbage family, turnips are similar in appearance to such root vegetables as rutabagas and swedes (originally Swedish turnips). In general, turnips are smoother than these cousins and have several circles of ridges at the base of their leaves. For cooking purposes, they can an be used interchangeably.

Carbohydrate Information:   1 cup cooked/cubed (boiled):
7.6 grams carbohydrate; 3.1 grams fiber.
Low Carb Uses: Much like the cauliflower, turnips can be boiled and mashed to make a good substitute Mashed "Potato" (see alternate version of this recipe). It will have more of a "bite" to it than the cauliflower version and is a good bet when you want a spicy mashed... add black or red pepper, perhaps onion and/or garlic. Turnips make great (and again, spicy) fries. See recipe here. Add to stews in place of potatoes, or shred in hot buttered skillet with a bit of butter for a hashbrown 'clone'.

Jicama Jicama

Also called the yam bean root, jicama is a member of the morning glory family that hails from Mexico and South America. It ranges in weight from a few ounces to 6 pounds. Its crispy white flesh is hidden under a fibrous dust-brown skin, which must be completely stripped off.

It's been called a cross between an apple and a potato because it's crisp and slightly sweet like an apple, yet can be used much like a potato (just without the starch!)

Carbohydrate Information:   1 cup cooked (boiled):
8.8 grams carbohydrate; 3.7 grams fiber.
Low Carb Uses: Like potatoes, jicamas can be steamed, baked, boiled, mashed or fried. Unlike potatoes, however, they can also be eaten raw. Sliced into wide sticks, jicama makes a crunchy carrier for guacamole and highly seasoned dips.

Celery Root Celery Root

Pity the poor celery root, or celeriac as the French call it. This baseball-sized root with brown knotted skin, hairy, gnarly roots crusted with dirt has no shelf appeal and is often ignored. It is truly one of Mother Nature's homeliest vegetables. On the upside, it also one of Mother Nature's tastiest vegetables, with a taste that has been described as a little like licorice, a bit lemony, and certainly like celery but without the fibrous texture.

While celeriac is usually marked "celery root" in food stores in the United States, it isn't the root of celery stalks but a close cousin. Select firm, hard roots that are about baseball size and feel heavy. Often the bigger ones have voids or fibrous cores. Wash the roots thoroughly to remove as much dirt as possible. Then use a knife to trim away the roots and the peel. Because the roots and dirt-filled crevices have to be trimmed away, you'll lose at least a quarter, if not more, of the celeriac during peeling. Usually, a 1 pound celeriac will yield about two cups once peeled and sliced or grated. Celery Root must be soaked in water and/or cream acidulated with lemon juice. Peeled celeriac will turn brown in about five minutes if left in the open air.

Carbohydrate Information:   1 cup cooked (boiled): 7.1 grams carbohydrate; 3.4 grams fiber.
Low Carb Uses: It can be mashed with cream, butter, salt, pepper, and even a little chicken stock! It can be made into fabulous fries (slice thin, soak in cream mix, dry and fry in hot oil), and it can make for a cheesy scalloped "potato" when sliced thin (just use your favorite recipe from your high carb days and use celery root in place of potatoes!) Simply peeled, sliced and julienned into little sticks, celeriac will improve the flavor of any tossed salad!



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