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Product Spotlight: Spices and Condiments

Back to Product Review Main 
Menu

03.13.06 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Chef Creations Shelf Stable Sauces

Chef Creations, the leading developer of Chef Quality soups and sauces for restaurants has released a line of Shelf Stable Sauces that are delicious, easy to use, and very low carb! For this review, we tested Alfredo Sauce (2g carb per serving), Hollandaise Sauce (0g carb per serving), and Classic Brown Sauce (2g carb per serving). They were all quite tasty and really do compare to what you'd find in a nice restaurant. Our favorite was the hollandaise, and the rich buttery taste of it (and yes, it's made with real, unsalted butter and real cream). The Classic Brown Sauce was fabulous over beef roast or low carb meatloaf.

Chef Creations Shelf Stable Sauces Because they're in Microwavable Tetra Pak Wedges, they are super easy to make! Just pop in the microwave, cut open, and serve. You can make your low carb meals more elegant, more rich, more scrumptious without a lot of time or trouble! You can store them 7 to 10 days (refrigerated) after opening if you need to (or have any left), and they contain no preservatives. And you can use them as a base for other recipes (just add white wine, tarragon, minced shallots and pepper to make a great Béarnaise Sauce.

They're available from most groceries in the same aisle as other sauces. If you can't find them, ask your grocer to carry them.


04.07.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Nantucket Off-Shore Seasonings
If there's anything low-carb cooking and eating is about, it's flavor and lots of it! And the star attraction of nearly every meal is the meat. So I am always on the prowl for exceptional seasonings that don't rely on sugar and hydrogenated oils to attain their bounty. To that end, our group had the opportunity to get to know the line of
Nantucket Off-Shore Seasonings !

Packed in round aluminum tins with whimsical labels, these powerhouses of seasoning are used as a rub prior to baking, broiling, roasting or grilling. They can make a good cookout a great one! With a shelf life of at least one year, they provide a great enhancement to any kind of cooking.

Of the 12 different rubs made by Nantucket, we tried four that most intrigued us —
Prairie Rub (for beef with a blend of mixed cracked peppercorns, garlic and mustard), Holiday Turkey Rub (with savory rosemary, thyme and sage plus tart bits of dried cranberry!), Rasta Rub (fiery Jamaican seasoning with Scotch Bonnett peppers, garlic, thyme, allspice, nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon), and Pueblo Rub (an inspired blend of Mexican oregano, cumin, ancho chilies, cilantro and cocoa powder.)

In case you're wondering, yes, it's taken us more than a month to get them all evaluated as we made fajitas, steaks, grilled chicken, roasted turkey breast and more. These robustly flavored blends are not limited in use as "rubs" either. We made marinades with them Nantucket Off-Shore Seasonings and sprinkled them into our stir-frys.

We're looking forward to trying just some of the others on the list - Dragon Rub (an Asian blend), Renaissance (a Tuscany blend), and Raj Rub (traditional and exotic Indian herbs) just to name a few of their diverse line. All varieties are also salt-free, and contain no MSG.

We buy them locally, but if your store doesn't carry the Nantucket Off-Shore Seasonings, they can be ordered online from Gourmet @ Home. (Click on "The Pantry", then on Seasonings/Spices.)


03.26.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review: Heinz One Carb Ketchup
Ketchup on burgers; ketchup on hot dogs; ketchup on meatloaf. We're a ketchup obsessed society, so many of us tend to feel a little deprived when we have to say "no thanks" to adding it to our usual fare. But the newest entry from
Heinz means you can pour it on and love every bite. Their new One Carb Ketchup tastes like... well... ketchup.

It's sweetened with Splenda and offers up just the right mix of spices to make it taste like what you're used to. A one-tablespoon serving offers up only 1 carb. So yeah, if you're like most of us and one tablespoon isn't going to be enough for you, you don't have to feel guilty about having two... or even three. Regular ketchup contains 4 to 6 carbs per tablespoon (and contains more sugar than some candies), so if you're a more-than-one-tbsp kinda person, this will really save you some carbs! (And regular ketchup is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup... a definite no-no.)

If you're wondering about the other ingredients, rest assured, there's nothing unhealthy in here... just tomato, vinegar, salt, onion powder, spices, and sucralose (Splenda.) So go ahead... cover that burger!

It's available nationwide in most groceries. Some stores stock it with other ketchups; some with specialty low carb or diet foods. Enjoy!


10-21-02 - Product Recommendation & Review: Pleasantville Flavor Essences
One of the best things about Low Carb baking — especially at holiday times — is our option to be so creative and to pick and choose the flavors we wish to create. Ever since the good folks at Pleasantville Cookie Company starting making great flavors for their little almond-flour based cookies, we've appreiated their uniqueness.

Apparently we weren't alone. They've been getting querries about how they make those bursting with flavor cookies for some time. And now, just in time for the holidays, they've made these sumptuous
Flavor Essences available for purchase!

They're available in the following flavors:
Cookie Vanilla, Chocolate Fudge, Honey Almond, Irish Cream, Butter Pecan, Strawberry Dream, Praline Plantation, Creme De Menthe, English Toffee, Blueberry, Maple Pecan, and Marshmallow Madness.

We could hardly wait to start baking with them, and have found their flavors to remain very true and vibrant after baking. And since they contain no sugars (or any sweeteners), you can make your dishes the way you like. Use them to flavor your own low carb cookies, cakes or puddings. Use them with cream cheese, butter, and Splenda to make any frosting flavors you like! Or use them in savory dishes. The Honey Almond is great in a slightly sweetened butter sauce over chicken, and the Strawberry Dream mixes great with a tablespoon of sugarfree orange marmalade over baked ham.

Stonger and better tasting than extracts, yet less overpowering than flavored oils, these flavor essences will lend a hand with many dishes. Remember to use about half of what you would use if using regular extracts. Also keep in mind that things with a higher fat content seem to need less of the essences, and higher temperatures and longer cooking times require more flavor. So if you're making a non-cooked frosting, you'll use less than with a longer baking cake. A little experimentation will soon help you learn what levels you prefer your flavors at.

Now, order some, and get creative! You might have the most flavorful holiday goodies ever! They're available from Pleasantville Cookie Company, and they have a special at the time of this review — Buy 2 bags of Bake Mix for only $10.98 and get a sample of your favorite Flavor Essence free! Don't ya just love a great deal? Don't want to do the baking? Buy their pre-made low carb cookies. They're terrific, Splenda sweetened, and very low carb!


09-30-02 - Product Recommendation & Review: Steel's Sauces
We were excited to discover tht Steels' Gourmet have a few new Splenda sweetened sauces on the market! And we weren't disappointed, but we confess we did raise a few eyebrows when we saw things like "Raspberry Jalapeno Sauce" listed. Huh? It didn't sound quite right... But then we started talking about the great possibilities when you marry spicy with sweet and fruity. And we grabbed all the new sauces and started cooking!

First, here's what's new:
  • Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Mango Curry Sauce
  • Spicy Hot Fudge Sauce with Chipotle peppers
  • and the aforementioned Raspberry Jalapeno Sauce
Thickened with xantham gum, and sweetened with sucralose, these sauces are very rich and thick, and powerfully flavorful. Believe us, a little goes a very long way. Our favorite was absolutely the Sweet & Spicy Peanut Sauce with chicken. You can warm it as a dip for "chicken fingers", coat wings with it, or pour it over chicken breasts and bake (sprinkle additional chopped peanuts on in the last 5 minutes of baking.) It's incredibly delicious and everyone loved it.

Steel's Sauces The Mango Curry Sauce was at its best with delicate foods like crab, lobster, shrimp, or with mixed vegetables. (Add a teaspoon to melted butter and drizzle it over most any vegetable — especially asparagus, and I'll bet you'll love it like we did.)

The Spicy Hot Fudge is a scream with diced berries. It's so different, but not overpowering and the chocolate is creamy and satisfying. Richard kept spreading it on low carb toast.

We liked the Raspberry Jalapeno Sauce best chilled and mixed with a little champagne over crisp greens. It adds a new dimension to how you see salad and I bet it will be a hit at upcoming holiday gatherings. It was recommended to me later that we should have tried it mixed with cream cheese or mascarpone with crushed pecans. We didn't get to try that, but it sounds good, so it might be next on our list. These sauces come in at 2 to 4 carbs per serving (in the case of the chocolate sauce; after deducting for maltitol.) Very handy to keep in your pantry when you feel adventurous or are tired of the "bland"!

You can order them online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


07-09-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Keto Ketchup
    "You shake and shake
    the ketchup bottle ...
    None will come
    and then a lot'll"


(Ten points to those who know where that little gem comes from.) It's appropriate for our reviewed product this time — low carb
KETO Ketchup. Thicker than most commercial ketchups (yet not "clumpy" or too thick), spiced just right, and sweetened with Splenda. At only 1 gram of carbohydrate per serving, it's now our very favorite ketchup.

No need for a lengthy review... of all the sugarless and low carb ketchups we've tried, this is the one. This one is hands down the best. We hope they'll switch to a squeeze plastic bottle someday, though. The glass is classy, but let's just say that someone in my household is a "dropper". :)

Available in 13.5 oz bottles. You can get them from Life Services.


06-24-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Mt. Olive Pickles
One of the things I've missed most since starting low carb has been a crisp sweet Bread & Butter pickle. And being a girl who grew up in the South, I always loved Mt. Olive brand pickles.

Well, I could hardly be more pleased to recommend the new
Mt. Olive Splenda-sweetened Bread & Butter pickles! We bought a single jar of their regular (with sugar) Bread & Butter pickles to do a taste test since these seemed so superior to me. Only two people out of twenty could tell the difference and both of those two found the Splenda sweetened one better. If you love a good sweet pickle, I think I can guarantee that you'll love these.

Mt. Olive Pickles They come in two varieties at present, but we can expect more down the road. For now, you can get classic Bread & Butter round slices (chips), and the thin lengthwise slices, Sandwich Stuffers. At less than 1 carb per serving, you can enjoy them as you like!

If they're not available in your neck of the woods, they can be ordered online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


04-21-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Jok n Al's Fruit Sauces A few weeks ago we got a couple of letters asking our opinion of the Jok n Al Fruit Sauces & Toppings. It was one of those times we realized a product that has been around for awhile was one we'd overlooked. So since we'd been pleased with many of the other Jok n Al products, we got some in and evaluated them. We found that many of their varieties are simply delightful!

The ones we want to spotlight here are
Pineapple Coconut Macadamia Topping, Passion Fruit Topping, Apricot and Peach Topping, Spiced Apple & Sultana Topping, and Plum Sauce.

Coming in at between 4 grams and 2 grams of carbs per serving, these Splenda sweetened sauces and toppings add bursts of flavors atop desserts, or in baking and cooking. The Apricot and Peach makes a terrific sauce with chicken breasts (1 part topping with 2 parts melted butter and a splash of DaVinci Syrup; then oven-bake.) And the Plum Sauce is super with oriental foods or mixed one-to-one with sugarless ketchup for spare ribs on the grill! Add one spoon of Pineapple Coconut Macadamia Topping to your cottage cheese, or mix with your favorite cheesecake recipe.

They're great to keep at the ready when you want to feel creative in the kitchen and crave a little fruit flavor.   Jok n Al Fruit Toppings & Sauces are available from Synergy Diet.


04-11-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Torras Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Torras of Spain brings us another choice for a sugar free Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. And this one's our favorite so far.

Super-creamy and with a more "milky" taste, it's smooth spread on most anything. Our two favorite uses for it were as the "sandwich" filling between two cookies, and spread on Keto Biscotti.

Torras Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Spread You can mix it with a little cream or neufchatel cheese for a frosting, or get really creative and make our newest recipe at the site: Chocolate Hazelnut Soup!  No, it's not a traditional soup, but you might love it like we do!  Of course you can use it more traditionally — on crisp low carb crackers and toast, spread on waffles, or warmed as a dip with plump Summer strawberries.

It's sweetened with maltitol so don't over-do, but this is a great little add-a-treat to make something special! It comes in a 7-oz glass jar that doubles as an old-fashioned glass (fun, huh?) Torras Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is available to order online from The Low Carb Zone.


03-15-02 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Kettle Sunflower Butter Our group tried something this week that before now, I never knew existed... It's Sunflower Butter from Kettle Foods. I can't believe, as a big fan of sunflower seeds for years, it had never occured to me that a creamy, spreadable butter could be made from them, but they make a great one! The ingredients are pretty simple: "Freshly Dry Roasted Sunflower Seeds". So no sugars or trans fats to worry about. It's rich and delicious spread on your favorite low carb toast with butter, but we found there's a lot more you can do with it.

Kettle Sunflower Butter You can cook and bake with it pretty much like you would peanut butter... it makes a good cookie with a rustic "edge" to it that we thought was terrific. Mix it with warmed butter and nutmeg (and a little salt if you like) for a great salad dressing.

They also make really good "homemade" protein bars: Mix 4 Tablespoons Kettle Sunflower Butter with 4 Tablespoons melted butter, 2/3 cup Vanilla Whey protein powder, and sweetener to taste (I use 1/2 cup Splenda). Mix into a ball with your hands and knead a bit; then shape into square (disposable) aluminum pan. Refrigerate until firm and cut into 8 squares. Each one will be a bit less than 3 carbs per bar. If you want, add a little unsweetened coconut, and/or chopped walnuts!

For a super-simple treat, just mix with chopped nuts and sweetener. Chill and cut in squares, or eat it with a spoon. Kettle Sunflower Butter comes in at 5 carbs per serving and is very nutrient-dense. Try it for a great change!

Kettle Sunflower Butter is available from True Foods Market.


10-23-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Hoppin John's Dilly Beans Ever heard of Dilly Beans? I never had, so when these Hoppin John's Dilly Beans first came to my attention I looked at the jar with a "what the heck is this?!" comment. Of course then I got a "You've never tried Dilly Beans?" Okay, I'm adventurous. I tried them to be polite. Then I realized that these are pretty darned good. They're kinda hot, but kinda spicy. Basically, they're a kicky pickled green bean. Crisp and delicious! You can use them as "swizzle sticks" in Bloody Marys or arrange them artistically over elegant salmon steaks or chicken breasts. Use them to add pizazz to sandwiches! And of course they're just as low-carb as all green beans are!

Hoppin John's Dilly Beans are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


10-23-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Sauce de Jacqueline
Just in time for the holidays, a great new line of low carb chocolate sauces make their way to us. Classy and rich, the new
Sauces de Jacqueline lend a sophisticated edge to your sugar free chocolate experience.

Each 8-oz glass jar contains a real butter-based sauce that lives up to its French name. Definitely not low fat, these gems come in three varieties:
Bittersweet (with a taste like tollhouse chips), Milk Chocolate (a classic sweet flavor with a creamy edge), and Chocolate Fudge (that tastes like.. well... fudge!)

Sauce de Jacqueline Sweetened with lycasin (HSH) they come in at less than 1 carb per 1/2-oz serving, so having an ounce or two over your favorite LC ice cream, cheesecake, or holiday confection is certainly do-able. While cold, a nibble or two is very much like nibbling at a square of fudge - creamy, buttery, and with a pastry-like accent. When warmed, they make a great dip or drizzle. Versatile, delicious, and no guilt. You might consider even adding a warmed spoonful to your coffee!

Sauces de Jacqueline are available at The Low Carb Connoisseur.


09-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Gourmet Mango Ginger Chutney If you're looking for something a little different, a little hot, and a little exotic to lend a whole new dimension to foods, you might want to look at the new sugar free Steel's Gourmet Mango Ginger Chutney. It's unique and it's delicious. If you're not familiar with the taste of mangos, you're in for a real treat.

Fresh mango and ginger give this chutney beautiful color and extraordinary taste. Try serving with cream cheese or Brie as an easy appetizer. It's excellent with pork or lamb and it's also a treat with peanut butter on your favorite low-carb bread. The fresh, sunny flavor of ripe mangos is accented beautifully with fresh ginger, lime puree, cayenne, and other spices, plus Splenda for a rich sweet-hot flavor!

Years ago my aunt used to make a great Hawaiian version of Mango Chutney with sweet plums. I wanted to bring that taste back, so I added a Tablespoon of Keto Plum Preserves and wow... that's the taste! You might want to try that one yourself!

Steel's Gourmet Mango Ginger Chutney is available at The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


09-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Cocktail and Hoisin Sauce This past Spring, we reviewed Steel's Gourmet Rocky Mountain Ketchup. Since that time, we find ourselves using it often. Now, Steel's Gourmet has introduced two new sauces both based on this great low-carb ketchup.

First up, we evaluated their
Commodore Steel's Cocktail Sauce. This one cost us a pretty penny to review since everyone wanted to try this with both shrimp and crab, but we are pleased to report the sauce didn't let us down (and we really enjoyed the seafood!) Infused with lemon juice, tangy horseradish, and a hint of dill, this robust sauce is a little hot and a little sweet. And it's not wimpy — it's thick and tomato-y. At only 1 carb per generous 4-Tablespoon serving, it's a must have if you love good cocktail sauce. Try it on hot ham & swiss cheese too!

Next up, we tried the
Rocky Mountain Hoisin Sauce. It's a sweet hot sauce with an authentic Asian kick that's great as a dipper or for use over broiled chicken or pork with Chinese veggies. Add a one-to-one mix with Soy Sauce for a totally different flavor — especially with beef. Or add one-to-one with Peanut Butter and spread over chicken breasts before baking (sprinkle on some chopped peanuts too!)

This one comes in at 1 carb after fiber for each 2 Tablespoons. Steel's Gourmet Rocky Mountain Hoisin Sauce and Commodore Steel's Cocktail Sauce are both available at The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


09-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Gourmet Spiced Cranberry Sauce
As of this past week, Autumn is officially here. And one of my favorite parts of thinking about Holiday meals is the cranberry sauce. Now, we came up with a couple of awfully good recipes last year for great Spiced and jellied regular cranberry sauces. I thought they were the best, until we tried the new
Steel's Gourmet Spiced Cranberry Sauce, newly released for this year's Fall feasts.

With no artificial colors or flavors, just the right touch of spices, and sweetened with Splenda, this will make the perfect accompaniment to turkey or ham. A serving comes in at 5 carbs after fiber, and that's an exceptionally generous 5-Tablespoon serving (1/4 of the jar.)

Steel's Gourmet Spiced Cranberry Sauce is available at The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


09-27-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce You know, just the name of this product is somehow comforting, isn't it? Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce... Sounds yummy, right? The good news is, that this new sauce from Steel's Gourmet really is yummy! It's creamy, rich, and just the right mix of peanut butter with decadent chocolate. And it's sugar free Splenda sweetened. Also made with erythritol — the only polyol super low in carbs and causes no "gastric problems". And it's made with real butter (which you can taste!) and no transfats!

Mix it with cream cheese for a frosting for your favorite low-carb cupcake or cake recipes, or warm it for a great "drizzle". Or dip strawberries in it. Of course you could also use it for the obvious — a topping for sugarfree ice cream.

A 2-Tablespoon serving comes in at 4.5 carbs, with 2 grams of fiber, netting 2.5 effective carbs per serving. Steel's Gourmet Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce is available at The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


07-24-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Peloponnese Baba Ganoush Until I pulled out a jar of Baba Ganoush at our latest review meeting, I didn't realize that so many people had never heard of it. So I'll write this review keeping in mind that some of you may be unfamiliar with it as well. First, what is it? It's a rich, creamy and spicy eggplant-based dip/appetizer with a rich Lebanese heritage. Sometimes spelled Baba Ghanoush (seems to depend on the neighborhood), this is a taste treat low-carbers will love! The brand we sampled, Peloponnese Baba Ganoush, was superior. In fact, it was strikingly familiar to the Baba Ganoush served at Al Dewan, a really exceptional Lebanese restaurant in Queens.

Peloponnese Baba Ganoush A hearty taste from the Middle East, this is made from roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. But what can you do with it? Serve it as you would any other rich dip — with your favorite low carb crackers or breads, with veggie sticks, or even with that old stand-by — pork rinds!

Try it heated with thin slices of onion, or with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. And don't forget to use it as a spread for your lower carb sandwiches.

Peloponnese Sweet Pepper Spread But this isn't the only product from
Peloponnese that we tried. Next on our list was their Sweet Pepper Spread. And wow, we really love this stuff. It's so versatile. It's a simple, "sweet" sauce with the aroma of fully-ripened sweet peppers and extra-virgin olive oil. A favorite recipe is to sauté scallops or shrimp until half done, add the spread and chives to the pan and warm. It also works great as a base for seafood stews or a variety of soups. Or whip it with cream cheese and you have a spread or dip that can go anywhere. Being a Mediterranean food, it also blends harmoniously with Asiago and Feta cheeses. Add sun dried tomatoes and/or Pepperocinis to really 'kick it up'. The potential for this "base" just keeps piling up with us — Use it simply as an appetizer spread, or as a sauce for grilled fish. Or, swirl a bit into homemade marinara sauces for a smoky dimension to your low-carb pasta! Whisk into salad dressings and marinades to add luscious sweet pepper flavor.

Both products are naturally preserved through use of lemon juice or vinegar and hot packing. They're nutritious, made with healthy fats, and delicious! The Sweet Pepper Spread is listed as zero carbs per serving (actually about 1/4 carb per Tablespoon.) The Baba Ganoush is 2 carbs (1 gram fiber) per serving. If you're looking for something different that blends really well with low-carbing, this is it!

Peloponnese products are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


07-03-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Chalif Lemon-Dill Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise just got better! Making flavored mayonnaises is something I've always liked and something I was grateful to be able to continue having when I went low carb, but as with most of you, there were many times when I opted for fast over "gourmet" and didn't bother.

In May of this year, we evaluated and reviewed the Ojai Cook brand of flavored mayos. Now we've tried another that gets high marks — the new
Chalif Mayonnaises in Lemon-Dill and Fresh Garlic.

Chalif Fresh Garlic Mayonnaise A more subtle flavor than the Ojai Cook brand, the Chalif Mayonnaises are extremely creamy and tart/tangy — especially the Lemon-Dill variety. Try spreading it over cold Alaskan salmon! Or spread it on your favorite low-carb bread toasted and over hot turkey and cheese!

The Fresh Garlic variety is great added to white sauces, heated and drizzled over stuffed mushroom caps with parmesan, and spread on turnip wedges before baking.

Both kinds come in at 1 carb per serving and are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


07-03-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Bubba Brand Y'alsa
I love Salsa, but I'm a "salsa snob" — I only like the very best. There are some great salsas served up in restaurants these days, but very few in jars ever measure up. Until a couple of months ago, the only one that made the grade was Newman's Own (still a must-have at our house.) Then in May, we tried (and reviewed) the Billy Beans I "Scream" Sauce — amazingly hot, but just the ticket when heat is what you want.

Now, we add another unique, quality salsa —
Bubba Brand Y'alsa — a one-of-a-kind southern style salsa highlighted with black eyed peas and corn. (I know... you're thinking those aren't very low-carb items, but a tiny bit goes a long way so the end product is only 2 carbs a serving.) It's a flavor packed all-natural salsa with no MSG, additives or preservatives, so we feel comfortable eating it. And it's not your average salsa. It's a true southern experience.

While your natural inclination will be to have it with chips (like those great Keto Chips) or on taco salads (which is a great pairing), remember there are many other things salsa's great on. Why not try it on seafood or chicken? (You'll be amazed at how good it is with catfish!)

Bubba Brand Back Bay Marinade Then there's the next
Bubba Brand product — Back Bay Marinade. After you stop giggling when you read the instructions on the bottle ("Put whatever Bubba brought home in a shallow pan, cover with marinade..."), you'll find that this is a very versatile sauce indeed. Coming from South Carolina, it contains bourbon and peaches and accurately reflects the taste of the region. It's not just a marinade. It's so yummy on a salad, poured over a pot roast during cooking, or whisked with cream and egg yolk for a sauce. Or try "Back Bay Sautéed Spinach" — In a non-stick pan, heat 1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves with 1/2 cup Back Bay Marinade sauce until leaves are just warmed. Serve hot as is, or add diced cooked chicken breast. A super-quick meal or side dish.

Bubba Brand products are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


06-19-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Gourmet Splenda sweetened Chocolate Sauce
What has all the great new choices in low-carb ice cream been really lacking? An absolutely superb — yet low carb — Chocolate Sauce! Yes, there are other sugarfree chocolate syrups out there (and we've tried 'em) but they didn't make it here. They usually try to be low-fat or fat free as well and end up being thin and tasteless. But now there's
Steel's Gourmet Splenda sweetened Chocolate Sauce!   It's rich, deep, and decadent. Hot or cold, it's just terrific. It's a semi-sweet sauce very reminiscent of melted toll house chips. Drizzle it on anything that appeals to you — not just ice cream. It's fab with our basic Almond Pound Cake, and equally good with pancakes. About 4 carbs per serving and worth every one.

It's sweetened with sucralose (Splenda brand), a little maltitol for texture, and erythritol. If you've never heard of "erythritol", it's a polyol (sugar alcohol) that unlike all the others, does NOT cause ANY laxative effect, and is nearly true-zero carb. We wish it would be used in MORE things.

Lastly, this great sauce is made with REAL butter (not trying to be fat-free) and is that much more delicious for it. If you love a deep chocolate, you'll love this one. It's a new favorite here! It's available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


06-11-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Yummies Flavored Butters One of my favorite things about being a devoted low-carber is that the richness and depth of REAL butter is always a part of my diet. Butter not only imparts a classic flavor of its own, it also lends itself to a great base for most anything you throw at it. So adding inventive flavors and a touch of sweetness just seems a natural... Our group recently sampled such an inventive new product — Flavorburst Butters from Low Carb Yummies !

Pure and clarified with a touch of Splenda, these versatile butters come in three flavors at present with more on the horizon:
Chocolate Amaretto, Cinnamon, and English Toffee. Melt them to drizzle over your favorite low-carb baked goods. Or soften them to spread on pancakes or waffles... or try the cinnamon with a piece of toasted Gabi's Bread. Because they're ZERO carb, you can have them on induction too — just have them with a VERY low-carb bread like Dr. Atkins' Original Diet Revolution Rolls.

Two thumbs up for taste and creativity. Low Carb Yummies Flavorburst Butters are of course available from Low Carb Yummies or by calling 1-800-845-7991. (For those of you located in Lakewood/Denver, Colorado, they have a Low Carb Yummies Cafe & Market!)


05-21-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Ojai Cook Mayonnaises The night after receiving the new Ojai Cook (pronounced 'O-hi') mayonnaises, our group was working on a new recipe for crab cakes. So I looked with extra interest at the Bite Back Tartar Sauce — a Hot and Spicy Citrus Mayonnaise with Jalapenos! Okay, I was a little scared of the jalapenos part — so my first try was "cut" with a little sour cream. It was really good. But everyone but me was eating it straight, so I finally got the nerve to try it. It's hot, alright. And it's lemony-spicy... but it's amazing with crab cakes. I'm looking forward to trying it on other things as well, and if you like hot and spicy — I bet you'll agree.

We also tried the
Lemonaise — a zesty citrus mayonnaise with a really "fresh" taste. It's not only terrific on deli meats, fish or even salads, but makes a great sauce warmed and drizzled over roast beef or pork. Even raw veggies dipped in it are good.

There's also a
Lemonaise with Garlic & Herbs — imbued with dill, tarragon and garlic. Mix this one with melted butter and drizzle over seafood or chicken for a real treat! The Tartar Sauce is 1 carb per serving and the mayos are zero carb as you might expect. The New York Times and The Washington Post call this the "Best Mayonnaise in America". For a change of pace, these can't be beat!   All of them are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


05-14-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Billy Beans I Scream Sauce Been looking for something with a real "kick" to serve for that Memorial Day (or 4th of July) cookout? Do you love "hot" till your eyes water? Wish you had a real sauce for those great new Keto Chips? If true Texas salsa is your thing, then you want to try the new Billy Beans I "Scream" Sauce! It's not your "garden variety" tomato-based salsa you'll find at the grocery or at your local Taco Bell. Made from fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Onions, Malted Vinegar, Garlic, and Serrano Peppers, this is a taste you won't soon forget.

Two big Tablespoons will net you only 1 carb, so it will fit nicely into even the most stringent plans, and it's so worth it. It comes in both Hot and Medium varieties, but most of us found the Medium to be quite hot. The hot being "scorching", though you can't get too hot for my husband! And quality? Well, take a look at the awards this sauce has won:
  • 1998 First Place-Texas Fiery Food Show
  • 1999 First Place-Chile Pepper Magazine
  • (2) 1999 First Place-FDM Magazine
  • 2000 Third Place-Chile Pepper Magazine
Billy Beans I Scream Sauce The Billy Beans Sauce is terrific in the kitchen too. Melt it with some cheese and add it to your favorite meatloaf recipe. Or top a plain recipe with a garnish of Billy Beans Sauce! For the adventurous, try it over white fish with fresh limes! Or over grilled chicken breasts with melted cheese. If you miss the tomato component, chop a fresh one to add to it, or open a can of no-sugar canned diced tomatoes. Mix one-to-one that way to add to chili.

We added 1/2 cup Billy Beans I "Scream" Sauce to our Midwest Chili recipe and made it a hot Texas style chili (with or without the Eden Soy Beans added.) In short, wherever you envision salsa, try using the Billy Beans Sauce to TRULY "kick it up a notch"! Hey, Emeril, now this is BAM!

Billy Beans I "Scream" Sauce is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


04-06-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Nature's Flavors Ah... one of our favorite things to "play with" here at LCL — flavors! With concentrated, unique flavors in our arsenals, there's little we can't whip up a low-carb version of. This week we got to dabble in the new Highly Concentrated Flavors from - who else - Nature's Flavors Flavors ! There are two varieties of flavors — the first a batch of Spring Water flavor concentrates that allow you to give your OWN water the essence of fruit without always having to buy flavored spring waters. You control the depth of flavor — from the barest hint to a more bountiful zest. They come in Orange, Strawberry, Raspberry, Lemon, Cherry, and Lime. And while we liked them in water — especially sparkling water — we liked them even better in sodas. The berry flavors especially were excellent added to a Diet RC over ice. Guess what else they're great in? Butter. Yep. We softened a bit of butter, added the orange concentrate and a little sweetener and you can't believe how good orange butter is. The lemon and lime were good here too, but the orange was our clear favorite. The raspberry mixed beautifully into cream cheese for a spread for some low-carb bread I'd baked earlier in the day. Remember to use these sparingly, as they are ever so concentrated!

The other set of concentrates are definitely something to write home about. You know how when you read a product label and it says "artificial flavors"? These are the sorts of concentrated flavors the food industry uses to make foods come alive with flavor. Here they are offered in three all time favorites —
Malt, Honey, and Raisin.

Chocolate Malt Because it was our favorite, let's start with Malt. Ever have a frosty malted? You know, a milkshake made with malt powder? I'd get them in our local ice cream parlor when I was a kid. They were superior to the standard chocolate shake in my opinion. And I'd always opt for a Carnation Malted Milk over a plain Nestle Quick also. Well, this malt flavor brought back a lot of memories for many of us. Add it to any of your chocolate favorites -- from hot chocolate (made with cream, water, Splenda, and cocoa), or added to an Atkins or Keto Chocolate Shake — perhaps with a few scoops of Keto Ice Cream thrown in to complete the experience. It's just so good. You only need 2-4 drops for a blender full.

Then there's the honey flavor. Add a few drops to any of the baked goods here in our recipe area and you'll see they taste like you sweetened them with honey. And to borrow a trick from the Spring Water Concentrates, add a bit to sweetened butter and you have honey-butter. Fabulous on pancakes or waffles!

Rum Raisin Ice Cream And lastly, the raisin — a flavor more versatile than you might think. Here are a few things we found it to be great in: a warm bowl of low-carb hot cereal (we used Expert Foods' not/Cereal), added to a loaf of Keto Cinnamon Raisin Bread (it makes the raisin flavor jump out at you!), add it to any of our vanilla flavored baked goods - like the Almond Flour Pound Cake instead of the lemon flavor, or add it to our
"Sugar" Cookies recipe for a scrumptious difference. Or try this — how about Rum Raisin Ice Cream? Start with our recipe for Classic Vanilla Ice Cream and use DaVinci's Butter Rum syrup in place of the water called for. Then add a few drops of Nature's Flavors raisin and make as directed. MMmmmmm.

We're looking forward to creating new recipes with these tasty flavors. If you come up with a great one, send it to us! All flavors are carb free, come in 1 oz bottles, and are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


03-13-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Sauces The great new products from Steel's Sugar Free Products continues with the introduction of their new Rocky Mountain Ketchup, Barbeque Sauce, and Sweet and Sour Sauce ! As with their other new Sugar Free items, they're Splenda sweetened and are very low in carbs. You'll find the ketchup to be slightly spicy and just enough sweet. It's as good as any high carb ketchup on all your favorites. But their skill with taste-alike sauces is even better served with their Barbeque Sauce and Sweet and Sour Sauce. For the Barbeque sauce taste tests, we created some truly fabulous Barbeque Glazed Kansas City Style Ribs. They reminded me so much of the ribs my Dad used to make (he called them "Blue Ridge Style" when we lived in the North Carolina mountains.) You won't be able to miss the hints of cloves, mustard and cinnamon, nor the kick of Tobasco in the sauce. (Our ribs call for a smattering of fruit, so we used the Steel's Apricot jam.)   This sauce is also good over a burger — add some real cheddar and a few strips of crisp thick-sliced bacon!

And the Sweet and Sour Sauce? Yummy. Really yummy. A smidge of pineapple juice and a bit of soy sauce is mixed with a light tomato base and great spices. This sauce is at its best with pork — from a roast to lean loin strips, it makes the dish. Of course it's also great on chicken breast mixed with some crisp stir-fried veggies.

All three sauces are 2 carbs or less per serving and available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


03-13-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Steel's Dressings Since I began lowcarbing two years ago (wow, 2 years... sometimes I forget!), I've resigned myself to mostly Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings. Sometimes I take the time to make my own in other varieties, but I'm usually too swamped for time to bother with salad dressing. There are other low-carb dressings out there, but you'll note we haven't spotlighted a single one of them. Why? We haven't felt any of them made the grade — until now.

This week we were introduced to the new
Steel's Sugar Free Dressings — sweetened with Splenda! These are every bit as good as most of the "gourmet" type dressings I used to enjoy. We just loved 'em. There are currently two varieties (we hope they do more!) and come in Honey Mustard and in Sweet Ginger Lime. We tried them both over our new Allegro Salad and can surely recommend them there.

Food Grouping But we always used to love to cook with the special chef's type dressings, so we experimented a bit with these as well. We made a gorgeous beef roast and drizzled it with the warmed Honey Mustard. You'd swear there was real honey in there. And the Sweet Ginger Lime made an ideal brush-on for shish-kebob. We can't wait to continue experimenting with these!

Both varieties get their smooth, thick textures from the addition of silken tofu. The Sweet Ginger Lime comes in at only 1 carb per serving, and the Honey Mustard is virtually carb-free. Both are delicious. They're available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


02-28-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
American Spice - Flavored Oils In our continuing quest to bring you the best, most diverse, and always sugar free flavorings, we have been evaluating the line of American Spice Flavored Oils, and the fact that we are highlighting them here today is evidence that they gave us great results! First, let's talk about variety. Usually in reviews, we try to list for you all available flavors or choices of any given product, but the American Spice flavored oils (and extracts) are too numerous to completely name here. (As I write this, they have 65 different flavor varieties available!) So let me touch on a few that we found the most interesting and had excellent results cooking American Spice - Flavored Oils and baking with:

 
 Watermelon, Tangerine, Red Licorice, Cotton Candy,   Blackberry, Champagne, Pistachio, Bubble Gum,  Praline, Marshmallow, Butter Rum, Blueberry, Amaretto, Tutti-Frutti, Salt Water Taffy, Root Beer, Pina Colada, Blueberry, Eggnog, and English Toffee.   And as we said, that's only the tip of the iceberg. You can have a ball shopping there and imagining the possibilities.

Hands down, our favorite uses for these great, vibrant oils was for flavoring ice cream, frostings, and shakes. A Pina Colada ice cream and a Tutti-Frutti shake are to die for. And we made little cream cheese & Splenda frosting "candies" with the Salt Water Taffy, the Cotton Candy, and the Marshmallow American Spice - Flavored Oils flavors. Drop on wax paper and refrigerate or freeze for amazing little super-low-carb treats! Or toss some pecans into your next batch of low-carb chocolate ice cream and add the Praline flavor. MMMMMmmmmm. (We used the Keto Chocolate Ice Cream and added a 1/4 cup of frozen/broken sugar free dark chocolate bar to the mix — it was so good!) We made our basic "Sugar" Cookie recipe with many of the flavors. The English Toffee worked great — especially with walnuts, and the Pistachio flavor mixed with bits of broken toasted real pistachios was divine. Go shopping down their virtual aisles and let your imagination and favorite flavors guide you!

American Spice Flavored Oils are available online at the American Spice Company website.


02-12-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Watkins Mustards
Like most foods with ancient roots, mustard has been heralded as a curative. It stimulates appetite and digestion, and clears the sinuses. Mustard increases blood circulation. One of mustard's greatest health benefits is that it provides tremendous flavor for few calories and almost no carbohydrates. Mustard is between 25-32% protein, depending on the variety of plant. Leaf mustard contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin B.

All that said, we should be using mustard pretty freely in a low carbohydrate nutrition regime. Forget the thoughts that mustard's only use is over a stadium hot dog or on a ham sandwich. It's a terrific tool in your low-carb kitchen arsenal. And some of the best are the specialty mustards — those that stand a step up from standard American yellow. Among those we've tried recently, we have to give a unanimous thumbs up to the
Watkins Gourmet Prepared Mustards. For our purposes we tried the Horseradish, the German Style, and the Jalapeno — we found all to be outstanding.

If you like hot... I mean really HOT, then the Jalapeno mustard is for you. In our testing, one of our group dubbed it, "the Devil's Mustard", but believe me, it was meant affectionately. Daubed onto a polish sausage with kraut, I had to admit, it is delish! Or try it on low-carb-bread sandwiches, ham, brisket, and smoked chicken or turkey!

For a traditional German style — especially to go with imported cold cuts or German style sausages, the Watkins German mustard proved a true gem. It was everyone's favorite with its sassy old-world taste. It's spicy in the classic brown Dusseldorf-style — with the barest hint of sweet.

And for making a mustard meatloaf, you'll simply adore the Watkins Horseradish mustard! Just add 2 Tablespoons to your regular meatloaf recipe and wait for the compliments (and requests for the recipe.)

Each contains a small trace of sugar, but not enough that we felt it was a problem. WatkinsOnline.com You can purchase all varieties of the Watkins mustards online at Jenkins & Associates. They ship quickly, are always available for help, and offer a 100% money-back guarantee.


02-06-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Walden Farms Bruschetta Traditionally, Bruschetta (broo-SKET-ta) is Italian bread (usually the "crusty" variety) topped with a rich spicy tomato mixture, then drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, salted and served warm. More often than not, it's associated with a pretty high carb count too. Obviously, the carbs come from the bread. So it's not likely your local Italian eatery will be serving this up in a low-carb version any time soon, but this doesn't mean you can't enjoy it too! All you need is a great low-carb bread, and we've reviewed plenty of terrific ones. You'll want to chose one with a dense consistency, or with a very firm crust (or both.) For standard bruschetta, we think the Keto French Bread (if you make it yourself) or the Irene's Health Bread (if you buy it pre-made) are the best choices.

But the star of great bruschetta isn't the bread — it's the topping! And for this, our review centers on the new
Walden Farms Bruschetta! With no added sugars or thickeners, this premium sauce is bursting with great flavor! Open the jar, pour it on, and you're transported to sun-drenched Tuscany from the first bite.

Bruschetta Chicken To make basic bruschetta —
Place the sliced bread on a broiling pan.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Broil 1 minute to heat and dry bread, but do not toast.
Top with Walden Farms Bruschetta sauce. Place back under broiler until heated through; do not burn the bread. About 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of basil on top and add a very little freshly-ground black pepper. You can also add a smidge of parmesan or goat cheese. This makes an amazing appetizer!

Walden Farms Bruschetta But don't stop at bread. Walden Farms bruschetta sauce is just begging to be cooked with. We made a terrific Bruschetta Chicken: Wash chicken, place in a casserole dish, pour Bruschetta over chicken and sprinkle with oregano and grated cheese, cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 375F (depending on size of chicken.)

Or make Bruschetta Ribs! Pour bruschetta over beef or baby back ribs and place in oven; cook slowly at 275F for 3 to 4 hours.

Here are a few other ideas:
  • Spread your toasted bread with cream cheese, drizzle with olive oil and garlic, then top with bruschetta.
  • Use the bruschetta sauce in a homemade taco salad.
  • Add a jar of bruschetta sauce to your chili as it cooks.
  • Cover sautéed veal chops with warmed bruschetta and toasted almonds!
  • Make Cabbage Rolls by steaming cabbage leaves, filling with seasoned ground beef; nestle in casserole dish and pour a jar of bruschetta over top. Top with freshly ground pepper and bake till done.
  • Top grilled eggplant with bruschetta sauce and mozarella!
Walden Farms Bruschetta sauce comes in at less than 1 carb per serving and is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


02-03-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Watkins Extracts
Flavors are the heart-and-soul of low-carb cooking — especially in baking. Being somewhat more restricted in the fruit and sweet-based ingredients we can use to impart that "something special", we rely instead on essences of the tastes we remember.

So a truly great
Banana, Orange or Caramel extract can go a very long way indeed. But in searching out the very best that fits into our lifestyle, we require three things: Strong rich flavor with no compromises, a sugarfree base that won't add carbs to the dish, and quality that's consistent every time. As a bonus a large and unusual array of flavor varieties is also nice. So we went looking for the perfect recommendation to fit the bill. (Over the next few weeks we'll be giving you the skinny on more along this line...)

We had some spectacular successes with the
Watkins line of flavored extracts and want to share those results with you. First, we made our Banana Spice Cake with the Watkins Banana Extract and got a much more fragrant, true-taste cake than with standard grocery store brands (we tried it against McCormack brand.) Next, we tried our traditional "Sugar" Cookie recipe changing their flavor with various Watkins extracts. Best performing were Almond, Black Walnut (we added walnuts to the recipe!), Coconut, Rum, and Peppermint (we colored the cookies and got an amazing cool batch of mint cookies!) We also made a plain batch for frosting, then started flavoring the icings to either top the cookies or make "sandwich" cookies out of them! Watkins Raspberry Extract We mixed cream cheese, soft butter, Splenda and a teaspoon of cream with the more fruit based extracts and the best of these were Raspberry, Pineapple, Peach, Strawberry, and Cherry. Not a fruit flavor, but their Peanut Butter flavored extract also made for a great icing. We got the rich flavor of roasted peanuts without making our pale cream icing brown by adding peanut butter.

All flavors and varieties of Watkins extracts are sugarfree except their Vanilla (sadly, but see our recommendations for January 9th for our picks in Vanilla!) They're a great buy and consistent from batch to batch. We also like their old-fashioned "jug-style" bottles with little handles. And since Watkins has been around since 1868, you know you can trust them for quality.

WatkinsOnline.com You can purchase all varieties of the Watkins extracts and flavorings online at Jenkins & Associates. They ship quickly, are always available for help, and offer a 100% money-back guarantee.


01-09-01 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Do you love vanilla? Most people do. In fact, contrary to popular belief, vanilla — not chocolate — is the world's (and America's) favorite flavor.

Vanilla Vanilla was discovered in Mexico by the Spanish conquistadors, who dubbed it vainilla meaning "little sheath." They brought it to Europe, where it was quickly adopted. The first written mention of vanilla was in 1662, in reference to an ingredient used with chocolate by the Native Americans. By the 19th century, the great innovation of ice cream created a love affair with vanilla. Vanilla beans were once prized as highly effective aphrodisiacs, and were so rare, they were used as tribute payments to royalty.

Low carb cooking is no exception in its love of vanilla. In fact, we have it listed as an ingredient in a great many of our recipes here. But I always specify sugar free vanilla, and invariably I get letters asking which one(s) I use and where I buy it. Some people never even realized vanilla often contains sugar. Well, a lot of it does, (McCormick, for example has a high sugar content!) so it pays to be a label reader, but here's the skinny on vanilla extract:

Vanilla is the only flavor with a U.S. FDA standard of identity in the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 169). Single-fold extract must contain extractive material from 13.35 oz. of vanilla beans (at 25% moisture) per gallon and at least 35% alcohol by volume. Anything less than 35% must be labeled "vanilla flavor." Unfortunately, optional ingredients include glycerin, corn syrup, dextrose, sugar, sugar syrups, and propylene glycol.

Spice Island's Pure Vanilla Extract We worked hard to find the best vanillas that don't contain sugar of any kind, so that we can recommend them to you here. Without a doubt, the best, most fragrant, and with the richest taste is
Spice Island's Pure Vanilla Extract. It's 100% bourbon vanilla bean extractives in water and 35% alcohol. (By the way, "bourbon" vanilla extract is simply made from pods grown in Madagascar, Réunion, or the Comoros - a throwback to the time when Réunion was known as "Bourbon." It's not extract made with bourbon.)

CVS Pure Vanilla Extract Taking second place, surprisingly, was a store brand. We found the Pure Vanilla Extract from
CVS (yes, the pharmacy chain) was very good indeed. It held up to high temperatures and retained its rich, almost floral flavor. It contains vanilla bean extract, water and alcohol.

Frontier and Madagascar Brands Pure Vanilla Extract Third in line was the Organic vanilla extract from
Frontier Brand (found in most health food stores, but also available online.) It contains only organic vanilla beans, water, and alcohol. Finally, the Madagascar Brand vanilla from Tavolo was also a good sugarfree option. There is one more sugarfree brand we tried, but were less impressed with. The Nielsen-Massey Sugarless Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract is certainly acceptable, but because its baked in flavor loses the strength a Madagascar vanilla should have, and because it's the most expensive, we place it last on the list.

So ... now that you've got a handle on the right kind of vanilla to use, just where should you use it? Obviously, our minds go first to the desserts — Vanilla enhances the sweetness perception of foods, especially in bakery products. If you had a product with and without vanilla, most people would perceive the one with added vanilla as sweeter. So if you are creating sugarless dishes, you might be able to add a little bit more vanilla to enhance the sweetness perception. Vanilla and sweet goods go hand in hand, but have you ever thought of vanilla vinaigrette, vanilla glaze over pork, or vanilla stir-fry? Vanilla provides smooth rich background taste! You can use it to balance sauces for shellfish, chicken, and veal. Plus, it softens dairy flavors and reduces "egginess" in French toast and meringues.

Here are a couple of non-conventional recipes we had a little fun with that use vanilla for a unique twist. Spice Islands Brand is available in many upscale groceries, cooking stores and also online at their website. Obviously, CVS Brand is available at CVS Pharmacies. The Frontier Organics can be found in most health food stores or online at Low Carb Outfitters. Happy Cooking!


12-26-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Buckhead Gourmet Sauces
If there's one truism that spans nearly all of low-carb dieting, it's that we enjoy a lot of meat. From fowl, to game, to big beefy steaks, we get the luxury of always having a star of the meal. Then the challenge becomes great ways to add flavor, uniqueness, and interest to the dish. One great way is with
Buckhead Gourmet's Collection of Classic Chef Sauces !

The wide variety of these cuisine celebrities means that there's pretty much something for everyone, and for every kind of meal. They offer:
  • Sauce Bordeaux - As its name implies, a classic French red wine sauce also known as Sauce Bordelaise. It has a hearty and robust in flavor with a hint of Black Truffles on the finish. It enhances all meat dishes without overpowering the natural flavors.
  • Sauce Hunter - Western European in origin. This classic sauce is prepared with Red Wine, Imported Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffles. Also, traditionally used with the (Hunter's) game long ago, it has evolved as a wonderful compliment to most meat dishes.
  • Sauce Peppercorn - This version of peppery sauce is the European style prepared with Brandy, Sour Cream, Whole Green Peppercorns, and Black Truffles. From pork roast to filet mignons, it's a classic with any meat dish.
  • Sauce Madeira - A delicate brown sauce prepared with Madeira wine — An amazing sauce served with Beef Wellington.
To prepare these classic sauces before serving, you simply simmer over low heat stirring occasionally. These sauces are versatile; use them as a finishing sauce, marinade or as a cooking sauce. Don't be afraid to experiment by adding your own ingredients. Pan drippings or even a small amount of foie gras while simmering add a personal touch. For a light hint of flavor in dishes where the flavor should be subtle, a Tablespoon of sauce added to a heavy cream and egg yolk base is simply divine, and makes an elegant presentation as well.

They come in 8-oz bottles and work out to approximately 2 grams of carb per serving for all varieties. Buckhead Gourmet Classic Chef Sauces are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


12-14-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Roland Mustard
Are you a fan of mustard? Do you enjoy the bite of that unique golden flavor? As a kid, I loved mustard on everything. My friends all thought ketchup was the thing, so I figure they pegged me for 'weird'. I still love it, and like making good recipes great ones by using mustard here and there.

Dijon Mustard is a different breed altogeher, but has just as fine an appeal. It was purportedly Julius Caesar's troops who brought the first mustard seeds to the city of Dijon and its surrounding fields. During the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, in the 17th century, the mustard manufacturers of Dijon were awarded the exclusive right to manufacture Dijon mustard. The government of France still continues this right today and has established strict criteria for the production of Dijon mustard.

We recently had the chance to try one of the finest of these Dijon mustards. Versatile, smooth and delicious,
Roland Green Peppercorn Dijon proved to be a star.

So, what do we look for when tasting mustard? Although taste is largely subjective, there are certain objective criteria to consider when evaluating the condiment. The mustard should be entirely pleasant. It should be somewhat acidic, but not overly so, and it should not be too salty. Its flavors should be well-balanced, with no single element dominating.

This one passed the test and we recommend it! Here's a recipe we made for a dinner that was a great success. And it couldn't be simpler.

Roland Mustard is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


11-21-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice Want to provide an alternative to Pumpkin Pie on the holidays? Perhaps something light and refreshing? Think about the the snappy cool flavor of a rich key lime pie... or a chilled slice of key lime cheesecake!

We had the opportunity to take
Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice out for a culinary spin and see where it took us. Many of you might already be familiar with the brand, as Nellie & Joe's is a nationally recognized Key Lime Pie brand with products all over the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. And they've been at this for 29 years. But for those of you who don't have experience with their Key Lime Juice, we strongly recommend you get to know it.

We made three main dishes with it — first, we made a Tropical Key Lime Pie, then a Key Lime Cheesecake, and finally, Key Lime Chicken! They were all quite delicious, but we expected they would be. Try it yourself and see what great ideas you come up with!

Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice is available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


11-19-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Frisch's Tartar Sauce
I've been a fan of tartar sauce as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I often opted for tartar sauce on a burger over ketchup and even liked to dip chicken in it. Now a low-carber, I have been routinely making tartar sauce by hand because pretty much all the commercial tartar sauce brands I found contained sugar or corn syrup (or both) and most also contain partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats.) I have found a few brands that did not, but they weren't very tasty.

Then it was called to my attention that
Frisch's Tartar Sauce was just what I was looking for! It's a local brand with its roots in the restaurant of the same name (Frisch's Big Boy) — a Southern Ohio/Cincinnati institution.

It contains the following: Soybean Oil, Pickles, Water, Egg Yolk, Vinegar, Onions, Salt, and Spices. A serving will cost you less than a gram of carbs, and it's really delicious. We not only use it as a spread, but also add it to recipes (for a creamy chicken or tuna salad, make your "base" from 1 part no-sugar Mayonnaise, 1 part sour cream, and 1 part Frisch's Tartar Sauce.) Obviously it's great with fish, but it also makes a versatile ingredient in many savory sauces with chicken and seafood. Or add a teaspoon of low-carb ketchup to make "pink tartar sauce". Or add a little Tobasco for a real "kick" — great with Catfish!

Turkey Sandwich Now, here's one of the best ways to use this great sauce considering the time of year: When you make the inevitable turkey sandwiches (on low-carb bread, of course) after your holiday meals have graced you with a bounty of leftovers, try making one with Turkey Breast slices, slices of crisp bacon, Frisch's Tartar Sauce, and shredded lettuce (and toast the bread.) Serve with dill pickle wedges. This is out-of-this-world!

So where do you get it? Well, if you live in Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky you can probably find it on your local grocer's shelf. If you don't, there are several places online who carry it. One of them is The Best of Cincinnati and another is Cincinnati To You.


11-02-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Consorzio Dipping Oil
Only a few short years ago, I had never heard of a "dipping oil", so when I was taken to dinner at a Bravo Italian Kitchen restaurant and oil was brought to my table and poured into a small bowl, I was taken by surprise to say the least. I looked around and saw that other patrons were tearing off chunks of the crusty Italian bread sitting in their table baskets and dipping the bread into the oil. So, I screwed up my courage and did the same. Wow. What an interesting and new sensation. The spices brought an exciting "zing" to the thick, meaty bread. In no time, I was a convert! But it was one of those things that fell to the wayside when I began my low carbohydrate nutrition way of life. For some reason, I never thought of it again even when the new low-carb breads debuted.

Our group recently got a chance to be re-introduced. We received a bottle of
Consorzio Dipping Oil. It's an aromatic blend of olive oil, basil, roasted garlic, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar. It was created by Michael Chiarello, chef of Napa Valley's famed Tra Vigne Restaurant and they refer to it as "a little bit of Italy in a bottle." We tend to agree. So in short order, an Italian meal was in the works. We chose to make a Meaty Eggplant Parmesan. Then we warmed a loaf of Keto's classic French Consorzio Dipping Oil Loaf machine bread (we made it extra dense like Italian Bread by adding a beaten egg to the water mixture and reducing the water to 9 ounces. — You can also make it "crustier" by placing the loaf in a paper bag for a day on the counter before serving.)

Then pour a little of the Dipping Oil into small individual bowls and enjoy the crusty warm bread dipped in this carb free indulgence. We completely loved it. Every one of us. You gotta try it! It was the perfect companion to our Eggplant Parmesan. Imagine, rich Italian foods on a low-carb diet. It just keeps getting better, doesn't it?

Now, here are a few other suggestions:
For great garlic bread, split a loaf of Keto machine bread (made the denser way described above) lengthwise. Coat with melted butter and dipping oil. Bake for 2 minutes at 350F. Remove and cover with mozzarella cheese, brown under broiler until cheese is bubbly and lightly brown. Top with fresh shredded basil leaf and parmesan cheese!

Still more ideas:
Brush on low carb pizza crust instead of tomato based sauces.
Drizzle the dipping oil over fresh and steamed veggies, grilled fish, or over mock mashed potatoes.
Use as part of a salad dressing or sauce, or toss with freshly cooked low-carb pasta for a quick tasty meal.
Or use it as a marinade for Italian Chicken!

Consorzio Dipping Oil can be ordered online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


09-30-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Flavored Infused Oils
Have you noticed by now that our little group just loves to cook and experiement? This week we had some new culinary powerhouses to work with. We're talking about Flavored Infused Oils. Two leaders emerge as the very best and that's what we're covering in this review. We start with
Boyajian (pronounced "boy-AH-jian") Flavored Oils. Boyajian's oils are produced the old-fashioned way — steeped with healthy portions of herbs in 275-gallon vats — a process that takes weeks. Among the flavors of herb-infused Boyajian oils that we tried were Basil, Sundried Tomato, Lemon Pepper, and Rosemary. They also offer citrus oils, produced with the same mechanical method of extraction as olive oil so that no chemicals are introduced into the process.

What we found with the herb oils is that there's a tremendous savings of time when you use flavored oils — you can forget about all that time in the kitchen dicing and mincing. It's already done. They can be used in marinades and sauces for some of the most flavorful low-carb dishes and are a must-have for making salad dressings.
Boyajian Oils
The citrus oils are some of the most remarkably intense we've ever found. They are nothing like extracts and can deliver a taste richly infused with the
Lemon, Lime, or Orange flavor of the fruit - without a chemical or alcohol taste you can sometimes get using extracts. They are highly concentrated also so remember to use only about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of dry ingredients. The citrus oils are all natural essences that are cold pressed from the rind of the fruit. It takes approximately 220 oranges, 330 lemons, or 400 limes to produce a 5 ounce bottle of oil. You can use citrus oils in place of zest in sweet and savory dishes, or add them to practically any recipe for a burst of citrus flavor.

Our favorite uses for the
lemon oil were in a Remoulade (mix mayonnaise, chopped capers, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste and the lemon oil - adjust quantities to your needs and taste), and in a basic pound cake recipe. Our favorite uses for the orange oil were in chicken stir-fry, in the Chocolate Drizzled Orange Sour Cream Cheesecake, and in the basic pound cake. And our favorite uses for the lime oil were in cookies! We made Lime Pecan cookies by altering the Almond Cookie recipe. We used 1/2 pecan flour (finely ground pecans) instead of all almond flour, and used 1/2 teaspoon lime oil instead of vanilla. Then we added broken pecans to the mix. They were delicious! You can also take the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and use Loriva Oils 1 teaspoon lime extract in place of vanilla and butter pecan extracts, and use a broken white Carbolite bar instead of Darrell Lea chocolate chips.

This brings us to the
Loriva Oils. We tested the Roasted Peanut Oil and the Basil flavored oils. Our first observation of the Peanut Oil was that it was bursting with fresh peanut aroma! This oil is cold-pressed and unrefined, so you don't have to worry about dangerous trans-fats. It imparts a deep, nutty flavor. Use it in Asian stir fries and in dressings for salads. You can also use it in any recipe that calls for nuts - especially peanuts - and uses oil in the recipe.

Our favorite, though, was the Basil flavored oil. We used it to make a Creamy Basil Salad Dressing that I am hooked on now. Here's the recipe:
Whisk together until smooth -
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp sugarfree mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Loriva Fresh Basil Flavored Oil
2 teaspoons finely minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Basil flavored oil may be increased or decreased depending on flavor level desired. This recipe is a starting point for making many different sour cream-based creamy dressings with other flavors of both brands of herb-oils.

Getting and trying these oils might just change the way you cook!

Both Loriva and Boyajian oils can be ordered online from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


07-25-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Duke's Mayonnaise Since I have been personally using this product since I was a kid, a review for it seems quite over-due. Fact is, I take its use very for granted. As our group would work with various recipes and make sandwiches on the new breads, I'd always haul out my jar of Duke's Mayonnaise, never giving it a second thought. At a recent meeting, one of our panel looked at me and said, "Why haven't we done a review for this great mayonnaise?" It was one of those "smack your forehead" moments.

Growing up in the south I was always exposed to Duke's. It was far more familiar to me than Hellman's or Kraft. I'm not sure in those days if I ever even noticed it was
sugar free. I only knew it tasted terrific. Then, in my long years of futile low-fat eating, I gave it up entirely. Wow, I really missed it. Duke's is one of the best tasting mayonnaise brands on the market and unlike the other major brands, does not contain corn syrup or other sugars. It's truly 100% carb-free. I know there are a few specialty no-sugar mayos (usually pretty pricey), but Duke's is priced like any other supermarket mayo. So... low price, great taste, and no carbs. What more could you ask for?

It's not available everywhere yet, so if your supermarket does not carry it, it can be ordered from The Low Carb Connoisseur. Want to read more about Duke's history? Try visiting here.


05-22-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy Ketchup & BBQ Sauce You know, Ketchup truly is an American tradition. We put it on everything. Hamburgers, hot dogs, even eggs. But low carbers run into a problem when they discover that ketchup is very high in sugar. In fact, ounce per ounce, ketchup has more sugar than soda-pop! (It's usually disguised as high-fructose corn syrup, etc.) Searching for an acceptable alternative hasn't always been easy. Most of the "dietetic" ketchups on the market are still extremely high in carbs (they just use what they consider to be "healthier" sugars.) Now, finally, we have some great options. There are two recent entries into the low-carb market. First, there's the Synergy Gourmet labeled ketchup. It's thick, slightly spicy and slightly sweet. It's more reminiscent of the "bold" ketchups and it exceptional on a burger. Our group liked it best on our hibachi grilled burgers, but it got high marks on everything we tried. Synergy also makes a Bar-B-Que sauce that's very tasty and was at its best with a burger topped with Renaissance Ketchup smokey bacon. We liked it on ribs too. Never got the chance to try it on chicken, but we're betting it would excell.

The next choice is
Renaissance Ketchup, one in a line of new products by the company that makes Elwood jams, jellies, etc. It's a sweeter ketchup, not at all spicy, and a bit thinner (but not too thin.) It was best on eggs, and we liked it on hot dogs as well. Both brands are sweetened with Splenda. We plan on keeping both kinds on hand all the time now — for different uses.

Both are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


03-28-00 - Product Recommendation & Review:
Love the taste of roast beef? Remember the luxury of a French Dip? The secret is in the au jus — the rich and seasoned broth that French Dip moistens and flavors the beef. But with most of us getting roast beef at the deli for snacking and lunches, a little something to liven it up would surely be welcome. Now that I have found Johnny's French Dip (Au Jus in a concentrated form), I am enjoying my low-carb versions of French Dips a lot more often! One of my favorite quick meals is a few slices of heated roast beef (either deli sliced or left-over from a previous night's roast) piled on low carb pancakes (I make up a batch of the Keto or Ketogenic Buttermilk Pancakes ahead of time and keep in individual ziploc bags for little bread "patties".) Then heat and serve this wonderful rich French Dip sauce to complete this little luxury. While the ingredients list a trace of sugar, the carb count for 1/4 cup of prepared sauce is less than 1 carb. I find this in my local grocery, but if you can't, Johhny's Foods can be ordered at their website.

12-22-99 - Product Recommendation & Review:
I've just discovered the joys of cooking with two superb seasonings from Gaylord Hauser's Modern Products, Inc. called Spike Spike and VegIt and Vegit. Since the key to keeping this (or any) diet successful is keeping the food interesting, flavorful and exciting, it's important to find products that help us achieve that goal without the use of lots of chemicals and sugars. These are amazing. I'm using Spike almost anywhere I'd add salt and pepper while cooking (not in sweets of course!) and the Vegit makes any vegetable (and many sauces) simply come alive with flavor. A little goes a long way. Each is made with blends of powdered vegetables and intense spices. You simply have to try them. In my grocery they are kept with organic and health foods, but I am told many stores carry them in the regular spices aisle. If you're thinking, "oh, they're just seasoned salt...", think again!



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