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ronnie_suburban

My secret ingredient for low-carb cooking...

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Thanks for the links ExtraMSG. The interface at nutritiondata.com is much nicer than at the USDA's site. I've bookmarked it and I'll certainly be checking it out regularly. The USDA site does allow for some tweaking of serving sizes but not uniformly and not on every item either. I personally like using the 100g threshold because then the given counts are effectively percentages.

I view the subbing of ingredients more from the 'cooking challenge' angle than anything else. Every once in while it does become a flat out attempt to emulate a dish without including the carby/forbidden item. While the results rarely do emulate accurately, I've come up with some very nice dishes that I would have never otherwise attempted via the experimentation trail.

I guess that's a function of being on a strict low-carb routine for weeks or months at a time and needing a break. Once I jump off, it's not always the easiest thing to jump back on. On that basis, sometimes it's more effective for me to just experiment within the parameters than to stray. After months of being strictly 'on', monotony does set in and I get to the point where I have to shake things up. At times, veggies, no matter how fresh or well-prepared they may be (or how much butter they're slathered in for that matter) are no longer appetizing to me. Same thing with salads...I can vary their contents greatly and make some great dressings too but after a while, I need to go a few days without even thinking about salad.

Any idea on the carb count of the fried onions? I'm intrigued.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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According to the back of the jar, they're less than 1 g per serving. Nice and crunchy.

My method is more to create diversity through cuisines. However, even though I like carbs (generally if enough fat and salt is added to them), I think about them as filler. They're there to give empty, cheap calories, in my mind. Basically, a starch is just a vehicle for the flavor of butter and salt, imo.

I'm in favor of "replacements" if they work and create better food. But things like Atkin's bread -- the equivalent of diet soda -- is just yuck.

We've been so anti-fat as a country, it'd be interesting just to spend some time in ethnic groceries looking for items that are low carb.

For example, looking in my pantry, bamboo shoots are very low in carbs and have a nice crunchy texture. Bean sprouts, also, though they can't really be used warm, imo.

I've been doing Thai cooking and there are some interesting methods for "straining" scrambled egg into simmering water or oil to cook them so they look like strands or almost like noodles.

You know what would be a good snack substitute for crackers and chips, but will never go over in the US? Bugs. They're crunchy and probably all protein. Nuts are too high in carbs to really much on. But insects....

Also, don't the Japanese and other Asians fry fish skins and bones until they're crispy and brittle?

Looking to ethnic cuisines, especially non-western ones, is probably the way to go.


Edited by ExtraMSG (log)

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What other 'cheats' am I missing? If you've got some low-carb cooking secrets, I'd love to hear about them. :smile:

lots of Sashimi :) zero carb


Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

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You know what would be a good snack substitute for crackers and chips, but will never go over in the US?  Bugs.  They're crunchy and probably all protein.  Nuts are too high in carbs to really much on.  But insects....

I think you're right about bugs but I prefer macadamias (1 net carb per ounce), chicharrones, a parmesan crisp (broiled parmesan) or jicama when I'm dying for something crunchy. :smile: And I will look for the fried onions. I can't say I wouldn't try bugs in the right venue, but I'd really like for that experience to be in the company of an experienced bug-eater. :wink:

I love to try low-carb products (I'm a homer for the Food Industry) and the buy-in cost to try something is relatively inexpensive (cheap thrills :biggrin:), but the products are rarely appealing. The Natural Ovens low-carb bread is darned good and has virtually no bizarre additives. It's not completely devoid of them but they are limited and reasonable IMO. Here is a listing of its ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:  White Wheat Flour, Vital Wheat Gluten, White Wheat Bran, Ground Yellow Flaxseed, Sunflower Seeds, Millet Seeds, Quick Oats, Soy Flour, Crystalline Corn Fructose, Sunflower Oil, Yeast, Soy Protein, Filtered Water, Salt. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Choline, Manganese Oxide, Niacin, Calcium Gluconate, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Beta Carotene, Selenium, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.

The Atkins rye bread looked good, felt good and smelled nice but it was unnaturally elastic and almost completely devoid of flavor. Either way, I agree with you. Low-carb products are on the periphery of my overall intake. They're fun to try but I cannot use them for anything more than an occasional 'fill-in'. My goal in starting this thread was to find out what other carb-conscious food-lovers use in their everyday plans. So far, I think the discussion has been really useful. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Butter. Beef. Bacon. :smile:

It may be a regional thing, but out here in flyoverland we have a brand of bread called Village Hearth Lite -- they make very credible Italian (squishy white supermarket bread with sesame seeds, you know, that kind of "Italian"), wheat, and 12-grain breads. Roughly 5g carb per slice and they don't have that rubbery quality that most low-carb breads have.

(I have to admit, I'm not doing much low-carb cooking at the moment. I switched to an old version of the "Carbohydrate Addict's Diet": a rather spartan low-carb breakfast and lunch, no snacks, but then whatever the heck you want for dinner within a 60-minute time limit. The authors backpedaled later on and specified a sensible, balanced meal, but I say, hey, if people have lost weight on the old insensible and unbalanced plan, sign me up. Five pounds and counting. I had pizza tonight.)

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Thanks fendel, I'll look for the Village Hearth Lite next time I'm at the store as I am also in 'flyover' land.

BTW, I've seen that "Carbohydrate Addict's Diet" at the bookstore but have never checked it out. I think I'll take a look at it over the weekend when I take my son to Borders to redeem some birthday giftcards he received.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronnie, I've been doing the lowcarb way of eating since 1997 extremely consistently (have to... it controls my diabetes perfectly). One thing that provides endless variety is stir-fry. Make a nice stir-fry sauce and keep it in the fridge in a pourable container (dry sherry, soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, a little splenda) and vary your lowcarb vegetables and meats. I chop up things on the weekend, store in containers in the fridge, and then just throw them in a hot wok during the week when I get home.

Another of my fave things is to take the ingredients for lasagna, minus the pasta of course, and layer them in oven-proof individual size casseroles, topped with mozzarella cheese. Bake until hot throughout and golden. You get all the lasagna flavor with very few carbs.

Turnips make a great alternative to potatoes in stews, soups, and other comfort foods. Practically indistinguishable. 5 grams of net effective carbs in 1 cup which is maybe a bit more than I use for an entire 6 quart crockpot of stew.

I also have several good lowcarb cookbooks. I'll list the best of them if you're interested. I tend to go with fresh whole foods that are of themselves lowcarb and not lowcarb substitutes for high carb things.


"Portion control" implies you are actually going to have portions! ~ Susan G

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Thanks Cynthia. I've done similar, lasagna-style low-carb "bakes" and they've always been very satisfying. In fact, cauliflower played a prominent role in one of the more memorable ones. I like the idea of stir-fry dishes, but need to get more acclimated to eating them without rice. I've just added turnips to my grocery list for this weekend. :smile:

If you have time, please do list the Low-Carb cookbooks you rely on the most. I've picked up a couple of them myself, but so far I haven't found that one that I've really been able to lean on.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I really don't know the carb value of these but there are tofu noodles and yuba sheets (soymilk skin) can be sliced into noodle and used in a stir-fry or a soup.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Cauliflower features a lot, yeah. I love it roasted so much that I'm thinking about pureeing leftovers and making them into kind of faux-latkes, maybe with some sauteed onion mixed in.

Like others here, I don't tend to do a lot with the packaged products -- I never cooked with Kool-Ade or ate sugared breakfast cereal before, so why would I opt for sugar-free drink mixes or fake sugared cereals now? -- but there are a few that I find incredibly valuable.

1. Vegetable gums -- either xantham, guar, or "NotStarch" from Expert Foods. They work beautifully to thicken stews, chowder, stir fries, though there are a few tricks to working with them.

2. TVP, otherwise known by the spectacularly unappetizing name of textured vegetable protein, AKA weird bits of soy. Make a very good rice substitute -- I had to stop making faux fried "rice" because it was so good I was eating way too much of it -- and I'm thinking about trying to use it as a sub for bulgur in, say, a Middle Eastern-style pilaf. It needs to be hydrated before use, and will pick up the flavor of whatever it's soaked in -- stock or coconut milk are a whole lot tastier than water.

3. Whey Low. Unlike a lot of low-carbers, I don't crave desserts much, but when I do want something sweet -- or even a hit of sweetness in an otherwise savory dish, like a Thai salad -- I really hate the chemical aftertaste I get from Splenda. (I'm told that only a small percentage of users taste this -- go figure.) Anyway, Whey Low has a lovely, clean sugar-taste. I often cut it half and half with Erythritol, to lower the carb-count, and I find the mixture works extremely well. To my (fussy) tongue, it's all but indistinguishable from sugar.

4. LC bread. Yeah, taken straight it's pretty vile (although the "reduced carb" bread from Tribecca Ovens is delicious, albeit for 8 grams per clice). But toasting improves it a lot. However, I rarely use it for sandwiches, turning it instead into breadcrumbs (for crabcakes, say, or chicken Milanese) or croutons, usually made into stuffing. The stuffing, in particular, is terrific, and the texture is just fine. FWIW, after MUCH testing (I wrote an article on the damn products, and munched my way through vast amounts of LC bread), I have found the bread from Synergy Diet to be infinitely better than anything else out there (the Tribecca Ovens bread -- with its comparatively high carb-count -- excepted). It has a VERY nice texture, and no soy taste. In fact, it's soo good that I'm a little skeptical of the carb-count, and am going to be sending some off to a testing lab.

5. Chef's Blend flour. I've recently become a fan of this stuff, though I have yet to use it extensively. It makes a decent (though -- sigh -- not terrific) coating for eggplant or chicken breasts and I used it to make a zucchini bread (along with almond flour and :wub: Whey Low) that was truly wonderful. Nope, it's not in supermarkets, but I'll provide the mail-order info if anyone is interested. What I really want to do is try using it to make a bechamel.

Listen, I had a thought -- there appear to be a good few of us here eating either low-carb or lower-carb. And I trust recipes from Egulleteers more than from a lot of LC dieters -- to many of the recipes I've found just aren't up to my food-snob standards. Should we start sharing? I'd be happy to trade my faux fried rice and (tweaked version of somebody else's) delicious fake cornbread for whatever goodies you got.

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If you have time, please do list the Low-Carb cookbooks you rely on the most.  I've picked up a couple of them myself, but so far I haven't found that one that I've really been able to lean on.

Well, Ronnie, I can't say I really rely on any of them. But the ones I flip through most are:

The Low-Carb Cookbook by Fran McCullough (several of my most-used recipes are here)

Living Low-Carb also by Fran

Everyday Low Carb Cookery by Alex Haas (this may be out of print now)

500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender

15 Minute Low Carb Recipes also by Dana (this is really a very simple book but has some ideas for easy quick things, but most of us here are beyond this level of cooking... would be good for a non-foodie doing the lowcarb thing)

I recently acquired The Low-Carb Comfort Food Cookbook by the Drs. Eades with Ursula Solom. I've only made a couple things from this so far, but they were good.

Most of the others I have or have seen are really much too high in carbs for me to use.


"Portion control" implies you are actually going to have portions! ~ Susan G

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Thanks Sandra, Jinmyo, Mags and Cynthia (and everyone) for all the leads, ideas and perspectives. I have to say that I never considered tofu (or tofu noodles) which has probably been a big mistake since tofu takes on the flavors of the other components in a dish better than just about anything else and it's very low in carbs. I feel like a door has opened. :smile:

Mags, I love the idea of branching out--it's the very reason I started this thread :smile: On that note, I'd love to swap some properly tested :biggrin: low-carb recipes. My thought was that I'd update this thread when I came up with or learned about new stuff. So, is this the place, or is there a better mode?

I did come up with one semi-innovation late last week. I'll probably post the details in the next day or two...

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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For baking: almond flour and soy flour are the lowest

Add a little oat flour for recipes that need gluten

Cauliflower makes good "rice" though it still tastes like cauliflower.

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For the record... I sorta plugged the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet earlier in this thread. I'm having second thoughts about that; I'm concerned about what the carby meal is doing to my blood sugar. They say the diet decreases insulin levels, but what about blood glucose?

I bought a blood glucose meter the other day and confirmed my suspicion that I'm basically pre-diabetic. (I highly recommend this to everyone. Um, the meter, not the pre-diabetes.)

So I think I'm going to be scaling way back on the carbs now and taking this a little more seriously.

We now return to your regularly scheduled thread. :huh:

Oh yeah, secret ingredient... I don't know yet how this is for cooking, but our local stores have started carrying a low-carb milk substitute called Carb Countdown. So far I've only had the chocolate kind--and it's surprisingly good if you add a little cream to it.


Edited by fendel (log)

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Trader Joe's (West Coast) has two new low carb breads, one is cheddar garlic which is somewhat dry, but would be great with tuna melts, or grilled cheese; the other is cinnimon walnut which has a moist texture and tastes great on its own or prepared as french toast, or maybe in a bread pudding. They also have a great cinnamon apple chicken breakfast sausage that is nitrate free. These sausages can be cooked dry in a skillet and have great flavor.

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Thanks for the information Calico and Tirgoddess. I usually hit T :angry: J's for my stash of macadamia nuts, so I'll definitely check out these bread products on my future visits. Regarding the specialty flours, I imagine I can source them through The Baker's Catalog, but if you know of another source or a better source, please post it here.

fendel, I appreciate the tips as well as the refinement of your previous recommendation. I never made it to the bookstore this weekend, but I still plan on taking a look at that book the next time I'm there--keeping in mind the significant caveat you mentioned. BTW, what's the ballpark price for a glucose meter?

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Forgot to add bean sprouts as a pasta substitute

When I was on the Fatkins Diet I used frozen french cut string beans, very well cooked, for my "pasta." With marinara sauce, and even layered up as a lasagna with the usual "fixins," it was pretty derned good.

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Actually there is low-carb pasta. Bella Vita, for instance, is 10 net carbs per serving (and 1g fat and 28g protein). It's wonderful and very chewy. I never did like mushy pasta though, very much an "al dente" fan.

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Wow! I just looked up water chestnuts on one of the sights that folks had offered links to; they have like 5 net carbs per half cup of canned sliced water chestnuts. I've found that if you rinse them well, or blanch for about 10 seconds, they lose the "tinny" taste and add a LOT of crunch!

I'm also glad that somebody else feels that Splenda is vile. Thought I was imagining it! :blink:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Splenda (and most artificial sweeteners) are not satisfying solo. Combine them (such as Splenda/Saccharin/Stevia) in one recipe and the aftertaste goes away though.

I have read a lot about radishes as a LC alternative to home fries, I am going to try that out tonight, will report back how it goes.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Spaghetti squash is a great subsitute when you are craving spaghetti. Buy/make some LC spaghetti sauce and Bob's your uncle. I am on a lower-carb, not low-carb, diet so I don't know if spag. squash is appropriate for Atkins induction, etc. I just know 1 cup of it has a lot fewer carbs than 1 cup of regular spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is also good tossed with butter and bacon bits.

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An absolutely great ingredient for low-carb is yuba skins, or another name they may have is tofu skins. You'd hardly know they weren't pasta and they taste great.

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