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10 Rules for Fast and Easy Low Carb Cooking

Posted Sep 28 2008 10:40pm

I think that one of my success secrets to low carb weight loss has been my approach to cooking. Some people get recipes and run all over town trying to find some obscure spice or exotic this-or-that - as if it really matters.

You are already trying to lose weight and it isn’t easy - do you need some schmuck giving you complicated recipes you can’t make in less than four hours with less than 3 cutting boards, five different knives, and at least four pots and pans?

Give me a break.

Baking is science. Candy making is science. Cooking is *not* science. Here’s 10 simple rules to follow that will speed up your time in the kitchen, yield pretty good results most of the time, and remove one less hurdle in your weight loss: 

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Yes, ths means that you will create things that even the dog won’t eat, but so what? I’ve followed this approach and while there have been a few notable failures, there have also been some notable successes. I’ve made a number of things that my wife looked at with the wariness of a cat anticipating a bath, but after a nibble she went back for seconds - sometimes thirds.
  2. Have a backup plan. Experiment when you have a fallback. I wouldn’t create a half-dozen new creations for Thanksgiving. Try one in this sort of situation. If you have a failure, it doesn’t mean that people have to eat bologna sandwiches.
  3. Failures can be turned into successes next time. You try something. You don’t like it. Was it too salty? Look awful? Have some other flaw? Maybe with some adjustments it can be a winner. Recently, I tried a recipe that my wife said “looked like dog food”. She was right. The stuff didn’t taste bad, but the look of food is part of the experience. I bet if I make the same thing, but put in something to improve the color, and serve with a coating of cheese, it would have looked a heck of a lot better.  
  4. Steal a recipe. Well, it isn’t stealing, but you need to start somewhere. Find a recipe you sort of think you’ll like, then make it your own. Remember, this isn’t nuclear science - use this as a launching point, however, and get an idea for a few main ingredients that you can build a new recipe around.
  5. Substitute, substitute, substitute. Don’t like tarragon? Don’t know what tarragon is? Leave it out. Like garlic? Put in a bulb instead of a clove. If it calls for milk, use cream. If it calls for flour, maybe to dredge a pork chop, use soy flour, or try it without it. Like it spicy? Put in lots of pepper. You aren’t making the recipe you found, you are making your own recipe, loosely based on the one you found.
  6. Remove steps. I tend to ignore phrases like ‘in a separate pan’ or ’set aside’. I think these are fine if you have the time, but I certainly don’t. I tend to replace these phrases with ‘throw everything in the same pot’. The epicurians in the audience might gasp at my brutish ways, but when I have people not on a low-carb diet going back for seconds, it proves that it didn’t matter. I once had a lamb stew recipe that called for dredging the lamb in soy flour. I hate dredging. Instead, I just sifted some of the flour over the large pot where I threw everything at once. It came out great. My wife (not on low carb, and finicky about what she eats - the true judge of my success of any recipe) went back for seconds.
  7. Try new things and new combinations. One of my favorite recipes has asparagus, soy sauce, jalepeno peppers, and splenda as pretty much all the ingredients. If it doen’t sound like it goes together, it does. I made this for Thanksgiving once and it was the first dish that our guests made disappear. Please note that when you go out of your comfort zone like this, you *will* have failures. Expect them and learn from them and don’t be discouraged.
  8. Taste while you cook. Make sure you aren’t eating raw meat, but especially at the end, take a taste before tossing in too much of a certain seasoning. You can turn a winner into a loser real quick with the over application of seasoning. Be careful out there.
  9. Write it down. It would be a shame if your concoction was a winner and you didn’t know what the heck you did afterward. Scribble notes as you go, and if what you create is worth saving, you can turn your scribbles into recipes later. Keep this up and you’ll have a full compliment of low carb recipes in a relatively short time.
  10. Have fun. The worst part of diets is that they are no fun, at least that’s what people think. It doesn’t have to be the case. Having a set of healthy low-carb ingredients, taking a simple approach, and expecting that not everything will be edible goes a long way to make this a fun process rather than a burdensome one.

Filed under: cooking

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