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N'AWLINS FOOD, PRALINES AND RED BEANS, AND GOOD NEWS ABOUT SUGAR SUBSTITUTES

Posted Aug 24 2008 7:15pm
So much to blog about, so little time! I got back from New Orleans late Monday, full of enthusiasm and eager to get started on all the projects that the trip inspired. On Tuesday I was off looking for fresh, raw, head-on shrimp to try to duplicate the fabulous New Orleans BBQ shrimp that I had at Jacques-imos . Much to my delight, I found the shrimp at my local Central Market and the dish turned out messy, buttery, spicy, and absolutely glorious on the first try. I’ll be posting the recipe as soon as I finish writing it up.



The next day I started working on gumbo, a natural for us low-carbers, since it is thickened with either file (powdered sassafras) or okra. Well, yes, a roux made with a ton of flour is also de rigueur , but I’ll work around that. Last night we had a big pot of gumbo for dinner. It was delicious but not really close to the consistency of an authentic gumbo; I have half of it left to play around with before we polish it off for lunch today.



Also on the list of projects: one of the local museums is having a Red Beans and Pralines Festival this fall and the director challenged me to create a sugar-free praline that they could feature. Never one to back away, even from such an impossible task, I agreed to give it a go. It had to be, not just any praline—but THE praline—the best of the best—the crumbly one made by Evans, one that other manufacturers fail to match, even with real sugar. We had already visited the French Market and I didn’t have a chance to get back there to pick up some of the originals to use as a model, but my sister promised to mail me a sample. Intoxicated with optimism—I also volunteered to give the red beans a low-carb makeover.



In catching up on the news that came out while I was gone, there were a couple of things I had to tell you about:



- Dr. Eades featured an article about an animal study that showed that the use of probiotics increased the lifespan of rats by a whopping 30%. http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=84888&c=m6wryBCkbEoZtdm2MLdJgQ%3D% The probiotics tested were innulin and oligofructose, two of my favorite low-carb sugar substitutes. (Oligofructose is the sweetener made from chicory roots used in Choco perfection bars. Sweet eperfection, a sugar substitute, also from Low Carb Specialties, is made of oligofructose.)



- This article about organic sugar substitutes featured at a natural food show was in the Staten Island Advance. Thanks to Jimmy Moore for finding it: http://www.silive.com/living/advance/index.ssf?/base/living/1206527482302560.xml

Here’s a quote: “Organic Zero is made from sugar cane juice which is naturally fermented and crystallized to create what is touted as the first organic erythritol on the market. Organic erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar that is found in fruits, vegetables and fermented foods such as soy sauce and chocolate.” Could Organic Zero be the one that will satisfy those who are nervous about anything artificial? Maybe this will make those perfect, crumbly pralines!
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