This post was written by Chef Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic.
Ok, let us get the elephant out of the room. I use that granulated sugar substitute that comes in the yellow bag. I know, I know, all those chemicals. While I am at it, let me also admit to using SWEET AND LOW in my coffee. Could I use the stevia plant products? Perhaps I could, but at this time I find it: 1.) too expensive, and 2.) hard to work with equivalents. So I take the possible risks (?) to create desserts that still taste like the original.
Read on for some EASY chef’s tricks for making your diabetic cooking more fun, interesting, & delicious.
- What I do in baking is to reduce the amount of flour in a recipe by 1/4 to 1/3 and substitute it with toasted ground nuts. I find that almonds work best for a dryer texture, and that walnuts and pecans work better for wetter texture. Each nut adds its own flavor. The new way here is better than the old way both for flavor and carbohydrates. Toasting nuts is super easy. You can either toast them in a dry pan or in the oven, or as I do at home, in my toaster oven. The one caveat is to watch them like a hawk. Because of the oil content, nuts can go from toasted to charred in the blink of an eye. This is no time for multi-tasking!
- To replace things like maple syrup in a recipe, I will use butter, fruits and a little TROP 50. The apples thicken the sauce and you get that same unctuous feeling on your palate.
- In the “old” days, I used a lot of chicken bouillon in my cooking. Even I had to stop and consider the sodium content. What I do now is make “stock” ice cubes. I do this by adding a clove of garlic and 4-5 pepper corns to a pot of “low” sodium chicken or beef stock and reduce that down by at least half. After cooling, I pour that liquid into ice cube trays and freeze them. I keep them in an air tight container in the freezer for whenever I need a flavor boost in a recipe. I do the same thing with the liquid that remains after I reconstitute dry mushrooms. Added to the juices from a steak or chop turns it from ordinary to DECADENT with very little effort on my (or your) part.
- Simple sauces that can be used in a gazillion ways is another one of my tricks. I use my remoulade sauce in dishes from simple sandwiches to chicken and pork. The royal caper sauce is another one of those recipes. Another very simple trick is to combine fresh lemon juice and low sodium soy sauce with ONE herb; then brush your protein with that liquid for more variations than you can ever imagine. Use the herbs you like and you will always love the DECADENT dish you have created.
- Compound butters are another nice little trick. Combining butter with herbs and spices or shallots and garlic, and adding them at the very last minute makes a huge flavor difference. Again this takes very little effort on your part.Cooking is easy and will make sticking to your diet an easy and Decadent pleasure!
- LEMON adds brightness and flavor to fish and chicken. Using lemon also helps you cut down on the amount of salt you need to use in a recipe.
Enjoy! Be healthy! Be DECADENT!