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    July 2, 2003    PAGE FIVE      
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      The Low Carb Good Life with Brenda Crump

We're proud to feature "The Low Carb Good Life" by regular columnist Brenda Crump, who's also one of our smart and resourceful moderators at Talking Low Carb (our Low Carb Luxury Discussion Forums.) Brenda has found the keys to making low carb a true lifestyle, with proper nutrition at the heart of it all!

Zucchini Americana

Contrary to popular belief, I have not forgotten my promise to discuss some well-known, favorite vegetables in this column.

Hundreds of you have written in requesting a write-up of a vegetable that is familiar and easy to find. Okay, maybe not hundreds. Actually, it was just my aunt in Buffalo. But feedback is feedback and I am here to serve.

What vegetable could I choose that would be more attractive than celeriac but less "southern sounding" than jicama? Oh, the pressure...the anguish! But then it came to me. Its beautiful, its tasty, its nutritious, and best of all its available everywhere. Todays vegetable of the day? The noble (yet still slightly exotically named) zucchini!

Zucchini gets its name from the Italian word for "small squash" which is, oddly enough, "zucchini". Our French and British friends call zucchini "courgette". Check that spelling. It is not "cougarette". I made that mistake once and was the object of ridicule for an entire day. Lesson learned. "Zucchini" it is.

One cup of sliced zucchini has 7.07 grams of carbohydrate and 2.52 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 4.55 grams. Zucchini is a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, magnesium and copper. It also contains small but respectable amounts of calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc. Not bad for a "small squash".

The experts say when shopping for zucchini, the most tender will be under five inches in length. Zucchinis larger than eight inches in length are best suited for stuffing. Look for smooth, unblemished, dark green skins with faint streaks or flecks of gold. Zucchini may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days. When youre ready to cook, use a soft brush to clean the zucchini under running water. Slice off both ends but do not peel off the skin.

There are a number of ways to cook zucchini. You can slice it lengthwise, brush with olive oil and cook it on the grill. Sliced thinly and sauted with sliced button mushrooms, zucchini makes a simple but attractive side-dish. You can make zucchini fritters by shredding zucchini and stirring in a beaten egg, a little low carb bake mix and whatever spices you prefer. Drop a tablespoon or so of this mixture into hot peanut oil, flatten slightly, and fry until golden brown. You can also slice zucchini matchstick thin, cook briefly and top with Alfredo sauce for a low carb pasta substitute. Delicious, nutritious and filling.

Here is some fun information for you to share with your loved ones in honor of this Fourth of July holiday: zucchini is believed to have originated right here in the Americas, first in Mexico and then the US. In fact, two of our great American patriots, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are known to have been huge zucchini squash fans and enjoyed growing their own! While you are amazing and amusing your family and friends with that little tidbit, please enjoy a slice of "Mock Apple Pie".

Mock Apple Pie

For the pastry:
  • 8 oz. Low Carb Chef brand bake mix
  • 1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1 Tablespoon oat flour
  • 2 level teaspoons Splenda
  • 4 oz. butter (chilled)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons ice water
  • whey protein isolate as needed for working with dough
For the filling:
  • Approx 16 oz diced zucchini * Mock Apple Pie
  • 2 Tablespoons grated apple (about a quarter of a medium sized apple)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar-free Alpine Apple Cider Mix
     (This means 1 pkt of the dry mix made with warm water to be 2 cups liquid.)
  • 1 cup DaVinci sugar free Green Apple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup Erythritol or Maltitol
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/2-pats
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated Erythritol or Maltitol for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350F.

Grate the apple and mix in a bowl with lemon juice. Cover with cool water and allow to sit refrigerated while you prepare zucchini.

Combine zucchini and liquid (pre-made) cider mix in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add DaVinci sugar free Green Apple syrup. Reduce heat to low and simmer until zucchini is translucent (about 1 hour.) At this point the zucchini will have taken on the taste of apples.

Meanwhile, prepare the crust:
Use the metal blade in the food processor and put the dry ingredients and the well-chilled butter (cut into 1-inch/2-1/2 cm chunks) into the bowl. Mix the Splenda, lemon juice, egg yolk, extract and water to blend, then turn on the machine and pour them down the feed tube, pulsing only until the mixture looks like a moist crumble, then tip it into a bowl and gather together into a dough.

Turn the pastry onto a board or counter-top sprinkled with a very light layer of protein powder. The dough will be on the soft and fragile side. Knead it gently with the fingertips and devide into two parts. Flatten one half into a 1-inch (2-1/2 cm) thick disc, wrap in foil or clingfilm and chill half in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour and put the other half in the freezer.

Remove dough from fridge and freezer. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line the base and sides of a 10-inch (25 cm) heat-proof flan dish or deep pie pan with the chilled dough, pressing it evenly.

To make the filling, drain grated apple well. Stir it into the warm cooked zucchini. Mix 1 Tablespoon Splenda and xanthan gum and quickly and evenly stir into zucchini. Add remaining sweeteners (except those reserved for sprinkling), extract, and spices. Mix well. Spoon into pan evenly over crust. Add pats of butter evenly spaced.

Crumble the frozen pastry on top in an even layer.

Scatter with the granulated Erythritol or Maltitol and bake for about 20 minutes until top is golden brown. Turn the heat down to 350F and bake for another 20-25 minutes. I'd recommend placing it on a cookie sheet as some of the filling may drip out of the dish.

* Allow enough zuchinni so that you can discard the center "seeded" parts - they keep the dish from mimicing apples. The best way to prepare the zuchinni is to peel well, slice in half. Then stand each half on its flat end and cut downward to edge of seeded center, turning a quarter turn each time so you have four strips of zuchinni flesh without seeds. Repeat for all zuchinni and discard seed centers and peelings. Then dice zuchinni flesh into cubes that look just like diced apples.

Makes 6 servings. 8.6 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Perhaps not as interesting as celery root or as exotic as jicama - zucchini is easy to find and very easy to prepare. Its high fiber content, abundant nutrients and low carb count make it a fantastic choice for this lifestyle. If you have not eaten zucchini in a while, now is a great time to put it back on your menu. Summer is peak season for zucchini, so you should have a great selection available to you. Why not start a new Independence Day tradition? Serve grilled zucchini and Mock Apple Pie at your holiday gathering.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Low Carb Chef Rib Stick'n Fried Chicken Mix Fried chicken was one of the most requested products in our "Chef's Challenge" so The Low Carb Chef responded with Rib Stick'n Fried Chicken Mix and it is a real winner! Each piece of fried chicken has less than 3g of carbohydrate when using Rib Stick'n mix - compare that to the carb count at your local KFC, and this is REAL fried chicken! Now available in both original and cajun flavors.

The introduction of The Low Carb Chef's Rib Stick'n Fried Chicken Mix was met by such demand that our first three runs were sold out just as soon as we could put them on our site! Due to repeated requests for larger quantities of the mix from those who were lucky enough to get it before it was sold out, it is now available in a new 1 pound tub!

In the larger 1 lb. tubs, there is enough mix for you to batter about 6 pounds of chicken strips or about 3 whole chickens, cut up! You won't find anything else like this in the low carb world! With the flavor that this mix imparts to your chicken, even your high carbing friends won't believe that fantastic tasting fried chicken is actually good for you!

Low Carb Chef's Aunt Paula Pancake Mixes The Low Carb Chef's "Aunt" Paula has worked hard to perfect the taste and texture of her Gourmet Buttermilk or Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix!

With only 1g of effective carb per pancake, you can't go wrong. If you have tried the others on the market, you owe it to yourself to try these pancakes. With this mix, The Chef has succeeded in a perfect balance that spells a heretofore unparalleled quality from the very first bite! Click to order The Low Carb Chef Pancake Mix now!

As with any product from The Low Carb Chef, if you don't like it you get your money back!
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