Meat Recipes, Spices, Technique

Rendering Fat

A reader sent an email awhile back saying that, since the Geezer Gourmet
doesn’t have time for food phobics or wellness hypochondriacs, he must
be a heart attack waiting to happen.

Not quite.  It is plain foolish to not cut fat where it won’t be missed.  To that end, here are a few standard practices in our kitchen:

· When making a six-egg omelet, strain the white of the last egg through your fingers and discard the yolk.  Don’t need it—and
it won’t be missed.

· We like corned beef hash with eggs for breakfast now and then.
Hormel makes a canned hash, under its Mary Kitchen label, that has fat
reduced by 50%.  It’s still unhealthful, but it’s that or nothing.

·Crisco has come out with a new shortening that has zero grams trans fats and Splenda has a new lower calorie sugar substitute for baking.  I tried both over Super Bowl weekend.  I used Splenda in a batch of Peanut Butter Cookies and it worked fine (the recipe did not call for Crisco).  My concern all along, regarding Splenda, is that volume is reduced.  Since it is twice as sweet as sugar, when a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, the Splenda people call for 1/2 cup of Splenda.  Can’t say we noticed the reduction.  I then made a batch of the Lemon Sugar Cookies with the lower fat Crisco and then another batch using both Crisco and Splenda.  No noticeable difference in the first batch.

The Little Woman believes that the second batch came out more chewy and
less crisp, which is fine.  “Better,” she said.  “Eh…,” I countered with a shrug.  We both agreed, however, that they were no less sweet, or that the Splenda disturbed the sugar/lemon balance I worked so hard to attain in this recipe.

Bottom line:  Try them both for more healthful baking.

· Our preferred cooking fats are olive oil and grapeseed oil. We add some butter to the oil now and then, but seldom cook with alone.

· I never spread butter on bread, though The Little Woman does.  If you buy only great tasting bread, the temptation to smear it with butter is controllable. Also, try infused olive oils.

· On the other hand, the fridge always has a jar of peanut butter hiding in the back (The Little Woman hates the stuff).  Makers now offer their product with reduced fat in a natural format–oil on top.

· We read nutrition labels, especially on crackers and chips.

· And, of course, every pot gets skimmed
in this kitchen.

· All other things in moderation and portioned controlled.

Organic?  I leave it to the aforementioned food phobics and wellness hypochondriacs who the organic food marketers scare into shelling out 20
billion dollars a year for over rated and over priced products.  It started out as an urban elitist thing, mixed with romantic nostalgia for mythic local farmers, where urbanites have never worked.  It’s now big business with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s being pressed by Safeway and most every other grocery that features rustic wood panel bins filled with the expensive stuff.

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