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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wine Reductions:
A Better Choice Than Gravy

So we've had weight loss surgery and are happily losing weight with a restricted diet and the improved ability to exercise. But you know, we didn't have taste bud surgery! We still have taste buds that crave delicious foods - we just want the foods we eat to be satiating and good for us.

Let me tell you a culinary secret - it's in the wine! I'm not talking about wine in the glass, I'm talking about wine in a recipe. Recently one of our regular readers, Sam, asked me to share my recipe for a red wine reduction since I previously stated how much I enjoy the flavor of a good wine reduction. Wine reductions are wonderfully simply to make, rich in flavor and can be low in fat. Most recipes for wine reductions call for added fat (butter) but should be adjusted to use about 1/3 the fat called for.

We know that most gravies are fat laden, heavy with starch and lacking nutritional value. Simply put gravy is empty fat calories we do not need in our LivingAfterWLS diet. Anyone watching their weight is wise to avoid gravies (particularly mass-produced gravies served in restaurants).

For a better flavor and health select or make a wine reduction. A reduction contains the wine's antioxidants, called flavonoids which are proven to reduce the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost the HDL (good) cholesterol. Scientists now believe these flavonoids may also inhibit tumor development in some cancers and may also be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases.

Not an alcohol drinker? Not to worry, the alcohol cooks out of the reduction leaving nothing but the good stuff behind. If you are not familiar with wine ask your wine merchant to recommend a good bottle of reasonably priced cooking wine (don't buy the kind on the supermarket shelf - it has too much sodium). Your wine steward can also offer suggestions for re-corking the wine as seldom will you use a full bottle for any single recipe.

Here are five recipes I've personally tried and adapted with lower fat - I hope you will incorporate a wine reduction recipe in your lifestyle. Also - these are all very quick to fix - you'll be surprised how much flavor you get for so little effort! Cheers!

Chicken with White Wine and Mushrooms

Seared Halibut with Green Beans, Scallions and White Wine Sauce

Salmon with Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce

Beef Medallions in Red Wine Sauce

Cornish Game Hen with Raspberry Red Wine Sauce

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