THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 527.3 Guest: Don Mauer,Food Columnist & Author of "Lean and Lovin' It!" Topic: Making low fat food taste good - One Part Host: Steve Girard Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: With us again is food columnist and author Don Mauer, whose book, Lean & Lovin' It is as much about the attitude and aesthetics of cooking low fat than it is about any particular recipe. To make low fat cooking, and eating, a part of his life that he knew he could stick with, the once 308 pound cook knew he'd have to convert the recipes he'd loved all his life into foods that would love him, too. Will give you a great recipe later, but now,Don Mauer takes us through the process of hunting down, and reducing fat in our favorite foods...this time, chicken paprikash...

MAUER: The first thing I'd do is I'd take a look at the list of ingredients for that recipe. And I'd try to identify the highest fat component in that recipe...now, in chicken paprikash, is like beef stroganoff...its a sour cream based sauce that you're cooking in. A pint of sour cream has almost a hundred fat grams in it, not only a hundred fat grams, but a hundred highly saturated fat grams, plus loads of cholesterol. Today we're really lucky, there's some great non-fat, cookable...that can take the heat sour creams out there. National brands, that work like a charm. they don't have quite the tang, and the exact same texture of high fat sour creams...but they're also missing about a hundred fat grams. If you substitute non fat sour cream for the high fat sour cream in there...don't change another thing in that recipe, you're gonna knock out about a hundred fat grams..just by that simple alteration.

NEMA: What's next?

MAUER: Then the next thing I would do is, you're probably going to brown the chicken for that. Take a look at how much fat they're asking you to do that in...in other words, cause that would probably be the number two source of fat in this, are they saying take, y'know, a stick of butter and put that in a pan and brown the chicken in that beautifully? If that's true, I mean a stick of butter is almost a hundred fat grams. I would say get a non-stick pan and use a teaspoon or two of highly flavored oil, like an olive oil or something on there too, cause if you're going to reduce the fat...fat tastes good, nobody ever said fat doesn't taste good...I mean, butter...nobody ever spit butter on the floor and said, "yucch, this stuff is awful." So use maybe two teaspoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan to brown the chicken in. The other thing I would say is, the fat in chicken is found mainly in the skin, and in the dark meat. So I'd switch, instead of a whole chicken cut up for a chicken paprikash, I go for chicken breasts and take the skin off. Now, that's not going to dry out...white meat, because its so low in fat, it has a tendency in a chicken to be dry if you overcook it. But you're going to be cooking this in a sauce, the sour cream, so I'd switch from a whole chicken to chicken breasts, skin em and cook them in the sauce. And those three sources, if you replace those three sources in that recipe, you're going to have a very low fat chicken paprikash, and think about it, the flavor is going to be almost identical to the high fat version.

NEMA: Let's give out a recipe from your book that people are sure to use this summer.

MAUER: Creamy Roquefort...that's a favorite salad dressing of people...and they go, wow, way high in fat. Not only does it have a lot of oil in it, but a lot of cheese in it, so you're talking about a high fat salad dressing, and I loved it...but I figured out a great way to make a low fat version of it. You're gonna need one and a half cups of non-fat mayonnaise, three quarter cup skim milk, two teaspoons worsteshire sauce, two small garlic cloves minced, a quarter teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, and two ounces of top quality, real Roquefort cheese...and you want to finely grate that. You want it in little, tiny chunks so it gets spread out around the dressing. And basically, all you have to is combine those ingredients in a bowl, whisk it all together, pop it in the refrigerator, cover it maybe for an hour to let the flavors blend, and you've got creamy style, Roquefort dressing that is very low in fat...less than a half a gram of fat per tablespoon.

NEMA: With some of the new non-fat and low-fat products out there, you can make dishes from 'Lean & Lovin' It", or your own favorite kitchen workouts low fat & delicious. I'm Steve Girard.