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Count your carbs with this delicious diet menu

Now that the low-carb diet has been proven as more than just a passing fad, more creative options are becoming available. Cookbook author Brigit Binns has spent a lifetime traveling the world and says that everyone needs a balance between staying fit and eating the things you love.  Binns was invited on the “Today” show to talk about her book, "The Low-Carb Gourmet." Here are the recipes:370
/ Source: TODAY

Now that the low-carb diet has been proven as more than just a passing fad, more creative options are becoming available. Cookbook author Brigit Binns has spent a lifetime traveling the world and says that everyone needs a balance between staying fit and eating the things you love.  Binns was invited on the “Today” show to talk about her book, "The Low-Carb Gourmet." Here are the recipes:

370 calories, 11½ grams net carbs (12 grams less ½ gram fiber), 33 grams fat (19 grams saturated)

57 calories, 8 grams net carbs (11 grams less 3 grams fiber), 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated)

Haricots Frites With Tarragon SauceBrigit Binns

Serves 4

To prepare the dipping sauce, in a bowl or serving cup, stir together the rice vinegar, chicken broth, tamari, fish sauce, and tarragon.

Prepare an ice bath. In a pot of rapidly boiling, salted water, blanch the beans for 3 minutes, drain, and plunge into the ice water.  Let stand for 2 minutes, then drain again and spread on a kitchen towel to dry.  (The beans can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before frying.)

Place the rice flour and all-purpose flour in a bowl and whisk with a fork while you dribble in a little cold water; whisk to a paste before you add more water, and keep whisking to banish any lumps until all the water has been added.  Let stand for at least 15 minutes, and up to 45 minutes.  Whisk again to distribute the flour evenly just before using.

Place a large, heavy saucepan or a wok filled no more than one-third full with vegetable oil over high heat, and heat the oil to between 350°F and 375°F.

Just before you plan to fry the beans, in a large bowl, beat the egg white with 1/4 teaspoon salt to stiff peaks, adding the lemon juice after a minute or two.  With a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the flour-water mixture until smooth and thick.  Dip one third of the beans about halfway into the batter and slide gently into the hot oil.  Fry for about 2 minutes, until the batter is crisp, slightly puffed, and pale golden, not dark brown.

With a skimmer, transfer the finished frites to a paper towel-lined plate, salt lightly, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining beans in the same way (be sure to bring the oil back up to temperature between batches, or the frites will be soggy).  Place all the frites on a platter with the dipping sauce in the center and serve warm.

91233896057560581seasoned rice vinegar0.25cup1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegarchicken broth0.25cup1/4 cup chicken brothtamari or low-sodium soy sauce2teaspoon2 teaspoons tamari or low-sodium soy saucethai or vietnamese fish sauce1teaspoon1 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (optional)tarragon0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragonfrench green beans8ounce8 ounces fine French green beans, ends trimmedrice flour0.25cup1/4 cup rice flourall-purpose flour1teaspoon1 teaspoon all-purpose flourcold water0.33cup1/3 cup cold watervegetable oilVegetable oil, for deep fryingegg white11 large egg whitesea salt0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to tastelemon juice0.125teaspoon1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or 1/16 teaspoon cream of tartar

238 calories, 12 grams net carbs (15 grams less 3 grams fiber), 10 grams fat (6 grams saturated)

Pumpkin Puree With a Pancetta CrispBrigit Binns

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the pancetta on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with another sheet of parchment and a baking sheet that is the same size or that will sit flat on top of the paper.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.  Transfer to paper towels and set aside until serving time.  (Begin making the soup while the crisps are cooking, if desired.)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, and thyme and cook gently without browning for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the pumpkin, partially cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes. Check occasionally and add a few tablespoons of water if the pumpkin begins to brown. Add the wine, adjust the heat so the liquid simmers briskly, and cook until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, partially cover the pan, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the pumpkin is very tender.  Remove from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Remove the thyme branch and puree the pumpkin mixture in a blender (preferably a Vita-Mix, for the fluffiest result). Puree in batches if necessary, until completely smooth. Work the puree through a medium sieve to remove any fibers and make the soup silky smooth. Return to the pan and stir in the salt and pepper. Warm through gently, then divide among 4 shallow soup bowls.  Float a pancetta crisp in the center of each, and serve.

912338939593pancetta4slice4 slices pancetta 1/8-inch think (this is thicker than pancetta is normally cut)unsalted butter3tablespoon3 tablespoons unsalted butteronion11 large onion, finely choppedleek11 leek, white part only, well washed and finely choppedthymeLarge sprig or branch of fresh thymepumpkin or kabocha squash1.5pound1-1/2 pounds peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped pumpkin or kabocha squash (from about 2-1/4 pounds pumpkin)dry white wine2cup2 cups dry white winesea salt0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon fine sea saltwhite pepperGenerous pinch of white pepper, preferably freshly ground

123 calories, 6 grams net carbs (10 grams less 4 grams fiber), 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated)

Seared Scallops and Caramelized Cauliflower Florets With Salsa VerdeBrigit Binns

Serves 4

To prepare the salsa, in a food processor, combine the parsley, anchovies, garlic, capers, mustard, vinegar, salt, and several turns of the peppermill.  Pulse several times to combine and, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream and continue processing until smooth and creamy.  Add the water to loosen the mixture slightly.  If desired, cover and refrigerate the salsa for up to 2 hours before serving (any longer and, though the flavor will still be good, the bright color of the parsley will turn dull).  Return to room temperature for 20 minutes, if chilled.

In the top of a covered steamer over simmering water, steam the cauliflower florets until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the steamer and let stand on a paper towel-lined plate until serving time.

Warm 4 dinner plates and a platter in a low oven.

Season the cauliflower florets and the scallops generously on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place 2 large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillets over medium-high heat and add half the oil and butter to each one.  When the pans are hot, add half the cauliflower florets to each and sear until golden brown, pressing down on them gently with the back of a spatula to bring more of the florets into contact with the hot pan.  Turn over and sear until brown on the other side, then transfer the cauliflower to the warm platter.  

Carefully place half the scallops in each pan, without crowding them.  Sear without moving or touching for 2 minutes, then turn over with tongs and sear for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes more, until only just barely translucent in a thin band around the center.

Flood one side of each plate with 1/4 cup of the salsa verde and place 3 scallops on top of the sauce.  Divide the cauliflower among the plates, arranging it across from the scallops, and drizzle the cauliflower with the balsamic syrup (see note below).  Serve at once.

To reduce balsamic vinegar to a syrupy consistency, perfect for drizzling, gently simmer 1/2 cup vinegar in a small saucepan until thickened. When cool, the syrup will be almost solid; warm it gently to achieve a flowing consistency. The syrup will keep almost indefinitely at room temperature; leave it in a small saucepan — like a butter warmer — until needed.

91233896049960492parsley leaves4cup4 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 2 ounces), washed and spun dryanchovy fillets22 oil-or salt-packed anchovy fillets (salt-packed anchovies are packed whole; halve lengthwise to yield 2 fillets)garlic3clove3 cloves garlic, minced or presseddrained capers1tablespoon1 tablespoon drained capersdijon mustard2tablespoon2 tablespoons Dijon mustardwhite wine vinegar1tablespoon1 tablespoon white wine vinegarsea salt0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon fine sea saltblack pepperFreshly ground black pepperextra virgin olive oil0.67cup2/3 cup extra virgin olive oilwater1tablespoon1 tablespoon watercauliflower1head1 small head cauliflower, about 1-1/2 pounds, separated into 1-inch florets with about 3/4-inch of stem attachedsea salt and black pepperFine sea salt and freshly ground black pepperolive or canola oil2teaspoon2 teaspoons olive or canola oilunsalted butter2teaspoon2 teaspoons unsalted butterscallops12 large dry-packed diver-caught scallops, patted dry with paper towelsbalsamic vinegar 4teaspoon4 teaspoons warm, slightly reduced balsamic vinegar (see note below)

302 calories, 16 grams net carbs (18 grams less 2 grams fiber), 26 grams fat (14 grams saturated)

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Raspberry SauceBrigit Binns

Serves 8

Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 325°F. Rub an 8-inch nonstick cake pan with butter, then place a circle of parchment paper in the base of the pan and butter the paper.  Put a kettle of water on to boil for the bain marie (see note below).

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.  Place the eggs in a large bowl and beat at high speed with a hand-held electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until doubled in volume. Gently fold a third of the egg foam into the chocolate mixture, until almost no streaks remain.  Fold in the remaining foam in 2 batches, just until there are no more streaks.

Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Place in a large roasting pan, set the pan on the rack in the oven, and add boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Note: This creates a bain marie, or double boiler.)  Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the cake reads 150°F. The edges will be puffed but the center will look glazed and not quite done. Remove from the bain marie and cool on a rack to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight, or for up to 4 days).  Return to room temperature before serving.

In a blender, puree the raspberry and stir in the Splenda, lemon juice, and Cointreau. Blend briefly and push through a nylon strainer to remove the little raspberry seeds. Adjust the flavor to taste with more Splenda, lemon juice, or Cointreau.

Invert the cake onto parchment paper.  Peel off the parchment from the base of the cake and invert again, right side up, onto a platter.  Dust the top with cocoa powder, cut into 8 wedges, and place a raspberry on each wedge. 

Serve with the raspberry sauce on the side.

91233896049127770bittersweet chocolate8ounce8 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely choppedunsalted butter0.5cup1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 chunkseggs44 large eggs, well chilledraspberries8ounce8 ounces ripe raspberriesgranular splenda2tablespoon2 tablespoons granular Splenda or more to tastelemon juice1tablespoon1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to tastecointreau or grand1tablespoon1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or more to tasteunsweetened cocoa powderUnsweetened cocoa powder, for dustingraspberries88 fresh raspberries, for garnish