Serious Eats

Ed Levine's Serious Diet: Week 6, Are Flavor Intensifiers One of the Keys to Losing Weight?

I'm a flavor junkie. I don't like muted, subtle flavors. I like rock 'em, sock 'em, kick-you-in-the-head flavors. Foods like bacon, aged cheese, aged steak, cheeseburgers, and sausage pizza make my heart sing and my stomach satisfied. But it doesn't take a diet guru to look at the aforementioned list and see red flags everywhere.

This week I have started figuring out how to make long, deep flavors work for me on my diet. I now lead the nation in grater use. I grate terrific, full-fat, aged cheese every day and use it judiciously on just about everything, and I think it's gonna work for me when I get on the scale. I have discovered Oscar Mayer real bacon bits in a bag. I use them on sandwiches and in salads. Grated cheese and real bacon bits pack big flavor in tiny portions. They're flavor intensifiers of the highest order. Flavor intensifiers, I've decided, are going to be one of the keys to losing weight and sustaining the weight loss.

For breakfast, I grate some terrific Butler's Rothbury Red aged cheddar cheese on my bialy and melt it in the toaster oven.

For lunch yesterday, I had a grilled cheese and bacon on rye (think of it as a bacon and cheese panini). Paninis made with big-flavor ingredients require much less meat and cheese to deliver those big flavors.

For dinner yesterday, my wife made killer turkey burgers with the flavor intensifiers ginger and wasabi mixed into the mayonnaise. Turkey burgers usually bore me to death, but the ginger and wasabi saved the day. The turkey burger only required a teaspoon of the mayo mix to deliver big flavor in every bit.

She also made a terrific salad with toasted pine nuts and fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, another amazing flavor intensifier.

If I use these flavor intensifiers judiciously and well, it's going to make dieting (or "living," in Weight Watchers parlance) a lot easier.

The proof is in the weighing, as they don't say. Here I go: I'm down a pound. Flavor intensifiers rule.

Any other flavor intensifiers out there?

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