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Meat is back as the darling of the high-protein set, and there are plenty of virtuous cuts to select from: pork that's bred 31 percent leaner than it was a decade ago; beef that's 27 percent lower in fat than it was in the late Seventies; and low-fat venison, ostrich and buffalo, which are now widely available. I've cooked them all--and enjoyed them all--at Aureole, my restaurant in New York City. Along the way I've discovered that lean meat has a downside: since fat keeps food tender and juicy as it cooks, getting appetizing texture, not to mention rich taste, is harder.

Enhancing flavor is what it's all about. In these recipes, I use common sense. I brush a mild pork loin with a pungent chile paste and complement tasty venison with a balsamic glaze. And I cook them both quickly so they stay tender.