Eight Ways to Healthful Dishes
I write the Nourish column for Food. It’s nutritionally PC, which means I have to pay attention to how much the ingredients add up in terms of calories, carbs, cholesterol and more.
In my kitchen, I go easy on the fats and sodium, in whatever form they appear. But here’s what I try very hard not to do: I don’t develop recipes that appeal only to health-food zealots. I don’t eliminate so much of the fat that the food can’t cook properly. And I don’t cut out so much salt that the food has no taste.
How the heck do I manage that? I have my ways….
Citrus. I use lots and lots of lemon, orange and lime. Their flavors are bright and strong, and they blend well with fish, poultry and many vegetables.
Herbs. Fresh when I can get them, dried when I can’t. Either way, they add lots of flavor. They also change the essence of every dish they touch. The same recipe made with basil changes dramatically in a version that uses tarragon instead.
Spices. My spice cabinet is filled with mixes from around the world. Most dried and ground spices need a little fat to carry their goodness, but the results are worth it.
Fruit. I use it as both a main ingredient and a seasoning. Tropical fruits are especially effective as they come with plenty of natural sugars. But berries, apples, melons and many other fruits have a lot to offer.
Salsas instead of sauces. Fruits, onions, herbs and vinegars can be combined to make perfect condiments for grilled, broiled or roasted meats and fish.
Grains and beans. I love them: black beans, buckwheat, barley, lentils, navy beans, brown rice. The list goes on and on. Each brings a texture and taste that is unique.
Sugar. Just a pinch can bring a flat-tasting dish to life.
Heat. Whether it’s from a grill, an oven or stovetop, heat can help develop the natural flavors of fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. That’s why I roast fruits, toast couscous, caramelize onions and grill vegetables.
Those are my ways. What are some of yours?
-- Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
The Food Section
July 29, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories: Tales of the Testers | Tags: Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
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