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Vegetable dishes I can’t live without

Cookbook writer Mollie Katzen has brought vegetables to all family tables with her inspiring recipes.

Below you will find some recipes from the cookbook The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen. Vegetables are combined in unusual ways in these recipes and I thought they could be and inspiration.

Vegetable dishes one can’t truly live without

Potato, turnip, & carrot gratin with garlic-herb béchamel sauce | top

It’s nice to slip in some turnips among the more familiar potatoes and carrots, for something slightly different.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warmed milk
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 pound unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 pound turnips
1/2 pound carrots
1 cup minced shallots
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup coarse bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese (Gruyère or Emmenthaler)

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, adding the garlic and thyme when it is melted.
  2. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking for a minute or so as it forms a thick paste.
  3. Keep whisking as you drizzle in the warmed milk, keeping the mixture moving until there are no lumps.
  4. Add the bay leaf and turn the heat way down. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in a dash of salt and a few shakes of white pepper, then set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray a 2-quart gratin dish with nonstick spray.
  6. Cut the potatoes, turnips, and carrots into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch). For the carrots, do this on the diagonal. Spread the cut vegetables (including the shallots) together in the prepared pan to make a single mixed layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.
  7. Pour the béchamel sauce from step 4 over the top of the vegetables and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil.
  8. Heat the broiler. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and then the grated cheese on top of the vegetables. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to form a crust. Serve hot.

Cooking tips

  • It’s easiest to warm the milk in the microwave right in its measuring cup.
  • Good bread crumbs are made by hand from good bread. My favorites for this recipe are either a home-style whole wheat or pumpernickel. Make your own bread crumbs by drying out some of your favorite bread, then crumbling it either by hand (in a plastic bag, so it won’t go all over the place) or in a food processor with the steel blade (a few spurts).

Eggplant, green beans, pumpkin, and basil in coconut-tomato curry | top

Welcome to one of my all-time favorite vegetable mélanges!

2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fish sauce (“nam pla”) or 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (about 1 3/4 cups tomatoes-plus-liquid)
1 small (5- to 6-ounce) Japanese or Chinese eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-rounds
2 cups (about 10 ounces) diced kabocha or butternut squash, steamed or blanched until almost tender
2 cups (about 8 ounces) green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths 20 to 25 fresh basil leaves (Thai basil, if available)

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

  1. Measure the curry paste and ginger into a large saucepan, then add the coconut milk and broth, and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the fish or soy sauce and brown sugar, if desired.
  3. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and green beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil leaves (whole or torn in half) and serve hot, over rice.

Cooking tips

  • Look for the Thai ingredients (Thai Kitchen brand) in the international foods section of your supermarket.
  • Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin. If you can find it, you will love it! If you can’t find it, you will also love butternut squash.
  • Eat this as a stew or chunky soup, or serve it over rice. (If choosing the later, put up some jasmine rice or brown basmati rice to cook before you begin.
  • Use a flavorful vegetable broth, such as Imagine brand.
  • For best results, cook the squash ahead of time (by steaming or blanching) until almost tender.
  • This dish will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It reheats beautifully.

Bok choy, broccoli rabe, & shiitake mushrooms with roasted garlic | top

Garlic appears twice in this recipe — in two forms, roasted and fresh — virtually as two different ingredients.

2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1 medium sized garlic bulb
1 small head bok choy (up to a pound)
Half a medium bunch broccoli rabe (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
10 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings:
• Roasted whole cashews
• Chinese-style dark sesame oil
• Chili oil

Yield: 4 servings

  1. Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 375ºF. Line a small baking pan with foil and drizzle with a little of the oil. Trim the tips of the garlic, then stand the bulb upright on the oiled foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the bulb feels soft when gently squeezed. Remove from the oven at let cool. When comfortable to handle, break the bulb into individual cloves and squeeze the pulp from the skins. This will be a slightly sticky process and the bulbs may break apart a little — all of which is fine.
  2. While the garlic roasts, prepare the bok choy and broccoli rabe. For the bok choy, trim and discard the tough bottom 1/4 inch or so, if necessary. Remove and coarsely chop the leaves, and cut the stems into 1-inch pieces. Keep the leaves and stems separate. Trim the tough ends from the broccoli rabe and chop the rest into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Place a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat. After about a minute, add the remaining oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn the heat to high, add the onion and shiitakes, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the bok choy stems and the broccoli rabe, sprinkling in the salt. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until the stems are just tender. Toss in the bok choy leaves and about 1 1/2 tablespoons water, then immediately cover the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for about 2 more minutes (lifting the cover to stir just once or twice) until the stems are tender and the leaves wilted.
  4. Add both the fresh and roasted garlic, tossing gently. Cook and stir for just a minute longer, until the garlic is fragrant. Season lightly with freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately, topped with roasted whole cashews, if desired. Pass shaker bottles of Chinese-style dark sesame oil and chili oil for a finishing touch.

Cooking tips

The roasted garlic needs to be made at least 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time. You can get everything else cut and ready while the garlic roasts.

Asparagus crêpes with mushroom sauce | top

1 large egg
1¼ cups milk
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
A little melted butter for the pan
1½ pounds asparagus (average thickness), trimmed and steamed until tender
mushroom sauce

Yield: 4 to 5 servings (about 2 crêpes apiece)

  1. Place the egg, milk, flour, and salt in a blender and whip until smooth.
  2. Heat a 6 — or 7 — inch nonstick crêpe or omelet pan. When it is warm, brush it lightly with melted butter. Wait another 30 seconds or so until the pan is quite hot.
  3. When the pan is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, pour in 1/4 cup of the batter. Lift the pan, and tilt it in all directions until the batter thoroughly coats the bottom. Pour off any excess batter. (The pancake should be thin.)
  4. Cook on one side until set (about 20 seconds), then turn it over and cook for just another second or two on the other side.
  5. Turn the crêpe out onto a clean, dry dinner plate and repeat the procedure until you have used up all the batter. (If you keep the pan hot you won’t need to add much — if any — additional butter.) You can pile the finished crêpes on the plate; they won’t stick together.
  6. To fill, place 3 or 4 stalks of cooked asparagus on one side of each crêpe, and roll or fold the other side over. Serve warm or at room temperature, with hot or warm Mushroom Sauce puddled onto the plate underneath and/or spooned over the top.

Cooking tips

You can make the crêpes — and cook the asparagus — up to several days ahead of time. Leave the pancakes stacked on the plate, then wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill them and serve. Refrigerate the cooked asparagus in a sealed plastic bag.

Roasted beets with tart pink grapefruit glaze | top

3 pounds beets

1 cup fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice.
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Trim the greens from the beets, leaving an about 1 inch of the stems. Divide the beets into 2 groups, wrapping each in a bundle of foil, with about 3 tablespoons of water tossed in. Roast in the center of the oven for up to 1 hour, or until the beets are tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Remove the tray from the oven, open the foil packets, and let the beets cool on the tray until comfortable to handle. Then remove and discard the stems and rub off the skins. Cut the beets into thin slices.
  3. In a medium-small bowl, whisk together to grapefruit juice, vinegar, and maple syrup.
  4. Place the cornstarch in a small saucepan and drizzle in the grapefruit mixture, whisking until all the cornstarch is dissolved.
  5. Place the pan over medium heat, and heat just to the boiling point, whisking frequently. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened and glossy. Remove from the heat.
  6. Drizzle the hot glaze over the hot, warm, or room-temperature roasted beets, and serve right away.

Cooking tips

  • Make the glaze when the beets come out of the oven. It only takes about 10 minutes.
  • A high-grade maple syrup (one with very subtle flavor) works best for this.

Chile cabbage with shiitakes, sweet crisp onions, & tofu | top

A three-stage cooking process (same pan, no cleaning in between) allows each ingredient to reach optimal texture and maximum flavor.

2 to 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
16 medium stiitake mushrooms (about 10 ounces) stemmed and very thinly sliced
2 medium jalapeños, cut into thin rounds
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups cut green cabbage (1-inch “squares”)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese-style dark sesame oil (plus extra)
1 1/2 coarsely chopped onions (3/4-inch “squares”) 10 ounces very firm tofu

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  1. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapeños, plus 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes longer, or until the mushrooms are very limp.
  2. Push the mushrooms and jalapeños to one side of the pan, then add another tablespoon of oil to the exposed surface, followed by the cabbage and another 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.
  3. Keeping the heat medium-high, stir-fry the cabbage only for about 3 minutes, then mix in the sidelines mushrooms and jalapeños. Spread out the mixture, cover the pan, and let it steam (okay if it scorches slightly) for about 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and mix intermittently.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, then pour this in. Mix well, cover, and continue to cook over low heat for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until done to your liking. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
  5. Without cleaning it, return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Wait about a minute, then add a little oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn up the heat to high and flash-cook the onions, shaking the pan, for only about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onions become shiny and golden on the edges but are still crunchy. Add these to the cabbage mixture in the bowl.
  6. Return the uncleaned pan to the medium heat one more time, wait another minute, add another little but of oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the tofu in a single layer (okay if touching) and cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes on each side, or until crisp and deep golden brown. Toss into the cabbage mixture and serve. Pass around the sesame oil, so people can add a little extra, if they wish.

The above recipes are an excerpt from the book The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen Published by Hyperion; October 2007;

Excerpted from THE VEGETABLE DISHES I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT by MOLLIE KATZEN. Copyright (c) 2007 Tante Malka Inc.. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. Published by permission.

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The power of food

As a nation, we are obsessed with food. Fast-food restaurants and their billboards clutter our city streets. Volumes have been written on the topic of food. Newsstands are littered with magazines about it, and there is even an entire television network devoted just to food. We savor it, discuss it, and even plan our lives around it. And we consume a lot of it. In the process, we’ve also managed to supersize our health risks dramatically over the past few decades.

The kind of food eaten has nearly as big an impact on health as the amount — and sometimes more. In fact, much of the malnutrition in the world can be attributed to unhealthy food or consumption of “empty calories” (highly processed foods lacking important vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients). Though it may seem surprising, many obese individuals are actually significantly malnourished.

But foods have both the power to harm and the power to heal. Understanding both sides of the equation is important. Rather than allowing food to have power over you, you can create a winning partnership with it. Proactive cancer prevention shifts the energy, placing emphasis on healthful fresh and whole foods packed with essential nutrients, turning calories into cancer-fighting fuel.

Utilizing foods as powerful tools for cancer prevention requires that you look beyond one of your most basic senses — taste. You need to evaluate food not just on its quick-fix satisfaction factor, but on its nutrient value as well. And as you get accustomed to healthier foods, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you come to appreciate their flavors more than old, unhealthy standbys — and not just because you know they’re good for you!

Sometimes what we ingest has clear ramifications. If you drink coffee daily, think back to a time when you tried to give it up or had to do without. Remember the headache? Have you ever experienced heartburn after too many pieces of pepperoni pizza or constipation after eating too much cheese? The good news is that this dynamic works both ways. You can prevent ill effects by avoiding certain foods, and even better, you can enhance your health by making certain food choices.

Some foods contain significant nutrients that help keep your body healthy and operating at peak capacity. Eating a healthy diet will give you the fuel you need to maintain an active pace and prevent illnesses, including cancer. While it is true that different people have different dietary needs and that what is healthy for one person may not work as well for another, there are some common denominators. Here are just a few examples of cancer-fighting foods:

  • Tomatoes contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which supports a strong immune system.
  • Whole grains contain lignans that positively influence hormonal activity. 
  • Citrus fruits contain flavonoids that enhance immunity.
  • Soy contains certain sterols that can reduce the development of some cancer cells.
  • Broccoli contains sulforaphane and other compounds that stimulate detoxification and immunity.
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, contain indole-3-carbinol, which has been shown to have anticancer properties.
  • The peel of an apple contains phenolic compounds that help prevent unhealthy cells from dividing and spreading.
  • Kale is high in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, which are all perfect nutrients to help prevent cancer.
  • Garlic contains several key compounds that inhibit the activity of cancer cells and help with detoxification.

Many of these foods share a common characteristic: they are colorful. At mealtime, look closely at your plate. If it is primarily white or beige, you need to add some color. Fruits and vegetables will add that color, as well as a healthy dose of potent anticancer nutrients.

Published by Celestial Arts; June 2007;$39.95US; 978-1-58761-280-0
Copyright © 2007 DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CANCER: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH FOR TREATMENT AND HEALING by Lisa Alschuler and Karolyn A. Gazella, published by Celestial Arts;

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The ultimate New York diet

Fitness trainer and Shape columnist David Kirsch has written the The Ultimate New York Diet to help those who wish to keep fit.

This book has been a help for those who follow The Ultimate New York Body Plan and has appeared on Today, Access Hollywood, and Extreme Makeover. Find below some recipes from the book that you are welcome to try.

Something from the ultimate New York diet

The ultimate New York diet is a new book by celebrity fitness trainer and Shape columnist David Kirsch. He is also the author of the best-selling The ultimate New York body plan and has appeared on Today, Access Hollywood, and Extreme Makeover.

Below are recipes from the book that you are welcome to try.

Sesame chicken fingers
This easy dish goes over well at parties. It’s also great as a light meal served with broccoli. I particularly enjoy it with David’s Low-Fat Peanut Sauce (see Index), which is included with the phase 2 and 3 recipes.

1/4 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced into 4 strips
1 tablespoon toasted black and white sesame seeds

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, mustard, water, and turmeric. Marinate the chicken in the mixture up to 1 hour. Coat the chicken with sesame seeds.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the chicken on a nonstick baking pan. Bake 12 to15 minutes or until chicken strips are cooked through.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 195 calories, 26 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar

Roasted vegetable caponata
This versatile Mediterranean favorite is perfect as a side dish or as the featured main course for all of you vegetarians out there.

1 medium eggplant
Nonfat cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup sliced roasted red peppers (store-bought, or see Index for recipe)
4 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup juice from canned tomatoes
1/2 cup bottled water
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley
4 fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons baby capers (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wrap the eggplant in foil, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork. Cut the eggplant in half, and scoop out 1 cup roasted eggplant from the center. Set aside.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion begins to soften. Add the fennel, celery, and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the eggplant, roasted red peppers, plum tomatoes, juice, water, parsley, and basil. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables are soft.
Remove the basil leaves and add the capers. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 86 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber, 10 g sugar

Thai ginger sirloin salad
This salad tastes delicious hot or cold. When chilled, the steak is not as spicy, so use 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. If serving it warm, use only 1/4 teaspoon. You can use extra mesclun greens if baby bok choy is not available.

6 ounces sirloin steak, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lime
Nonfat cooking spray
1 head baby bok choy cabbage, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup mesclun greens, washed and dried
1 tablespoon grated carrot
1/4 cup bean sprouts
3 tablespoons Ginger Soy Dressing (see Index)

Cut the sirloin into 1/2-inch slices, and place them in a small bowl. Add the ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes. Squeeze the lime juice over the meat. Toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the bok choy, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the leaves are just wilted but the cabbage is still crunchy. Remove to a serving plate.

Wipe out the skillet, and coat with cooking spray. Heat over high heat. Place the sirloin slices in the pan, and sear for 30 seconds per side for rare or 50 seconds per side for well done. Set aside.

Line a serving plate with the bok choy, mesclun greens, carrot, and bean sprouts. Arrange the steak over the salad. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 6 hours and serve chilled. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 363 calories, 33 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar

Copyright © 2006 David Kirsch, printed by permission.

Cauliflower hash
You can mix this recipe with cubed grilled chicken or turkey breast to create a complete entrée. It also goes well over steamed spinach.

Nonfat cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup steamed cauliflower florets
⅓ cup chopped celery
⅓ cup sliced roasted red peppers (store-bought, or see Index for recipe)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the shallots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the cauliflower and celery. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the roasted red peppers and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 41 calories, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar

David Kirsch is the founder and owner of the Madison Square Club, celebrated for its custom-designed fitness training and nutritional counseling. Visit David’s website at

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Food cures

Let food be your medicine is the principle lying under nutritional healing. A common sense maxime stated in classic Greek times which research at top universities is now proving to be real scientfc wisdom. Eating the right food in the right amounts will not only keep you healthy, but reverse the ravages of numerous illness, as well. Who else better than Joy Bauer, nutritional consultant to celebrity actors and top performing athletes to point us to the right foods? That is what she does in her book Food Cures, where you can find the latest nutritional information transformed into mouthwatering recipes. Below you will find some recipes from Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. Take a peep.

Recipes from the book “Food Cures”

See some tasty recipes, a sample of what to expect inside.

Pesto Salmon With Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Swimming with omega-3 fats, salmon is one of the world’s most heart-healthy foods. You’ll up the ante with my pesto variation, which incorporates walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and artichokes — ingredients that will satisfy your ticker as well as your taste buds.

Makes 2 servings

2 cups fresh basil leaves 
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
Salt substitute 
1 can (16 ounces) artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, or 1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, rinsed and  thawed 
1 large tomato, diced 
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Ground black pepper 
2 fillets (6 ounces each) wild salmon, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 11″ baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, walnuts, one-half of the garlic, and salt substitute to taste. Blend until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
3. Arrange the artichoke hearts in 2 separate mounds in the prepared pan. Top with the tomato and sprinkle with the thyme and salt substitute and pepper to taste. Place one salmon fillet on top of each artichoke mound and season with salt substitute and pepper. Spread the basil mixture on the fillets. Drizzle each fillet with ½ tablespoon olive oil.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the fillets are no longer translucent in the center and the fish flakes when pressed with a fork. Serve immediately.

Per Serving 
430 calories, 41 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 20 g fat (2.7 g saturated), 93 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes

Whether you’re watching your carbs or trying to lose weight, or if you simply love hot, creamy comfort food, this recipe is calling your name. It’s very popular among my clients (and staff nutritionists!) and 1 serving provides only 78 calories and 9 grams of carbs.

Makes 4 servings, ¾ cup each

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets of roughly the same size 
¾  cup low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese 
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
Ground black pepper

1. Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. Place the cauliflower in a food processor or blender along with ½ cup broth. Puree on high until smooth. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan. 
2. In a cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining ¼ cup broth, and add to the cauliflower puree. Add the cream cheese, Romano or Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, until the puree begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Per Serving
78 calories, 8 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 2.8 g total sugar, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 262 mg sodium, 3 g fiber 

1 very lean meat, 2 vegetables

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

You won’t believe that there are just 70 calories in one slice of this light, airy cake — and with no sugar at all! Serve at your next dinner party, trust me, no one will know the difference.

Makes 8 servings

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1½ cups sugar substitute 
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder 
1½ cups egg whites (from about 10 eggs) 
¼ teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 10″ angel food cake pan with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray. 
2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar substitute, cocoa powder, and coffee three times. Set aside. 
3. In a large metal bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt on high speed until they become stiff but not lumpy, 4 to 6 minutes. They should cling firmly to the side of the bowl when tilted. Add the vanilla, but do not mix. 
4. With a spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the flour mixture. Repeat twice until all the egg whites are just combined, but not deflated. 
5. Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto its feet or the neck of a wine bottle. Let cool completely. 
6. Gently run a long knife between the cake and the outer rim of the pan, pressing it firmly against the pan to prevent tearing the cake. Run the knife or a skewer around the inside of the tube. Invert the pan and remove the cake.

Per Serving 
70 calories, 7 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 g total sugar, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 144 mg sodium, 2 g fiber 

1 starch

Green Smooth-See

My smoothies each provide a great big BLAST of eye-fighting nutrients — vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and beta carotene. They’re the perfect concoctions for people who want to go that extra mile, as well as people who aren’t interested in popping extra supplemental pills.

Calories always count, so remember to factor these smoothies into your plan’s total calories. If weight is an issue, split into two servings and enjoy as a snack . . . or, count one full serving as your breakfast — either way the math is a snap. If weight is not an issue, enjoy a daily serving whenever you wish.

Makes 1 serving (about 1¾ cups)

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated 
2 medium kiwis, skin removed 
1 cup spinach leaves 
½ cup watercress 
½ cup plain, fat-free yogurt 
¼ cup avocado, mashed (3 tablespoons) 
2 tablespoons wheat germ 
2 tablespoons water 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
¼ teaspoon prepared horseradish 
Pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the carrot, kiwis, spinach, watercress, yogurt, avocado, wheat germ, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Per Serving 
323 calories, 16 g protein, 50 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 254 mg sodium, 14 g fiber; plus 172 mg vitamin C (287% DV)., 8 IU vitamin E (26% DV)., 4,118 mcg beta carotene, 1,520 mcg lutein + zeaxanthin, 4 mg zinc (29% DV)

Chopped Chicken Salad with Apples and Walnuts

This salad is delicious, and provides generous amounts of protein, high-quality carbs, soluble fiber, and 80 percent of your daily requirement for folate.

Makes 1 serving

1 to 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce 
4 to 5 ounces chicken breast, cooked, cooled, and chopped 
½ cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 
½ medium Fuji or McIntosh apple (with skin), chopped 
¼ cup chopped cucumber (with peel) 
¼ cup chopped tomato 
¼ cup chopped avocado 
¼ cup chopped celery 
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts 
2 to 4 tablespoons reduced-calorie raspberry vinaigrette

Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the chicken, chickpeas, apple, cucumber, tomato, avocado, celery, scallions, and walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Per Serving 
569 calories, 44 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 23 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 91 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 14g fiber; plus 320 mcg folate (80% DV)

Reprinted from: Joy Bauer’s Food Cures: Treat Common Health Concerns, Look Younger & Live Longer by Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN with Carol Svec. Copyright © 2007 Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN.  Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.

Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN, is the nutrition expert for the Today show and, and monthly weight-loss columnist for SELF Magazine. She has built one of the largest nutrition centers in the country, with offices in Manhattan and Westchester County, New York. Her clientele includes high-profile professionals, celebrities, Olympic gold medalists, and the New York City Ballet. The author of several best-selling books, she lives in New York.

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Crepes, waffles and pancakes

Recipes from the book Crepes, Waffles & Pancakes!: Over 100 Recipes for Hearty Meals, Light Snacks, and Delicious Desserts.

The following is an excerpt from the book.

Lemon and sultana buttermilk pancakes 


These pancakes are also good served cold with butter.

Serves 4

1 cup (125g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp baking soda 
1 Tbsp extra-fine sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
Finely grated rind of 1 small lemon 
⅓ cup (60g) sultanas or golden raisins
¼ stick (30g) unsalted butter

To serve:
Plain yogurt
Maple syrup

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks, pour in the buttermilk and gradually whisk into the flour. Beat until thick and smooth but don’t over-mix.

In a grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and, using a large metal spoon, carefully fold into the batter together with the lemon rind and sultanas.

Heat a little butter in a large frying pan until bubbling, tilting the pan to coat the sides. Ladle 4 Tbsp batter into the pan to form a thick pancake about 4in (10 cm) in diameter. Cook over low-to-moderate heat for about 2½ minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. Slide a palette knife under the pancake and flip. Brown the underside of the pancake for 2½ minutes. The pancake should puff up and thicken.

Turn the pancake out onto a wire rack lined with a clean tea towel and baking parchment. Fold the paper and towel over the pancake. Repeat to make eight pancakes. Re-butter the pan as necessary and stack the cooked pancakes between sheets of parchment. Serve with yogurt and maple syrup.

Spicy crab salad crepes
Light and airy

The egg-white batter used in this recipe works very well with sweet and savory fillings. Cook gently so that you maintain as much of the batter’s “whiteness” as possible.

Serves 4

4 spring onions, chopped
12 oz (350g) crabmeat
1 dash tabasco sauce
4 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp light soy sauce 
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp cornstarch
8 tsp vegetable stock or water
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
Few bok choy leaves, shredded
1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
Smoked paprika to dust (optional)

In a bowl, gently mix together the chopped spring onions, crabmeat, tabasco sauce, yogurt and soy sauce. Cover and chill until required.

Put the egg whites and cornstarch in a batter bowl and stir in the stock or water, mixing well to form a smooth paste. Season lightly. Brush a non-stick crepe pan — 6in (15cm) base diameter — with a little oil and heat until hot. Pour in a quarter of the batter, tilting the pan to cover the base. Cook over low-to-moderate heat for a few seconds until just set. Flip the crepe over and cook for a few more seconds, taking care not to brown the crepe. Drain on paper towel, layer with baking parchment and keep warm while you make the remaining three crepes. Stir the batter each time it is used.

Lay the crepes on warm plates and fill with the bok choy, pepper and crab salad. Fold the crepes over the filling and serve dusted with paprika if using.

Wild rice pancakes with chicken

Wild rice has a good texture and a mildly nutty flavor.

Serves 4

1 cup (125g) rice flour 
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp baking soda 
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley plus extra for garnish 
¾ cup (125g) cooked, cold wild rice 
2 medium eggs, separated
1 cup (250ml) milk 
¼ stick (30g) unsalted butter
1 large, ripe avocado
1 Tbsp lemon juice 
12 oz (350g) smoked chicken, cut into strips
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
4 strips cooked, crispy bacon, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Sift the flour, baking powder and soda into a bowl and make a well in the center. Add parsley, wild rice and egg yolks, and pour in the milk. Gradually work into the flour using a whisk and then beat until thick and smooth, but don’t over-mix.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the batter using a metal spoon.

Heat a little butter in a large frying pan until bubbling, tilting the pan to coat the sides. Ladle 4 Tbsp batter to form a thick pancake about 4in (10cm) in diameter. Cook over a low-to-moderate heat for about 2½ minutes. Turn over and cook for a further 2½ minutes until golden. Make seven further pancakes and cover to keep moist until ready to serve.

Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Remove the skin and slice thinly. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve pancakes warm, topped with chicken, avocado and a spoonful of mayonnaise and sprinkle with bacon, black pepper and parsley.

Lemon meringue waffles

One of my favorite puddings is lemon meringue pie — I love the contrast between the sharp lemon filling and the sweet marshmallow-like topping. Here I have combined the classic flavors and textures of the pie to make a waffle dessert.

Serves 6

½ quantity Basic waffle batter, sweetened
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
6 Tbsp Greek, or whole-milk, yogurt
6 Tbsp lemon curd 
6 small meringues, lightly crushed
Mint leaves, to decorate

Prepare the half quantity of waffle batter, adding the lemon rind to the batter. Cook the waffles and keep warm until you are ready to serve.

To serve, gently swirl the yogurt and lemon curd together and spoon on top of the waffles. Sprinkle with crushed meringue and decorate with mint leaves.

Basic waffle batter
This batter contains the raising agent baking soda, so use the batter as soon as possible to ensure that the airy, spongy texture is retained. Add the extra-fine sugar if serving with a sweet topping.

Makes 12 waffles

2 cups (250g) plain flour
½ tsp baking soda 
½  tsp salt 
2 Tbsp (30g) extra-fine sugar (optional) 
1 egg, separated
1¼ cups (100ml) milk
¼ stick (30g) unsalted butter, melted

Prepare and preheat the waffle irons or waffle machine as directed. Combine the flour with the baking soda, salt and sugar, if using, in a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the egg yolk and milk, and gradually work into the flour using a whisk. Beat gently until smooth. Carefully stir in the melted butter.

In a grease-free bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff and carefully fold into the batter using a large metal spoon.

Sausage and bacon popovers

A simple idea that is extremely tasty and reminds me of my childhood. These are little hollow quick breads; they are a perfect snacking size and excellent canapés. Try using vegetarian sausages or chopped vegetables for a veggie version.

Makes 12

1¼ cups (150g) plain flour
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
6 strips bacon, halved lengthways
24 cocktail sausages
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

To serve:
Tomato ketchup

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, milk and herbs and whisk into the dry ingredients to form a smooth, thin batter. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Cut the bacon strips in half through the middle to create short lengths. Carefully wrap a piece of bacon around each sausage. Cover and chill until you are ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Spoon ½ tsp oil into each hole of a 12-hole, deep muffin tin and place in the oven for 1 minute until hot. Place 2 sausages side by side in each hole and pour over sufficient batter to come three quarters of the way up each hole. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, until risen, golden and crisp. Best served warm, with mustard and tomato ketchup on the side.

Reprinted from Crepes, Waffles & Pancakes!: Over 100 Recipes for Hearty Meals, Light Snacks, and Delicious Desserts by Kathryn Hawkins. (May 2006; $15.95US; 1-56148-520-9) Copyright by Good Books  ( Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Kathryn Hawkins is an experienced food writer and stylist. She has worked on several women’s magazines on the full-time staff and now as a freelancer. Kathryn recently moved to Scotland from London, and now works from her beautiful Victorian guesthouse. She plans to open a cooking school and run residential and one-day culinary workshops in the house.

Kathryn enjoys using local produce in her cooking and writes on a wide range of cooking subjects. Her special interests include casual dining, regional food, cakes and baking, kid’s cooking, food for health and healthy eating. Kathryn has been writing cookbooks for over a decade and has written several books on healthy eating.

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“What Dean & Deluca did was give the food market a clean artistry that made it very now, very tied into the moment when SoHo was being noticed,” says Florence Fabricant, the New York Times food-beat scoopmeister, who wrote about the store nearly from its inception. “Jack Ceglic was responsible for a lot of that, the industrial look. And Giorgio and Joel were really fanatic about ferreting out product. It all tied together. And the other important thing they tapped into was the need for prepared foods.”

The new sun-dried lifestyle

Indeed, the time had at last arrived when it was socially and economically acceptable for young professionals — and even harried moms in the suburbs — to take home freshly prepared entrées, along with salads and sides purchased by the pound. In an earlier era, prepared foods were problematic: they seemed too fancy and expensive (as Jean Vergnes found out during his brief experiment with Stop & Shop in the sixties), and, for women, they seemed a cop-out, a betrayal of their domestic duties. But with more women in the professional workforce and more people amenable to the general idea of “gourmet” eating, especially if it had the imprimatur of a prestigious shop like Dean & DeLuca or E.A.T., prepared foods started to take off — Rob Kaufelt, who grew up in the supermarket business and now runs Murray’s, the beloved New York cheese store, calls the rise of prepared foods “the biggest change in the grocery-store business over the last thirty years.”

Dean & DeLuca’s secret weapon in this regard was Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, who for a time was a partner in the store with the namesake owners and Ceglic. Peruvian by birth, Rojas-Lombardi had come to Dean & DeLuca by way of the James Beard Cooking School, where he’d risen up through the ranks to become the master’s right-hand man in the kitchen. Rojas-Lombardi had also worked as New York magazine’s in-house chef, their go-to man for testing recipes. This pedigree proved helpful not only in eliciting constant plugs for the store in Beard’s syndicated column and in New York but in the fact that Rojas-Lombardi was a skilled, inventive cook: he roasted chickens tandoori-style, grilled salmon on cedar planks, and went out on a limb with such oddball entrées as elk steak and his notorious rabbit with forty cloves of garlic. “Felipe did some of the first pasta salads that people had ever seen,” says Ceglic. “He did everything with the products we sold, and people cottoned to it.”

“The idea was that if you didn’t know what a sun-dried tomato was, well, here it was, in a pasta salad,” said Dean.

The third point in New York’s prepared-foods triangle, with Dean & DeLuca downtown and E.A.T. serving the Upper East Side, was the Silver Palate, a tiny shop on the Upper West Side, on what was then a drab stretch of Columbus Avenue. The Silver Palate’s genesis lay in a mid-seventies catering company called The Other Woman, a single-person operation run by Sheila Lukins, a young mother of two who cooked out of her apartment on Central Park West. As her company’s name and slogan (“So discreet, so delicious, and I deliver”) suggested, Lukins’s clientele was mostly male: professional men who wanted their dinner parties catered but not in an inordinately fussy, Edith Whartonian fashion.

Lukins was a self-taught cook, more or less — she had taken a course at the London Cordon Bleu while she and her husband lived there, but “it was the dilettante course,” she says. Her greatest inspiration was not Child and company’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking but the more practical, less labor-intensive recipes of Craig Claiborne’s New York Times cookbooks and his Sunday pieces for the Times Magazine. Lukins’s cooking was eclectic but somehow all of a piece — aspirational comfort food: moussaka, lasagna, ratatouille, stuffed grape leaves, and the quintessential Lukins dish, Chicken Marbella, the quartered bird baked after a long soak in a Mediterranean-style marinade of oil, vinegar, garlic, prunes, olives, and capers.

While running The Other Woman Catering Company, Lukins became acquainted with Julee Rosso, a young professional who worked in the advertising division of Burlington Mills, the textile company. Rosso had attended many events catered by Lukins, and was so impressed that one day, she hit up Lukins with a proposal. “She said, ‘So many women are working late now. What if we opened up a shop for them?'” Lukins remembers. The two went into business as the Silver Palate in the summer of 1977, with Lukins as the cook — carting food over from her apartment several times a day to the then kitchenless store — and Rosso as the marketer and front-woman.

“It was a big deal for two women to go into business together in 1977,” says Lukins, who thinks this angle helped the shop get press coverage almost as fawning and widespread as Dean & DeLuca’s. Zabar was the odd man out where press was concerned. E.A.T. was flourishing, and it offered an even more extensive and dazzling line of prepared foods than the Silver Palate, but the proprietor’s truculence precluded him from ever being a press favorite, a circumstance that only got worse in the eighties, when he let loose on the writer Julie Baumgold, the wife of New York‘s then editor Edward Kosner, for trying to return some item she’d purchased. (“I told her to go fuck herself, ’cause there was nothing wrong with it,” Zabar says.)

“Eli’s a great merchandiser, and his shop was always spectacular, but I don’t think he liked us at all,” says Lukins. “I think he thought we copied him — and we didn’t. I mean, we were one tiny corner of his shop! But we got the publicity and the good reviews.” Within a year of its opening, the Silver Palate was selling its own product line at Saks Fifth Avenue, including such items as winter fruit compote, Damson plums in brandy, and blueberry vinegar.

Four years later, The Silver Palate Cookbook was published by Workman and became the cookbook of the eighties, not just in Manhattan but throughout the United States. More disciplined and earthbound than The Moosewood Cookbook, yet less intimidating and grown-up than the two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Lukins and Rosso’s book was perfect for have-it-all, multitasking baby boomers who wanted to cook well but not all the time. Its introduction recalled the state of affairs that led the two ladies to their decision to open their shop: a new era in which women found themselves juggling “school schedules, business appointments, political activities, art projects, sculpting classes, movie going, exercising, theater, chamber music concerts, tennis, squash, weekends in the country or at the beach, friends, family, fund raisers, books to read, [and] shopping,” and yet were still compelled “to prepare creative, well-balanced meals and the occasional dinner party at home.” The Silver Palate lifestyle offered two solutions: you could use Lukins and Rosso’s recipes, or buy their products and prepared foods.

The very emergence of the word “lifestyle” in the late seventies signaled a progression in America’s food culture. Stylish living wasn’t just for wealthy boulevardiers anymore, but for anyone who considered himself upwardly mobile — and eating, cooking, and food-shopping were about as lifestylish as things got. In 1976, when The New York Times expanded from two to four sections a day, introducing a new daily business section and a rotating fourth section devoted to soft news and service journalism, the first two “fourth sections” to appear were Weekend (on Fridays) and the Living section (on Wednesdays), both of which had a heavy food component. The Weekend section carried the restaurant-review column, which ran longer and held greater weight than it had when Claiborne introduced the column in the early sixties. Whereas Claiborne’s early columns were often roundups, devoting just a blurb or a short paragraph to each restaurant, the new version evaluated no more than two restaurants at a time, with much more intimate, first-person critiques by the Times‘ new reviewer, Mimi Sheraton.

The Living section was even more gastronomically inclined, with shopping news and product evaluations from Florence Fabricant; a wine column by Frank Prial (a metro-desk reporter who happened to be an oenophile); health and nutrition news from Jane Brody; recipes, essays, and travelogues from Claiborne; and a new column by Pierre Franey, bylined at last, called “60-Minute Gourmet.” Arthur Gelb, who was put in charge of the new culture sections by the paper’s executive editor, Abe Rosenthal, had wanted to appeal to time-strapped upwardly mobile home cooks by running a column called “30-Minute Gourmet”; Gelb and his wife, Barbara, had been impressed by Franey’s ability to whip up quick, simple, delicious meals in the Hamptons — flounder in a butter sauce, say, or pork chops with capers — after a long day of fishing.

But Franey was still too much of a purist to limit himself to thirty minutes. (Like a lot of chefs, he was also made queasy by the word “gourmet” and preferred the title “60-Minute Chef,” but he yielded to Gelb on that matter.) The first “60-Minute Gourmet” column featured a recipe for crevettes “margarita” –– an invention of Franey’s that called for shrimp to be cooked in a sauce of tequila, shallots, and cream, with avocado slices tossed in at the end — and began with a statement of intent (written by Claiborne) that declared, “With inventiveness and a little planning, there is no reason why a working wife, a bachelor, or a husband who likes to cook cannot prepare an elegant meal in under an hour.”

Excerpted from The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp Copyright © 2006 by David Kamp. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.