Dee Gourmet Goddess.com

Try Something Different!

Here are a few ideas for you to try.  Add new flavors, ideas and styles into your everyday food preparation. Enjoy!

 

 

DIFFERENT TUNA SALAD

Instead of the usual mayonnaise, simply chop some sweet onion and add it to the tuna after draining. Grind lots of coarse black pepper into the tuna and mix together. Now, drizzle with lemon-flavored olive oil, such as the one pictured below.  Tuna salad made this way makes a great pannini when grilled on ciabatta bread with a slice of tomato and a slice of your favorite low fat or soy cheese. I use provolone flavored veggie cheese and it is great!

  

The oil pictured above, Meyer Lemon, is from Nan’s Gourmet Foods http://nansgourmetfoods.com  and I have found it to be of exceptional quality and taste.  Another local olive oil is from Ojai, California, which also makes very flavorful oils.

 

Look for local flavored olive oils, if there are any near you, and change to a healthier fat!

 

************************

MAYO TRICK

If you simply must have that mayo taste and can’t stand the flavor of non-fat or lower fat mayo, try mixing 1 Tablespoon of regular mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo) with 2 Tablespoons of non-fat Greek yogurt. You will find that not much is lost in the translation except fat and calories.  

 

 

Think of the possibilities:  you can make traditional potato or egg salad, dips, dressings (such as Ranch, which most kids love) and even tarter sauce this way!

 

 

I prefer the texture of the non-fat Greek yogurt (I get the organic Trader Joe’s brand) because it holds up when making sauces and dressings.  Low fat sour cream is also a good substitute with fewer calories and fat than the mayo, but I prefer working with the yogurt, not only because of the texture, but I appreciate the creaminess it adds.

 

 

1 Tablespoon (olive oil) mayonnaise has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat

1 Tablespoon of non-fat Greek yogurt has 9 calories and 0 fat.

You do the math.

 

 

************************

 

VEGGIES

Microwaved veggies may retain their vitamins better than stovetop-cooked ones. That’s because the microwave zaps it quickly and without much water. One study found that spinach retained only 77% of the B-vitamin folate when cooked on a stove, but retained ALL of its folate when cooked in a microwave.

 

If you don’t already, microwave your veggies.  Just put in a microwave-safe bowl, add very little water and cover with waxed paper or a paper towel.  I avoid plastic wrap, the jury is still out on that one.

 

************************

 

DIFFERENT SALAD DRESSING

For a delicious and full-flavored salad dressing, try something different! Whisk together equal parts low-sodium soy sauce, dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar (the real stuff) and canola oil. Yum.

************************

 

FRESH THYME – NOT JUST FOR POULTRY!

 

  • Try adding 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme to the filling of your apple crisp or pear tart for a different twist!

 

  • Make a savory pancake by stirring 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese into your batter.

 

  • Combine 1 Tablespoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme (I prefer lemon thyme) and ¼ finely grated lemon rind and drizzle over Greek non-fat yogurt. Top with toasted pine nuts or toasted almond slices for a lower calorie and delicious dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

************************

SWEET ROSEMARY ORANGES!

Here’s a change of pace for oranges.  Make a simple-syrup (2 parts sugar to 3 parts water), add 6 large rosemary sprigs and boil until all sugar is dissolved. Steep 2 hours.  Peel and slice oranges and put into a decorative glass bowl. Pour desired amount of syrup over oranges and chill. Top with a little finely minced rosemary and serve!

 

 

 

************************

 

ROSEMARY LEMONADE

Steep a couple of sprigs of rosemary in simple-syrup and make lemonade with it!

 

 

************************

 

POLENTA SECRET

To avoid the lumps in your polenta, simply pre-mix the desired amount of cornmeal with some of the pre-measured cold cooking liquid prior to adding it to the boiling liquid. 

 

 

************************

 

GOT A NASTY COLD?   TUMMY UPSET?

 

 

Try making home made ginger tea.  It’s easy! Just buy some fresh (look for non-wrinkled skin) ginger root and peel it. The best way to peel ginger is by scraping the peel off with a small spoon.  Then you can either chop, grate or slice it up into pieces. Place about 3 inches of the prepared ginger into a quart of water. Bring to the boil and turn off the heat. Let it stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  It will turn golden yellow.  Strain.  At this point, you can sweeten it to taste with your favorite sweetener, such as honey, agave, raw sugar or a sugar substitute.  Personally, I use honey.  Drink it hot to soothe sore throats and soften the grumbles in your stomach or put it in the refrigerator and drink cold. You can even make your own “ginger ale” by mixing either with sparkling water or club soda.  Ginger is believed by many to have several healing properties.

 

 

************************

 

EASY CHEESE CUTTER

Try cutting your fresh goat cheese or other soft cheese with dental floss! If cutting a cylinder of goat cheese, simply slide a piece of floss underneath  and cross both ends above to create an “X”.  Pull both ends in opposite directions, and voila!

 

 

By the way, it also works on cakes, cheesecakes, etc.  Simply use the dental floss to cut through the soft cake! 

 

************************

 

POUNDING CHICKEN OR MEAT

When making roulades or cutlets, wet the inside of a plastic gallon baggie with water or wine.  Place the meat in a single layer inside the bag and lay on a flat work surface. Now pound away to the desired thickness! You won’t tear your meat and the liquid inside the bag keeps it from sticking.

 

************************

 

FLUFFY SCRAMBLED EGGS

If you want to fluff up your scrambled eggs and lower the fat at the same time, try this.  For every whole egg you use,  scramble in 2 eggwhites and 2 Tablespoons of low fat cottage cheese.  Whisk everything into a frenzy, add seasoning that you like; you can even snip in a little parsley, chives or whatever you like.  Cook in olive oil and viola~! Healthier and delicious fluffy scrambled eggs!   You can also use all eggwhites, as I have done in this photo.   It really is delicious!

 

 

 

 

************************

 

SOFT BREAD CRUMBS

 

How often do you toss those few pieces of almost-stale bread? Well, no more!   I just put them into a zip lock bag and toss them into the freezer until I have accumulated several pieces.  When I’m ready, I thaw them out and put them into the food processor to make bread crumbs. You can make them as fine or coarse as you like. When complete, just toss back into the bag and freeze again until ready to use. You can take out as much as you like and put the rest back into the freezer.  I have a one bag with coarse white crumbs and one bag with finer whole wheat crumbs.  They come in really handy for things like my Stuffed Artichoke Scampi (see recipe section)!

 

************************

 

KEEPING BREAD WARM

Wrap some dried beans in a tea towel and microwave until they are hot. Place the beans while wrapped inside the towel, into the bottom of your bread basket. Keeps your bread warm throughout the meal!  I can’t remember where I heard this, but it really works!

 

************************

 

PREVENT SOGGY GREENS

The French have an excellent way of keeping their salad greens from getting soggy and being able to enjoy that glass of wine with their guests.  Pour your prepared salad dressing into the bottom of a large salad bowl. Now take your  salad forks and crisscross them over the dressing. Gently place your salad greens on top of the forks, using the largest pieces of lettuce on the bottom. When you are ready to mix the salad, just take out the forks and mix!

 

 

************************

 

 

 

Print
January 25th, 2011

Dee’s Tips for Creative Cream-style Soups

 

Winter time is soup time. 

I prefer cream-style soup but I make it without the cream!

Making delicious, organic, home-made soup is simple and healthful for you and your family.  Opening a can or box or soup mix is certainly an alternative, but firstly, they are LOADED with sodium (read the label per serving) and, frankly, you just don’t know what is in that can!

 

 

 

  Here are some cream-style soup-making tips for you:

 

  • Use whatever vegetables are in season and on sale! I make creamed soups out of potatoes, potatoes and leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash (any kind), beets, carrots — pretty much anything veggie!
  • If you can afford it, invest in an immersion blender that is heat resistant. It will change your life!! Lots of sales after Christmas!
  • You will always need some kind of base ingredient such as onion, leek, garlic. The more they are cooked or caramelized, the more nutty the flavor. If you want to keep the flavor lighter, just sweat them before adding the liquid.
  • Use one or two small diced potatoes to naturally thicken a pot of soup.
  • When you are serving a creamed soup, such as cauliflower, and you want a cheddar or bleu cheese flavor, don’t put the cheese in the cooking pot. Instead, serve a couple of different cheeses at the table and have your guests or family choose the one they want to top their soup with. You will find less is more this way!
  • Either make home made broth from left-over chicken parts or if eating vegetarian, left-over veggie pieces and stems.  Make it in larger batches and freeze it for later use.
  • If using boxed or canned soups, look for the organic and less sodium variety. Trader Joe’s has a vegetable broth that is a nice blend.
  • You can blend flavors by using half broth and half almond milk.
  • You can use all almond milk to cook your veggies instead of broth.
  • If you want to “finish” the soup with a little “cream”, try using soy cream.  It’s yummy!
  • If using boxed or canned chicken or veggie broth, use 1/2 broth to 1/2 water ratio.
  • For thicker soups, always use just enough liquid to cover the veggies. You can always add more liquid later, but can’t take it out!
  • One Serrano or Jalapeno chili is really nice to add a bit of fresh spice to a soup. You might want to take it out of the pot before you begin to puree it, though. 
  • I add one Serrano to a pot of cauliflower or potato soup. To make it taste like something great from Mexico, I also add a sprig of fresh lemon oregano.  This can then be topped with a little Mexican blend shredded cheese.
  • For an Asian flair, try putting in some peeled ginger. Ginger can be pretty spicy, so again, start small. Good in squash soups, beet and carrot soups.
  • You can also create a more Asian flavor by adding a small amount of coconut milk to soups such as butternut squash. You can get “light” coconut milk, which has 4 Grams of fat per 1/3 cup, so go lightly. There is no cholesterol in coconut milk.
  • Make a big pot and freeze the rest in individual portions or family portions. Vacuum sealing bags do the job nicely and don’t take up as much space in your freezer. Always label and date them so you know what you are eating in 3 months!
  • When adding spice, a little goes a long way. Again, rule of thumb is, you can always add more, but can’t take it out once it’s in there. Start off slowly and ramp up as needed.
  • If I’m using herbs, I ALWAYS use fresh because the flavor is more subtle. You get an essence and not a blast!  For example, I like to put a large sprig of fresh thyme into my potato leek soup. It’s OK just to wash it and toss it in there, stem and all. By the time the veggies are cooked, all the leaves have fallen off the stem into the soup. Then you can  just scoop the stem out. Saves a lot of time (or is that thyme??) Oh goodness, Dee!
  • I usually add a grind of fresh nutmeg or a dash of grated nutmeg to soups such as potato, cauliflower, potato-leek and sometimes others. Experiment and see if you like the flavor. I think it “grounds” the soup. 
  • Sauté your base ingredients, such as leek, onion, garlic, fennel, or whatever you are using, in olive oil to save on cholesterol.  It won’t save you on fat (all the same), but is healthier. You won’t need much oil, maybe 1 Tablespoon or so per pot.  If you really want the flavor of butter (and sometimes you just do!), add only a couple of teaspoons of butter for flavor into the olive oil.
  • If using a stand alone blender, be sure to cool the soup a little before you put it in the glass or plastic!
  • If using an immersion blender (heaven on earth), keep the blender near the bottom of the soup and just slightly tilted. Move it around the bottom that way because if you lift it up, whooosssshhhh! You won’t like your soup all over your walls!

 

So, see? You can make creamy soup without the cream and make so many variations that you won’t realize how good you are being to yourself! Practice and experiment.

 

Use the Cream-less Creamy Butternut Squash Soup as a basic recipe and GO!

See the “Recipes” tab

Print
January 7th, 2011


Home | Classes | Testimonials | Recipes & Tips | Seasonal Cuisine | About Chef Dee | Newsletter | Contact
Dee Gourmet Goddess © 2018 | designed by FD