New Castle News

September 22, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Make magazines fat, not you

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Wow. Besides meals, even magazines are super sizing it these days.

Some of you may have heard that the September issue of Vogue weighed about four or five pounds and was more than 750 pages. If I had one more copy, I could have used them for lifting weights instead of my usual dumbbells.

It would be good exercise.

It seems these days, just about everybody has some kind of routine — Zumba, yoga, aerobics, spinning or P90X, a regimen known for its intensity.

Along those same lines, many people are watching their calorie intake.

The word “diet” has been substituted with cutting back, paying attention to portion size, and reducing saturated fats and other no-nos, which play havoc with the scale reading what we want it to be.

Low-cal doesn’t always mean low fat.

But there are so many options with early fall offerings from the garden, and fresh vegetables and fruits are always a good choice.

Once again, I turned to my old faithful American Family Cookbook published by the Culinary Arts Institute. At more than 750 pages, it’s comparable to the Vogue issue in weight and size, but it’s also my go-to for just about anything.

As the book suggests, if you can cut out just 50 calories here, 50 calories there, and 100 calories somewhere else, you are taking the proper steps toward losing unwanted pounds.

Counting calories seemed to go out of vogue for awhile, what with high-protein diets and other approaches to losing weight. But physicians have told me that a person should still abide by a set amount of calories per day based on their weight and height.

Keeping all that in mind, today’s selections include a soup, main dishes and yes, even desserts.

Chilled Cucumber-Chive Soup

Cut 12, 1/8-inch slices from one cucumber for a garnish.

Place slices in a small bowl of ice water and set in refrigerator. Shred enough of the remaining cucumber to yield 2 cups shredded cucumber.

Pour the milk into the top of a double boiler. Evenly sprinkle a blend of flour, salt, pepper and paprika over milk. Beat with hand rotary or electric mixer just until blended. Add the shredded cucumber, bouillon cubes and chives. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes or until bouillon cubes are dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened.

 Cool; chill about 3 hours. Garnish servings with the cucumber slices.

Beef Ragout

Heat the butter in a large skillet. Add mean and brown over medium heat on all sides. Add onion the last few minutes of cooking.

Add the water and a blend of the salt, pepper, basil and thyme. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. If necessary, add more hot water as meat cooks.

Add the carrots, beans and onion to skillet; cover and cook 15 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Blend in tomato paste.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Fruit-Cake Dessert

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the pineapple (with its juice) and the dry pudding mix until combined. Gently stir in the whipped topping.

Cut the angel food cake horizontally into three equal layers using a large serrated knife. Place the bottom layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Top with 1 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Cover with the middle layer and another 1 cup of the pudding mixture. Add the last cake layer and top with the remaining pudding mixture.

Refrigerate for at least one hour. Before serving, use fresh raspberries for the sides and top of the cake.

Calories per serving: 169. Fat per serving, 2 grams.

Brownies

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8x8-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In cup, dissolve espresso powder in 1 tsp. hot water; set aside.

In large bowl, with wire whisk, mix flour, cocoa baking powder and salt.

In 2-qt. saucepan, melt margarine or butter over low heat. Remove pan from heat. With whisk, mix in sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, egg whites and espresso mixture until blended. With wooden spoon, stir sugar mixture into flower mixture just until blended. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into pan. Bake brownies 18 to 22 minutes just until toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack at least one our.

When cool, cut brownies into four strips, then cut each strip crosswise into four pieces. If brownies are difficult to cut, use knife dipped in hot water and dried.

Calories per serving: 100. Fat per serving: 2 grams.