Say No to fake food!
Excuse me while I get up on my soap box……
This subject has been simmering in the recesses of my mind recently.
I was looking through a popular cooking magazine and saw recipe after recipe calling for fat-free this or low-fat that.
Why don't they just suggest using less? Or using a different ingredient?
I doubt that many of you regular readers will be surprised to learn that I don't cook with or eat fake food.
I don't eat low-fat or no-fat or fat-free 'alternative' foods.
I take this abnormal position for three reasons:
It seems that when something is taken out something else is added – remove fat, add sugar.
When they take out the real stuff they have to add unpronounceable alternatives that may or may not be a petroleum by-product in order to make it seem like the real food. They always fail.
Fake food almost always tastes bad, has a horrid mouth-feel or both.
Now that my position is clear, let me also tell you that I am always on the look out for lower fat, natural alternatives.
Please, allow me to give you a few examples:
Sour cream: 1/4 cup has 111 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 63mg of calcium
Plain yogurt: 1/4 cup has 37 calories, 2 grams of fat and 74mg of calcium
Greek yogurt: 1/4 cup has 93 calories, 7 grams of fat and 113mg of calcium
Plain yogurt makes an excellent substitute for sour cream. You do have to be careful not to heat it with tomatoes as it might curdle; add it at the end of cooking time. It's also a bit thinner.
Greek yogurt is a perfect substitute – thick and creamy. It's not a lot lower in calories but it is lower in fat and lots higher in calcium. If you get sheep milk yogurt it's even better!
For a non-typical use: When I make something that calls for mayonnaise, like American Potato Salad, I use half plain yogurt and half mayonnaise. Cuts both fat and calories considerably. The mayonnaise flavor still dominates and the yogurt makes the dressing less stiff so you use less.
Cream cheese: 1oz has 97 calories, 9 grams of fat and 28mg of calcium
Soft goat cheese: 1oz has 76 calories, 6 grams of fat and 40mg of calcium
Probably not for cheesecake, but, hey, if you're making cheesecake you're not worried about calories…. Some things must be done right!
For savory dishes soft goat cheese is a great substitute – it has more flavor so you can use less, plus it has more health benefits.
Goat's milk and goat's cheese are the dairy of choice for most of the world. They are more easily digested than the cow equivalent and may be suitable for some who are lactose intolerant.
Ahem….. I shall now get off my soapbox for the food:
Baked Spinach with Goat Cheese
6oz (200gr) fresh spinach
1/4 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp chives
1/2 tsp basil
Remove thick stems from spinach, if needed, and very roughly chop any large leaves; smaller leaves can be left whole. Put spinach in baking dish large enough to hold it easily. In a small saucepan heat milk over medium heat. Add chevre and stir until it melts. Add herbs and pour over spinach. Bake at 375F (190C) for 15 minutes. Serve from baking dish.
New project – Sunday's posts are going to be about food – nutrition info, cooking techniques…. that sort of thing.
And I'll take suggestions. Any thing you are interested in or want to know more about? Anything at all? (Food related, please.)
Leave a comment with ideas for next week.