Warning: strong opinions to follow.
I am now the proud owner of 5 bags of cranberries.
It's the little things….
One of my favorite little things about our trips to Bordeaux is reading. Three hours in the car lets me catch up on magazines, browse cook books, whatever tickles my fancy. I've been known to knit scarves and do needlepoint.
I treasure my 'car time'.
Yesterday I read cooking magazines.
I have a few observations….
One could almost say strong personal opinions. (ahem)
I read 3 issues of the same magazine.
I like the magazine, I've subscribed for years, but I have never followed one of their recipes.
I consider them 'ideas'.
I have issues with some of their ingredients.
One recipe that sounded good called for '2 tablespoons of heavy cream'.
First: I never use heavy cream. I use plain yogurt or milk or a combination of the two.
Second: I'm pretty sure I can't buy 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
That means I would either have to throw out 95% of what I bought or search for more uses for heavy cream…. which I don't use.
Another recipe I sort of liked called for 'non-fat cheese' and 'non-fat sour cream'.
First: I never use foods that have had their natural make-up manipulated. I want real cheese and real sour cream, not stabilizers and non-fat milk solids. (I don't even know what's in the non-fat stuff as I don't see it here.) And I always use yogurt in place of sour cream anyway….
Second: If you are trying to reduce fat or calories, why not just use less of the real thing? Or, better idea, enjoy it, then go for a walk.
A lot of the recipes were for 'one dish dinners'.
I like this.
The calorie content of said 'one dish dinners' was very often in the 300 – 400 per serving range.
I have a real problem with this.
Adult humans need more nourishment than that. Unless you are on a strict, supervised diet you need around 2000 calories per day. Typical would be 400 for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner – leaving 400 to play with – snacks, wine, chocolate, etc.
If your dinner is only 300 – 400 calories, you're not going to be satisfied…. You're going to be hungry.
Hmm, maybe that's what happens to the rest of the heavy cream….
My problem is when readers of the magazine (and buyers of Lean Cuisine) start thinking that this is the right amount of calories they should be consuming at a meal, than get frustrated because they're still hungry…. so stop off for a few dozen jelly donuts.
Unless the magazine was thinking that one should have a 350 calorie main course, with non-fat cheese followed by a 300 calorie high-sugar dessert….
With heavy cream.
Now, that would be fun but I don't think that's the healthiest approach on a daily basis.
I had a subscriber to my menu service cancel recently because my meals were too high in calories. She and her husband were young, (20's) very active and determined to live a healthy lifestyle. My dinners regularly come in between 550 and 650 calories and they couldn't possibly eat that much at one meal.
Sweetie – I've got news for you. When I was young (20's) and very active, I regularly ate twice that and had no problem maintaining a healthy, slim figure.
Now if you'll excuse me while I get off my high horse….
This is meant to be a second course in an Italian meal or as an accompaniment to simple roast meats in an American meal.
I used fresh cepes and oyster mushrooms for this. Use the best / most interesting you can find.
1/2 cups Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/3 cup dry, white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 onion other half for condimenti
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat. Finely chop onion. In medium sauce pan heat butter; add the onion and sauté until transparent then add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center. Add white wine and stir. Start condimenti. When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/4 cup of stock, stir. (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.) When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/4 cup and continue adding 1/4 cup at a time and stirring. Before adding the last 1/4 cup taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just 'al dente' – slightly resistant to the tooth, but fully cooked. If more stock is needed add it 1/8 cup at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed. At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it's shape on a plate. Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, pour into a bowl or risotto platter. Serve.
Note: It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff. The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon – not a fork.
4oz (125gr) wild or field mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
Brush mushrooms, trim and slice. Chop onion. Roughly chop tomato. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion, mushrooms and sauté until starting to brown. Add tomato and simmer until it softens. Stir in herbs, cover, turn heat to low and keep warm until needed.
Just before adding to risotto, stir in yogurt.
Yes, I will use the rest of the yogurt during the week. It does store well, you know, 1 – 2 weeks in covered container.
I should mention that there was an article in one issue of the magazine expressing concern over the fact that people tended to eat more of foods labeled low or non-fat – thereby defeating the whole purpose nicely.