Cutting back on animal fats is healthy decision to make, and the results can be both tasty and healthy. Save and use this column for proof:
FRENCH STYLE APPLE BUTTER: French custom dictates a spread deliciously made by slow-cooking tart apples mixed with a little butter and sugar into a smooth, rich spread. Serve with or without peanut butter on toast, pancakes, or waffles. Or warm it up slightly and spoon over ice cream or yogurt for a tasty summer dessert:
2 1/2# peeled tart apples, cored & quartered
1?4 c sugar (or substitute)
Tiny pinch salt
1. Heat butter in Dutch over or saucepan with tight-fitting lid, over med heat. Add apples, cook 10-minutes or until apples begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Add sugar, salt, 1 1/2c water. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally, breaking up apples as they soften. Cool. Refrigerate remains.
BRAISED KALE: Serve this light, savory stew over grilled bread or tossed with pasta:
3T olive oil
1 med onion, thinly sliced
2-3 carrots, diced (1 1/2c)
2 bunches kale (9 cups), (tough parts removed), leaves coarsely chopped
1/2t red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Saut onion 7-9 minutes or until golden. Add carrots, cook 2-3 minutes more. Add kale & 1/2c water, cover, cook 2-3 minutes until kale has wilted. Stir in pepper flakes and garlic, cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more. Add 1 1/4c water, bring to a simmer.
2. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, simmer 40 minutes or until kale is tender, adding more water if necessary.
3. Uncover pot, increase heat to med-high, cook 3:00 or until most liquid has evaporated. Season with S&P as desired.
FOOL YOU MEATBALLS GREEK STYLE: Seitan (a high protein pasta made from wheat gluten found in specialty food stores) and cottage cheese blended together will fool even diehard omnivores. Leftovers make great sandwiches or can be reheated:
3 8oz pkgs plain seitan, rinsed and drained
1 8oz pkg low-fat cottage cheese, or ricotta
1c unseasoned bread crumbs
1 small onion finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
3T lemon juice
2T finely chopped dill
2T finely chopped mint or parsley
2t ground cumin
1t baking soda
2T olive oil
1 25-oz jar tomato sauce
1. Pulse seitan in food processor until finely ground. Transfer to bowl, add all ingredients except oil, sauce and feta. Max the mix with hands or potato masher until it all comes together. Season with S&P, if desired. Chill 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking dish with oil. Scoop seitan mix into goll ball-size meatballs. Place in prepared dish. Bake 20 minutes.
3. Pour sauce over meatballs, sprinkle with feta, if using. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes plenty.
BLUEBERRY-CUCUMBER SMOOTHIE: great for a low-cal breakfast or a refreshing afternoon snack:
2 lge cukes, peeled, seeded, cut into 2c chunks
1c low-fat vanilla yogurt
1c frozen blueberries
1-2 T honey
1T lemon juice
Place all ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth.
FRENCH ONION SOUP TARTINES: A full-bodied soup served with green salad for a light meal:
2T olive oil
3-4 med onions, any variety or mixed, cut in quarters or sliced
2T dry white wine
2c low-sodium veggie broth
1 sprig thyme
4 lge slices country bread
1/3c grated Gruyre cheese (or similar)
1. Heat 2 T oil in saucepan over med heat. Add onions, cover, cook 15 minutes or until browning.
2. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Set aside prettiest slices, chop remaining onions.
3. Cook uncovered 5 minutes. Add wine, cook until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in broth, honey, thyme; season with S&P if desired. Partially cover, simmer at least 10 minutes until most liquid is evaporated.
4. Preheat oven to broil. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Spread 1/4c cooked onions on each bread slice. Top with cheese. Lay three reserved onion slices on top of each tartine. Broil until cheese begins to bubble and brown.
Rotten Tomatoes average: "Dark Knight Rises," B+