Saturday, October 07, 2006

Next Friday's Bonus Ahead of Schedule

I have a friend who needs to cut back on fats in the diet. Now who doesn't like pizza? Pizza is health food! Cheese and the best marinara sauce you can make! But, have you though about substituting basil pesto for that marinara sauce? First you can cut out the sugar altogether! Diabetics rejoice!

So, here's a classic basil pesto recipe that I use, because I have a wife who is allergic to tomatoes (you thought I was kidding about being a trophy husband?).

Basil Pesto

Description: This classic, fresh-tasting sauce originated in Italy is a favorite to use with vegtables and soups, especially ministrone, and with seafood.

I have also served it on crackers, toast, on eggs, and pasta, very successfully.

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2 sprigs parseley
2 cloves garlic cut up
3 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

In a food processor or blender, place all ingredients except oil. Process until minced. With motor running, slowly pour oil through the tube and blend. Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refridgerate until ready to use, or freeze for several months. Bring to room temperature before using.

Makes about ½ cup

I have substituted spinach for the basil, not used the parseley, used pistachio nuts, added both strawberries and mangos, though not together, and made fabulous pestos. This is an extremely flexible receipe! There's more.

Blue Cheese Dressing

My friend and I share an adiction. Blue cheese. Most of the time, you get it on a salad, although I often put it on almost any red meat, potatoes (baked, shaved and sprinkled over fries, etc), pizza, toast, licked off my finger, eat it on a cracker. I am serious about blue cheese. I'll bet I have tries 10 - 12 varieties of blue cheese. I tend to favor Maytag of the easier to get blue cheeses, but I used to order one from a Vermont dairy that was $18 a pound that I thought of as crack. That's when you sneak downstairs at 4:00 am and the cat is handfighting you for some of the cheese, and suddenly the wife shows up and says, "next time order two pounds, after that, never again." And she was right. We needed the sleep.

This is the lowest fat receipie for blue cheese dressing I can find. My friend may not like it. As always, the better the blue cheese you use, the better the dressing, the more the fat. Mileage may vary. It comes from Canyon Ranch Cookbook, so it's as dietetic as you can make blue cheese. Skipping to the chase:


2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil mayonnaide
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

30 minutes to prepare

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except for cheese and mix well. Add cheese and gently stir to combine. Pour into a jar.
2. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Makes 16 servings
Each 2 tablespoon serving contains approximately:
65 calories/ 3 gm. carbohydrate
5 grams fat/ 10 mg. cholesterol
2 grams protein/ 206 mg. sodium/ 0 mg. fiber

Again, this is straight out of the "Canyon Ranch Cooks" cookbook and it's really for a friend who is desperate to cut out fat. The only thing I'd add is to reserve some of the buttermilk and the vinegar, and add to taste with the cheese. You want a bite from the vinegar, but not so sharp that the bitterness overwhelmes the delicious cheesy flavor. Alison, who is a much better cook than me, and my fav for plotting all-day meals with, probably has something to add. She does cook with a tiara, you know.


Alison said...

Both recipes sound delish. I have never made my own bleu cheese dressing. In France, I'd sometimes eat it at the cheese course, before dessert. In that case, I'd "mellow" it with a little butter on my bread. Yum.

But we were talking about cutting out fat. Some fat is good for you. I try to avoid processed foods, which usually have a lot of fat. I also avoid fat-free stuff, because the fat is just replaced with sugar.

One great way to dress a salad is by using lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. You can put the oil in a spray bottle to control your portions even more.

Wait. What were we talking about?

Allan said...

My mother made the best blue cheese dresing ever. She made a thick version suitable for stuffing celery and a thinner version for salads and to spread on saltines.


The CEO said...

I just love it when you talk like that. We almost never get to desert.

The CEO said...

Allan, got any recipes to share? My hands are shaking, I haven't eaten yet.

cinders said...

Now to hire the personal chef, and voila...

cmhl said...

sounds good!!

The CEO said...

I am the personal chef. And on bad hair days (I really don't have these) we go out. On the toher hand, I do not tune cars or change the oil in the driveway. I have a responsibility to the local microeconomic system. And, I am a Capitalist!

mist1 said...

It's so much easier to date a chef.

Please encourage Alison to post photos of herself in a tiara. Thanks.