Monthly Archives: December 2012

Mary’s Memo #2295

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


I still eat meat, even a juicy chuck-eye steak from timeto-
time, but I’m eating far less than in my younger years.
Because of this, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations by Kim O’Donnel (Da Capo Lifelong Books, October 23, 2012; $18.99/paperback) has special appeal for days when I skip meat altogether. Could I be a “flexitarian?” In Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations, author O’Donnel extends her Meatless Monday lifestyle to special occasions, with 26 menus from appetizers to desserts. All will delight in her seasonally themed recipes and menus. Vegetarians and others will appreciate the book’s how-to guide, which offers basic kitchen outfitting advice, and an introduction to “The
Meat Lover’s Meatless Pantry.” This cookbook makes it possible for eaters of all dietary stripes to meet at the table
and feast in style.

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef and longtime journalist.
For more than a decade, she has dispensed cooking advice in numerous publications including the Washington Post, Culinate, and USA Today. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Education.

INTERESTING GADGET GIFTS


Want to make your own yogurt? T-fal’s new digitally
controlled yogurt maker ($40) may be for you. The device
includes seven jars with adjustable lids to mark the batch
date. You could certainly keep buying yogurt but the recipe
book tells you how to add fruit, soy milk and make Greekstyle. Preparing your own puts you in control of the ingredients and will save money in the long run. Finished product was creamy and suitably tart, report said.

Oxo, one of my favorite gadget companies, has a fat
separator for $14.99 that really makes your gravy fat-free.
I say this because I never was happy with the one I bought
years ago. Since I like gravy with my potatoes, this one is on my wish list.

HAPPIER, HEALTHIER HOLIDAYS


Forty days is the length of time from Thanksgiving to
New Year’s Day. And joyful as it may be, its demands that
are physical, emotional, spiritual and gastronomical can take a toll on your health. The stress that often accompanies the holiday season can interfere with your immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds and possibly reducing the amount of protection you get from a flu vaccine (could this be why I often get a cold in January?).And even holiday happiness can have its consequencesif it leads you to enjoy yourself too much at the dinner
table. Thankfully, there are ways to lighten the emotional
and physical weight of the holidays. Some tips for the cook
are to season strategically because spices enhance flavor
but not calories. At the table think fresh for appetizers. Relearn buffet eating (scan the table and make mental choices before filling your plate). Just say no if the host urges you to eat more and during the holiday season drink unsweetened tea instead of sodas as a thirst quencher. If that isn’t enough to curb your appetite, a study of heart-attack patients suggested that an unusually large meal, packed with carbohydrates, fat and salt quadrupled the chance of having a heart attack within the next two hours.
SOURCE: ConsumerReports On Health, December 2012.

PLAY IT SAFE WITH SOUP


When I am especially busy this time of year, I often lack
the energy to make a full meal (entrée, vegetable and salad) for myself so soup and relishes are more to my liking
and I always have both on hand. Sausage, Lentil and Kale
Soup is one Mary Ann recommended to me recently. I made it with Chief and Rays own Smokehouse brand Italian sausage and Glory brand ready-to-use chopped kale from the produce department.

SAUSAGE, LENTIL AND KALE SOUP


 

2 teaspoons light olive oil

8 oz. Chief Smokehouse Italian Sausage,
casings removed

2 celery stalks (with leafy tops), thinly sliced

1 medium yellow onion, diced medium

1/2 cup lentils

1/2 cup water

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

8 oz. Glory brand chopped kale

In a large Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden
spoon until golden, about 5 minutes. Add celery and onion
and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Next add lentils,
broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, partially cover and cook until vegetables are tender, 25 minutes. Season to taste. Add kale last and cook only until kale wilts. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Adapted from Everyday Food recipe, December
2009.
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