Sunday, June 14, 2009

Re-Post of a Post

I learned that yahoo will discontinue So I'm moving some of the stuff I had in my geocities page to here. This is a repost of a post of a thread I did on a long time ago.

Salad. To most of us, it means a big bowl of lettuce. Sometimes there are other things on it (soggy bacon bits, stale croutons, etc.) and big glob of some kind of creamy dressing or worse a really oily, sour dressing (yuck!)

But salad does not have to be lettuce. A salad can be a mixture of chopped peppers, cucumbers and jicama tossed with alittle oil and lemon juice (and a healthy grinding of black pepper). A salad can be wilted, such as the popular wilted spinach salads.

That brings me to a good point: all the vegetables on the “salad” list can be cooked. Yes, including the lettuces! In fact, cooking these veggies gives them a different taste and texture that adds variety to your daily menu. Note: my Atkins book of reference is Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, 3rd ed. The below list is from there.


ALFALFA SPROUTS:Best raw, imo. But can be lightly sauteed and added to egg dishes like omelettes or to brothy type soups like egg-drop.

ARUGULA:Bitter green. Thinly slice and sautee in oil or butter with garlic. You can sautee it alone or mix it with another milder green vegetable, like spinach or Swiss chard. Chop or thinly slice and use raw or lightly sauteed in egg dishes.

BOK CHOY: Also known as Chinese or Asian Celery. Mild green vegetables. Use the leafy parts and the white stems. Slice and use sautee like ARUGULA. Or use it in stir-fry with other vegetables. Can be used raw or lightly sauteed in egg dishes or brothy type soups.

CELERY:Thinly slice or slice into match sticks and add to stir fry, or soup. Can be used in making vegetable broth.

CHICORY: Bitter green. Prepare like ARUGULA.

CUCUMBER: De-seed, chop or slice and sautee in butter or oil (a classic accompaniment to sole or turbot fillets). Thinly slice and add to sour cream for a sauce similar to raita (Indian cucumber and yogurt sauce). Sautee lightly and add to a mixture of chicken broth and water, puree and chill for a cucumber soup.

DAIKON: Also known as Chinese Radish, Asian Radish, Japanese RadishPeel and parboil. A useful potato substitute in gratins, hash browns, stew, roasted as side vegetable for roast beef, chicken, etc. Can be used without parboiling in stir fry or thin brothy Asian style soups.

ENDIVE: Also known as Belgium Endive. Note: Endive and Chicory are essentially the same vegetable. Endive are the young shoots that are raised in the dark to decrease the bitterness and to keep the vegetable a creamy white color. Bitter vegetable. Best raw, imo, stuffed with chicken or tuna salad, cream cheese etc. Can be split lengthwise and braised as a side dish or can be sauteed lightly like ARUGULA.

ESCAROLE: Bitter green. Prepare and cook like ARUGULA. This is the vegetable green found in many Italian soups, like Italian Wedding Soup and Stricatella (an Italian egg-drop soup).

FENNEL: Also known as Sweet Anise. It looks similar to celery, except the stem-end is broader and the leaves are frondy. Cut the stems away from the broad base. The stems and fronds can be used too. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with them and put a whole chicken or whole fish on top of them; it imparts a nice flavor and aroma to the roast. Has a licorice/anise flavor. Tastes best raw, imo, thinly sliced in a salad with raw thinly sliced mushrooms and drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese. Can be thinly sliced and lightly sauteed. The base can be split in half and braised. Or made into a cream soup.

JICAMA: Best raw, imo. You chop the peeled jicama into cubes, mix with celery and mayo for a low carb version of Waldorf Salad. Cut them into fine matchsticks and mix with matchstick sized cuts of celeriac (from the 1-Cup List) and mayo for another salad. They can be used in stir fry as a water chestnut substitute. I’ve heard they can be baked and mashed, but I’ve never tried it that way.

LETTUCE: All lettuce can be cooked. (Repeat after me: all lettuce can be cooked) Slice and sautee in oil or butter like ARUGULA. Shredded, it can be added to brothy Asian style soups or even made into cream soup. Whole large lettuce leaves can be softened in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and used as wraps for other vegetable dishes or vegetable-meat dishes like stir fry (think moo shu wrapper substitute). Lightly sautee or use raw in egg dishes.

MACHE: Also known as Corn Salad. Best raw, imo, But can be prepared like ARUGULA.

MUSHROOMS: Button mushrooms that turn a bit brown in your frig have more flavor, making them better for cooking. Use in meat or vegetable stocks. Sautee in oil or butter. Add to egg dishes. Stuff larger mushroom caps with cheese or mixture of cooked ground meat and cheese, bake until cheese is melted. Classic French preparation for mushrooms is the “Duxelles”. Finely chop the mushrooms caps and stems. Sautee in oil and/or butter until all the water is cooked away and the mushrooms are rather dry. Add salt and pepper (maybe a pinch of nutmeg) and enough cream to just lightly bind the mixture together. Use the Duxelles as a stuffing in chicken breasts, under the skin of a whole chicken for roasting, or stuff into artichoke hearts and other vegetables.

PARSLEY: Italian or Flat leaf parsley has a more pronounced flavor than the more delicate French or Curly parsley. I think the Italians deep fry whole parsley sprigs and use them as an edible garnish. Anyway, finely chop and add to egg dishes. Use as an “extender” with other herbs when making pesto. A French country soup recipe uses a lot of parsley. Bake or boil one head of garlic until soft, then mash. Bring a pot of good chicken stock to the boil. Add the mashed garlic and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add about a cup of finely chopped parsley to the soup. Serve immediately. Can also be used in sauces.

PEPPERS: Slice and sautee in oil or butter and serve as is or add to egg dishes. Grill or broil whole peppers until the skin is blackened and the vegetable is somewhat soft. Put into plastic bag and allow to steam. Then scrape off the skins and remove the seeds. Can be dressed in oil and served as is. OR puree the roasted peppers with a love of garlic, salt, pepper and slowly incorporate a good olive oil. Use as a red sauce for spaghetti squash, incorporate into meat loaf. Or skip the oil and add a mixture of chicken broth and water to the puree. Chill and serve as a cold soup with a splash of olive oil on top right before serving or add chopped cucumbers for an almost gazpacho. Slice peppers in half and stuff with a meatloaf mixture, bake until cooked. OR stuff raw pepper halves with chicken or tuna salad (especially good with the long sweet varieties, like banana peppers, or with the hotter peppers if you like spicy things).

RADDICHIO: Bitter salad vegetable. Prepare like ARUGULA

RADISHES: Slice into thin rounds and sautee in oil or butter, salt and pepper-----great as a side dish for scrambled eggs! Boil or steam and serve with butter or cream. Can also be used in pot roasts or roasted with other vegetables as a roasted meat side dish. This is Not2Late’s Page,

ROMAINE: Also known as Cos LettuceUse like the other LETTUCES. Can be prepared like ARUGULA.

SORREL: Lemony, tart flavored green herb. Classic preparations are a sorrel and watercress sauce and cream of sorrel soup. Can be boiled like spinach BUT change the cooking water once during the cooking to decrease the tartness (believe me it’s needed!). Throw it into the blender with mayo or sour cream for a sauce or dip. Saute it with a mixture of greens.

Other tips:
Reducing the bitterness of vegetables: Blanch them prior to final cooking. OR soak them in cold, salted water for about 2 hours, thoroughly rinsing the greens before the final preparation.

Sautee tips: To add extra flavor, heat the oil and/or butter in a pan, add the garlic and one or two anchovy fillets (don’t worry, it won’t taste fishy and the fillets will disintegrate). Alternatively, omit the anchovy fillets and add a pinch (or more) of dried hot pepper flakes. Let the flakes cook gently then add the vegetables. A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of hot pepper sauce right before serving the bitter greens adds an extra kick to them.

Vegetable hash: Great way to use leftovers. Using the potato substitutes, like daikon or turnips, parboil until soft, cut into desired shape. Sautee in oil or bacon fat with cooked green vegetables. Press lightly on the vegetables while cooking in order to develop a golden brown crust. In the UK, the potato and cabbage version of this is called “Bubble and Squeak”.

Stove top braise and brown: In a large frying pan add your vegetable. Cover with enough water to go halfway up the vegetable’s sides. Add a tablespoon or two of oil. Bring to a boil. Do not cover and let it cook until the water boils away. The oil will then fry the vegetables to a golden brown color. Good technique for endive, fennel, and baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise.

Spanish Tortilla: This is an egg dish similar to an Italian fritatta, as opposed to the Latin American tortilla. It’s a great leftover user. Basic technique: 1-2 eggs, salt, pepper, ½ to 1 cup of the desired vegetable or a mix of vegetables, optional additions include chopped cooked leftover meat, cheese, etc. Beat the eggs, add the other ingredients. Set aside. Heat some oil and/or butter in a frying pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook over medium to high heat. Try not to stir the mixture. You want it to set up. When it is set, carefully flip it to the other side and let it cook. Cook both sides to a golden brown….this is important because it gives the dish more flavor. Spinach is exceptionally good in this dish.

IF you wish to make an egg foo yung, add a cup of raw bean sprouts and chopped cooked meat (if desired) to the beaten egg. Cook as above. In Chinese restaurants, the patty is deep fried and they move the edges toward the center to make it more roundish. But that’s not really necessary. IF you put this egg foo yung patty into a lettuce leaf and add mayo and some sliced tomato, you’ll have a low carb version of a St. Paul sandwich and nice light lunch or supper.

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