March 13, 2006


Another one of our cooking extravaganzas this Sunday. Saturday night we opened the cupboards and emptied all of the grains, rices, pastas, and other dried goods. Man, what a stash! We are not allowed to buy any more of any of it until it has been used up. So we opened a bottled of wine and opened up the cookbooks and started scheming.

1. Red Lentil Loaf from Cooking The Whole Foods Way by Christina Pirello is a dish we have made in the past and really enjoyed. We suped up the ingredients, especially the vinegars and threw in some wheat germ and a roasted ancho chili (seeded) for good measure. The recipe includes red lentils, a piece of wakame (we used kombu), olive oil, shallots, carrot, celery, soy sauce, dried basil, rolled oats, umeboshi vinegar (we used rice vinegar), and balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients for Red Lentil Loaf. Kombu (not pictured) is a sea vegetable packaged in wide, dark, dehydrated strips that will double in size upon soaking and cooking. A great source of glutamic acid, a natural flavor enhancer. It is also generally believed that kombu improves the digestibility of grains and beans when added to these foods in small amounts.

2. Tuna Noodle Caserole. Now, we did our best to make a healthy version of this comfort food dish. I think we fared pretty well, though we disagreed on whether or not to use a cream of something canned soup. I said no way. I can make a healthy version of something gloppy and "creamy" if that's what we need. I lost that debate. As a compromise we used a "98% Fat Free" version of a popular brand of canned soup. I think compromise is the key word here - like compromise health and nutrition but what do I know? I dislike canned soups, especially creamed versions. There is just not much nutrition going on in these products. But, like I said, this is a comfort food dish even though we were trying to make a healthier version. Tuna, egg noodles, cream of something soup, peas, carrots, and homemade, whole wheat bread crumbs and organic rolled oats as the crunchy topping. Some green tobasco for bite. I think it's pretty good, as far as taste is concerned. J, however, isn't impressed. I feel bad. She was looking forward to it. I think it can be doctored and she will come to dig it.

3. Turkey Lasagna from the American Heart Association Cookbook (5th Edition). This is a dish we have made before and really enjoyed. This was an opportunity to use Nana B's sauce that I schlepped home onthe airplane. We didn't have ground turkey so we used meatless meatballs. Lots and lots of delicious veggies went into this. Spinach, shrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, and eggplant. Plus low fat, low sodium cottage cheese. We tried the no-bake lasagna noodles. Not bad. Overall the dish is pretty good. Next time I'd prefer no meat at all. Again, a healthier version of a comfort food dish. All those noodles are hard to health-a-fy.

Saute all the veggies until they release their mositure and then dry out.

Construct your layers.

Finish it off.

Here is the result of our labor. It really wasn't that much work with two people working.

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