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Tips and Techniques

Using a food processor:
Time saving devices are a must for getting meals on the table quickly. A mini processor takes an onion from whole to minced in less than 30 seconds. Trim the root and top ends off and cut the onion in half. Remove the papery covering and the next layer. Place the cut side on the cutting board, slice that half into, then again into fourths. Now place about half the onion into the bowl and pulse the blade about 3 times. Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the onion and repeat.

For minced garlic, simply peel cloves and place into clean and dry bowl. If the bowl is wet, the pieces will stick on to the sides and won't get chopped finely enough.

Very few fresh herbs do well in the processor. The only one I would try is rosemary - after the needles are removed from the branch. Delicate greens will be turned to a watery mass in the processor.

Large bowl processors are helpful when making a large recipe or quantity - like slicing 3 onions or grating 1 pound of carrots. Small or mini bowl processors at half the cost of a large one are useful several times a day in most kitchens. Say you need 3 cloves garlic minced and 1 tablespoon ginger grated- before you could find your knife and cutting board you would have it all done! Here is an example of a nice, inexpensive, small processor.

Tips to Fortify Foods with Phytochemicals

Onions, Garlic

  • Bake or grill onions and serve as a side dish or puree and add to a salad dressing or sauce.
  • Wrap a whole head of garlic in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Squeeze the soft roasted garlic into vinaigrettes or mix into low fat mayonnaise. Use on sandwiches or as a salad dressing. Sauté onions and garlic in cooking spray before adding rice, barley, or buckwheat and cooking liquid to make an easy pilaf.
  • Add garlic to every stir-fry, pilaf, vinaigrette, and marinade.

Beans

  • Substitute black-eyed peas, pinto beans or black beans for the garbanzo beans in Hummus, the Middle Eastern spread. Serve with pita bread.
  • Puree black beans with cumin, jalapeno pepper and chili powder to make a spicy Mexican Bean Dip.
  • Create a Southwestern Pizza by mixing the above bean dip with salsa. Spread on a pizza crust, top with red and green peppers, onions, corn kernels, cooked chicken breast. Sprinkle with green onions and reduced fat cheese.
  • Add rinsed and drained canned beans to pasta sauce, soups, & stews, salads and stir fry dishes.

Cruciferous Vegetables

  • Leftover broccoli can be used on pizza, pureed into dips, or chopped and put into vegetable soup.
  • Disguise cauliflower by cooking with potatoes. Mash, add nonfat sour cream and skim milk, salt and pepper.
  • Use watercress leaves in mixed green salads. It’s cruciferous!

Other Fruit & Vegetables

  • Roast large pieces of tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, eggplant, onions, and garlic in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Puree into a sauce or dice evenly and stir into pasta or place on top of a pizza.
  • Use 100% orange or apple juice to cook whole wheat couscous, bulgur wheat, brown rice or pasta. Add dried cranberries or golden raisins with cinnamon and cloves.
  • Defrost frozen berries in the microwave for 1 minute and add to dry or cooked cereal.
  • Blend orange juice with bananas, strawberries, silken tofu or yogurt for a delicious smoothie. Puree apple juice concentrate and frozen fruit for quick snacks or breakfasts.
  • Remove the outer peel from lemons and oranges with a vegetable peeler. Finely mince in a small food processor and store in the refrigerator. Add the minced peel to muffins and cakes, fruit salads, vinaigrettes, and marinades.
  • Substitute chopped mushrooms for part of the meat in spaghetti sauce, stew, or stuffing.

Mix fruit and vegetables to create salsas

  • Chop mango and red onions, red pepper and mint; serve with grilled fish.
  • Defrost frozen corn and mix with onions and peppers, lime juice and cilantro. Serve with barbequed chicken.
  • Dice ripe papaya and tomatoes, mix with olive oil and cilantro, and serve with a spicy stir-fried chicken.
  • Mix watercress leaves, diced avocado and red onion with olive oil, and lime juice. Serve with crusty bread as an appetizer.
  • Chop Roma tomatoes, black olives, capers, and fresh thyme. Serve with grilled seafood.

Soy Products

  • Blend silken tofu lite until smooth and creamy, then substitute for mayonnaise in salad dressings or dips.
  • Blend silken tofu with frozen fruit and sweetener and use on cereal or in place of yogurt.
  • Use vanilla flavored soymilk on breakfast cereal; mix in nonfat yogurt for a richer flavor.
  • Add soynuts to coleslaw or a lettuce salad.
  • Marinate tempeh and use in a stir-fry with lots of fresh vegetables and seasonings.

Grains

  • Serve dips and spreads with whole grain pita bread or nonfat corn chips.
  • Bake with whole wheat flour whenever possible. It is usually possible to replace half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat.
  • Don’t forget air popped popcorn! Spray with butter flavored cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Tea and Wine

  • Make strong tea and use in cooking. It adds flavor to vinaigrettes, marinades and helps chicken breast develop a golden color.
  • Poach fruit such as grapes, peaches, and pears in sweetened red wine. Thicken the liquid with cornstarch for a dessert sauce.


By Barbara Gollman, M.S., R.D
Author of The Phytopia
® Cookbook: A World of Plant-centered Cuisine
(Phytopia
®, Inc. 1998)
www.phytopia.com




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Please feel free to send any comments or questions to:

Barbara Gollman
barbara@phytopia.com

Last Update: September 28, 2004

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