Make it Easy, Make it Light

Make it Easy, Make it Light

by Laurie Grad
     
 

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Make It Easy, Make It Light offers a tempting array of quick, light dishes for the taste-conscious, time-conscious, and health-conscious cook. The "light" approach to cooking is a sensible return to balance and the basic foods that made up the traditional American diet before processed and fast foods became a way of life.

The author provides more than

Overview

Make It Easy, Make It Light offers a tempting array of quick, light dishes for the taste-conscious, time-conscious, and health-conscious cook. The "light" approach to cooking is a sensible return to balance and the basic foods that made up the traditional American diet before processed and fast foods became a way of life.

The author provides more than 200 recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, and entrées that are rich in flavor and nutrition while low in fat, sodium, sugar, and calories. Entrées range from Rock Cornish Game Hens Glazed with Cranberry Chutney and Baked Fish with Papaya Salsa to a selection of pizzas, pastas and calzone. Fresh baked breads and savory desserts, such as Hot Strawberry Soufflé and Italian Lemon Cheesecake are included as well, and accompanied by calorie counts.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Wolfgang Puck One of the first cookbooks to be in step with modern times — recipes that are really simple to make with lighter, healthier foods.

Bert Greene At last, someone has come along and defanged the diet. Laurie Burrows Grad's Make It Easy, Make It Light turns painful calorie counting into honest-to-gosh haute cuisine!

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439145180
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
01/11/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

APPETIZERS

CRUDITÉS

Crudités are crisp, fresh raw vegetables often served with a dip. They are crunchy, satisfying, and when attractively arranged in a basket, provide the perfect appetizer for any dinner. The Make-It-Easy trick to cutting up crudités is to select those vegetables that need as little work as possible.

There are some gadgets that help in the preparation of crudités such as a radish decorator or serrated knife. These tools shorten preparation time and make the vegetables look more appealing without additional effort.

The following is a list of vegetables that can easily be cut and organized as crudités, in a basket, bowl, or prettily arranged on a plate. Remember to select vegetables in season which are the freshest, best looking, and least costly.

Asparagus: Very thin asparagus can be eaten raw. Simply wash well, break off fibrous stem ends, and serve. Thicker asparagus should be parboiled for 1 to 2 minutes, drained, run under cold water, and drained again.

Broccoli Florets: Wash broccoli and cut off the florets. (The stems can be reserved for another use.)

Belgian Endive: Belgian endive, not to be confused with curly endive, is a compact, white, cigar-shaped vegetable. Separate the leaves and, if necessary, wipe with a damp towel. Belgian endive should not be soaked in water or it will become too bitter.

Bell Peppers: Green, Red, Yellow, or Purple: Wash, remove the seeds, and cut into thick slices.

Carrots: Peeling and cutting carrots or celery is often time-consuming. Best to do lots of carrots and keep them in a container in the refrigerator, covered with water. Change the water every other day.

Cauliflower Florets: Wash cauliflower, break into florets, and discard sterns.

Celery: Best to do lots of celery at one time and keep in a container in the refrigerator, covered with water. Change the water every other day.

Cherry Tomatoes: Wash, but leave the stems on -- they look prettier and most guests do not mind.

Cucumbers: Use "European" hothouse cucumbers, which need no peeling or seeding, or unwaxed American cucumbers, found at local produce stands, which need seeding. Wash and slice into spears or circles using a serrated slicer if available.

Daikon (Oriental Radish or Icicle Radish): Peel off only a thin layer of skin with a vegetable peeler and slice with a serrated knife into strips or circles.

Fennel: Florentine fennel, also called finocchio, resembles a pregnant bunch of celery. Cut off the feathery tops at bulb level. Remove the tough outer stalks, wash, cut off the hard base, and cut with the grain into slices.

Green Beans: Wash, break off the tips, if desired, and serve.

Jicama: A crunchy Mexican vegetable with a sweet taste, similar to a fresh water chestnut. Peel, and cut with a serrated knife into sticks that resemble french fries, or slice into thin pieces. Jicama can also be cut with cookie cutters into a variety of shapes.

Kohlrabi: Also called "cabbage turnip." Select small kohlrabi, trim the tops, pare the outside, and slice into strips.

Mushrooms: The easiest way to clean them is to dip a mushroom brush or paper towel into lemon juice and brush or wipe away any dirt, which will also prevent the mushrooms from discoloring. Trim a small piece off the bottom of the stem and serve whole or cut in half.

Red Radishes: Wash and remove the ends. Use a radish flowering tool, if desired, for a pretty presentation. White radishes should be scrubbed with the ends removed.

Scallions: Slice off the root ends, wash, and retain the greens.

Snow Pea Pods or Sugar Snap Peas: Wash, and if possible, remove the strings by pulling from the top down the sides.

Summer Squash: Pattypan, Yellow Crookneck, or Zucchini: Wash and slice into spears or circles with a serrated slicer if available. The new miniature varieties, sometimes called courgettes, can be left whole.

Turnips: Peel and slice.

THREE DIPS FOR CRUDITÉS

Curried Yogurt Dip

Serves: 6

Calories: 77 per serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

This spicy dip is prepared with low-fat yogurt, and yet still has a creamy consistency and flavor.

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon curry powder or to taste

1/8 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or pinch of ground

Pinch of sugar

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

2. Place in a covered container and chill until ready to serve.

COOK NOTE: Curry powder is actually a blend of spices usually containing cardamom, cloves, coriander (cilantro), cumin, dill, fenugreek, ginger, mace, pepper, and turmeric. Taste varies from brand to brand, so try out several to find the one you like best.

VARIATION:

* The dip can be used as a salad dressing or even a topping for cold fish or vegetables.

Yogurt-Dill Dip

Serves: 8

Calories: 48 per serving

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

In place of rich sour cream, this dip is prepared with low-fat yogurt and a touch of mayonnaise. Besides crudités, serve this tangy herb dip with cold poached fish, or use it as a creamy salad dressing.

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons minced scallions (green and white parts included)

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly snipped dill, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons capers, drained

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pinch of sugar

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


1. Fold the ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. Serve immediately or chill in a covered container until ready to use.

VARIATIONS:

* The dip can be pureed in a food processor or blender, but much of the texture will be lost.

* Chopped fresh basil, tarragon, parsley, or a combination of all three can be added.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

* When fresh dill is abundant, chop and freeze extra quantities in small containers to have on hand to add to sauces, soups, or other dishes. Fresh dill, chopped and frozen, is preferable to the dried variety.

Tofu Dip

Serves: 8

Calories: 74 per serving

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Tofu or bean curd cake is a wonderfully inexpensive source of protein. If possible, use Chinese tofu, which is firmer and less watery than other varieties. Serve this dip with crudités.

1 1-pound package refrigerated Chinese tofu (bean curd), drained and patted dry on paper towels (see Notes)

2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons Japanese rice or white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Garnish: minced scallion greens


1. In a food processor or blender combine the dip ingredients and process until smooth; refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Serve the dip chilled topped with scallion greens and surrounded by crudités.

COOK NOTES: Tofu is available in 1-pound or occasionally in 14.2-ounce packages. Either size will work in this recipe.

If only Japanese or soft-variety of bean curd is available, you can press the water from the curds to make them firmer. To press, wrap each bean curd cake (or slice the whole cake into 2" horizontal lengths) in cheesecloth and place in a large dish; place a 2- to 3-pound weight on top (a large book or several cans will do). After 1 hour, unwrap the bean curd and proceed with the recipe.

VARIATION:

* Use tofu dip as a salad dressing for any type of greens.

Celery Root Remoulade

Serves: 8

Calories: 131 per serving

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Celery root, also called celeriac or celery knob, is a turnip-rooted celery used extensively in France for flavoring much as we use celery. Celery Root Remoulade, traditionally prepared with a rich mayonnaise sauce, is the most familiar dish for this vegetable. This light version is prepared with low-fat yogurt.

1 1-pound celery root, peeled (see Notes)

Remoulade

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons grainy-style Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon capers, drained

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


Garnish

Lettuce leaves

Thin crackers


1. Grate the celery root in a food processor or cut by hand into julienne strips.

2. In a small bowl whisk the remoulade sauce until smooth. Pour over the celery foot and toss until coated. Chill for 1 hour.

3. Serve on a lettuce-lined platter accompanied by thin crackers.

COOK NOTES: Select medium-sized firm celery roots with green tops.

Do not let the cut celery root remain standing or it tends to discolor. If it must stand for any length of time, place in acidulated water, a combination of lemon juice and water, to prevent discoloring. Drain well and proceed with the recipe.

VARIATION:

* Celery root remoulade is most often served as a first course, but it is also a lovely accompaniment to roast poultry or a garnish for leafy salads.

Oysters on the Half-Shell with Salsa

Serves: 4

Calories: 97 per serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Oysters are a low-cholesterol seafood. They are best in flavor from September through April, when they are not spawning. Fresh oysters should have a fresh seaweed aroma with perhaps just a hint of iodine, while any that have a strong, sharp odor should be avoided. Oysters served on the half shell should be alive when opened.

Fresh seaweed or shredded daikon (Japanese radish)

1 dozen medium fresh, plump oysters, shucked

1/3 cup Mexican Salsa (page 82)


1. Arrange the seaweed or daikon in a nest on 4 plates.

2. Make sure the muscle attaching the oyster to its bottom shell is severed and place 3 oysters, in their shells, on each of the plates.

3. Top each oyster with salsa and serve chilled.

VARIATION:

* Serve plain oysters with a sprinkling of lemon or lime juice on a bed of fresh dill.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

* Most fish markets will shuck the oysters and provide seaweed upon request.

Spinach Tart

Serves: 10

Calories: 142 per serving

Preparation Time: 20-25 minutes

Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

This quichelike appetizer is made with phyllo pastry, paper-thin sheets prepared from flour, water, cornstarch, and vegetable oil. Phyllo (or filo) is used in many Greek, Middle Eastern, and eastern European recipes, and can be purchased fresh or frozen at Middle Eastern groceries or many supermarkets. This light and crisp crust needs only a light brushing of butter or margarine on the layers and is consequently lower both in calories and fat than a traditional butter or oil pastry.

Filling:

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 scallions, finely chopped (green and white parts included)

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup low-fat milk

2 ounces Neufchâtel or light cream cheese

3 eggs, separated

1/4 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

4 sheets phyllo pastry (see Notes)

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously coat a 9" pie plate with vegetable cooking spray.

2. In a small nonstick skillet heat the oil and sauteé the scallions over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, or until just softened, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, and continue to stir until well-mixed.

3. With an electric mixer (or food processor pulsating) combine the ricotta, milk, Neufchâtel, egg yolk, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, garlic, lemon rind, nutmeg, and salt and pepper; beat until smooth. Add the spinach mixture and continue to beat until well-mixed but not pureed. Whip the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the spinach mixture with a spatula.

4. Place the 4 sheets of phyllo pastry in the prepared pan, crisscrossing them on the bottom (see illustration) and brushing each lightly with butter or margarine. Trim the pastry to leave a 2" overhanging edge.

5. Place the filling in the pan, roll the outer edges of the overhanging pastry toward the filling, tucking it in and rolling to create a rim. Brush the edges lightly with the remaining butter or margarine. (See illustration.)

6. Place the pan on cookie sheet, place in the bottom third of the oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set.

7. Allow the quiche to cool slightly and serve warm, or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

COOK NOTES: Phyllo pastry tends to dry out quickly. Do not open the package of phyllo until the filling is prepared, as the leaves will dry out and become difficult to work with. Once opened, place the contents of the package on a dry fiat surface and keep covered with plastic wrap and a dampened tea towel as you assemble the dish.

If the phyllo dough is frozen when purchased, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator prior to use. Also it's best left at room temperature, unopened, for 1 to 2 hours before using.

Unused phyllo leaves can be rerolled in waxed paper, and replaced in the original plastic cover, sealed securely, and stored in the refrigerator. Once thawed, the leaves should not be refrozen or they will become crumbly.

VARIATION:

* The quiche filling can be baked without the crust, topped by sliced tomatoes, and served as a side dish.

Terrine of Chicken with Mustard Sauce Coating

Serves: 10

Calories: 133 per serving

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Chilling Time: 4-6 hours or overnight

This pâté makes a beautiful presentation when frosted with a mustard coating prepared with low-fat yogurt and topped with chopped tomatoes. The pâté can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerated until serving time. This sauce also makes a good clip for crudités.

Pâté:
12 leaves spinach (about 1/2 bunch), washed, stems removed

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces

1 egg

1 egg white

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, finely chopped (white part only)

1 tablespoon grainy-style Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons capers, drained

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon white horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon, or 1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


Mustard Sauce:

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons grainy-style Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallion greens

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


Garnish:

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Watercress sprigs


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat an 8"-x-4"-x-2" loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet place the spinach and allow to wilt for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat; drain on paper towels.

3. In a food processor or in a blender in batches process the chicken with the remaining pâté ingredients until just smooth.

4. Place half the chicken mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan, smooth with a spatula, cover with a layer of the spinach leaves, and top with the remaining chicken mixture. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil, place in a roasting pan with hot water coming halfway up the sides of the loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour.

5. Remove from the oven, allow to sit for 15 minutes, and then unmold the pâté onto the platter top side clown, discarding any accumulated liquid that bas collected during cooking. Cover and chill for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

6. In small bowl combine the sauce ingredients together and whisk until smooth. Chill.

7. At serving time, frost a terrine with sauce, top with the tomato, and surround with watercress sprigs.

COOK NOTES: Spinach is wilted first to release most of the moisture.

All types of horseradish, other than the dried variety, should be kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator, and used fairly soon or there will be a loss of flavor and often a bitter taste.

VARIATIONS:

* Scallions may be substituted for the leek.

* Regular Dijon mustard may be substituted for the grainy variety.

* Chopped carrots may be substituted for the spinach.

* Mexican Salsa may be substituted for the tomato topping.

Chinese-Style Chicken Wings

Serves: 12

Calories: 61 per serving

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Marinating Time: 4-6 hours or overnight

Chicken drumettes are chicken wings with the tip end removed at the joint so that they resemble mini-drumsticks. If drumettes are unavailable, substitute regular chicken wings and remove the tips yourself.

24 chicken drumettes

Sauce:

6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

6 tablespoons chicken broth

3 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

Freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a shallow dish.

2. In a small saucepan place the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the wings, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, turning once.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a roasting pan with vegetable cooking spray.

4. Drain the marinade from the chicken and set aside. Arrange the drumettes in the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Tutu, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, basting often with the reserved marinade. (Whole wings need 5 to 10 minutes longer to cook.)

5. Turn the heat up to broil and brown the wings for 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp on both sides.

6. In a small saucepan bring the remaining marinade to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and serve as a dipping sauce along with the wings.

VARIATIONS:

* Wings can be placed in a hamburger grill basket and grilled outdoors.

* 2 tablespoons minced scallions can be added to the marinade.

* Use the marinade with 8 to 10 chicken thighs, cook for 30 to 40 minutes, and serve as a main course or chill for a picnic.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

* Collect wing tips and save in a plastic bag in the freezer to use for making chicken stock.

Grilled Eggplant Appetizer

Serves: 6

Calories: 53 per serving

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Eggplant is generally sautéed in lots of olive oil to get it crisp. The vegetable is porous, like a sponge, and therefore needs lots of the oil in order to brown. By grilling the eggplant, you only use a tablespoon of oil to achieve the same browned results.

1 medium eggplant, washed and dried

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar


1. Preheat the broiler to high.

2. Slice the eggplant horizontally l/4" to 1/8" thick. Place in a single layer in a broiling pan, brush lightly with half the oil on one side, and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden. Turn, brush with the remaining oil, and broil as before.

3. Remove, slice into thin strips, place in a bowl, toss with the vinegar to coat, and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Serve at room temperature.

COOK NOTE: Eggplant is quite perishable and should be used as soon as possible. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to retain moisture as long as possible.

VARIATION:

* Small Japanese eggplants, called nasu, are easily adapted to this recipe.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

Broiled eggplant can be stored in a covered container for several days. Bring to room temperature and serve.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

SERVES: 8

Calories: 46 per serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Chilling Time: 4-6 hours or overnight

This spicy salad, redolent of cilantro, contains only 1 tablespoon of peanut off in a quantity to serve 8 people.

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne

Salt to taste

1 pound carrots, shredded


1. In a food processor, blender, or by hand, combine the parsley, cilantro, and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, peanut oil, tomato paste, and seasonings. Process just until all the ingredients are well-combined.

2. Place the mixture in a large glass or ceramic bowl, top with the carrots, and toss until the carrots are coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

3. Adjust the seasonings and serve chilled or at room temperature.

COOK NOTE: Never store carrots with apples in the refrigerator. Apples release a gas that gives carrots a bitter taste.

VARIATION:

* The salad can be prepared using half carrots and half shredded jicama.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

* Tomato paste is available in squeeze tubes, which are easier to use than canned paste. Simply squeeze out the required amount, replace the lid, and refrigerate until the next use.

Steamed Clams in Flavored Broth

Serves: 6

Calories: 101 per serving

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Soaking Time: 20-30 minutes

Cooking Time: 8-10 minutes

Steamed clams need not be served with buckets of butter. Here they are steamed in a flavored broth, the broth is strained, and the clams are served along with the delicious clear juices.

Serve the clams as an appetizer course or double the recipe and serve to 4 as an entrée.

4 dozen steamer clams

1 tablespoon cornmeal

2 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup dry vermouth

3 shallots, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled but still intact

2 slices lemon

2 sprigs of parsley

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1. Place the clams in a large bowl, fill with cold water, and sprinkle with commeal. Allow to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse, place in a covered container, and chill until ready to cook.

2. In a large kettle, place the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, cover, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the clams and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until they open. Then remove them immediately or they will become tough.

3. Put all the ingredients through a strainer. Place the clams in a warm serving bowl and discard the vegetables.

4. Strain the broth through a strainer lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth to remove the sand. Serve the clams in deep soup plates with individual bowls of broth for dipping.

VARIATIONS:

* Steamer -- or soft-shell clams -- are best for this dish but the hard-shell variety, littlenecks or cherrystones, can be substituted.

* The white part of scallions can be substituted for the shallots.

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

Serves: 6

Calories: 55 per serving

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Corn tortillas make excellent crisp, light chips when baked instead of frying. Serve with Mexican Salsa.

4 corn tortillas

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Salt to taste

Accompaniment: 1 cup Mexican Salsa (page 82)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Cut the tortillas into 8 wedges. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with chili powder and salt, and bake for 12 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden.

3. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

COOK NOTE: Store fresh tortillas in plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days. Tortillas can also be frozen, each tortilla placed between a sheet of waxed paper, and then sealed in a plastic bag. Thaw before baking.

VARIATIONS:

* For those watching their sodium intake, a nonsalt herb seasoning can be substituted for salt.

* Flour tortillas can be substituted.

Salmon Slices Marinated with Lime Juice and Basil

Serves: 8

Calories: 200 per serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 4-6 hours

It is important to use fresh basil in this recipe. If fresh basil is unavailable, substitute fresh dill or parsley and avoid dried herbs. Serve this dish accompanied by thin pumpernickel bread.

1 pound salmon fillets with skin on, preferably from the rail end

Marinade:

1/2 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Garnish:

Basil leaves or sprigs of watercress


1. Lay the fillets, skin side down, on a washable cutting board. With a very sharp knife slice the salmon thinly. Discard the skin and cut larger pieces in half.

2. Arrange the slices in a shallow dish. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, stir, and pour over the salmon. (The salmon should be covered with the marinade.) Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.

3. When ready to serve, arrange the salmon slices attractively on a platter and drizzle with some of the marinade.

VARIATION:

* Halibut fillets can be substituted for the salmon.

MAKE-IT-EASY TIP:

* Before cooking with salmon, or any other fish, feel the flesh with your fingertips for any small bones. Remove any bones with a tweezer.

Halibut Tartare

Serves: 6

Calories: 137 per serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Chilling Time: 2 hours

This recipe is a variation of Diane Rossen Worthington's Salmon Tartare from her wonderful book The Cuisine of California (J.P. Tarcher, 1983). Serve with thin crackers.

1 pound fresh halibut fillets, cut into 3" pieces (see Note)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cornichons (French baby pickles)

1/4 cup plus I teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons grainy-style Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Garnish:

Sprigs of parsley


1. In a food processor pulsate the halibut into coarse pieces only.

2. Place the fish in a medium-sized bowl and add the cornichons, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Gently add the capers, Tabasco, and salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving container, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours to intensify the flavors.

3. Serve chilled, garnished with sprigs of parsley, and accompanied by thin crackers.

COOK NOTE: Be certain that the fish you purchase bas not been previously frozen. Ask the people at the fish store or in the supermarket to allow you to smell the fish and avoid any that has a "fishy" aroma -- it surely is not fresh.

Marbled Tea-Steeped Eggs

Yield: 6

Calories: 91 per egg

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Chilling Time: 12 hours or overnight

Chinese tea eggs, ch'a yeh tan, resemble an antique porcelain masterpiece with their mottled shells and delicate appearance. These eggs were traditionally sold in Chinese markets and in theaters as snacks at intermission. Tea eggs differ from thousand-year-old eggs, which are duck eggs preserved in a coating of lime, salt, and ashes and cured for about 100 days. Thousand-year-old eggs, with their amber-colored whites and green yolks, have a cheeselike taste, and are a Chinese delicacy, served as an appetizer in very moderate amounts.

The marbled tea-steeped egg wedges make a pretty presentation as an appetizer or part of an appetizer platter.

6 eggs

3 tablespoons Chinese black tea wrapped in cheesecloth, or 2 tea bags

2-3 cloves star anise (see Notes)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Garnish:

Chinese parsley (also called cilantro or coriander)


1. In a small saucepan place the eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Run under cold water and then crack the shells by tapping lightly all over with the back of a spoon. Do not remove the shells.

2. Return the eggs to the pan, cover with water, add tea, salt, soy sauce, and red pepper, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Allow the eggs to cool in the liquid. Transfer to a container, add liquid smoke, cover, and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight in the liquid.

3. The next day, carefully remove the shells, exposing a marbled appearance. Serve cut in halves and garnished with Chinese parsley.

COOK NOTES: Star anise is an herb with starlike clusters of light, elongated seeds whose flavor is similar to but more pungent than that of licorice. Although called anise, this Chinese herb is not actually related to the anise family but to the magnolia family. If star anise is unavailable, aniseseeds can be substituted.

The eggs will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

VARIATION:

* Eggs can be served whole as a garnish for Asian salads.

Copyright © 1987 by Productions, Inc.

Meet the Author

Cooking is one of the many interests of Laurie Burrows Grad, author of Make It Easy in the Kitchen and Make It Easy Entertaining. She has also written numerous magazine pieces and is the resident chef on "Hour Magazine." She lives in Los Angeles.

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