The Long Life Cookbook: Delectable Recipes for Twoby Anne Casale
More than a decade ago, cooking teacher Anne Casale recognized the need for recipes that would be delicious and make an active contribution to good health and a long life. From that vision sprang The Long Life Cookbook. This kitchen classic was such a success that now it has at last been completely revised, incorporating the latest research in diet and nutrition.
For your healthy eating pleasure, the revised The Long Life Cookbook serves up 166 recipes: seductive soups, authentic Italian pastas and sauces, energy-building grains, hearty beef, poultry, veal, and lamb dishes, delicate fish and seafood entrées, healthy salads, quick breads and muffins, and sensational desserts.
The author also provides the exact amount of fat, sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, and the number of calories for each recipe, so you can easily determine whether it fits into your particular diet regimen. Inside are simple dishes like Butternut Apple Soup, Shells with Peas and Herbs, Barley and Mushroom Casserole, and Baked Tomatoes Provencale–as well as memorable delicacies like Poached Chicken with Apricot Sauce, Candied Yams with Pecans, Baked Trout with Shallots, Orange, and Watercress, and others guaranteed to make every meal a healthy eating experience.
Every recipe has been kitchen-and taste-tested. Anne Casale also includes an illustrated glossary of ingredients, complete with herbs and spices. In sum, here’s an easy-to-use cookbook that provides all the nutritional facts with every recipe–so when you sit down to eat a meal, you can enjoy every mouthful, confident that it enhances your potential for a long and healthy life.
Read an Excerpt
Introduction: Cooking and Eating the Long Life Way
It’s amazing what you can learn about people while walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket. One’s taste, style of eating, and values are on public display to the well-trained eye. I have a terrible habit of looking into other people’s shopping carts while marketing or at the checkout counter. When I see some of the so-called convenient frozen, premixed, precooked, processed fast foods loaded with fats and additives, I have to restrain myself from pulling those products out of carts. How I would love to take these people by the hand and offer a minicourse while walking through the supermarket. I would guide them up and down the aisles, introducing wholesome products and helping them to restructure old, unhealthy eating habits and discover enjoyable, healthy new ones.
My first lecture would be on reading labels. The majority of packages on supermarket shelves today provide nutritional information, and all have ingredients listed. A quick glance at those food labels reveals extraordinary amounts of fat, salt, and preservatives.
The course would include brief visits to the dairy, meat, poultry, and seafood sections, where I would offer suggestions for making the best selections. The produce area would be scrutinized at length as we took in nature’s bountiful array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We would continue along the aisle offering an array of imported pastas made from semolina flour, and then move into the aisle filled with assorted flours and such grains as rice, bulgur, and barley. Our last stop would be the condiment aisle, overflowing with dried herbs, spices, oils,and vinegars. As the grand tour ended, we would return all the convenient frozen, premixed, precooked, processed fast foods loaded with fats and additives to the shelves and start shopping again . . . sensibly.
As I would guide those people through the supermarket, allow me to guide you through these pages. Let me share with you a practical, nutritional approach to food selection and preparation—a style I call “long life cooking.”
In my quest for an appealing, healthful way of cooking, I’ve tried to be creative in my use of ingredients. Pure olive, extra virgin olive, corn, and canola oils as well as unsalted butter are used in very limited quantities. In seasoning, salt has been reduced or replaced by such ingredients as fresh lemon juice, a dash of wine, herbs, and spices. Cream has been replaced with lighter enrichments of part-skim ricotta cheese and low-fat yogurt. Foods are sweetened naturally, not with artificial sweeteners, but with small amounts of sugar and/or sweet vegetables and fruits. Long life cooking does not mean sacrificing the excitement and appeal of the foods you love. These recipes are both healthy and delicious. I believe that food is at its best when we guard its natural flavors. Each dish should have its own identity—one that is not camouflaged by heavy sauces and thickeners.
Although most of the recipes in this book utilize foods that can be purchased in small quantities to serve two, many adapt themselves to cooking for one simply by halving the given amounts. Recipes can easily be increased if entertaining, and some (for example, soups, yeast breads, quick breads, and muffins) already have larger yields; all of these freeze well.
The recipes have been designed in a simple step-by-step style for efficiency and ease. Ingredients are listed in the order in which they are to be used. The nutritional analysis is listed at the end of each recipe.
All the recipes have been kitchen- and taste-tested to make sure that even an inexperienced cook can successfully complete them with the utmost confidence. With today’s lifestyles, no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals. The Long Life Cookbook offers a wide range of delectable, imaginative recipes that can be prepared in a limited amount of time; in fact, many can be on your table in less than an hour.
The Long Life Cookbook is more than a collection of recipes. It is a modern, sensible, and satisfying approach to food with an emphasis on freshness and simplicity, dedicated to your good health.
Anne L. Casale
When it comes to ingredients, it is impossible to overstate the virtue of using the finest products possible. Their value is not measured in cost but in excellence of taste, quality, and freshness.
BREAD CRUMBS, DRY AND FRESH Dry. Arrange slices of bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and toast bread until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes. Break into 1-inch chunks and whirl in food processor fitted with metal blade until finely ground. Place crumbs in fine mesh strainer and sift into larger bowl. Discard any large crumbs or whirl again in food processor. Place in jars and keep in cool, dry place until needed. Store in the refrigerator during summer months.
Fresh. Cut up fresh or day-old bread, including crust, or tear it gently with fingers. Place in food processor fitted with metal blade. Run machine until bread is reduced to coarse crumb consistency.
CAPERS These are the flower buds from a low, trailing, thorny shrub that thrives in the hot, dry Mediterranean climate. After harvesting, the unopened buds are dried in the open air, then pickled in casks of salted vinegar or dry-cured in coarse salt. Capers should always be thoroughly rinsed and drained before being added to any dish or sauce. For recipes in this book, I suggest you buy the tiny variety called “nonpareil,” which are pickled in salted vinegar. Experts say this variety has more flavor than the larger buds. Spoon capers out of jar with a small spoon and place in a small strainer set over a cup. Pour strained vinegar from cup back into jar. (Jar can be refrigerated indefinitely without fear of spoilage if capers are covered with vinegar.) Then rinse the measured capers thoroughly under running water, and drain.
EGGS Sizes are specified with each recipe. If they are to be separated, use eggs taken directly from refrigerator. A cold egg breaks cleanly and the yolk is less likely to rupture than one at room temperature. It is critical that no egg yolk find its way into the whites, for even a trace of yolk will prevent them from reaching full volume when beaten. If part of the yolk should fall into the white, use the shell to scoop it out. If beaten egg whites are used in desserts, these recipes specify that cream of tartar be added to stabilize them.
FLOUR Recipes in this book call for different varieties of flour. Read labels and recipes carefully. Spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup; do not shake the cup or pack or press the flour. Level lightly with the back of a knife. (Bread flour may not be available in some parts of the country.)
Unbleached All-purpose Flour. This type of flour is made from a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. It is suitable for baking a complete range of products, including cakes, biscuits, muffins, and quick breads. If bread flour is unavailable, this type of flour is also recommended for yeast breads. Unbleached flour should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and should be used within six months of purchase.
Bread Flour. This type of flour is milled from hard wheat, which has a high gluten content. The high-gluten protein in bread flour gives risen breads a light, fluffy texture. Bread flour should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and should be used within six months of purchase.
Whole Wheat Flour. The entire kernel of whole wheat flour, also called graham flour, is milled from hard wheat, which has a high content of germ and bran. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. (The natural germ in the flour may turn rancid if stored at room temperature.) Before using it in any recipe, the amount needed should be allowed to come to room temperature.
Wondra Flour. For coating, I recommend Gold Medal Wondra, an instant, all-purpose flour that pours like salt. It will give a much lighter coating for sautéing.
LEMONS An indispensable flavoring in many of my dishes. Try to pick smooth-skinned lemons; they have more juice. The juice can be substituted for vinegar in salad dressing. Use only freshly squeezed juice, never the reconstituted type, which leaves a bitter aftertaste. Make sure you scrub the lemon’s outer skin well to remove any coating before using the rind in any dish.
OILS Olive Oil. For recipes that specify olive oil, look for the word “pure” on the label and purchase the best quality you can afford. When extra virgin olive oil is listed, it is recommended for its fruity accent and enticing aroma, which come from the first pressing of the finest olives picked. It delivers a powerful olive color and distinctive flavoring for that particular dish, so a small amount goes a long way. In choosing either a pure or extra virgin olive oil, purchase small bottles at first, before deciding which you prefer. Your palate will tell you which flavor suits you best. If you are going to purchase only one type of olive oil, I recommend that you buy the extra virgin and use it for all recipes listing olive oil. Olive oil does not have to be kept in the refrigerator, but it should be sealed and stored in a cool, dark place.
Vegetable Oil and Cooking Sprays. Only small amounts of vegetable oil, such as corn and canola oil, are used for recipes in this book, primarily for stir-frying and baking. There are many aerosol cooking sprays available at the market, from corn oil to olive oil. You can also purchase a stainless steel mister and fill it with corn, canola, or olive oil whenever cooking sprays are recommended for cooking or for greasing pans.
THE ONION FAMILY The strong-flavored members of the onion family, including chives, garlic, leeks, red onion, scallions, shallots, and yellow onion, are used as seasonings. They offer a variety of interesting tastes of different intensities. Although many can be used interchangeably, each type has a particular use and all share a starring role in the kitchen. Chives. Thin, dark green, tubular chive leaves are the mildest flavoring in the onion family. They add wonderful seasoning to salads and baked potatoes, and may also be used as an attractive garnish.
Garlic. Buy bulbs that are tightly closed, with unwrinkled skins of white, pink to purple, or white with purple streaks. Store in a cool, dark place. For easy peeling, place a clove under the broad side of a chef’s knife. Thump the blade to split the garlic’s clinging skin; it will then slip off easily. It is better to chop or mince garlic with a knife than to mash through a press.
Leeks. Buy leeks with crisp, green, unwithered tops and clean, white bottoms. Leeks should be straight and cylindrical. If the ends are very bulbous, the leeks will probably be tough and woody. To clean, trim roots and a portion of the fibrous leaf tops. Cut the stalks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water, holding the layers apart, until no sand remains.
Red Onion. This type of onion is also called Spanish onion. It is relatively mild and sweeter tasting than the yellow onion. Red onions can be used for the same purpose as yellow onions in cooking, or eaten raw in salads. Store in a cool, dry place.
Scallions. Select those with crisp, green, unwithered tops and clean, white bottoms. Try to pick scallions with large, bulbous ends. Trim roots and any brown or limp tops. Wash thoroughly and blot dry with paper towel. Wrap in paper towel and store in sealed plastic bag in refrigerator. Use within four or five days.
Shallots. These slender, pear-shaped bulbs are about the size of walnuts and are more perishable than onions. They should be stored in a cool, dark place. The shallot’s flavor is more delicate than onion and it’s more easily digestible. To use, divide the cloves. Cut off tops and tails of the shallots. Peel with a small paring knife, pulling away the first layer of flesh with the skin that is usually firmly attached to it.
Yellow Onion. Yellow onions are considered to be the most pungent of all the globe onions. Look for ones with no trace of moisture at the base or the neck and with no growth of light greenery at the top—a sign that they have begun to sprout. Select smaller globe onions rather than the larger specimens; once cut, they do not keep well. Store in a cool, dark place.
PARMESAN CHEESE This rich, nutty, flavorful cheese is essential to many pasta dishes in this book. Parmesan cheese should be grated just before using so that flavor is at its best. The production of imported Parmesan cheese labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano” is very strictly controlled. Ask to see the wheel and make sure it is stamped “Reggiano.” To store, wrap in a thin layer of dampened cheesecloth, then in plastic wrap. Place in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator. It must be stored in this manner because it dries out much more quickly than other cheeses. When freshly cut and moist, Parmesan is also an excellent table cheese with grapes or sliced Bosc pears.
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