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Old 08-08-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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Can we start a thread to post foods we have NO IDEA how to cook?

I know a lot of you are working with the superfoods list, and I'm working with a produce box that gives me whatever is in season, whether I know how to cook it or not. So I thought we could have one mishmash of a thread where we could all help eachother out in figuring out what to do with these healthy, yet less easy-to-cook, foods.

I'll start.

What the heck do I do with:
-Tomatillos
-Eggplant
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Tomatillos are great for making Chile Verde. Here is a link to a crockpot recipe:

http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=...0chili%20verde

If you use lean meat, it shouldn't be too bad for the diet.

As for eggplant, I've only had it as eggplant parmesan. I really don't like eggplant, so I don't buy it, but I've heard that you can use it as a vegetarian substitute for meat in some dishes.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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Eggplant!

One of my favorite things is to grill eggplant by slicing it thin.
Another option is sautee it in water, a little olive oil and garlic. It absorbs the oil quickly so it is hard to sautee it in just olive oil unless it is already saturated with water. You can also add a little spice to it to make it hotter.

Edited to add:
I much prefer chinese and japanese eggplant to american eggplant. They have a better taste. I also don't care for thai or indian eggplants as they have LOTS of seeds.

Tomatillos,
I've only used them in salsa so I don't know what other uses they have.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:02 PM   #4
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Excellent idea! I was hoping we could have a thread where people could post their favorite method of cooking various foods! Thanks for starting this, cause I'm clueless with a few of the foods in the book...

I need help with:

-various oats: quinoa, spelt, buckwheat, amaranth (???), etc.

-lime (other than limeade or squirting some over food, what else can you do with it?)

-soy: miso, tempeh, edamame (???), tofu (they are so intimidating!!)

-bok choy
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:02 PM   #5
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I add sliced eggplant to zucchini, onions, mushrooms, garlic and other vegetables of similar density, marinade them in some balsamic vinegar, and roast them.

It typically goes well with tomato, and in the recipes thread I posted a recipe for an eggplant/tomato curry.

I also use it to make baingan bharta (another eggplant curry, I just google it to get a recipe).

I'm not quite sure what to do with tomatillos, but I'm thinking a green salsa?
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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quinoa - I use this as a substitution in most dishes where I'd use rice. This week, I tossed some with salsa for a quick side dish. I also add eggplant curry to the top of it.

lime - in addition to squeezing it over vegetables, I add sliced lime to a lot of beverages: water, iced tea, Diet Coke

bok choy - I slice it up and stir-fry it with a bit of oil and garlic, or lemon and serve it as a side dish. Add it to other stir-fry recipes. Just be sure that, when you cook it, you cook the white parts first and add the green parts later, as the green parts cook faster.

MANDALINN, I totally love this thread! Thanks for starting it!
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:18 PM   #7
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Here's a recipe from Martha for Spicy Tomatillo soup - I've made it before and it's nice on a really hot day.

Spicy Cold Tomatillo Soup

Makes 1 quart

1 pound tomatillos, hulled and washed

3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 serrano chile

1 cup peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped cucumber

1/4 cup roughly chopped onion

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup water

1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch cubes, for garnish

Heat broiler. Place tomatillos, garlic, and serrano chile in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tomatillos are soft and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Turn all items; continue cooking until other side is soft and browned, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely. Peel garlic; place cloves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add tomatillos, serrano, and any accumulated juices along with cucumber, onion, cilantro, stock, lime juice, and salt; blend until mixture is smooth. Add yogurt and the water; process until they are just combined.

Transfer to a large bowl or plastic storage container; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. To serve, ladle into bowls; garnish with avocado.

Per serving: 146 Calories, 9 G Fat, 1 MG Cholesterol, 15 G Carbohydrate, 372 MG Sodium, 4 G Protein, 5 G Fiber


I don't usually like eggplant, but one recipe I've tried that I really did enjoy was this recipe for Eggplant Spread (aka Poor Man's Caviar - because the seeds resemble caviar, not because it tastes fishy, LOL!!) This recipe is from Ina Garten:

Roasted Eggplant Spread

1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with toasted pita triangles or crackers.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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Tofu - Don't be intimidated! I usually take mine, slice in 1/2 in. slices, and marinate it in a a simple teriyaki or other asian-inspired sauce (I make one with orange juice, ginger, soy sauce, a touch of sesame oil, and garlic). Once marinated, I just throw it on the grill and cook until warmed through. Make sure you get an extra-firm tofu for grilling like this! Tofu (silken varieties, not the extra firm) is also good in smoothies.

The grilled tofu is really good over Quinoa, which I cook up in chicken stock (instead of water) with a chopped clove of garlic for some extra flavor (otherwise, you cook it just like rice, and use it in all the same places). For some reason, I really like the taste of quinoa with grilled fish - they pair really well for me.

Lime is a GREAT component for a quick marinade. How about a lime and chili flavored chicken breast, which you can then grill. My favorite (and apparently superfood heavy) dinner involves some turkey cutlets marinated in lime, chili powder, cayenne, and garlic, which I then grill. I serve these in low-carb whole wheat tortillas topped with grilled onions and bell pepper with salsa and some black beans. Fajitas in 20 minutes, and SO full of good stuff.

Edamame I eat mine plain, steamed, with a bit of salt. So good to just pop them out of the pods and snack away. My grocery store has these in the produce section near the bean sprouts, and they are pre-steamed and ready to eat. I also throw them into stir fries for an added protein boost.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:33 PM   #9
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For buckwheat, what I do is mix it in with regular or brown rice. I can't eat a straight portion of buckwheat and enjoy it, but mixed with the rice it tastes great - my grandmother was Ukrainian, and the mix of rice and buckwheat was part of her filling for cabbage rolls. It gives the rice a bit of a nutty flavour, and isn't as overwhelming as eating it straight.

Quinoa is really versatile - you can use it almost anywhere you would otherwise use rice or couscous (again, you could mix quinoa into these if you didn't want to eat only quinoa).

I use Martha recipes a lot, as they're typically reliable - I haven't tried these recipes, but they sound great:

Quinoa and Corn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jh...BAS&layout=bas

Herbed Quinoa

http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jh...SL&site=living

I HAVE used this recipe for Ginger-Sesame Bok Choy - it's really good!

http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jh...EDF&layout=edf

For limes, I really only use them in sauces or marinades, or to squeeze over fish or chicken, etc. (it's great added to hoisin sauce - brush over fish while you grill it). You can add it to salad dressings, or squeeze it into rice with herbs.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:46 PM   #10
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I'm putting in my name just so I can find this thread again. Those recipes look DELISH!

Artichoke and Pumpkin? Clueless.

After reading this, I'm gonna make a HOBO dinner tomorrow (tonight I have a ckn stirfry planned). In the middle of a sheet of tinfoil, put an Extra Lean Hamburger Patty (with spices), then surround it with chopped onions and any other veggies that will apply (eggplant?) and just a little bit of olive oil (and you could put garlic in there!). Wrap it up and cook it in the oven for about an hour (I think..it's been a while).
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:01 PM   #11
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Pumpkin If you can find the smaller sugar pumpkins/pie pumpkins, I like to make a roasted pumpkin soup. Its a little time-intensive, but sooo good. First, take the pumpkins, cut them in half, remove the seeds inside, and bake on a non-stick or sprayed baking sheet, hollow side down, at 375 for about 1-1.5 hours, until fork-tender. Let cool, then peel off the skin and puree. (Note - if you buy plain canned pumpkin, you can use that as a substitute for the puree just described).

This isn't a formal recipe, more of a method, but once you have your puree, thin it out with chicken stock and perhaps a bit of milk, fat free half and half, or whatever you have on hand. I make mine with minced sage and a touch of spice, like cayenne or chili powder, plus lots of fresh black pepper. Just add liquids until your puree reaches a soup consistency, then add your seasonings to taste. This is a GREAT soup in the fall - I like to serve it with a roasted veggie sandwich - lots of roasted veggies (squash, red bell peppers, tomatoes, etc) with some lowfat cheese toasted.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:10 PM   #12
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Lime: The lime marinade is also great on fish, especially grilled fish. I get these salmon patties from Trader Joe's and the last time I cooked them, we grilled and basted them with lime juice mixed with cajun seasoning (we didn't even marinate the patties first, just basted them while grilling). They came out great, the lime and seasoning really added some depth to the salmon.

Edamame: I use edamame as a substitute for peas (just about the only vegetable I don't like). I have used it in soups, stews, salads, quiches, and risotto. I always comes out great (although I think it is quite a bit higher in calories than peas, so make sure you adjust the nutritional info in your recipes accordingly).

Eggplant: You could slice the eggplant, salt it and let it sit for a half an hour or so (to draw out the moisture) then roasted the slices in the oven and use them for sandwiches. You could add balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you like to give them some additional flavor.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:16 PM   #13
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My MIL roasts pumpkin, just as you would acorn or butternut squash, and it's really delicious - she just slices the pumpkin into wedges, and drizzles them with olive oil, cracked salt and pepper, and sometimes a little chopped rosemary and garlic. Roast in the oven until tender and a bit golden and caramelized at the edges - delicious and easy!!

I second the recommendation for pumpkin soup - it's also lovely with some curry powder added to it. One time I added some apple, too - that was good (I'll have to remember to try that again!).

For artichokes, I don't really care for them, but my family loves them - either steamed plain with a little olive oil and salt for dipping, or in a salad. Our Costco also sells jars of pickled artichoke hearts - these I don't mind - that are really nice in a salad.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:35 PM   #14
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Here is a recipe for risotto that uses a cup of edamame:

Lemon Risotto with Edamame and Prosciutto
32 oz fat free chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 6 oz)
6 slices proscuitto
1 clove garlic
2 cups arborio rice or 1 cup long-grain rice
1 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Heat chicken broth in medium saucepan until just simmering. Cover.

Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring constanting until tender. Add proscuitto and cook for a minute or so longer, until prosciutto is just starting to brown. Add rice, stirring well.

Add half of chicken broth mixture; stir constanting for 3 minutes then cover and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed (about 10 minutes). Repeat this procedure with the remaining broth until rice is the desired consistency. If it seems like you will need more liquid, add water to the heated chicken broth.

Add edamame cover and simmer for a minute or so until edamame is heated. Add lemon rind and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 generous main dish servings. Nutritional Info: 310 calories, 7.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 4mg cholesterol, 1060mg sodium, 46g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 1.5g sugar, 14g protein
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:01 PM   #15
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Another great use for lime is to make salad dressing (I tried it tonight for the first time myself) Anyhoo...take 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1/4 tsp of salt and a dash of pepper. Mix it together and toss with your salad. It adds such a unique flavor to the salad. Try it...yum!
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