Food, Nutrition and Cooking


The Trouble with Truffles

The trouble with truffle oil is that it’s quite expensive; the good news is that just a small amount goes a long way on flavor. Use it sparingly because even a touch too much can overwhelm the flavor of your dish. Less is definitely more here.

Note: this dish is really best to serve immediately upon completion of cooking. The recipe will take ~ 30 minutes start to finish including prep.

Truffle Fries

2 lbs. white or yukon potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/4″ fries of any length (governed by size of potato)
1 T canola, vegetable, grapeseed or other neutral flavored oil
1.5 tsp truffle oil
1 T butter (salted butter is ok to use here, sweet butter also works)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
black pepper to taste
2 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the 2 oils and toss fries in the mixture and lay out potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
With the oven rack in the upper third of the oven but not too close to the broiler, bake fries ~ 5 minutes. Change from baking to broiling (up the temperature to 500+ degrees) and broil the fries for 10 minutes, then turn them and broil another 10 minutes (broiling 20 minutes total).
Meanwhile, melt the butter and the garlic together but do not brown either; add the black pepper to the garlic butter.
Remove fries from the oven, toss with the garlic butter, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and SERVE IMMEDIATELY.

Serves 4-5

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That’s using your Rice Noodle!

Warm Brown Rice Noodles with Sesame Sauce and Chicken

2 T soy sauce (reduced sodium preferred)
2-3 T rice vinegar
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (natural style is best)
1 T sesame oil
1 t peeled and grated fresh ginger root (or leave in whole chunk and remove prior to serving)
1/2 low sodium chicken broth
1 lb Brown Rice Linguine or Fettucine
4 chopped scallions
1 cooked chicken breast (about 8 oz), chopped into bite sized pieces

Combine all the ingredients except the pasta, chicken and scallions in a saucepan, heat until simmering, stirring well until smooth and slightly thick. Let cool slightly

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and toss with the sauce along with the chicken and the scallions. If sauce has become a bit thick, thin it with warm water.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8
If a gluten free version is preferred, use gluten free soy sauce.

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Salt and Lactose Talk

Perhaps you’ve noticed that my recipes include very little, if any, salt and lactose.
The reasons are personal, so herein I explain.
I am lactose intolerant. Simply put, my body does not produce the lactAse enzyme that digests lactose (milk sugar). Therefore, consuming foods that contain lactose have a systemic effect on my body which include gastrointestinal distress and often overall malaise. And so, I avoid most dairy foods. Some very aged cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano and very aged (more than 2 years) cheddars as well as most cottage cheeses, have very little to no lactose left so I can safely consume those as long as I don’t overdo it.
Salt (sodium) consumption for me = elevated blood pressure. For most people a certain amount of salt is okay (AHA recommends under 2300 mg/day for all of us). But for those with HTN (hypertension aka high blood pressure), adding salt to foods, either in recipes or at the table, can raise blood pressure to a higher than normal level which can cause permanent damage over time and lead to heart disease and/or stroke. Certain cases of HTN are caused by obesity, lack of exercise or excessive salt intake. For others the term “essential hypertension” is used, meaning that there is no known cause other than genetics. In either case, decreasing salt intake can have a positive effect. My recipes are created for maximum flavor with minimal sodium content. There are recipes that will contain some salt or soy sauce (very high in sodium) but note that in those cases, the sodium content is as low as possible while still maintaining the desired flavor of the dish.
For those of you without any food restrictions, please feel free to add more and different cheeses (also usually high in sodium) as well as salt to dishes but be mindful that all of us should consume no more than 2300 mg/salt a day.


Eggplant going mush? Baba Ganoush!

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant and Sesame Purée)

1 eggplant
3 T sesame seeds
juice of 1 lemon
1 T water
1 clove garlic, crushed in a press
2 T finely chopped Italian parsley

Purée the sesame seeds with the lemon juice and the water (this is easiest done with a mini-chopper but can be done in a blender). Place mixture in a medium sized bowl.
If using a mini-chopper combine the garlic (whole clove) with the parsley (unchopped) and chop in mini-chopper, then add to sesame seed purée. If not using mini-chopper, add the crushed garlic and hand chopped parsley to the purée.

Meanwhile, poke multiple holes in the whole eggplant and either grill on an open flame or broil in oven broiler on all sides until the skin is slightly blackened. Allow eggplant to cool, place in colander and allow juices to drain away. Peel eggplant, scrape as much eggplant flesh as possible from the skin. At this point, it’s easiest to place eggplant into a food processor and process until smooth. If you don’t have access to a food processor*, then you can mash the eggplant to as smooth as possible.
Add the smooth eggplant to the sesame purée and enjoy!
Baba Ganoush can be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers/bread or as a sandwich spread. As this recipe is cooking the eggplant to soften it, a slightly “worn” eggplant will do as firmness is not required. If your eggplant is very large then you may want to increase the sesame seeds to 4 T and the garlic to 2 cloves.

A word about food processors: If you don’t have one, get one! My wonderful food processor and I have been together for well more than 30 years and it is without doubt my favorite electric tool in the kitchen. A food processor will save you a lot of time and make many difficult tasks very easy. Buy quality. Read reviews about different brands; as you see, I bought a good quality food processor and it has lasted a very long time. While I have had to replace bowls over the years, the motor continues to be strong as do the blades.

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Bloody Good!

Lower Sodium S’chüg Bloody Mary

Fill a tall glass 3/4 with ice
4 oz. low sodium V-8
Juice of 2 freshly squeezed limes (get all of it, use a reamer or– break cells with your fingernails)
Leave 1/2 of 1 squeezed out lime in glass
1/2 teaspoon of red s’chüg* (or to taste)
2 dashes low-sodium Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 jiggers vodka
“Toss” – i.e., mix by pouring between two glasses
Grind black pepper on top
Insert straw
Drink Responsibly

*S’chüg is a hot pepper paste, it comes in green or red varieties depending on the peppers it is made from. It can be found in the refrigerator section near the hummus in many markets. The red paste has about 80 grams of sodium in a tsp. S’chüg has quite a kick to it; I recommend trying the drink with 1/4 tsp s’chüg to start.

Thanks to my husband for creating this twist on a Bloody Mary. This version is lower in sodium than most; the typical drink incorporates salt and celery salt and uses regular tomato or V-8 juice & Worchestershire. S’chüg replaces horseradish (a very low sodium ingredient) so besides the flavor change from the usual, the sodium content is altered as well, making it even more important to use the low-sodium juice & Worchestershire and to leave out the celery and table salts.

All that being said, ENJOY!