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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Staying on Diet

Now that the New Year’s resolutions to lose weight have been made, the hard work of keeping the resolve begins. By now, scores of well-intentioned dieters may have already suffered a setback--possibly sneaking a taste of some leftover holiday goodies--since keeping one’s promise to shed a few extra pounds is no easy task.

For those who need additional help, here are 10 New Year’s resolutions, offered by the authors of “The Fischer/Brown Low Cholesterol Gourmet” by Lynn Fischer and W. Virgil Brown, M.D. (Acropolis Books Ltd.: $19.95, hardcover, 332 pp., illustrated).

1--Remember 300 and 16: Cholesterol intake shouldn’t be more than 300 milligrams a day (egg yolks have about 250 each), and saturated fat intake shouldn’t be more than 16 grams a day if you weigh around 200 pounds; 12 grams a day if you’re 105.

2--Consider an egg yolk just like its shell--good for the disposal or the garden and not for you.

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3--Avoid butter whenever possible.

4--Read labels on packaged goods because even the word margarine on a product can mean coconut oil or animal fat.

5--Read labels on cans. Canned items, such as pork and beans, chili, spaghetti products and stews contain varying amounts of saturated fats.

6--Eat more oat bran--hot or cold. But don’t be fooled by oat bran bread, muffins or cookies. They are mainly wheat flour.

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7--Make “on the side, please” your new motto at restaurants--especially for sauce, salad dressings and syrups.

8--Look for mayonnaise without egg yolks.

9--Eat a wide variety of foods. Try unusual items in the produce section.

10--Enjoy your food even if on a low-cholesterol, low-saturated-fat regime.

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New and Unusual

The following recipes take advantage of resolution No. 9 to experiment with new and unusual produce. In addition to cultivated mushrooms, there is a variety of nutritious and delicious mushrooms in the supermarket such as the shiitake and oyster that will excite a bored dieter’s taste buds.

The shiitake is a large, dark, open-capped mushroom with a full-bodied taste when cooked. Sometimes known as oak mushrooms (a name derived from the fact that they are commonly grown commercially on oak logs), they are popular in Asian cookery.

The oyster, or pleurotes, mushroom is shaped like a shell, a fan or half shell of an oyster. But some claim it’s the flavor rather than the shape that inspired the name of oyster. They should be kept in the original package or in a bowl covered with a slightly damp cloth. Stored correctly, they should keep several days. Rinse just before using.

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When looking for fresh mushrooms, look for smooth, firm ones with the veil, the membrane between the stem and cap, still attached. Those with open veils are still delicious, they just have a more mature flavor.

Best Kept Unwashed

Mushrooms are best kept unwashed in the refrigerator, stored as packaged. If purchased loose, keep them in a paper bag or damp cloth bag in the refrigerator. They will stay firmer longer this way.

Some ways to use mushrooms in low-fat cooking:

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--Marinate whole, sliced or halved mushrooms in diet oil and vinegar dressing and keep on hand to add to salad greens and steamed vegetable side dishes.

--Saute mushrooms in a tiny amount olive oil, then stuff colored sweet peppers with chopped or sliced mushrooms.

--Toss mushrooms with a lemony vinaigrette and add to a bowl of spinach or other mixed greens.

--Spoon sliced, marinated mushrooms over a nest of freshly shredded vegetables for a crisp, garden-fresh salad.

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--Instead of meat on the grill, thread whole button mushrooms on bamboo skewers, then brush with barbecue sauce and grill over coals until just tender.

--For skinny snacking, pack a sack of whole, fresh mushrooms and take along on outings.

CAVE AND GARDEN BAKED POTATOES

1 tablespoon olive oil

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1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 small sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons water

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1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt, pepper

2 baked potatoes

Chopped parsley

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Heat oil in skillet. Add mushrooms, pepper and garlic. Saute over high heat until mushrooms brown slightly. Add water and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low, then cook and stir 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Split and fluff potatoes. Top with hot mushroom mixture and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Makes 2 servings.

MUSHROOM BURGERS DIJON

3/4 pound ground turkey

Salt, pepper

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3 tablespoons dry white wine or water

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon tarragon

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

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2 slices French bread, toasted

Form turkey into 2 patties. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook in non-stick skillet sprayed with vegetable coating spray over medium heat until browned. Remove and keep hot. Reduce heat to medium. Deglaze pan with wine and stir in mustard and tarragon. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are tender. To serve, place hamburgers on toasted French bread. Spoon mushroom mixture over hamburgers. Makes 2 servings.

SHIITAKE AND WILD RICE PILAF

2 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms

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1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups cooked wild rice

1/4 cup walnut pieces

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1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Salt, pepper

Saute mushrooms and garlic in hot oil in skillet until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add rice, walnuts, onions and lemon zest and mix to blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat to warm through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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OYSTER MUSHROOM SOUP

1/2 pound chopped oyster mushrooms

1/2 cup minced shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

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2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram leaves, chopped

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1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons dry Sherry

Salt, pepper

Marjoram sprigs

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Saute mushrooms, shallots and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in broth, milk and marjoram. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir small amount hot soup into egg yolk, then stir yolk mixture and sherry into soup. Cook over low heat, do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sprigs of fresh marjoram. Makes 4 servings.

OYSTER MUSHROOM STIR-FRY

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

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3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms

1/4 pound oyster mushrooms

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1 cup Chinese pea pods, trimmed

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

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2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat oils to sizzling in wok or heavy skillet. Add garlic and ginger, then mushrooms and peas. Stir-fry until peas are tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in broth. Combine with soy sauce and stir into wok, tossing until thickened and clear. Stir in cilantro, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Serve hot. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

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ENCHANTED FOREST PASTA

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced

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1 pound scallops

1/2 cup dry Sherry or dry white wine

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

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1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper

1/4 pound vermicelli pasta, cooked and drained

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Heat half of oil and butter in non-stick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until just tender. Remove from pan and reserve. Heat remaining oil and butter in skillet and add scallops, cooking until opaque, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.

Add sherry, lemon zest and dill to skillet and cook until reduced by 1/3. Stir in half and half and cheese, heat to melt cheese. Return mushrooms and scallops to skillet, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm over hot pasta. Garnish with additional dill sprigs, if desired. Makes 4 servings.


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