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The Cookstr 10: Ten Clean Recipes for the New Year

January 4, 2010

Now that it’s officially January, we’re facing the fact that we are going to have a bit of work to do to compensate for this past month of indulging. Years past should have taught us that December would be filled with cocktail parties, cookies in the office kitchen, and leftover pie beckoning to us for breakfast…and that the darn dry cleaner would once again manage to shrink our favorite pants. But fool us once, fool us a dozen times, we just can’t help ourselves during the holidays.

Jamie Oliver's Lemon Linguine (photo by David Loftus)

Which of course is why we will be seeking out foods that are clean and simple and that launch us into 2010 with a spring in our step. We won’t go so far as to call this a resolution (that’s asking for trouble), but it will feel good to cook and eat a little more lightly for a moment. And not surprisingly, there are a lot of Asian-inspired dishes in this newsletter. Now where did we put that steamer…

1. Steve and Elena Kapelonis’ Get-Up-and-Go Juice. The name alone is pretty motivating, but the combination of fruits and veggies in this beverage are the antidote to all that mulled wine and eggnog we’ve been ingesting.

2. Sheila Lukins’ Light Lemon Vinaigrette. Salads are clearly one of the best dishes to make when you’re looking to eat lighter, and a new salad dressing is a great way to begin. This delicate vinaigrette is delicious tossed over a fruit-and-vegetable combination, like romaine with minced red onion and sliced fresh pears. The addition of honey takes the bite out of the citrus juice and mellows the flavors.

3. Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Spicy Cucumber Salad. In this salad, the contrast of smooth chile, warm oil, and crisp fresh cucumber is a knockout. The salad has a mild but not aggressive heat, and if clean and spicy is what you crave you’ll be happy to add this to your list of go-to salads. The cucumbers will soften if they’re left standing, so wait to pour the hot oil over them until just before you serve the salad.

4. Nancie McDermott’s Pink Grapefruit Salad with Toasted Coconut and Fresh Mint. If you like Thai food for its bright flavors, you will find this dish positively dazzling. Thais make this salad with pomelo, grapefruit’s thick-skinned, misshapen, and sweeter cousin, but grapefruit is a perfect substitute. Serve with spoons and small lettuce leaf cups for wrapping around the salad and enjoying bite by bite.

5. Nina Simonds’ Clear-Steamed Chicken Soup with Ginger. Clear-steaming, otherwise known as double-boiling, is a simple technique used by Chinese cooks in which a food is cooked slowly within a closed container. The result is a very clear, intense broth. The only ingredients in the whole dish are chicken, rice wine, scallions and ginger (and salt, but you knew that).

6. Antony Worrall Thompson’s Thai Steamed Salmon. The always-popular salmon gets marinated in cilantro, ginger, mint, lime juice, and chiles. Serve this pretty dish with brown basmati rice or rice noodles and steamed green beans or bok choy.

7. Fran McCullough’s Lime Scallops. We love rich scallops because though they are have all the healthy offerings of shellfish, they definitely leave you feeling satisfied. Be sure to let the skewered scallops marinate for at least a couple of hours to develop flavor before you broil them.

8. Myra Goodman’s Stir Fried Chicken with Broccoli, Yellow Bell Pepper, and Zucchini. Brilliant green broccoli, yellow bell pepper, and zucchini turn ordinary chicken breasts into a colorful one-dish meal. Once you get comfortable with the basic technique of stir-frying, you can adapt it to take advantage of whatever small amounts of fresh vegetables, meat, or tofu are left over in the refrigerator. Serve the stir-fry with rice or soba noodles.

9. Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Linguine. Strands of al dente linguine are coated with a light sauce of lemon juice and zest, a dose of piquant Parmesan, and handfuls of chopped basil and arugula, which add color and a nice bite to this bright pasta.

10. Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner’s Pineapple with Mint. We said we wanted to eat lighter; we didn’t say we wanted to skip dessert. This is SO pretty, with flecks of chopped mint and those gorgeous ruby red pomegranate pearls strewn over the top. You can also serve this with dollops of thick Greek yogurt for a little more substance.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2010 10:50 pm

    always choose dry cleaners that uses organic based cleaning agents and detergent to help the environment;*-

  2. November 14, 2010 4:58 pm

    dry cleaners come in handy specially if you need your precious clothes to get cleaned very fast ;..

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