malabar-display2-72I once had a terrific Roy Lichtenstein tee shirt that read “Married at last.  Now I can get fat.” And since reality follows fiction, I proceed to gain 55 pounds over a 22 year period.  Well, after seeing pictures of me at my high school reunion, it is time that “Tubby goes Trim”, which is virtually impossible for a confirmed foodie.  So while I’m on the prisoner’s diet of water and bread crusts (I’m just kidding), I will still be continuing my blog column and providing recipes that will dance in your heads. I’ll also be reporting my weight loss progress.  Usually I’m quite unsuccessful, so this will probably not last more than a week.  I’m using this odious software which is called Fitday which has now informed me that I am allowed, in view of my goal to lose 50 lbs in 6 months, 1235 calories a day.  The headache is starting.

The good thing is going to the Aptos Farmers Market on Saturday, to fill up of baskets full of fresh foods.  Quickly the bags get heavy with carrots, gem lettuce, fennel, green beans, Fuji and Braeburn apples, eggs, figs (got to have figs), those really wonderful green plums whose name I’ve forgotten, and more.  Then I go down to Malabar Trading Company (world’s best teas and chai) and get a complementary cup of Kashmiri chai and shoot the breeze with Annaliese & Mike.  Andrew, our resident chef, has started a line of mix herbs and rubs which will appease dieting pain.  And he’s dieting too.  I’m in good company.

So today I’m having a coffee and an apple in the morning, a saladwith vinaigrette (what, me skip salad ) for lunch, and a soup and salad for dinner.  Forget it.  It’s barbeque salmon with mango salsa for dinner.  High in omega-3’s, delicious, and it’s great for you.

The one thing I’m happy about is that my husband never bought me the t-shirt, “Oh my, I left the baby on the bus”.  Now that would have been a disaster.

Salmon with Mango Salsa

If you can, always buy wild salmon.  Sometimes you can get it on sale and if you have room in your freezer, buy a lot, since freezing salmon is easy and it can taste fresh when you defrost it.  Here is the trick.  Salmon needs water around it so that it doesn’t dry out in the freezer.  Get a bunch of Ziplock TM or similar baggies.  Put a piece of salmon in the baggy and fill with cold water.  When almost full, seal up the baggy and place in the freezer.  You’ll see that when you defrost the salmon in its baggy, the salmon comes out fresh and cooks up wonderfully.

INGREDIENTS

Salmon

Olive Oil

Kosher or coarse sea salt

2 ripe mangos – peel, chop and mash

Juice from 2 limes

½ bunch of chopped cilantro

½ of a finely chopped onion

Olive Oil

Kosher or coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Rub olive oil and salt both sides of the salmon.

Barbeque or broil 5 minutes on each side

In a large bowl add mashed mangos, chopped onion, chopped cilantro and lime juice.  Mix well and serve with salmon.

garden-omelet-sl-257615-lI don’t know about you, but some mornings I wake up and I am STARVING, and other mornings a large cup of coffee and fruit does me fine.  This omelet  is what I eat in the morning when I am ravenous. The recipe was given to me by a dear French friend who is diabetic and has seen tremendous changes in her blood sugar by eating these omelets, including weight loss.  I haven’t yet perfected it (guys, jump in and help me) but it tastes good and FILLS YOU UP.  Plus it is low in fat, and full of good things.  For those of you that have overweight partners, they’ll love it.  Just don’t tell them how healthy it is.

Don’t Tell Them It’s Healthy Omelet

1.  Spray a small frying pan with olive oil and heat.

2.  Add ½ (60 calories) to 1 cup (120) of egg whites like Reddi-Eggs.

3.  Add 1 spoonful of flax seed and 2 spoonfuls of oat bran.  Mix well in to the egg whites

4.  When omelet is done, season with salt and pepper and add a lot of toppings otherwise it is very dry and cake-like.  I use no-fat cottage cheese, 3 slices of avocado, and lots of salsa.

5.  Drink lots of water due to the flax and bran.

So try it out, and give me more suggestions on other low-fat toppings.  Now that I think of it, replacing regular salsa with mango salsa should be delicious.  Well, I guess I’ll write that up next week along a wonderful way to preserve and cook salmon.

close-up-layout-722Using this recipe along with a lunch salad with vinaigrette made fresh out of  SaladSuccess shaker will help you eat better and feel great.  Remember SaladSuccess is just $9.95 and gives you perfect vinaigrette and salad dressings every day with no fuss.

close-up-layout-721I have a weight problem (I love great food) and my husband has a heart problem since his normal cholesterol level is high.  One of the caveats of this site is to produce recipes for SaladSuccess TM that are healthy for you and your family.  If you make great salads, you can cut down on the meat portion that you serve to your family.  Having a fun salad topped with 6 shrimp or salmon is healthier and more economical than making Shrimp Scampi for the family.  To paraphrase:  Salad:  It’s not that dull iceberg, glob of dressing  and a wedge of pink tomato anymore.

All my cream recipes are “low-cal” since I use buttermilk and low fat yogurt, lite mayo or lite sour cream. If you want them creamier, you will have to use cream, or the regular sour cream and mayo.  Yogurt is better for you to use than sour cream.  If you have an organic section in your food store, try Nancy’s Low Fat Yogurt.  It is excellent.

Try my Moroccan dressing: it is fabulous and exotic.  Since salad can get boring, you need to add fruits, legumes and nuts.  With heart concerns, make sure you add chickpeas, kasha (buckwheat groats), couscous, white beans.  I love adding mangos – I get them at Costco, let them ripen and the salad is fabulous with walnuts and perhaps goat or feta cheese.  You can’t mess up a salad.

We also found a trick for heart and weight problems.  It’s hummus, a garbanzo bean dip, sandwich spread.  We put it on whole wheat bread (make sure that there is no corn syrup of fructose syrup in the bread), a dab of French mustard, tomatoes, avocados, olives, pickles whatever – EXTREMELY FILLING.  Warren would have 2 for lunch, be stuffed and lose weight.  Beware though – he’s 6’6 and can down a lot more calories than I.

NADINE’S HUMMUS SPREAD

1. Drain 4 cans (low sodium) of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

2. With the metal blade in the food processor, put in the drained chick peas, process and slowly add water until mixture becomes a think smooth paste. It’s about ½ to 1 can of water. This takes about a minute

3. Add 2 stems of scallions (green onions) and a level tsp. of cumin.

4. Add salt to taste (unless you are on a salt free diet).

5. Process until there are no signs of the onions.

6. Put in a container and refrigerate.

close-up-layout-723Using this recipe along with a lunch salad with vinaigrette made fresh out of  SaladSuccess shaker will help you eat better and feel great.  Remember SaladSuccess is just $9.95 and gives you perfect vinaigrette and salad dressings every day with no fuss.

Enjoy.  Comments always appreciated.

japanes-cucumberIt is that time of year when cool creamy salads are delightful.  This is a wonderful, quickly-made greek salad that doesn’t need dressing or a shaker.  If you are planning to serve this immediately as a salad, there is no need to strain the yogurt or sweat the cucumbers.  However if the tzatzikis is to have a longer shelf life – go ahead, strain the yogurt and sweat out the water from the cucumbers.  Sweating is easy, an hour before making the salad, cut the cucumbers, – I use the fine slicer on the food processor – put in a bowl, salt heavily, and mix well.  An hour later there will be a lot of water in the bowl and the cucumbers will be limp.  Squeeze out the remaining water from the cucumbers and rinse well.   Sweating cucumbers gets rid of the water and any bitter taste.

Ingredients

3 large English Cucumbers – You can use any cucumbers, but if they have large seeds, cut them out.

1 Cup of Yogurt – Greek yogurt is the best, but recently I tried Nancy’s Low Fat Yogurt and it was excellent.   Dannon’s no-fat was a “thumbs down”! Nasty texture.

1 large clove of garlic finely chopped or pressed

5 large sprigs of dill finely chopped

Couple dashes of pepper

Directions

Finely slice the cucumbers – sweat them if necessary

Place in a large bowl

Add yogurt, garlic, dill, pepper

Mix well

Serve with pita bread or chips as a dip.  I love it with the pepper lamb bits I buy at Trader Joe’s or when I make a leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic and anchovies.  Side dish is rice cooked in chicken bullion and curry powder (1.2 a tsp.).

Hint – When I am using this as a dip, I use the shredder attachment of my food processor.  After the cucumbers have sweated, I chop them up as finely as possible.

basilEver look down into your salad and wonder what are those little black things floating in your salad dressing?  Usually it is dry herbs, which don’t taste anything like the real thing, fresh herbs.  For the most part, I dislike dry herbs and today, if you have a garden or even just a window sill, you can have fresh herbs all year long.

One of my favorite herbs, this time of year, is basil.  My kids and I buy several bunches of fresh basil and make enough pesto to last the year.  If you want to make pesto, Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa, has a wonderful recipe, and so do most cookbooks.  My daughter, who reads price tags, really loves to make pesto since a small jar from the grocery store of this wonderful condiment costs around $8.  I’ll also take a bunch of the basil that was harvested early in the day that still has its roots, and put it in a vase of water.  Basil easily resets its roots (you’ll need to initially give the roots a little trim to stimulate growth) and you’ll have fresh basil all summer long from a dollar’s worth.

With chiles, garlic, rosemary and tarragon, I make oil infusions, which gives the taste and perfume smell of these herbs and veggies, but not the overbearing flavors.  I also use herbs for flavored vinegars.  It’s fun and economical to make these items, and adds to the complexity of your salad dressings and meals.

So for your salads and meals, don’t reach for that old jar of dried herbs sitting in your spice rack.  Instead take a stroll in your garden, cut some fresh herbs, and enjoy a truly creative and delight meal.

close-up-layout-721Remember, a  lunch salad with vinaigrette made fresh out of  SaladSuccess shaker will help you eat better and feel great.  SaladSuccess is just $9.95 and gives you perfect vinaigrette and salad dressings every day with no fuss.

tomato-salad-721I’m a Jersey girl, and to me, summer eating is about freestone peaches, Silver Queen corn, and tomatoes.  The worth of any New Jersey homeowner is in the size and bounty of her tomato plants.  No one worth their salt would ever buy a tomato.  And if you went to someone’s house to socialize, you would always bring a lovely assortment of your finest tomatoes.  I remember my mom and dad constantly watering, tying the stems, and blowing some incredibly white powdery toxic poison on those plants.  Our family’s honor was tied into those plants, and no drought, plague of beetles, or pestilence, would dare attack our plants.

So when I moved out to California, I picked up where Dad and Mom left off.  Every year I would buy a minimum of twelve tomato plants at the farmers market and try to produce a crop worthy of my past.  The first year the snails got to them, which astonished me since there are no snails in New Jersey.  Next several years were acceptable but the little strip of land I used to grow them was turned into a shady walk way.  The following four years followed a pattern.  I’d plant early in the spring, nature my little plants thru July;  get excited about their growth and buds, only to be ruined by a fungus attack.

I tried planting early in February, using plastic tubular teepees.  I’d fill the tubes of the tepee with water and let the sun heat the plants by day, and insulate them during the cool nights..  My sister-in-law, a master gardener in Denver, Colorado, swore by these tepees and even sent me pictures of her bountiful harvest.  February came and went, along with March, April and my enthusiasm and hope plummeted.  The tepees, that looked so straight and erect in the ads, wouldn’t hold up and were constantly collapsing on the plants.  The plants were still alive, but ugly and spindly, and the plastic was acting as a snail magnet, with massive collections of snail poop inside the costly tepees’ water tubes.  I retired my teepes in the form of a present to  my sister-in-law.  Needless to say, I didn’t include a picture of my harvest.

The last disaster, to the tune of five hundred dollars, was my watering system.  Every May, in anticipation of summer vacation, I would go buy watering timers.  I’d spend days adjusting my timers so that not one of my precious plants would suffer during my absence.  I bought the best batteries, I tested each timer, and I would wake up at five am to give them the final adjustment.  By June the timers were perfect, and a magnificent synchronization of water works was creating green harmony in my gardens.

Three weeks later upon our return, disaster.  Either the majority of timers died the minute our car pulled out of the driveway for the Great Adventure, or else they went ballistic spewing water all day and night.By the time we returned, the garden looked like the Mojave Dessert, the running water was turned off, and a little yellow card from the Water Department was firmly affixed on our door handle expressing their displeasure with our wanton water usage.  To add insult to injury, not only did I have to replace plants and trees, I’d also have to dig up five hundred dollars to pay my water bill and fines.

But last year I declared war, for this was to be the year of the Great Tomato Harvest. I dry farmed the plants, thus forcing their roots to grow strong and avoid mold. No snails would dare get on my plants since I generously sprinkled around the plants with sawdust.  And I found a new sunny place by planting them in my front yard.

The outcome was rewarding.  My plants looked beautiful and healthy and were laden with fruit.  And every night for  5 months, we all sat down to enjoy the family summer favorite –Insalata Caprese or as we call it, Tomato Lovers Salad.

Tomato Lovers Salad

Vinaigrette – Use the SaladSuccess vinaigrette formula.

Platter

Sliced tomatoes

Shredded fresh mozzarella

Chopped basil – I use the kitchen scissor to cut it in fine strips

Vinaigrette

Optional to Platter – Add eggs, avocado, lettuce, tuna fish, sardines, and olives

close-up-layout-721Remember, a  lunch salad with vinaigrette made fresh out of  SaladSuccess shaker will help you eat better and feel great.  SaladSuccess is just $9.95 and gives you perfect vinaigrette and salad dressings every day with no fuss.