Sunday, June 27, 2010

Frozen Banana Bites

Last week my husband bought a big bunch of bananas, ate one, and forgot about them. I ate one (half chopped up in my breakfast oatmeal, the other half chopped up in my breakfast yogurt another day). In the old days, I might have made some banana bread with the surplus ripe bananas, but I'm not all that crazy about banana bread, bready type foods aren't agreeing with my band right now, and turning the oven on when the thermometer's reading over 100 degrees just doesn't make sense. So I made a batch of frozen banana bites, and they are divine.

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. Cut a banana (or 2, or 3) into 1/2" crosswise slices and place the slices on the waxed paper
with the sides of the slices very close to each other.
3. Drizzle chocolate syrup (I used Hershey's lite chocolate syrup) over the slices. Don't overdo it
- there's no such thing as too much chocolate, but you don't want to create a sticky mess.
4. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for one hour.
5. Transfer the banana slices to a plastic storage container, using waxed paper (I just cut up
the big piece that lined the baking sheet) to separate the layers.
6. Store the banana bites in the freezer for up to 3 days.

Kids of all ages will love these treats. I eat 3-4 slices at a time. They taste like ice cream without all the fat. Next time I make them, I'm going to "frost" the slices with a thin layer of creamy peanut butter before I drizzle on the chocolate.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vietnamese Fish with Pineapple Relish

When I lived in the Northeast and could get a wide variety of fresh fish, I would occasionally poach a salmon and serve it cold with some kind of sauce. Here in Tennessee, it's hard to get any fish fresh unless it's catfish or crappy (believe it or not, crappy is a kind of fish, not an adjective). But it turns out that poached catfish is very tasty with Asian style seasonings, and poaching keeps the fish moist enough for a bandster to enjoy. We ate it hot, but I think it'd be good cold as well. Don't be put off by the amount of sesame oil in this recipe. It seems like a lot, but you won't be consuming all that oil unless you drink the poaching liquid. You can substitute other fish for the catfish, but make sure it's a meaty fish that won't fall apart in the poaching liquid.

2 tablespoons brown sugar (or 1 tablespoon Splenda brown sugar blend)
3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

3 tablespoons Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)*
1 pound fish fillets, cut in thirds
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the water with the brown sugar in a medium saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Add sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili-garlic sauce, and fish sauce and heat until it simmers. Add the fish pieces and turn them to coat with the poach liquid. Return the mixture to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat and garnish with scallions and cilantro. Serve with pineapple relish (recipe below). Serves 3-4.

* for the fish sauce, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and diced small
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (a mix of red and green works well)
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lemon or lime rind
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving (to allow the flavors to blend).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Creamy Herb Dressing

1/4 cup roasted red pepper (patted dry), or red tomato (skinned, seeded & chopped)
1 cup cottage cheese (I use the 1% fat version)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (see note below)

Whiz in a food processor until smooth, adding more lemon juice if a thinner consistency is desired.

For herbs, I use whatever's growing in the potted herb garden on the front porch, or whatever fresh herbs are affordable at the supermarket. This dressing is especially good with dill, or with a mix of herbs. I use no more than three different herbs so that the herb flavors stay distinct. Favorite combinations: mint, cilantro, parsley; basil, oregano, thyme; tarragon, dill, parsley.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creamy Feta Salad Dressing

If you like feta cheese, you will love this creamy, low-fat, high-protein salad dressing.

1/3 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Whiz the ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth enough to suit you. I like it with the feta cheese broken down into bits but not completely obliterated.

Serve with green salad or a salad of mixed chopped raw vegetables (with or without chickpeas).