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Some wild game, such as venison, rabbit, squirrel and pheasant, are very lean; duck and goose are not.
Select lean pork such as tenderloin, loin chops, center-cut ham (fresh and cured) and Canadian bacon.
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Week of July 25, 2004

How to make a full bodied flavorful chicken stock.

Chicken stock is one of the most important ingredients in a low fat kitchen. It is the basis for many soups, sauces, pasta dishes, casseroles as well as an excellent vehicle for pan sautéing without added oils.

To make basic chicken stock, you will need bones from approximately 2 chickens, water, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, 2 stalks celery, 16 coarsely ground black peppercorns, and 1 small bay leaf.

Remove as much fat from the chicken bones as possible with a sharp knife. You will later skim the remaining fat off of the stock before using.

Place the bones in a large stockpot. Pour water into the pot until the bones are completely covered. Heat on a high temperature, but do not let come to a boil. Boiling the water will cause the fat to churn in the pot rather than rise to the top where you can skim it off. When the stock appears to be about to come to a boil, reduce the heat to low. The stock should simmer at a very low heat.

While the water is heating, clean and prepare the vegetables. Chop the vegetables in large pieces. Combine the onions, carrots, and celery in a mixing bowl. Add the coarsely ground peppercorns and the a very small bay leaf to the bowl.

At this point a thin layer of fat has risen to the surface of the simmering stock.
Use a ladle to skim this layer off and discard the fat.

Simmer the stock for 2 hours total. Add the vegetables to the stock after one hour and fifteen minutes. Bring the stock back to a simmer. While the stock simmers for the final 45 minutes, continue to skim the fat off the surface as it becomes visible.

Strain the stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth laid inside an ordinary colander.

The finished stock should be a light tan color, translucent, and have little or no fat floating on the surface. The stock is now ready. You may want to pour some of the stock into ice cube trays and freeze. You can use one or two cubes when making sauces.

Week of July 18, 2004

When in Italy, you can call it a granita. When you France, you can call it granité. In the US, people call them ices, Italian ices or if you buy it at a convenience store, you will find a commercial version called slushes.

What ever you want to call them, if you are not watching your sugar intake, they are an excellent way to cool off on a hot summer day. The good part is, anyone can make them and you don't need special equipment except for a freezer. To make ices use 4 parts liquid (or a mixture of liquid and ice cubes) to 1 part sugar. I often start with ice cubes in a blender to speed the process. You can use coffee, fruit juice or fruit purees for the liquid. Stir frequently during the freezing process to produce a slightly granular final texture.

Here are a few recipes for luscious ices that will sweeten your summer!

Strawberry Italian Ice

Serves: 6

• 1 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 4 cups hulled fresh strawberries or 4 - 10 ounce packages frozen Strawberries, thawed
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to boil and boil rapidly 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Puree strawberries in blender or food processor, leaving small chunks of berries.

Add pureed strawberries, lemon and orange juices to sugar-water and mix thoroughly. Pour into freezer trays or containers to freeze firm. Do not pour into dessert glasses to freeze, as glass might break.

Makes about 3 cups or 6 servings. Note: Adjust sugar according to sweetness of berries. Frozen berries or extra-sweet fresh berries may require less sugar (about 3/4 cup).

Per Serving: 163 Calories; trace Fat (1.8% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 1g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Fruit; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Lemon Italian Ice

Serves: 6

• 4 lemons, juiced thoroughly (Do not substitute lemon concentrate as it does not give the same taste result.)
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated (optional).

• Ice Cubes

Use a high powered blender, if you use a regular blender, be sure to add the ice cubes one at a time.

Put your lemon juice and sugar in the blender container. Blend until sugar is dissolved.

While blender is running, add ice cubes until the mixture turns to a slush and it cannot be blended anymore. It may take several times of stopping and allowing the mixture to settle or stirring it and then blending again. Just be sure the mixture is thick and slushy.

You may want to adjust the taste with more sugar or lemon to your liking.

Put mixture into individual freezer containers and place in the freezer for at least four hours.

Per Serving: 137 Calories; trace Fat (0.7% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; trace Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Fruit; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Week of July 11, 2004

Luscious Berries!

Berries are everywhere during the spring and summer months. These juicy little pieces of sunshine can be enjoyed with no extravagant recipes or preparation. They may seem like an indulgence, but are, in fact, low in calories and high in nutrients. And look at the variety from which to choose from: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, wild dewberries, huckleberries and Marion berries.

For breakfast, you can add to your cereal for sweetness. Or toss berries in the blender with some yogurt, ice, and fruit juice and blend until smooth for a luscious smoothie. Sprinkle berries over salads for added flavor and interest. Bake with berries for nutritious snacks. Make berry sauces for desserts or fruity salsas for pork or chicken entrees. Or try a juicy berry cobbler or a trifle layered with berries for the final ending to a wonderful meal.

Remember that berries are somewhat delicate and can bruise easily. Berries do not ripen after picking (they just deteriorate), so look for those that firm but dark in color. Blueberries and huckleberries should be deep purple or blue-black. Raspberries should be a nice deep red. Boysenberries are still dark purple when they're ripe, but blackberries and Marion berries should be a dark inky black. When purchasing packaged berries, be sure that the carton is not stained or leaking. This would indicate that the berries were bruised or mishandled. Berries do not keep for long, so store them uncovered in the refrigerator.

Use berries as soon as possible. If you have an excess of berries that you cannot use quickly, remember that berries freeze very well. Wash them and allow them to dry completely. Then arrange berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them until they're very firm. Then pack berries into plastic bags or freezer containers without danger of smashing the berries. The berries will not stick together, enabling you to use just a few from the container without having to defrost them all. If you are going to bake with frozen berries, there's no need to defrost them first.

Week of July 4, 2004

Good Sense about Hot Peppers

Almost every type of ethnic cuisine uses some form of hot peppers or chili peppers. The Middle East, the Far East, Mexico and Southern America, all have native dishes where hot peppers are an integral ingredient.

If you a novice at cooking with hot peppers, it is best to begin your experimentation with more mild peppers and work your way up the heat scale. It is good to know too, that much of the heat from peppers comes from the membrane that holds the seeds in place (the soft whitish or lighter color growth inside the pepper). By removing this membrane and the seeds you will be left with the pepper flesh which can flavor recipes nicely without the heat over powering it.

The heat of peppers is measured in Scoville Units. Although extremely subjective, these units measure the amount of capsaicin which is the chemical that provides the fiery heat.

Scoville Units
Peppers and Some of their Varieties
100,000 to 300,000
Habanero and Scotch Bonnets
50,000 to 100,000
Chiltepin - Thai
30,000 to 50,000
Pequin - Cayenne - Tabasco
15,000 to 30,000
De Arbol
5,000 to 15,000
Serrano
2,500 to 5,000
Jalapeno - Mirasol - Guajillo
1,500 to 2,500
Cascabel - Rocotillo
1,000 to 1,500
Ancho - Pasilla - Negro
500 to 1,000
Anaheim - New Mexico - Mulato
100 to 500
Cherry
0
Bell - Pimento

Seeding a hot pepper will tone down the temperature of your dish but a few steps should be followed to keep yourself from a lot of hot pain.

Be sure to always wear rubber gloves when working with hot peppers. (Particles and oils from the pepper can become embedded beneath your nails and cuticles and affect the tender skin located there. Your fingers will be painfully sore for days. Trust me - I was an idiot who once thought this was not necessary.)

  • Wash the hot peppers.
  • Cut them in half lengthwise.
  • Scrape out seeds and membranes and remove the core.
  • Wash your hands and utensils thoroughly to avoid irritation and burning

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