Chef's Secrets: Try These Unusual Combos to Add Flavor Not Fat

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/29/2011 6:00 PM   :  22 comments   :  16,556 Views

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What's the secret to cooking like a healthy chef? Think beyond the usual flavor boosters of sugar, salt and fat. While they taste good on the tongue, they're not exactly good for us, are they?

Today I'm sharing some unusual yet delicious flavor combinations that will help you create wonderful dishes that aren't heavy on the fat.
 
Fruits
Fruit trees are busting at the branches this time of year. Peaches, plums, apricots and cherries are all in season right now. Because of fruit's natural sweetness, choose contrasting flavors.  (A note on combining flavors: Don't overpower your main ingredient. Add small amounts of your supporting ingredients until you have a dish that's balanced to suit your palate.)
Try:
  • Quartered peaches stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in prosciutto--then grilled. 
  • Stone fruit salads with chopped thyme or lemon balm
  • Halved grapes with basil vinaigrette
  • Diced nectarines with jalapenos and honey
  • Diced mango with grilled shrimp rubbed with spicy chili powder
  • Strawberries with mango and jalapeno peppers
 
Pickles
Pickling is hot right now.  With so many people taking up hobby farming, in-season produce can run you out of house and home.  If you can't eat it fast enough or give it to your neighbors or food pantry, pickle it. 
Try:
  • Pickled Watermelon Rind with Serrano peppers
  • Pickled cauliflower with mustard seeds, black pepper and rice wine
  • Pickled mixed vegetables served over cream cheese on toasted whole wheat baguette
  • Pickled beans with dill
 
Citrus
New citrus produce is finding its way to your market.  Yuzu, a sour Japanese citrus fruit, can be found in Asian markets. It's sour, like a lemon, so you may not want to eat the actual fruit-- but the zest and juice offer a new flavor.  You can use the suggestions below with other citrus, too: lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges and tangerines. Experiment with Key limes, Meyer lemons, and different varieties of oranges. Citrus perks up food the same way salt does--without all that pesky sodium.
Try:
  • Yuzu juice and zest mixed with honey then poured over sautéed shrimp
  • Combine yuzu zest with a bit of sugar. Use this flavored sugar in tea or in a vinaigrette for hint of lemony sweetness.
  • Orange segments in pork stir fry with hot peppers
 
What are your favorite unusual flavor combos?


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