The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 17, 2004


Book Review
Terry Golson's 1000 Lowfat Recipes

Imagine this: eating healthy, low-fat food. Now imagine this: eating such great food that every meal is a treat. Those two ideas have never really had much of an amicable relationship, right? Until now. No kidding.

I went to Terry Golson's talk on how to build a recipe at the library this past June. Impressed with her and the recipe she developed that night, I bought her book, 1000 Lowfat Recipes, published in 1997. I figured that with a title like that, maybe fifteen of the things would taste good, and the rest would taste like most low-fat food: at worst, no taste at all, and at best, as if one or two critical ingredients are missing.

When I got home, I began leafing through the book, and noticed that Terry listed really interesting combinations of ingredients in some of the recipes. "That could be good," I thought. What had I to lose? Well, around fifty pounds, to be quite honest, so I had motivation. I thought I would give the book a shot. "One month," I thought, still the big skeptic. "I'll cook out of this book for one month, and we'll see."

First I tried some entrees: "Fish Baked with Mint," "Apricot Glazed Chicken," "Lime-Thyme Fish," "Gingered Marmalade Chicken," and "Creole Sauce for Seafood" (some of which I used on swordfish and the rest I froze for later use). Every one of the recipes was an instant hit in my house. To company, I served "Fish Steak in Raspberry Marinade," and received high praise and no leftovers.

By this time, I had to cover my copy of the book in plastic to protect it from kitchen splashes and spatters, and I continued to plow happily through recipe after recipe. The things Terry does with asparagus! Beans! Greens!

Then, on page 473, I read an outrageous statement: "This recipe proves that muffins made from all whole wheat flour don't have to be heavy and dense." Now that was throwing down the gauntlet! On a Sunday morning, I made "100% Whole Wheat Muffins," and I fully expected them to sink like stones in the stomach. They were light, flavorful, and aromatic. I've since tried several of Terry's muffin recipes, and all have yielded delicious results.

I mean this: delicious. Far from the usual "fat-free-taste-free" yardstick with which we judge a lot of low-fat or so-called fat-free food, the recipes in this book are so full of flavor that it is truly hard to believe that they cut way back on fat. What is more, they are written with the busy family cook in mind. The introductory chapter offers advice on why and how to eat healthily, efficiency in the kitchen, menu planning, and stocking the kitchen. Tips on using staple items in the kitchen help to acquaint new cooks with food (what's in hoisin sauce, for example) and equipment, and experienced cooks with time-saving techniques. This is a sophisticated cookbook, but an extremely specific and accessible one.

I have been cooking almost exclusively from 1000 Lowfat Recipes for two months now, and it hasn't let me down yet. Not only that, but I'm working down those fifty pounds I have to lose and eating is still a pleasure. I've sent copies of the book to several "foodie" friends from here to San Francisco and Jerusalem and they all sing its praises as well. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes have been so good that I haven't even tried the dessert recipes near the end, but then, I haven't made it through the whole book — yet. It is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and some local bookstores. I think it should become an indispensable addition to all our kitchens.

Fish Steak in Raspberry Marinade

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

2 pounds fish steaks

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

1) Whisk together all the ingredients but the fish and raspberries. Marinate the fish in the mixture for 30 minutes. Turn several times.

2) Meanwhile, prepare the grill or broiler.

3) Remove the fish from the marinade and grill or broil according to the recipe for Grilling or Broiling Fish. Remove and keep warm.

4) Boil 1/2 cup of the marinade for about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the raspberries and pour over the fish.

Per serving: Calories 117; Protein 17g; Fat 2 g (Saturated 0g); Carbohydrates 8 g; Fiber 0g; Sodium 260 mg.

(Reproduced from 1000 Lowfat Recipes with permission from Terry Blonder Golson)

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito