Friday, March 30, 2012

Instead of This, Use That to Clean Up You Recipes

Yesterday a co-worker asked me about how to Clean up a recipe that called for bacon flavor in it. I recommended Bacon Salt - and remembered this post from over 1 1/2 years ago.

Here are some great CE alternatives to try to "clean" some of your favorite recipes. In most cases, the alternate is much lower calorie, fat, and without the preservatives and salts we're trying to avoid!

Instead of heavy cream in recipes, try evaporated milk. Instead of 400 calories and 40 grams of fat per 1/2 c of the stuff, evaporated milk is only 160 calories and 2 grams of fat per 1/2 c. The color and consistency are similar, so it works - if you need it whipped, just make sure it is ice cold before you attempt! In the right dishes, you could also try low fat coconut milk as a base instead of cream, or change the recipe so low fat organic chicken broth is the base.

Instead of bacon in recipes, try Bacon Salt or paprika in your recipes. You get the smoky taste of bacon without the harmful nitrites, fat and calories - just use that Bacon Salt sparingly. It is, after all, salt - and just on the wrong side of clean. It has some starchy fillers and preserving chemicals. Smoked spices can also be a fun alternate - chipotle chiles have a potent, almost meaty flavor.

Instead of butter, try dijon mustard. It's creamy consistency can help lower the butter or other fats needed in a recipe - but be prepared to use it only in a recipe that can handle its tangy bite.

Instead of oily sauces, try balsamic vinegar. The sweet, fruity flavor of quality balsamics is smooth, so you can use it to replace the oil in many salad dressings, or over meat and fish. There are many different kinds - experiment!

( Note: look for the more expensive bottles of balsamic marked "Aceto Balsamico di Modena or Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Regiio Emilia."  These are vinegars that are the real thing and have a standard level of grape must ( juice ) by Italian law. Low quality / non clean balsamics might be sweetened vinegar with caramel coloring in it - so check the labeling - and don't cheap out on your balsamic vinegar! )

A few other items to try: anchovy paste, capers, hot sauces, low sodium soy sauce, roasted red peppers, low sodium worcestershire sauce, spices and herbs. Try mixing it up and experimenting substituting some of the above in your favorite recipes. You'll definitely have some trial and error, but may come up with a new riff on an old classic in your attempts to Clean the recipe.