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Better Nutrition (1989-90)

Autumn vegetables: bounty of the season – includes recipes

Autumn vegetables: bounty of the season – includes recipes – column

Autumn Vegetables: Bounty of the Season

Summer is over. The snap of autumn is in the air and the days are getting longer. So you’ve put away your barbecue and now you’re ready for a dramatic change from summer’s fare of grilled chicken, fish and vegetables. The markets are overflowing with beautiful autumn vegetables — eggplant, peppers, cabbage and zucchini. If your appetite is whetted for dishes more elaborate than the simple ones you enjoyed all summer, ones with a little sauce and spice, consider preparing stuffed cabbage or peppers, eggplant or grape leaves. Called Holishes in Poland, Galuptze in Russia, and Dolma in the countries surrounding and influenced by Greece, these dishes have enjoyed a lasting popularity. Expand your cooking horizons by adding these delicacies to your own cooking repertoire.

If you’re on a low-cholesterol or low-fat diet, these traditional dishes pose somewhat of a problem. Ground beef or lamb, the usual fillings for the vegetable dishes, definitely are not on the list of foods approved for low-cholesterol dining. And the time-honored methods of sauteeing onions and other spices are no longer appropriate to modern dietary necessities.

If you want to try one of these old-fashioned dishes and stick with the requirements of your diet, you can replace the ground beef or lamb in the usual fillings with ground turkey and keep the authenticity intact. In addition, you can fry the onions in defatted chicken broth instead of in oil to reduce your fat intake significantly. (Defatted chicken broth is readily available. If you don’t make your own, just buy canned chicken broth. Keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Skim the hardened fat off the top, just as you would do to homemade. Voila! Now you have defatted chicken broth.)

Don’t add any eggs to the filling ingredients to hold them together. Count on whatever vegetable is the wrapper to keep the stuffing in place.

Preparing these time-consuming old fashioned recipes is worth the trouble for several reasons. These modern versions are almost totally fat-free. So if you are trying to limit your fat consumption to 20 or even ten percent of your total calorie intake, these are good choices to serve. More importantly, these dishes are delicious and serving them will make your entire family happy.

Stuffed Cabbage

1 head of green cabbage

Filling:

1 lb ground turkey

1/4 cup uncooked rice

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp salt substitute

1/4 tsp black pepper

Sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely

packed

1 cup tomato sauce

Core the cabbage. Separate the leaves from the head until the leaves become too small to use as a wrapper. Shred the rest of the cabbage. In the meantime, bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Place the leaves in a large pot and pour the boiling water over them. Cover. Make the filling. Combine the ground turkey, rice, onion, garlic, salt substitute and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Then drain the cabbage leaves which should be wilted by now and easy to use. Place a ball of meat in the center of a leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the ball of meat, then fold in the sides. Turn once more to complete the package. Arrange the filled cabbage rolls in a 10- or 12-inch saucepan. Cover with any remaining shredded cabbage. Combine the sauce ingredients and pour over the rolls. Add water almost to the top of the rolls. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 [degrees]. Remove the lid and place the pan in the oven. After 30 minutes, turn the rolls. Bake another 30-45 minutes, until the rolls are browned and the cabbage is tender. Serves 4-6.

Dolma (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

1/2 cup uncooked rice

Defatted chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh chopped dill or 2

tsp dried dill

2 tsp fresh chopped mint or 1

tsp dried mint

3 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt substitute

40 grape leaves

In a small saucepan, combine the rice with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Boil briskly for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain in a sieve and set aside. In a 12-inch non-stick frying pan, heat 4 Tbsp of the defatted chicken broth. Add onions and cook until soft. Stir in ground turkey. Cool until all lumps disappear. Drain the excess liquid. Add remaining ingredients (except the grape leaves), stirring constantly. Cook 3-4 minutes. Set aside. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the grape leaves and immediately turn off the heat. Let the leaves soak 1 minute, then pour off the hot water and plunge the leaves into cold water. Gently separate them and spread on towels to drain. Cover the bottom of a large casserole or Dutch oven with 10 of the leaves. Stuff each of the remaining leaves with about 1 Tbsp of the rice mixture. Arrange them side by side, seam side down, Sprinkle them with 1/2 cup defatted chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately, reduce the heat and simmer, tightly covered, about 50 minutes. Uncover and let cool to room temperature. Serve as an entree or appetizer.

Stuffed Peppers

4 green peppers

Filling for Stuffed Cabbage

Sauce for Stuffed Cabbage

Cut peppers in half crosswise to form a cup for the filling. Remove the core and seeds. Place them in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Make the filling for the Stuffed Cabbage and divide it into 8 equal parts. Fill each pepper cup with the filling. Pour on the sauce for Stuffed Cabbage, adding water almost to cover, if necessary. Follow the directions for Stuffed Cabbage for cooking and baking.

Stuffed Eggplant

2 medium eggplants, halved

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Defatted chicken broth

2 onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 Tbsp pine nuts

1 tsp oregano

Salt substitute and pepper to

taste

1 1/2 lb ground turkey

1 cup tomato sauce

Scoop out the centers of the eggplants. Salt the shells and let them drain, cut side down, on paper towels. Cube the scooped out eggplant. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat 4 Tbsp of the broth with 1 clove garlic. Add the cubed eggplant and saute until all the liquid has disappeared. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant with the onions, parsley, the remaining garlic, pine nuts and salt substitute and pepper to taste. Mix well. In the same frying pan, brown the ground turkey. When the pink is gone, add the tomato sauce. Combine this with the mixture in the bowl. Rinse the salt from the eggplant shells. Pat them dry with paper towels. Fill with the turkey/eggplant mixture. Place in a glass baking dish sprayed with a little non-stick spray and bake at 350 [degrees] for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cook any extra filling in a separate baking dish. Serves 8.

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