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Where's the Beef? Look Hard to Find It!

January 8, 2009
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When Eating Well: The Magazine of Food & Health first appeared on newsstands in 1990, skeptics wondered if low-fat food wasn't just one more flash in the nutrition pan. Fat, however, has edged out all others as the dietary issue. In fact, limiting fat to reduce heart disease and cancer risk should remain a priority.

Eating Well: Secrets of Low-Fat Cooking follows established guidelines for healthy eating: No more than 30 percent of calories in the overall diet should come from fat, and meals should contain modest portions of meat in combination with lots of grains, vegetables and fruits. The book's standards for flavor are just as high as for nutrition.

Tuscany Ribollita

(Meat/Pareve)

This soup is rick in cancer-fighting chemicals from the cabbage, garlic, beans and tomatoes.

1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in water, then drained
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for drizzling over soup
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 lb. zucchini, sliced
1 lb. cabbage or winter kale
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
4 cups defatted, reduced-sodium canned chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 lb. country-style bread, thinly sliced

Place the soaked beans in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 3 inches.

Bring to a boil, skim any foam and reduce the heat to a bare simmer.

Cook, partially covered, until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving beans and bean-cooking liquid separately.

Heat oil in a large soup pot over a low heat; add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and parsley, and gently cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and thyme.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, purée about half of the cooked cannellini beans together with the reserved bean-cooking liquid.

Add the purée to the pot, along with the potatoes, zucchini, cabbage or kale, green beans and the reserved whole beans.

Add the chicken broth and 3 cups of water. Cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. (The soup can be prepared ahead to this point and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days. Reheat before continuing.)

In a 6- to 8-quart pot, place a layer of bread slices.

Add a few ladlefuls of soup, then another layer of bread. Continue in this manner until the pot is full, finishing with soup.

To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the top of each.

Makes about 4 quarts (or 12 servings).

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 185, protein, 8 g; fat, 3 g; carbohydrates, 34 g; sodium, 280 mg.

Fat grams add up quickly, even in lean meats. A healthful serving of meat is no more than 3 ounces of trimmed cooked meat -- about the size of a deck of cards. Using a small sharp knife, always completely trim the outside fat from meats.

Spicy Orange Beef-and-Broccoli

(Meat)

Hints of orange and touch of heat dress up this classic combination. Serve with steamed rice.

Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsps. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsps. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup defatted, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Marinade Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. peanut oil (or other if allergies are an issue)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and sliced thinly against the grain

Stir-Fry Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 small hot dried chile peppers
zest of 1 orange, peeled in 1-inch strips
1 red bell pepper, juliénned
1 lb. broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces and blanched 1 minute in boiling water
4 scallions, cut into 11/2-inch segments
salt to taste

To Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar and black pepper; pour 3 tablespoons of this sauce into a bowl to be used in the marinade.

Add the chicken broth and cornstarch to the first bowl, stirring well to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

To Prepare the Marinade: Add the peanut (or other) oil, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper to the reserved marinade in the large bowl.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the beef and rub to coat slices with a thin layer.

Add the beef to the marinade, turning to coat slices well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

To Prepare the Stir-Fry: Have all ingredients prepared and within reach. Heat a wok over high heat; drizzle oil down the sides of the wok.

Add the chile peppers and orange zest; stir-fry quickly for 10 seconds.

Add the beef. Stir-fry until lightly browned, about 30 seconds.

Add the bell peppers and stir-fry until slightly softened, 15 to 30 seconds.

Add the broccoli, scallions and a pinch of salt; continue stir-frying until the broccoli is heated through, about 30 seconds.

Stir the sauce mixture and add it to the wok. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 290; protein, 29 g; fat, 12 g; carbohydrates, 16 g; sodium 940 mg.

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