When I shared my Fat Free Chocolate Cake on "Good Morning America" back in 1994 Joan Lunden and Spencer Christian raved about it. Plain, fat-free yogurt stepped in as the chocolate cake's unique fat-fighting ingredient.
As years went by, I discovered drained, unsweetened applesauce worked magically as a fat substitute and made better chocolate cakes and desserts, like my Decadent Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake or Double Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies. I left fat-free yogurt back in the '90s and continued to explore ways to make chocolate work in a lean diet plan.
Who doesn’t love a Mexican feast? But making one at home is a giant hassle, with all the different dishes that go into it. It takes forever and turns your kitchen into something resembling a frat house on Sunday morning.
But, The Kid and I figured it out; with just a little work, and very little outlay of dough.
At the Matthews house, it’s not even a question. We are true-blue Dukies.
Unfortunately, my fandom is heavily colored by my general dorkiness. As much as I dream about meeting Coach K, I’m also petrified that the opportunity would turn me into a full-on stalker, and I would spend my twilight years in the state pen. So, it’s probably best that I’ve never run into the great man.
A hack is a tip or trick to make your life easier.
Want to play the theme from the Power Rangers on your cell? There’s a hack for that (press 3-3-2-3-9-3).
Have a big honking pimple on prom night? There’s a hack for that (dot with the liquid from an Advil gel cap).
Trying to open one of those impossible blister packs? Yep, a hack for that too (use a manual can opener).
Years ago I stumbled across persimmons in an Asian market. I picked up a soft, almost spongy fruit but put it back dismissing it as overripe. That was an error in judgment; I didn't know any better.
Even if I had brought it home, what would I have done with it? If I cut it open would it look like a pomegranate with wall-to-wall seeds, or an avocado with a huge pit. Should I crunch into it like an apple or peel it like an orange? Out of the thousands of recipes I'd collected over the years I didn't have a single persimmon recipe.
There are a couple of food buzzwords that I think are ridiculous. One is “sexy”. Antonio Banderas is sexy. A plate of risotto is not. Black suede, thigh-high boots with a 4 inch heel are sexy. A well-cooked, medium-rare steak, while beautiful and delicious, is not sexy.
The other word so over-used that it means almost nothing, is “superfood.”
Parts & Labor will be serving black-eyed pea and sweet potato cakes with smoky guacamole in February. Across town, The Refectory Café will be serving polenta lasagna with basil pesto and grilled vegetables and dark chocolate macadamia torte for dessert.
If these dishes sound too good to be vegan choices, that’s part of the goal of the Vegan Love Challenge, the latest in the Triangle Meatless Monday organization’s ongoing campaign to try and introduce more vegan varieties to local restaurants.
This month many of us swore off fat and calories and signed onto salads.
For many of my "less-than-lean" years a wide wedge of iceberg lettuce drenched with Thousand Island dressing was a favorite salad. Later, I learned that a 2-tablespoon serving of that dressing delivered 111 calories and 10.5 fat grams.
“It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal.” (“The Simpsons”)
In the past few weeks, I’ve had brunch a couple of times at Watts Grocery (1116 Broad St.). Chef/owner Amy Tornquist’s splendid food is full of local, fresh ingredients and has something for everyone.
One day in my high school cafeteria I was delighted to find breaded veal patties.
I sat down with my lunch and my best buds, Bo and Rhi, eager to eat my unexpected bounty.
Excited, I took a bite — and shrieked. It didn’t taste like veal; it tasted like what Alpo smells like.
“Oh my gosh, they’re feeding us dog food!”
Ten years ago there was a paradigm shift that affected millions of hearts, but first, a very short story.
In the late 1990s, I stood at a checkered tablecloth covered table in front of a store in Northgate Mall that was selling my cookbooks and offered tasting samples from those books. A normal-sized, healthy looking young man walked up to me, asked for a small brownie sample and then questioned me closely about the fat content in my recipes. Overcome by curiosity, since more women than men buy my books, I asked him if he cooked.
I won’t twerk. So don’t ask me.
I also won’t watusi, foxtrot or tango. Not a big dancer. In the first grade, I took ballet, tap and jazz for about six months. My 137-year-old teacher frightened me so much I quit. Thus my chance at being a Solid Gold dancer vanished into thin air.
Mrs. Dawson, our music teacher, gave me the lead role in our second-grade play.
I played the part of a sweet potato. I was completely engulfed in the costume Dad built for me from wire and yards and yards of orange cotton. My best friend, Lynette, had the supporting role of a stick of butter. She carried a knife that was as tall as we were, and together we danced and sang with buttery, carbohydrate abandon.
Before Christmas and uncertain that Santa knew exactly what I wanted; I gave myself a gift: a new bundt pan to replace my 20-year-old pan that was too thin, too dark, scratched-up and barely nonstick any more.