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Monday, April 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Author Archive: Sara Moulton

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

Though carrots often make it into the Easter feast lineup, I’ve never understood why. Maybe it’s a nod to the Easter bunny. Typically, we prepare them much as we prepare sweet potatoes (their distant orange cousins) at Thanksgiving – by glazing them and otherwise shoveling on extra sugar. I’m guessing that this is a reaction […]

Lighter take on a classic heavy eggplant Parmesan

I’ve always been a big fan of eggplant Parmesan. There are a bunch of ways to make this classic Italian dish, but I’m partial to what you might call the full-fat version: thick slices of breaded eggplant that are sauteed, then baked until creamy, and finally topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese. A vegetarian […]

Smoked fish lends big flavor to a light soup

With St. Patrick’s Day nearly upon us, our minds often turn to corned beef and cabbage. This recipe was inspired by that tradition, but swaps out the corned beef in favor of smoked fish (also incredibly popular in Ireland) in a richly satisfying savory broth. Smoked fish happens to be one of my favorite “cheating” […]

Healthy duck? For Mardi Gras, we make it possible

With Mardi Gras looming, I thought it might be fun to cook up some New Orleans-styled goodies featuring duck, andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. These rich ingredients are typical of the fare from this town that knows how to party – an instinct that goes into overdrive during Mardi Gras. And in this recipe, I’ve […]

Serve a bundle of love (and caviar) on Valentine’s

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a luxurious little treat to make and serve at home that may bring to mind your most elite restaurant thrills. It’s based on the beggar’s purse, a signature appetizer at the Quilted Giraffe, a groundbreaking ’80s-era New York City restaurant. The beggar’s purse was a voluptuous serving of […]

Olympics on TV? Watch and nosh a healthy burger

Hunkering down to watch sports on TV usually involves grabbing the traditional grub — chicken wings, sliders, nachos, that sort of stuff. But with the Olympics in Russia looming, I thought it might be fun to turn instead to a classic of Russian cuisine, namely, beef stroganoff. A rich dish with a noble birthright (scholars […]

Rethinking a fatty dip to have a healthier side

Is there a chip dip in the world that isn’t wonderful? No matter what the flavor, at heart most are tubs of sour cream or melted cheese. Few foods are more satisfying. Of course, most dips also are notoriously heavy with fat and calories. Indeed, that’s why we love them. Still, I figured there must […]

It’s all in the bag – cooking salmon en papillote

Fish en papillote is the elegant-sounding name of a staple recipe of classic French cuisine. Translated into English, it becomes the much less elegant-sounding – “fish in a bag.” By any name, however, this method of baking fish is a smash. Typically, the fish is combined with vegetables and herbs, some butter or oil, and […]

An easier, speedier way to eat more vegetables

It’s the same thing every year. We overindulge during the holidays, then make solemn (and quickly abandoned) promises to eat healthier and shed pounds in the new year. So here’s a sane and simple resolution that will help you achieve both goals in a single stroke – eat more vegetables. It’s no secret that almost […]

Crisp, sweet cookies that are just a bit healthy

I was a happy little butterball when I was a kid. Sweets were my thing, desserts in particular. And chocolate desserts most of all. The one exception to the rule? My grandmother’s oatmeal cookies. They were sweet, of course, but also lacy and crispy. Back then I didn’t know or care that oatmeal cookies were […]

A fancy holiday meal that requires no fancy skills

Looking to dazzle your guests during the holidays? I’ve got the perfect “fancy” dish for you. And I promise it requires no advanced culinary skills. I’ve adapted this from a recipe that first appeared in Gourmet magazine. It boasts a secret ingredient, what the French call a “farce,” but we call it forcemeat. It’s what […]

Creamy truffles without cream? Turn to chestnuts!

Who doesn’t love chocolate truffles? They are the essence of chocolate, and a sure-fire mood enhancer. Pop even one into your mouth and see if you don’t get happy. Given the richness of a chocolate truffle — a blend of chocolate, sugar and cream — it’s nice that chocolate has been found to be good […]

A fried holiday appetizer that’s still healthy

This dish is my idea of a one-size-fits-all appetizer for the looming holidays, whether we’re talking about Hanukkah, Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s particularly apt for Hanukkah because the eggplant is “fried” in oil – and oil is one of the holiday’s central symbols. The good news is that the eggplant is pan-fried – not deep-fried […]

Don’t toss those pumpkin seeds – snack on them!

New York City has a zillion charms, but it may not be the ideal place to celebrate Halloween. Here’s the problem ‚Äî where do you display your jack-o’-lantern if you live in an apartment building with no porch? Then again, my family and I are New Yorkers, and a little defect like this was not […]

A healthy, grapey pan sauce with pork chops

When I was in high school, my mom and I threw all kinds of dinner parties. OK, she threw the parties and I helped with the cooking. Our go-to entree was veal scaloppini. I liked it no matter how we cooked it. At the time it seemed so fancy. Now I realize that it was […]

Light color, deep flavor – a healthy white chili

The first time I ate white chicken chili, it was wrapped in a burrito. And I fell instantly in love. Of course, I’d always been a fan of tomato-based red chili, but the white version – flavored with green chili peppers and thickened with sour cream – struck me as cleaner. And I didn’t miss […]

A flexible, healthy soup that packs porky flavor

This soup is a stick-to-your ribs flexitarian special. Make it with chicken broth and prosciutto and you end up with a carnivore’s delight. Make it with vegetable stock and no prosciutto and you’ve got a vegetarian’s delight. Either way, it’s plenty hearty. The potatoes give it body and creaminess. The spinach and kale give it […]

Healthy baked apple treat for the pastry-impaired

It’s apple season again, one of the few times of the year I’m sorry I live in the city, without a car. If only I lived near an orchard, I’d pick my own apples and be happy. I console myself with the varieties now gracing the city’s farmers markets. It used to be that we’d […]

A stuffed egg with a healthy kick _ spicy avocado

When I was growing up, I loved my mom’s stuffed eggs. Heck, as a chubby and happy-go-lucky kid, I loved anything filled with mayonnaise. As I grew older, I figured out that these seductive little bite-sized appetizers (also called deviled eggs, at least when spiked with something hot) were packed with calories. Happily, I now […]

Salad proves watermelon and feta better together

Even though fruit and cheese tend to go together like soup and sandwich, the first time I saw watermelon and feta cheese paired up on a menu it struck me as very odd. Apples and cheddar? Sure. Pears and Stilton? You know it. But I was sure that watermelon was much too watery to stand […]

A pasta dinner in the time it takes to boil water

This is the perfect dish for a weeknight dinner in late summer, particularly as the kids start heading back to school and family schedules get crazy again. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients that can all be pulled together in the time it takes to boil water. Tomatoes are the star of […]

A healthy lemonade chilled with a patriotic glow

If you’ve never tasted fresh lemonade, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s just so much more vivid than the supermarket stuff, much more about the lemon and less about the sugar. True, juicing the lemons can be a pain, but the process becomes very near painless if you start by softening the lemons in […]

A lighter take on classic steakhouse fare for Dad

My family has been weaning itself from red meat for years. We still love it, but the portions and frequency are less than they used to be. Still, when I started planning a Father’s Day menu for my husband and my dad, I thought it might be nice to bow to tradition by turning to […]

Full-fat cheese the secret to a healthy quesadilla

At heart, a quesadilla is pretty much a Mexican grilled cheese. Take a tortilla, stuff it with something savory, add some cheese, fold it in half and toast it. It’s also pretty delicious. I love any dish that includes melted cheese, and it’s that much better when Mexican ingredients are added to the mix. But […]

A lighter, foolproof take on barbecued chicken

Barbecue chicken is one of my favorite summertime dishes. I like every part of it — the tomato-based sauce (the spicier the better), the crispy skin, even the bones. And taste aside, it’s also relatively healthy, at least as compared to such sundry first cousins as grilled and/or smoked ribs, brisket or pulled pork. It’s […]

Healthy French toast with a hidden chocolate layer

Time for a confession. As a child, I never once celebrated Mother’s Day. My parents thought the holiday was nothing more than a cheesy excuse to sell greeting cards, and who was I to argue? But after I became a mother myself? Oh. My. God. I’d spent years working 80 hours a week as a […]

Whole-wheat pasta redeemed with chard and cheese

No matter how unimpeachable whole-wheat pasta is in terms of nutritional cred, I’ve always found it off-putting. Sure, it has more fiber and whole-grain nutrition. But it always struck me as rather spineless and dull. And as someone whose culinary credo is that food can be scrumptious and healthy, I wasn’t about to eat whole-wheat […]

Embracing the fresh, crisp flavor of raw asparagus

The first time I ate raw asparagus was during the ’80s at an Italian restaurant in New York. Someone else must have pushed me to order it because until then the only asparagus I’d ever encountered was steamed and buttered, and I really liked it just that way. Raw asparagus? Must be bland and boring. […]

An Easter lamb that cuts the fat, keeps the flavor

I love lamb, in every way and every cut. But I don’t eat it very often because of the same thing that tends to make it so very delicious – its fattiness. Still, all bets are off during Easter, when I happily bow to tradition. In Easters past, I’ve roasted a whole leg of lamb […]

A lighter take on matzo ball soup for Passover

The Husband is Jewish and I am his shiksa bride. As young marrieds, we ignored both traditions equally. But when we had children, we began celebrating Jewish and Christian holidays alike, so that as the kids matured they could naturally gravitate to the rituals that moved them the most. Though I grew up in New […]

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