Ways to Be "Creative" in the Kitchen

images for bad vegitarians Creative cooks use kitchen utensils—as well as gadgets not normally found in the kitchen—in unusual ways to make healthful, tasty meals in no time. Here are some of their secrets and tips. If you can push a button, you can make gazpacho. Put chopped, fresh tomatoes (it doesn't matter how many) and about one-third as many peeled, seeded, chopped cucumbers into a blender; add a little chopped onion and minced garlic along with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil; toss in spices such as pepper, dill, and a dash of wine vinegar; push mince , grate , purée , shred , or whatever other button you want, and voilá —healthful soup that can go straight to the table without any fussing at the stove. The point here: Blenders are not just for smoothies (or daiquiris).

"Untapped" Equipment

That's how it is throughout your kitchen. You've got "untapped" equipment that can be used in ways you haven't thought of to prepare dishes that are nutritious, low in fat, and good-tasting all at once. Some of the country's top chefs and cookbook writers have been onto it for some time. Consider the way the blender is used by Rozanne Gold, who was consulting chef to The Rainbow Room in New York for nine years and is author of several Recipes 1-2-3 cookbooks. "If I make linguini," Gold says, "I take some of the hot cooking water, fresh parsley, and flavored olive oil and blend them together in the blender to pour over the pasta." She adds, "I just recently started freezing olive oil in little ice cube trays." Just a cube of frozen oil "makes the sauce very, very creamy" without adding too many calories to a dish that's going to feed several people. Gold also uses Dixie cups to make yogurt cheese. Her method: Take about a half dozen cups, poke little holes in their bottoms with kabob skewers, and fill each cup with yogurt. Then put the cups on a rack with a pan underneath, and refrigerate. When the liquid drains out (after four to eight hours), remove the yogurt from the cups. Each perfectly shaped yogurt cheese mound—high in calcium and with little to no fat—can then be used, say, as the centerpiece of a dessert surrounded by a fruit coulis and sprinkled with berries. Or try it as a first course—surround with oven-roasted tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.

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