Light and luscious

March 12, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Watching what goes into your shopping cart is a first step in making health-wise food choices, but how you cook is equally important. Steaming and poaching, low-fat sauteing and stir-frying, roasting and baking, broiling and grilling are cooking techniques that enhance flavor, minimize the loss of nutrients, and don't contribute excessive fat.

Steam cooks vegetables very quickly, so they retain more of their nutrients. It takes just 4 to 6 minutes to steam 2 pounds of asparagus stalks, snapped and stood upright in the steamer, and 1 to 2 minutes to do 1 1/4 pounds of trimmed snow peas.

In the following recipes, low-fat sauteing gets light, fresh-tasting tacos off to a fast start, and marinating chunks of chicken helps keep them moist during broiling.

Crab Meat Tacos

Makes 6 tacos

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

2 cups cooked shredded crab meat

6 corn tortillas

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup peeled and chopped cucumber

1 cup shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion in oil until soft (about 2 minutes). Add garlic, tomatoes, cilantro and crab meat; simmer for 5 minutes.

Wrap tortillas in foil; place in oven to warm. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Divide lettuce mixture among warm tortillas; top with seafood mixture. Serve immediately.

Chicken Satay

Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 half-breasts)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon grated lime zest

1 cup peeled, seeded and finely diced cucumber

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

1/2 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned)

1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks; set aside in shallow dish. In bowl, mix together garlic, lime juice, honey, ginger and zest. Pour over chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning frequently.

To prepare cucumber sauce, combine remaining ingredients; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Preheat broiler. Thread chicken onto wooden skewers. Broil until well browned (5 to 8 minutes). Serve with cucumber sauce.

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