Great Food Fast

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By Irene D'Souza

Food is our society's newest four-letter word.

Certainly many of us will agree that weight-conscious North Americans are obsessed with food, shadowing our access to an otherwise relatively gilded and happy smorgasbord of delicacies.

Confusion abounds on what constitutes a good and bad diet. Experts with hidden agendas promote specific diets: low carbohydrate, low fat, high protein, cabbage all fruit diets, the array is as mind numbing as the industry that promotes each new fad.

The dietitians of Canada have come to the rescue, with their third book Great Food Fast, they provide the key to a balanced approach to eating.

The cookbook contains over 125 recipes for nutritionally balanced meals catering to every taste bud.

Combining global recipes from China, India, Italy and Greece, among others, rest assured your palette will never be bored. Aware of time pressures, the authors have culled recipes requiring minimal preparatory and cooking time.

'Fast' food, does not mean sacrificing nutrition, balance or taste. A variety of cooking techniques are used: baking orange apple oatmeal scones to stir-frying an exotic ginger-cumin chicken main dish.

Plus, the recipes contain ingredients that are affordable and simple to find.

As an added bonus they provide tasty tips: "while potatoes are cooking, add a large sprig of rosemary, thyme or tarragon to the water to increase the flavour." The nutritional advice sprinkled throughout the book is valuable: "For added nutrients and fiber leave the skins on the potatoes."

At its best, the recipes imply that we do not necessarily have to deprive our taste buds, you can cook a gourmet repast and eat it too.

Barbara’s Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

     2 cups all-purpose flour     1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa     1 teaspoon baking powder     1/4 tsp salt     1 cup butter or margarine     3/4 cup firmly packed brown suger     3/4 cup granulated sugar     2 eggs     1 tsp vanilla     1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place flour, cocoa, baking power and salt in medium-size bowl and mix until well blended. Place butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl and beat with electric mixer until blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoon onto baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Rachel's Spicy Tofu

     1    cake tofu     1/4  cup soya sauce (or tamari)      1/8  cup lemon juice or vinegar     1/8  tsp cayenne pepper     1    tsp basil (fresh or dried)     1/8  tsp sage     1/4  tsp oregano     1/4  cup olive oil     2    cloves crushed garlic     pepper to taste

Cube tofu into 1 cm cubes. Mix all other ingredients and marinate the tofu in this sauce. May be prepared the night before and marinated in the fridge.

Grill under broiler for 8-10 minutes. Serve over rice noodles or rice.

Summer Suggestion: Cut tofu into strips and put on the barbeque. Brush with olive oil before turning. They are ready when they are lightly browned.

Summer Soy Smoothies

For every one drink, mix well in blender:

     1    cup fortified soy milk     1/2    cup frozen fruit (strawberries and bananas mix well. Rhubarb is interesting)     1/2    cup ice cubes     garnish with mint or lemon twist