Add A Little Zest To Your Recipes
by Dana Jacobi
Quest For The Zest
There's more to lemons and limes than just vitamin C. These citrus fruits also contain additional compounds such as limonin and limonene, which appear to help block some of the cellular changes that can lead to cancer.
Limonene, which is found mainly in the colorful skin, or zest, of the fruit, has been shown to increase the activity of proteins that help eliminate estradiol, a naturally occurring hormone that has been linked with breast cancer. Limonene has also been shown to increase the level of enzymes in the liver that can remove cancer-causing chemicals.
Whether you're making a lemon meringue pie or simply adding flavor to store-bought lemon yogurt, be sure to add plenty of zest. The healing compound limonene makes up about 65 percent of oils in the peel, says Michael Gould, PhD, professor of human oncology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison.
While fresh citrus peel contains the most healing compounds, dried lemon peel isn't bad. You'll find dried lemon (and orange) peel in the spice rack at the supermarket.
Source: Prevention's New Foods For Healing, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books, ©1998 by Rodale Press, Inc.
into a room after someone has peeled an orange, and the fragrance is positively uplifting.
This instant aromatherapy comes from essential oils in the zest, the colored outer layer
of citrus skin.
The nutritional value of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines is undisputed, but did you know that even the peel of these fruits provides significant health benefits? Citrus zest, the colored top layer of the rind, is prized by cooks for its intensely flavorful aromatic oils, but polyphenols, the source of citruss fragrance, are potent cancer-blocking antioxidants.
A bit of zest can enhance the flavor of many foods. The fastest, simplest way to remove the zest from citrus is with a microplane. Thats right, the woodworking tool called a rasp. Resembling a long, narrow grater, its fine teeth whisk zest off in a wink as long as this is done with a light, gentle hand. A microplane can create angel-hair fine curls, pith-free and ready to use. Microplanes cost as little as ten dollars. They do a brilliant job grating hard cheeses and fresh ginger, too, and are far superior to a zester, a culinary tool that makes long thin strips, often with pith attached, and can leave a great deal of zest behind on the fruit. Whichever you use, be sure that none of the pith (the white underside of the peel) is included. Even in small amounts, pith has a bitter taste that will spoil a dish. If any white bits of pith can be seen on the underside of a strip of zest, scrape it away with a paring knife.
Zest can be used in almost any batter or dough of your favorite cakes, muffins, quick breads, or cookies. It is a sensational addition to stir-fry dishes, stews and soups. A little goes a long way, so experiment by adding a little at a time until you find the taste you like best.
Create a citrus-flavored cream cheese by blending low-fat or fat-free cream cheese with grated orange zest, and add chopped dates. Or, make a tangy frozen shake with fat-free frozen yogurt, orange juice and grated orange peel.
Add lemon zest to rice or pasta dishes, or toss some into pancake batter for a breakfast eye-opener. Prepare a citrus vinaigrette by combining olive oil with whole-grain mustard, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, white wine vinegar, honey, chopped chervil and chives, and equal but small amounts of orange, lemon and lime zest.
DATE COLESLAW IN ORANGE-GINGER
1 Cup California dates, pitted
Coarsely chop dates in 1/2-inch pieces & set aside (kitchen shears make this job a breeze!)
To make dressing: Whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, wine or cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and salt & pepper. Next, whisk in the oil. Combine vegetables, dates and dressing. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 125 Cal; 4 gm Fat; 25 gm Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 287 mg Sodium. Dietary Exchanges: 1 Veg; 1 Fruit; 1/2 Fat.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Sift 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir. Add 1/2 cup Splenda and blueberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, egg, and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir briefly just to combine. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
In another small bowl, place 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup Splenda, and orange rind. Cut in the light butter until mixture resembles small crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the cake. Measure sugar and sprinkle over entire top of cake.
Bake for 20 to 23 minutes in preheated oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center. Do not overbake. Makes 9 Servings.
Per Serving: 160 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 26 g Carb; 190 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 2 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch (Carb); 1 Fat.
1 cup oat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, and orange rind in a large bowl, and stir to mix well. Add the yogurt, orange juice, margarine or butter, and egg whites, and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the blueberries.
Coat the bottoms only of muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, and fill three-fourths full with the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of sugar over the top of each muffin, and bake at 350°F for about 16 minutes, or just until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.
Remove the muffin tins from the oven, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature, refrigerating any leftovers not eaten within 24 hours. Makes 12 Muffins.
Per Muffin: 141 Cal; 3 g Total Fat; 26 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 165 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 3 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1/2 Fat.
1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, anise and salt.
In a blender or food processor, purée the dates and 3 tablespoons apple juice concentrate. Blend in the margarine. Blend in the egg and lemon rind, just stirring to blend. Form into a ball, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky. If necessary, chill the dough until it is firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets. Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch on a lightly floured board. Cut into fancy shapes. Place on the cookie sheets and brush with an egg wash made by beating the remaining egg with 1 tsp apple juice concentrate. Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cookies cool briefly before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 36 Cookies.
Per Cookie: 47 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 7 g Carb; 13 mg Cholesterol; 38 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fat; 1/4 Fruit.
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
*If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw before baking.
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and cornmeal to blend. Cut the butter into 9 pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until the butter is blended into the dry ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the currants or blueberries.
Beat the eggs, lemon zest if using, vanilla, and two tablespoons water into the dry ingredients. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Place the pieces of dough on a non-stick baking sheet. Shape each piece into a long rounded-top, flattened log, 2-1/2-inches x 8-inches x 1-inch.
Bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes, until the dough is a light gold. Let cool 5minutes. Cut each log diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Place the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti 5 minutes. Turn them over, and bake 5 minutes longer, until they are firm. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely. Store the biscotti in a tightly covered tin. They will keep 1 to 2 weeks. Yield: 36 cookies.
Per cookie: 84 Cal; 3 g Total Fat; 14 g Carb; 13 mg Cholesterol; 51 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Fat.
1/2 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon rind. Whisk in the lemon juice until smooth. Cook over low heat for 5 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently, until the sauce is hot and slightly thickened.
Place the egg substitute in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sauce and whisk to mix and warm the egg substitute. Add to the saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Set aside to cool. Makes approximately 1 cup.
Per (2-1/2 Tbsp) Serving: 100 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 19 g Carb; 4 mg Cholesterol; 38 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein; 16 g Sugars. Exchanges: 1 Starch.
STIR-FRY A L'ORANGE
1 tsp grated orange peel
Mix first 6 ingredients together.
Spray wok or frying pan with cooking spray. Add onion and cook, stirring until limp. Add chicken and garlic. Spray again. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add mushrooms and red pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add orange juice mixture and cook until clear and thickened. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving (1/4 Recipe): 205 Cal; 4 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 14 g Carb; 73 mg Cholesterol; 216 mg Sodium; 29 g Protein; 7 g Sugars, 2 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 4 Very Lean Meat; 1 Carbohydrate; 1 Fat.
6 chicken breast halves, skinned and left on
In a large sauté pan sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray, brown the chicken breasts, meat side down. Remove and set aside.
Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook over a medium heat until soft.
Add the basil. bay leaf, lemon juice and rind, water, and pepper. Mix and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer. Add the chicken, bone side down. Cover and cook until done, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter. Bring the remaining sauce to a boil to thicken. Pour over the chicken and serve. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 162 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 5 g Carb; 73 mg Cholesterol; 86 mg Sodium; 27 g Protein; 40 mg Calcium; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 4 Very Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat.
CURRANT OAT BRAN MUFFINS
1 cup uncooked oat bran
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine the oat bran, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the currants.
Beat the egg whites with a whisk in a small bowl. Whisk in the margarine, then the orange juice, buttermilk, and orange zest. Add to the dry ingredients; mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Divide the batter among the 12 muffine cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a mufin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.
Per Muffin: 141 Cal; Total Fat 4 g (Sat Fat 1 g); 23 g Carb; 1 mg Cholesterol; 252 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 11 g Sugars; 2 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch/Bread; 1/2 Fat.
DUTCH APPLE SOUP
3 tart cooking apples (1 pound total),
peeled, cored, cut into eighths
Combine the apples with 3-1/2 cups water, the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cardamom; bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tsp water; add. Simmer 15 minutes, until the apples are fork-tender.
Lift out the apples with a slotted spoon and purée them (without liquid) in a food processor or blender. Discard the cinnamon stick.
Return the puréed apples to the pot. Stir in the wine and raisins; cook for 3 more minutes. Chill before serving. Makes 4 Servings (1 Quart).
Per (1 Cup) Serving: 144 Cal; 0 g Total Fat; 34 g Carb; 0 mg Cholesterol; 2 mg Sodium; 30 g Sugars; 3 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 2-1/2 Fruit.
FRESH FRUIT DIP
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve with fresh fruit. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 cup (approx).
Per (2 Tbsp) Serving: 33 Cal; Trace Fat; 7 g Carb; 1 mg Cholesterol; 22 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1/4 Fruit; 1/4 Skim Milk.
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated orange peel
Fresh ground pepper and salt (optional) to taste*
*Optional salt is NOT included in the sodium content of the nutritional analysis
5 cups torn fresh spinach leaves, washed and
Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside. In a large salad bowl, toss together the salad ingredients. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Makes 6 Servings.
Per (1-Cup) Serving: 105 Cal; 6 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 13 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 63 mg Sodium (w/o optional salt); 3 g Protein; 3 g Dietary Fiber; 8 g Sugars. Exchanges: 1 Veg; 1/2 Fruit; 1 (Monounsaturated) Fat.
AND LIME SALMON
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and sherry. Sprinkle over the salmon and let it marinate for 15 minutes.
Prepare to steam. Fill the bottom of a large wok or saucepot with 3 inches of water. Place a steamer rack in the wok or pot. Place the fish fillets on a heat-proof plate. Cover the wok or pot and steam the fish for 10 minutes, until it is tender.
Sprinkle the fish with lime peel and scallions. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 6 Servings.
Per (3-ounce) Serving: 205 Cal; 11 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 1 g Total Carb; 77 mg Cholesterol; 109 mg Sodium; 24 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Lean Meat.
3/4 cup Fleischmann's lower fat margarine,
Cream butter and sugar. Stir in flour, oats, nuts, salt and soda until crumbly. Press 2/3 of crumb mixture into a 9- x 13- x 2-inch pan.
Combine pears, mincemeat, lemon juice and grated lemon peel; spread over crumb crust. Top with remaining crumb mixture; pat lightly. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cool on wire rack. Yield: 24 Bars.
Per Bar: 145 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 24 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 150 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein; 2 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1 Fat.
3/4 cup dried apricots, cut in quarters
*Note: Sodium content in nutritional analysis based on 1/2 tsp salt
Place dried fruit in a small bowl. Add
warm water to cover. Let soak for 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain well.
3 cups cooked rotini pasta
3/4 cup plain, nonfat
Pasta: Combine pasta, peas, carrots, raisins, apple, green onions and celery with celery seed and parsley.Dressing: In large bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together and add to the pasta ingredients. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Makes: 8 Servings
Per (3/4-Cup) Serving: 132 Cal; <1 g Total Fat; 28 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 43 mg Sodium; 1 g Dietary Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Veg; 1/2 Fruit.
1 egg white
Combine first 3 ingredients; beat at high speed of an electric mixer until blended. Add wafer crumbs; toss with a fork until moistened.
Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round tart pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325°F for 15 nminutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Combine eggs, milk, and lemon rind, stirring well; gradually add lemon juice, stirring with a wire whisk until blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely.
Dollop whipped topping around edge of tart. If desired, garnish with lemon rind strips and mint leaves. Yield: 10 Servings.
Per Serving: 256 Cal; 8 g Total Fat (3 g Sat Fat); 41 g Carb; 71 mg Cholesterol; 159 mg Sodium; 7 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Starch; 2 Fats.