Monday, August 24, 2009

#60 Julie and Julia and Bobbie

It's a dark and rainy Saturday, and I've just returned from the 1:00 matinee of Julie and Julia. For my last birthday, my sister gifted me this book with the inscription: from blog to book to movie... may this be your future. She's very supportive, and I can only hope that "you know who" can read her neat penmanship from all the way "up there". Anyway, back to the movie. My husband had no interest in seeing this movie, the kids were doing their own thing, so off I went. The movie was crowded, and not surprisingly, there were a number of other single women there besides me. There were no single men, and of the heterosexual couples, the majority were at least 65+. I thought that was interesting. Did these men volunteer to see this movie or were they dragged and/or cajoled by their wives? Either way, I hope they enjoyed it. This movie was fun and funny and yummy and I think the boyfriends and husbands who chose not to go missed out. Anything with Meryl Streep AND food, has to be good. Of course, the best line in the movie is Julia's [Meryl] response to her husband [Stanley Tucci] when he asks her what she likes to do. She tilts her head, thinks for a nano-second, and answers, EAT!

So, you're wondering, where does Bobbie's food rant come into this - you know, the lesson du jour. Here goes, butter!! salt!! cream!! Julia Child's recipes were filled with these three ingredients. Whenever I follow a recipe, the outcome, a lot of the time, is boring, tasteless, bland!!! I used to wonder why, but as my friend Lauren has said to me on more than one occasion, all your "diet" substitutions ruin the recipe. She says, you can't change 3 or 4 out of 7 ingredients and expect your dish to taste the way it tasted at a friend's house or in the restaurant. When I cook, I try to watch 3 things: the grams of fat, the number of calories, and the amount of salt. So, cream becomes whatever low fat milk or soy milk I have in the house, no salt or very sparingly, and I use salt free soup stocks when needed. Blah, blah, blah as in boring , boring, boring. Plus, since I cater to my kid's palates too, I'm a restaurant at dinner time. During most meals, there is always salt, pepper and hot sauce on our table. Since the kids aren't into hot and spicy, and I'm not into salty, we all doctor up our meals as needed.

Having told you all what a terrible cook I am, I'm still going to share two recipes that I love, that I've figured out how to make a la Bobbie, and that I've been told are very good.

[original recipe first, followed by my modifications]

Spaghetti with Scallops
[or your choice of pasta]
serves 6

1 lb fresh bay or sea scallops
1 lb spaghetti
1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 tbs chopped garlic, or minced garlic from a jar
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tbs parsley
2 tbs crushed red pepper or hot red chile pepper

rinse scallops, pat dry
boil water and add spaghetti
in a small skillet, stir breadcrumbs over a high heat until slightly toasted. transfer to plate to cool
in skillet, warm olive oil and slowly watch the garlic turn golden, add red pepper and stir
add scallops
add a pinch or two of salt
cook over a high heat until scallops lose their shiny-ness and turn flat white
toss scallops with pasta

Modified - serves same number of people
A - 1 lb spaghetti --I use Ronzoni Smart Taste. Compared to regular spaghetti, there are fewer calories, more than double the fiber and this has six grams of protein. I personally don't like the flavor of this dish with whole wheat pasta, but go ahead and give it a try. For those following a gluten free diet, it tastes pretty good with brown rice pasta.
B - No bread crumbs [not that these are so fattening, but why waste calories. Plus, they really don't add anything]
C - We love garlic, so you can ignore the recipe amount and use what you think would work for your family. I believe I add about 3 tbs
D - I measure out a 1/2 cut olive oil, but never use it all. I pour enough in the skillet to brown the garlic and scallops. If needed, I add more when I toss the pasta and scallops together to make sure all the spaghetti is covered.
E - No salt - salt shaker on the table

Pumpkin Soup
makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 large onion, halved
1/4 butter
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream

Either food process or dice onions very small
melt butter in skillet, add onion and saute until limp
sprinkle with curry powder and saute an additional minute or two
process the pumpkin and the curried onions, add salt and process for 10 seconds more
pour in heavy cream while continuing to process.
transfer pumpkin puree to a large saucepan and heat slowly with chicken stock
garnish with sour cream and serve steaming hot

Modified - serves same number of people
A - I choose a low fat, salt free butter like Smart Balance or Land O Lakes light. There are others out there too
B - 1 tsp of salt
C - light salt or no salt chicken stock
D - I use fat free half 'n half or whole milk [depending if this is for company or just my family]
E - I offer, but don't automatically garnish with sour cream. It might look nice, but like the breadcrumbs above, it's just extra calories and the soup doesn't need it for taste.
F - And the great thing about soup is that it fills you up so that you tend to eat less.
G - salt shaker on the table

A la Julie and Julia, I'm sure you wonderful babble followers have some great recipes -- even ones that you too have modified for dietary reasons. I would love if you would share them with me and the other babble readers. Please post them in the comment section at the bottom of this babble. If you can't figure out how to do that, send any recipes to my email address and I'll post them to the comment section so that others can see them too. Thanks and I look forward to cooking and baking some yummy and healthy new meals soon.

Quote of the Day: "We are who we come from as much as who we make of ourselves" Ariel Sabar, author of My Father's Paradise


Anonymous said...

I love your blog. One of my quick go to meals is soup. I could live on soup alone. My family likes a Tortelleni Soup I make. Dried or frozen tortellini, 1 can chicken broth, 1 can roasted, garlic tomatoes,1 can white beans, 1 can of water and lots of dried basil. This is even better the next day. Please keep writing I enjoy your point of view.

Bobbie's Babbles said...

Dear anonymous - that soup sounds yummy and I will try it. Thanks for reading my blog

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

this is great! i can't wait to see Julie and Julia...and i love your recipes. i think i'm going to try pumpkin soup this weekend!


Lee said...

Hello Bobbie,

I like your recipes. They are simple to make and very healthy. I have been also cooking potato and corn chowder for my kids. Aside from healthy eating, I also signed up for EFT training because I heard this is effective in controlling food cravings.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your point if view...Keep up the good work...Tina