Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tastes Great - Less Filling

It seems odd to think that this is early August and the summer is pretty much over-- schools have started here in Florida and meetings and classes at the college where I teach will start very soon. Apparently parents have begun to protest the early start, angry about having their kids in 90 degree school buses.

I never did manage to update about food from Morocco-- not because I couldn't, but because it was so hot there that every time I'd go to the internet cafe the temperatures outside were around 105, and cooking and writing about food were the last thing I wanted to do. Despite having the Sahara desert in the southern part of the country, Morocco is not normally as hot as it's been this year-- its climate is usually more like Georgia's.

But I'm back now and my current resolution is to try to make recipes that don't involve a lot of elaborate ingredients and preparation. In an attempt to be frugal, I'm hoping to develop the ability to improvise with what's on hand, so that I don't end up in the grocery store each day spending money on random ingredients that languish unused in the pantry.

Tonight I started preparing some of the recipes from The Best of Cooking Light, which my sister gave me as a birthday gift. I've been surprised by how much I've gotten into this magazine in general over the past two years, and they really do try to find ways to make things taste great while sacrificing little in flavor.

I made Fettucine with Cashew Cream, a recipe that promised to be a lot like Fettucine Alfredo, but without any butter or cream. I had my doubts that cashews could somehow be turned into a sauce that didn't have a basically nutty taste, and I was really surprised by the end result: it was delicious, more intriguing than any run-of-the-mill alfredo sauce, and tasted nothing like cashews at all.

Cook 8 ounces of fettucine while working on the sauce. First process 1/2 cup roasted cashews in the food processor for two minutes, scraping down the sides. Add 1 1/4 cups water slowly until well mixed. Place cashew cream into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce the heat, whisking for one minute. Remove from stove.

Then heat a skillet with a little olive oil and saute three minced garlic cloves for 30 seconds. Add cashew cream, pasta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and pepper and salt to taste. This supposedly made four servings at 378 calories each, but between two of us we finished the whole thing...

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