Sauces for Survival

When I’m trying to eat healthy, one of the tricks is to prepare food with LOTS of flavor. If I really enjoy the taste of what I’m eating, I can forget that it doesn’t contain a lot of fat, sugar, or other unhealthy components. Part of why we like to eat is because it triggers the pleasure sensors in our brain; “Food, yay!” It’s just going to work out a lot better if food is pleasurable because it tastes good, and not because it’s loaded with junk that tricks us into thinking we want more.

This is well-documented science for anyone trying to lose weight or improve their health through nutrition. The brain wants satisfaction, which we get through eating. But WHAT we eat can satisfy the brain in different ways. Sugar creates craving for more sugar akin to an addiction, and fat gives us that silky gooey mouth feel that explains why people put too much butter on their bread. Wrap those two together into Häagen-Dazs’ Dulce de Leche ice cream, and it’s no wonder we wind up eating the whole pint instead of stopping at a 1/2-cup serving size.

So one of my survival strategies for making all food flavorful is pre-made sauces and dressings. There are gazillions of marinades and things available at the grocery store, but they don’t have to come from a jar. If I make my own, I can guarantee that I get what I like while knowing that they contain only clean ingredients. The best of them can be used in multiple ways, and are a compliment to lots of different foods.

Here are two of my favorites:

  • Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • This is the #1 favorite dressing at my house. Great on salads, especially good if the salad is topped with wild Alaskan salmon or seasoned chicken. Also good as a drizzle for fish, or as a dip for vegetable crudités. Want something unique? Make this recipe for Crispy Quinoa Cakes, and try the Lemon Tahini Dressing on top. Yum!

  • Parmesan Gremolata
  • The head chef of the cafeteria at work gave me this recipe, after a wonderful Community Table Luncheon he prepared. Serve it as a topping for roasted vegetables, stir a little into a bowl of pasta, drizzle some over seared tuna, or use it as a rub for poultry. Its zesty, fresh flavor highlights almost any savory dish. You can make a batch and store it in the fridge, but be aware it doesn’t keep for more than a couple days.

    Stir together in a small bowl:

    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 oz.)
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    1 small clove of garlic, minced
    1 tbs olive oil
    2 tbs fresh lemon juice
    1 tbs finely grated lemon peel (optional)

    Gremolata by Sam Breach 2

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~ by pasadenagina on December 9, 2012.

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