Want to lose weight? Or at least not gain any?
People give you all sorts of advice. And there are zillions of diet plans and books out there. And after a day like yesterday, eating awful, salty, fattening foods while watching the Superbowl, I could sure use some help in this area, as I am sure zillions of others can.
So I think I will follow some advice I heard a few days ago that made such good sense I have to pass it on.
The advice was from, of all people, a professional baker: cookbook author, Paula Shoyer, who wrote “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy.” She was talking about desserts but the philosophy applies universally. Here’s what she said:
"Desserts need to be so good that you’re satisfied."
Food, anything you eat, needs to be so good that you’re satisfied. If it isn’t good you keep eating, even if you’re not hungry, because your mouth, tongue, brain are waiting for something the food isn’t giving you.
Food has to have the right balance of ingredients, the right taste and texture, it has to taste natural and satisfy all your senses and if it does, it is good and you feel fulfilled, gratified, content and without need for more because what you have already eaten is enough. It’s like a good book whose plot and characters keep you interested and the story moves along as it should until at last there’s a plausible and appropriate way to finish things and it’s time for The End and you don’t need more than the memory of the good read you just had.
Paula mentioned this fabulous bit of wisdom in the context of her children scoffing down an entire package of store-bought cookies. They would never have eaten as many of their Mom’s well-made, tasty, additive-free, home-made cookies.
"They were still looking for that buzz," she said. Which they never got from the packaged cookies, which lacked that balance, that goodness, that special quality that would have satisfied.
So friends, eat well. Follow Paula’s advice. Don’t eat an entire bag of chips or cookies looking for the buzz. Make something homemade, judiciously seasoned, gently sugared, light on the fat and salt. Real stuff — butter and sugar but less of it, with just enough salt to bring out the best in the other ingredients, not to mask flavor of inferior goods.
Like this fruit galette (btw, Shoyer uses margarine to keep her desserts pareve for use with meat meals, but you can use butter for dairy or vegetarian meals or if you aren’t kosher):
Paula Shoyer’s Fruit Galette
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold pareve margarine, (frozen for at least 30 minutes) cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg, separated
3 tablespoons ice water, divided
3 cups fresh fruit (berries, plums, peaches or apricots cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar for top of galette
To make the dough: place the flour, salt and margarine into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse 10 times or cut the margarine into the flour and salt by hand using two knives or a pastry cutter. Add the egg yolk and one tablespoon ice water. Pulse 5 times or mix gently by hand. Add another tablespoon ice water and pulse 5 times or mix again. Add the last tablespoon of water, a little at a time, pulsing or lightly mixing the dough for 10 to 15 seconds until it looks like clumps of couscous. The dough does not have to come completely together. Gather the dough into a ball. Take a large piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle some flour on top. Place the dough on the floured plastic, wrap the plastic around it and then flatten. Place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the rack on the lowest shelf of your oven.
Take a large piece of parchment and sprinkle it with some flour. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it on top of the parchment. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and place a second piece of parchment on top. Roll out the dough until it is 12-13 inches wide, trying your best to keep the shape round. Peel back the top parchment and sprinkle some more flour once or twice while you are rolling. Place the dough round on a baking sheet.
To make the filling: place the fruit in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle on top of the fruit and mix gently. Place the fruit in the center of the circle and spread it outward, leaving a 2 or 3 inch border on the outside. Take one small section of the dough border, about 2 inches and fold it over the fruit, leaving the fruit-filled center open. Pick up another 2 inch section of the border and repeat, pressing one section into the next to seal it, so you end up with dough pleats.
Beat the reserved egg white and brush it all over the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. Move the galette to the middle rack in the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings