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An All-American Lowfat Feast

by Lou Seibert Pappas

The new year heralds a cornucopia of wintertime fruits and vegetables to enjoy in a tasty, lowfat dinner. A sunchoke soup is the starter. Barbecued turkey with smoky overtones and a medley of roasted vegetables star along with a pink grapefruit salad, a lively gingered cranberry relish, and an open-face apple pie. A California sparkling wine would carry through the meal or offer a Merlot, such as a Duckhorn or Clos du Val, or Pinot Noir, such as a Cakebread Cellars, Robert Sinskey, Saintsbury, or Truchard.

The flavor duo of nutty sunchokes and caramelized leeks make an unbeatable combination in this zestful soup. When sunchokes are out of season, substitute sweet potatoes and omit the lemon juice.

Leek and Sunchoke Soup
makes 6 servings

1 pound sunchokes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large bunch leeks, chopped (white part only)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 inner stalk celery, with leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups low-salt no-fat chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup no-fat yogurt
Minced Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Wash, peel and slice the sunchokes and drop them into a bowl of cold water with the juice of 1/2 lemon as they are being prepared. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the leeks, onion, and celery, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the sunchokes and garlic and saute a few minutes longer. Add the chicken stock, water, and tarragon. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sunchokes are tender. Let cool slightly. Puree in a blender with the yogurt and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat through and ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley.

Pink Grapefruit and Pomegranate Salad
makes 8 servings

Lemon Vinaigrette: follows
2 pink grapefruit
1 papaya
1 head each butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Prepare the Lemon Vinaigrette. Peel and section the grapefruits. Peel, seed, and slice the papaya. Tear the greens into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl. Pour over two-thirds of the dressing and mix to coat. Arrange grapefruit sections and papaya slices alternately on top. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.

Lemon Vinaigrette

In a small bowl place 1/3 cup olive oil or canola oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste; whisk to blend.

Barbecued Turkey
makes about 12 servings

12 pound hen turkey
1/3 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Rosemary and oregano sprigs for garnish

Wash the turkey inside and out and pat dry. Rub the entire surface as well as the cavity with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the turkey breast side up on the grill of a barbecue over medium hot coals, cover with a kettle lid, and barbecue until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Transfer to a board. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Garnish the platter with a wreath of rosemary and oregano.

Gingered Cranberry Orange Relish
makes about 1 3/4 quarts

2 oranges
3 large tart apples or Anjou pears, quartered and cored
12 ounces whole cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the oranges; set aside. Peel off and discard the white pith and cut the oranges into eighths. Place half of the oranges, orange zest, apples or pears, cranberries and sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until finely chopped. Turn out into a container. Put the remaining ingredients in the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to the cranberry mixture and mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving. Keeps refrigerated 2 to 3 days.

Roast Yams
makes 8 to 10 servings

6 to 8 medium yams or sweet potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prick the skin of the yams in several places. Place in a baking pan and roast in the oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until tender. Halve and serve with salt and pepper.

Roasted Sweet Onions and Garlic
makes 8 servings

6 to 8 Walla Walla, Vidalia or other sweet onions, about 3-inch diameter, unpeeled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic head
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Leave the onions unpeeled and rub their surfaces with oil. Place the onions on a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Trim the papery skin from the top of the garlic head and rub the head with olive oil. Place in the pan with the onions. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the onions and garlic are tender. Remove to a platter. Halve onions horizontally leaving the skin in place. Deglaze the pan juices with vinegars by placing the pan on top of the range and heating and scraping well with a wooden spoon. Let the juices reduce and use a brush to brush the sauce over the cut surfaces of the onions. Serve the garlic to squeeze over the turkey.

Open-Face Apple Pie
makes 8 servings

Pastry: follows
7 large Granny Smith, Pippin or Golden Delicious apples
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare the pastry shell. Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and toss them with the apples; overlap in the pre-baked pastry shell. Dot with butter. Cover lightly with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes; reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F, remove the foil, drizzle with maple syrup and bake 20 minutes longer or until the apples are tender and the top is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pastry: Place in a bowl 1 cup unbleached or all-purpose flour, 8 tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Mix until the texture forms coarse crumbs. Turn out into a 10-inch pie pan or a 10-inch fluted flan pan with removable bottom. With fingertips press crumbs against sides of pan and with the heel of the palm press firmly against the bottom of pan. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Bake in a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 6 minutes or until barely browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and place on a rack.

Lou Seibert Pappas is a former food editor of the Palo Alto Times Tribune and a home economist with Sunset Magazine. She currently writes food, home, and travel-related articles for national magazines and newspapers and is the author of more than 30 books.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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