Strategies and Techniques

The problems inherent in healthy cooking become pretty obvious as soon as you try to do it. Since fat is our most calorie-dense macronutrient, any attempt to reduce calories must also reduce fat. However, since it intensifies flavor, you have to compensate for its absence to keep flavor high. In addition, regardless of your goals with respect to calories, you can improve the health quotient of your diet by substituting healthier fats for problematic ones. Beyond that, you can moderate the glycemic load of your meals if you are interested in doing so. Here is a brief list, in no particular order, of the strategies and techniques I routinely use to create healthier flavorful meals. (For detailed information, see STRATEGIES.)

  1. Meticulous trimming of meats and poultry
  2. Upgrading the nutritional composition of culinary fats by using olive oil or macadamia nut oil in place of all other cooking fats
  3. Pooling oil
  4. Marinating and brining
  5. Degreasing liquids
  6. Reducing liquids
  7. Salt-mediated dehydration
  8. Blanching
  9. Stove-top smoking
  10. High-temperature roasting
  11. Roasting in foil and parchment
  12. Low-temperature or “slow” roasting
  13. “Under-the-skin” approach to flavoring poultry
  14. Broiling to brown instead of browning in oil
  15. Subtitution: employing specific ingredients (e.g. vegetable purees as thickening agents, silken tofu as a substitute for cream, roasted peppers or rehydrated mushrooms as moisture holders)
  16. Moderating glycemic load by combining high- and low-glycemic ingredients

I did not invent these methods, but—as far as I know—no one has ever brought them together under one roof, as it were, in an articulated over-all approach to healthier cooking. I decided it was time.

Because I use these techniques over and over in my recipes, the list is actually a preview of coming attractions. Stay tuned…