Celeb Chef's Healthy, Easy, Delicious Dishes

Five years ago, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin wrote a diet book called "The Skinny B--ch." It was aggressive, it was honest, and it flew off the shelves.

They've both continued to write books under the guise of their successful "Skinny B-ch" empire revolving around healthy, TOTALLY vegan food, and Kim's latest solo entry is "Skinny B--ch: The Ultimate Everyday Cookbook." It's chock full of recipes for appetizers and desserts that are super simple and good for you.

Kim accepted "The Early Show on Saturday Morning"'s "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge of preparing a three-course vegan dinner on our skinny budget of $40.

The highlight? Polenta Crusted Eggplant Parmesan, the entrée viewers picked via mobile phone voting.

Your possibilities for next week? A Barbecue Shortrib Sandwich, Chicken Curry or Tangy Fried Chicken. Click here for details on how to vote.

In addition, Kim's hat was automatically tossed into our "How Low Can You Go" ring. The "Shoestring" chef whose ingredients cost is lowest will be invited back just a few short weeks from now to whip up our holiday extravaganza.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore!
Vote on Next Week's "Shoestring" Main Course

FOOD FACTS

(Source: Epicurious.com)

GRAPESEED OIL:
Extracted from grape seeds, most of this oil comes from France, Italy or Switzerland, with a few sources now in the United States. Some grapeseed oils have a light "grapey" flavor and fragrance but most imported into the United States are on the bland side. Grapeseed oil can be used for salad dressings and, because it has a relatively high SMOKE POINT, it's also good for sautéing. It may be stored at room temperature (70°F or under) or in the refrigerator. Grapeseed oil is available in gourmet food stores and some supermarkets.

KALE: This attractive, nonheading member of the cabbage family has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Though it grows in warm climates, it's happiest in colder climes where for centuries its high vitamin content has made it particularly popular with northern Europeans. Kale has a mild, cabbagey flavor and comes in many varieties and colors. Most kale is easily identified by its frilly leaves arranged in a loose bouquet formation. The color of the leaves of the varieties most commonly available in the United States is deep green variously tinged with shades of blue or purple. There are ornamental varieties in gorgeous shades of lavender, purple and celadon green. Kale's best during the winter months, though it's available year-round in most parts of the country. Choose richly colored, relatively small bunches of kale, avoiding any with limp or yellowing leaves. Store in the coldest section of the refrigerator no longer than 2 or 3 days. After that, the flavor of kale becomes quite strong and the leaves limp. Because the center stalk is tough, it should be removed before the kale is used. Kale may be prepared in any way suitable for spinach and small amounts make a nice addition to salads. Kale, a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable, provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.

EGGPLANT: Because the eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, it's related to the potato and tomato. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit, specifically a berry. There are many varieties of this delicious food, ranging in color from rich purple to white, in length from 2 to 12 inches and in shape from oblong to round. In the United States, the most common eggplant is the large, cylindrical- or pear-shape variety with a smooth, glossy, dark purple skin. It's available year-round, with the peak season during August and September. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots. Eggplants become bitter with age and are very perishable. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a day or two of purchase. If longer storage is necessary, place the eggplant in the refrigerator vegetable drawer. When young, the skin of most eggplants is deliciously edible; older eggplants should be peeled. Since the flesh discolors rapidly, an eggplant should be cut just before using. Bitter, overripe fruit can benefit by the ancient method of salting both halves and weighting them for 20 minutes before rinsing; the salt helps eliminate some of the acrid taste. Eggplant can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling and frying. It does, however, have spongelike capacity to soak up oil so it should be well coated with a batter or crumb mixture to inhibit fat absorption. Many other varieties of this versatile fruit are now finding their way into some markets. The very narrow, straight Japanese or Asian eggplant ranges in color from solid purple to striated shades and has tender, slightly sweet flesh. The Italian or baby eggplant looks like a miniature version of the common large variety, but has a more delicate skin and flesh. The appearance of the egg-shaped white eggplant makes it clear how this fruit was named. It has a tougher skin, but firmer, smoother flesh. In general, these varieties can be cooked in many of the same methods as the large eggplant. They rarely require salting, however, and usually benefit from a short cooking time.

RECIPES

Kale and White Bean Soup


While this might be a nourishing winter soup, it makes me feel good any time of year. I am a big fan of kale because it's high in fiber, acts as a powerful detoxifier, and is packed with nutrients that may help fight cancer. And for all us Skinny Bitches, it also helps fight fat.

Makes 6 Servings

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup (130g) peeled and chopped carrots
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup (75g) peeled and cubed potatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups (1.4 l) water
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (135g) chopped kale with the hard spine removed
1 (14 ounce/400g) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Pinch of Pepper

Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown, about four minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, and tomato paste until the ingredients are well combined. Add the water, white miso, cumin, coriander, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add the kale, white beans and thyme and simmer another half hour. Garnish with basil and pepper before serving.

Cal: 150 Fat: 5g Sat Fat: 0g Carb: 21g Fib: 5g Pro: 5g

To see more of Kim's recipes, go to Page 2.

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