Tips and Tools, TipPage, ToolPage, TipsandToolsIntro, TipIntro, Tip, ToolIntro, Tool

Fudgy Pecan Brownies

Prune butter (pureed dried plums) helps to make these brownies especially fudgy. Look for prune butter (also called lekvar) in the jams and jelly aisle of the supermarket.

Deviled Caribbean Chicken Strips

The Caribbean influence in this spicy chicken appetizer is in the form of dark rum, underscored by the dark brown sugar. The “deviled” aspect comes from the Dijon mustard, whose spiciness is emphasized by cayenne and fresh ginger juice. You can easily make fresh ginger juice, as we do here, but if you can find bottled ginger juice in the supermarket, use 1 tablespoon of it instead. Serving suggestion: Serve as part of a buffet with a variety of salsas or dipping sauces.

Wheatberry Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Wheatberries, whole grains of wheat, can be found in health food stores and some specialty food shops. They are generally soaked overnight before cooking to reduce the cooking time, but if you have time to tend them on the stove, you can start them from scratch with no soaking. Depending on the age of the wheatberries, they can take 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours to soften. The cooked wheatberries remain slightly chewy and give this salad a nice bite. Brazil nuts were used in this recipe because they have a lot of selenium, but if you can't find them, use another nut. Toss with fresh watercress or arugula if you like. For a main-course salad, add crumbled feta cheese.

Tricolore Salad

Bored with your usual salad makings? Remember, your primitive ancestors dined on hundreds of different bitter greens. Here's an easy way to introduce interesting, colorful greens into your salads because, as you know, more bitter, more better! Also, for a difference, serve the salad the authentic way, by placing each green on one-third of a large salad plate, like slices of pizza. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with shaved Parmigiano.

Mixed Sweet Pepper & Onion Ragout

This versatile ragout of vegetables can be served hot, with crusty bread, as a side dish; or cold, sparked with lemon juice, as an appetizer salad. You could also double the recipe and sprinkle it with crumbled goat cheese for a satisfying meatless main course.

Banana-Tangerine Shake

If you don’t have time to sit down to a real breakfast, the next best thing is a breakfast fruit shake. Banana is an especially good ingredient, because it makes the shake thick. With so many interesting fruit juices and fruit juice blends available, you can use the basic proportions here and try this shake with other flavors. For an easy flavor twist, use maple syrup as the sweetener instead of honey. Or use one of the darker honeys available, like buckwheat.

Dilled Tuna Burger

Instant mashed potato flakes take the place of the breadcrumbs that are usually used to help bind a tuna burger together.

Coleslaw

Plain fat-free yogurt takes the place of most of the mayonnaise in this classic dish.

Fusilli & Broccoli with Tomato Pesto

When tomatoes are drooping on the vines and lush, green basil is plentiful, this classic summertime combination needs only a good crusty bread, a simple salad, and a peach crisp, still warm from the oven, for dessert.

Burdock with Fresh Thyme

With its earthy, yet delicate flavor burdock, tastes like artichoke hearts. Look for burdock in health-food stores, local farmers' markets, or Asian produce markets. Burdock roots come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but are generally long like a carrot or parsnip. If you can't find fresh thyme, substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried.