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Winter Squash & Lemon Soup

This autumnal soup is sweet and creamy without any cream. A nice accompaniment would be very thin slices of toasted sourdough bread and a tossed escarole salad with a simple vinaigrette.

Pesto Sauce

This traditional basil-garlic sauce from Genoa is normally made with a substantial amount of oil (in addition to a lot of cheese and nuts). We’ve trimmed the cheese and nuts a bit, but the oil has been cut from 1/2 cup to 1 tablespoon, allowing the other flavors to shine. This sauce makes enough to coat 1 pound of pasta. When ready to serve, toss the pesto with the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Using the hot pasta cooking water helps to melt the Parmesan in the pesto so that it nicely coats the pasta.

Commander Gundry's Pecan Fish

Several years before his untimely death, I questioned chef Jamie Shannon while dining at his incomparable New Orleans restaurant, Commander's Palace, about a dish that combined fish and nuts. That discussion sparked my take on a great fish dish. In this recipe, nothing can replace the matchless taste of butter. If using trout, don't remove the skin.

Creamy Roast Garlic Pasta Primavera

Roasted garlic is entirely different in flavor from its spirited fresh counterpart. It lends a mild, almost sweet note to the renowned pasta primavera.

Roasted Garlic-Cheese Spread

Tangy low-fat yogurt cheese and nutty roasted garlic make for a full-flavored cream cheese-style spread without the fat. The chives add flecks of green and a fresh, onion-y flavor. A perfectly fine substitute for the chives would be minced scallion greens. Serve as a spread on crackers or as a dip for vegetables.

Mango-Ginger "Ice Cream"

There's nary a drop of dairy in this fabulous frozen dessert. The lush "creaminess" comes from pureed tofu, and from the velvety texture of the mango itself. Be sure to use a really ripe mango (it should be fragrant and yield to gentle pressure) for best flavor.

Hot & Spicy Mussels

Beautiful blue-black mussels pan-steamed over a heady mixture of white wine, garlic, and onions is one of the best-and simplest-shellfish dishes you can make. As the mussels steam, they open up and release flavorful juices into the pan. A chunk of good peasant bread for sopping up the juices is an essential accompaniment to this dish.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

This update on a classic cake is low in fat without sacrificing flavor. Buttermilk makes the cake especially tender.

Grilled Flank Steak with Sweet & Sour Sauce

The dried-apricot based basting sauce for this marvelous steak also makes a delicious sauce to serve with the steak. Just be sure that you do not dip the basting brush--which has been used to coat the uncooked meat--back into the mixture to be used for the sauce.

Spiced Glazed Carrots

How little it takes-warm spices, honey, orange and lemon juices, and a splash of olive oil-to transform carrots from the ordinary to the extraordinary.