Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrity Carbohydrate Smackdown!

(Note: this was yesterday's post, stored in TextEdit all day long until was back in business. I didn't actually end up cooking for my boyfriend last night; he wanted to go out. So we headed down to a local overpriced gastropub and dined on warm asparagus salad, golden beet and baby lettuce salad, and fish and chips with plenty of vinegar. Plus cocktails.)

My boyfriend will be joining me for dinner tonight. I like to at least attempt to take his food preferences into consideration when I'm cooking for him. I wanted to include my fava leaf pesto in tonight's meal. (Did I tell you I made pesto out of the fava leaves? 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 C walnuts, 1/3 C grated parmesan cheese, 2 big handfuls leaves, all whirred around in my food processor with olive oil.) Pesto tends to be companioned with bland carbohydrate-rich foods, like bread, pasta, or potatoes.

Bread is out; I don't have any in the house. I do, however, have both whole wheat penne pasta and small red potatoes. Boyfriend likes both. I prefer potatoes. However, I decided to put them head to head in the nutrition ring, using the nutritional information located at May the best carb win!

In this corner, we have cooked potatoes, flesh and skin. Weighing in at 100 g, with a predicted glycemic load of 10, these pack 93 calories, 0.1 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, and 3 g protein. The left hook comes in with RDAs of Vitamin C 16%, Iron 6%, and Calcium 1%, plus respectable amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Manganese, and Folate.

And in the other corner we have cooked whole wheat pasta. Weighing in also at 100 g, with a slightly higher predicted glycemic load of 12, this comes a swingin' with 124 calories, 0.5 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, and 5 g protein. It's got a right jab of RDAs of Iron 6%, Thiamin 7% and Calcium 1%, plus Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, and Selenium.

It's rough; the two are rather evenly matched. However, the potatoes just scored a lucky hit, because their Omega 3:Omega 6 ratio is 0.30 compared to pasta's puny 0.05. My grandmother has a better 3:6 ratio!

The final haymaker comes in, knocking whole wheat pasta to the ground in a scattered penne pile, because the mighty potato is dug out of the earth whereas pasta is an industrial creation.

My sister will agree with me here: Potatoes Win!

In other news, if you check the postings from late March you'll find a recipe for fruit & nut balls--an all-natural treat. Back then I had hopes of modifying things to provide a fantabulous alternative to traditional rum balls, made from such avoidable ingredients as powdered sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla wafer crumbs. That is, refined sugar in a multitude of disturbing forms. I have once again succeeded! Here's the recipe:

Rum Raisin Balls

1 C raisins soaked in 1/4 C rum

1/2 C almond meal

1/2 C flaked unsweetened coconut

2 T cocoa powder

Additional coconut, almond meal, or cocoa powder for rolling

Using your food processor, process the raisins and any leftover soaking liquid into a paste. Add the almond meal, coconut, and cocoa powder and pulse a few times to combine. Roll tablespoon-sized portions into balls between your palms, and coat with whatever you like. (I used coconut.) Place in a single layer on parchment paper and stick in the freezer to firm up before removing to an airtight container. I'm storing them in the fridge, just to keep the rummy goodness from evaporating away. Makes about 12-14 balls, depending on how generous you are with your tablespoonfuls.

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