The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s by Robert St. John [epub | 21,90 Mb] ISBN: 1496812034

  • Full Title: The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s
  • Autor: Robert St. John
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496812034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496812032
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 21,90 Mb
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The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s is a collaboration between artist Ginger Williams Cook and author Malcolm White about the people, the place, and the history of Hal & Mal’s, an iconic institution in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.

Featuring beautiful watercolor paintings, the book brings together thirty years of family history, live music performances, and cafe society through graphic designs of old photographs, original illustrations, Hal’s legendary recipe cards, and the written word. Opening with a foreword by the renowned author and chef Robert St. John and featuring Ginger’s bold and vibrant look at a place she grew up patronizing, The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s captures the reflective, quirky voice of one half of the dynamic team known to millions as Hal & Mal.

Hal & Mal’s was conceived by brothers Hal and Malcolm White. The dream was rooted in a childhood on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reinforced by years of living and working in New Orleans, and ultimately launched in Jackson in 1985. This gathering place has always been owned and operated by family–now the second and third generations. The multifunctional, southern-soul-soaked rooms are adorned with memorabilia and chock-full of local character; each one also features a stage for live music. The kitchen serves a steady offering of hearty regional staples with a nod toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Hal & Mal’s is the most-talked-about upscale honky-tonk in all of Mississippi, where art is made, music plays, and folks gather to share community and celebrate the very best of Mississippi’s creative spirit.


Editorial Reviews


“In The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s, Mississippi’s legendary impresario Malcolm White–with a little help from his friends–has assembled an affectionate history of the restaurant he started with his late brother Hal that grew into a Jackson institution; a capital for good times; and a multicultural home for musicians, artists, writers, and even some normal people.”

–Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer

About the Author

Malcolm White, Jackson, Mississippi, is a public servant and entrepreneur who has worked in the fields of food, music, art, and culture for more than forty years. With their extended family, he and his late brother Hal created and lovingly nurtured the evolution of one of Mississippi’s most renowned public gathering places.



ographs by marcus nilsson


an immigrant cooking

estela essentials

how to drink through this book

supporting players


our classics


seafood, raw and cooked




stocks and pickles




an immigrant cooking

I’ve never been too comfortable talking about my cooking because I hope, in a way, that it can speak for itself. That has always been the idea, making food that doesn’t require much explanation to convey emotion.

That said, of course there’s a story behind it.

I’m from Uruguay, a country with a history of colonialism and immigration, the story of many places. In our case, because of eradication, we lack the rich indigenous representation of other South American nations. Nowadays, we’re three million or so people and twelve million cows. It’s a quite progressive society, and even though the country is smaller and less populous than the state of Utah, we claim the glory of two World Cup soccer championships. Still, many of us are born with a chip on our shoulders: There’s not much mathematical logic to the successes we’ve had, and our neighbors are more famous than we are. More than anything, though, I’d say that Uruguayans have a distinctly noble, humble, and laid-back way about them that resonates.

Growing up in a small town outside of Montevideo and a short drive from my family’s farm was a pretty ideal environment for a kid like me. Between endless adventures—canoeing, fishing, hitchhiking on trains, stealing apples from another family’s orchard—and some not-so-wonderful family moments, we’d always have to be on time for meals. On weekends, we’d do long lunches and asados (barbecues), when we’d eat all kinds of meat. During the week, my grandmother Ercilia would handle most of the cooking, but sometimes my mother would take over for her. Ercilia had her staples: hand-rolled pastas, milanesas, pasqualinas, tortillas, mostly recipes in the Spanish and Italian tradition since that is her heritage. To this day, I don’t think she has ever followed a recipe. We all gravitated toward the kitchen, and, as it is in most families, we had to do our part, either to set the table, grate cheese, or, of course, wash the dishes. Most of the time, I would be responsible for making the salad. I never saw this as a chore; I’d get an idea from a homemaking manual and then prepare it my way, doing the best I could.

The table was where everything happened: where we talked about family issues, annoying town gossip, and politics. There were often heated discussions and arguments but not what I would necessarily call dialogues. Pretty frequently, the situation would heat up and at times even blow up, but everyone would stick around to finish the meal and forget it ever happened. I would later discover that this kind of dysfunction wasn’t limited to us Latins. The table is where I had my first glass of wine outside of a church. This wasn’t because it was offered to me but because I found my way to it. Drinking a splash of wine was fine with my family, but as I grew up, my persistence on other matters and what you could call my “idiosyncrasies” could get me into trouble, especially in a small town where there wasn’t much room for a bored teenager, where being even the slightest bit weird was discouraged. Eventually, finding a way out was quite easy: At sixteen, I got shown the way out.

The early part of the journey was made up of nights on the beds and couches of dear friends (some random ones, too), in backseats of cars, on many lonely bus and train rides. I enrolled in culinary school mostly because it was familiar: For years, I had given my mother, Gloria, and my grandmother a break in the kitchen. And I recalled that someone, somewhere, had said to me that I could do the work anywhere I wanted. (I had considered art school, as well as a professional soccer career, but I had always struggled following rules and I didn’t have any figures in my life to motivate me on either of those paths, anyway.) My first experiences were in questionable kitchens run by people whom I got on with fine, but whose work was not driven by passion and certainly not by love.

Then I met Michel Kerever. I had no idea who he was. He had been hired by the hotel in Montevideo where Mónica—who worked at the office of my culinary school and I think noticed my initiative—sent me to intern. The first French person I had ever met, Kerever was also the first person who wasn’t “working” but doing what he loved, the first true chef. Tens of thousands of miles from Paris, he was in his element, wearing a shirt and tie under his white chef’s coat, with perfectly shined shoes (not a look I ever aspired to, but his disciplined style struck me). He would arch himself forward and dive his entire head into steaming pot
bbq recipes, pizza hut open, baker, wedding cake decorations, bbq baby back ribs,


Adding eggs: When adding eggs to any recipe, first break them into a separate bowl. If any shells fall into the eggs, you can remove them easily—so they won’t end up in the recipe!

Separating eggs: To separate eggs, use 2 small bowls. Crack the egg on the rim of one of the bowls. Pull the shell apart and hold the yolk in one half of the shell. Let the white dribble into one bowl, then tip the yolk into the other half of the shell. Let the rest of the white dribble into the bowl. Put the yolk in the second bowl.


When frosting a layer cake, always make sure to turn the bottom layer over so that its top side is facedown. After you frost the bottom layer, put the top layer on—right side up—and frost it. This way, you’ll have 2 flat sides in the middle of your cake—and you won’t find the top layer sliding off!


Butter or shortening: Press it firmly into a measuring cup or spoon until there are no air pockets.

Brown sugar: Always pack it very firmly into a dry measuring cup or spoon.

Flour and dry ingredients: Pile them gently into a dry measuring cup or spoon, then level them off with a metal spatula or knife.

Liquid ingredients: If using a liquid measuring cup, set the measuring cup on the counter and fill it up to the amount you need. To check your measuring, bend down until your eye is level with the desired amount.


To test a cake for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it is done. If cake clings to the toothpick, shut the oven door and test it again in 5 minutes.

Cooking Terms


Heat a liquid on the stove over high heat until it bubbles.


Beat a mixture of butter or shortening and sugar with an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy.

Cut In

Add butter or shortening to a flour mixture and cut it with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the pieces are the size called for in the recipe.


To flour pans after greasing them, sprinkle a little extra flour into the pans and shake them until the whole surface is covered. Shake out any excess flour.


With a rubber spatula, cut gently down through the mixture, then along the bottom of the bowl, and then up and over in a circular motion. Turn the bowl and repeat until the mixture is gently blended.


Scrape an ingredient against the holes of a grater, to make small pieces or shreds.


To grease a baking pan or dish, hold a small piece of butter in a bit of paper towel or wax paper and rub the butter all over the inside of the pan or dish.


Put the heels of your hands on the dough. Push the dough down and away from you. Fold the dough in half and push down and away again, then turn the dough one-quarter of a turn each time you push, until every part of the dough is kneaded.


To cook in a hot liquid that is kept just below the boiling point.


Turn on the oven to the degree given in the recipe. Let the oven reach this temperature before you bake.


To remove lumps, place dry ingredients through a sifter, then measure the amount you need.


Cook a mixture just below the boiling point. A few bubbles will form slowly and burst before they come to the top.


Cook food on a rack in a covered pot over simmering water.


Anne of Avonlea


Prep Time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes Yield: 6 dumplings



11/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and rolling pin

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons (75 g) butter

1/2 cup (120 ml) 2% milk


6 small apples peeled, cored, and sliced

6 teaspoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling

11/2 teaspoons butter, plus more for dotting

Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. To make the dough: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

3. Mix in the butter with your fingers until it is well distributed. Add the milk to make a soft dough.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or countertop. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.

5. To make the filling: On each dough piece, place some sliced apples, pressing them tightly together, then add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon butter.

6. With fingers dipped in water, moisten the edges of the dough and fold it up around the apple filling. Place the dumplings on an ungreased baking sheet.

7. Sprinkle each dumpling with cinnamon and sugar, and dot with more butter.

8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Use oven mitts t
slow cooker butter chicken, fried rice, soy ice cream, portable barbecue grill, brinkmann gas grill,
an elaborate tablescape… this isn’t the book for that.


If you have my other cookbooks, these are already familiar. If not, here are a few of my favorite subs!


Gluten can be found in the darndest places! Always check labeling for hidden ingredients. These are some of the most common gluten hangouts and what I do to replace them.

SOY SAUCE: Use gluten-free tamari. San-J is my favorite brand, and it’s widely available. In fact, I never even use soy sauce now since it’s easy and delicious to keep tamari on hand.

BREAD CRUMBS: For fine, dry bread crumbs, unsalted gluten-free pretzels work wonders, but they can be expensive. An affordable alternative is Chex-type cereals in either rice or corn varieties. To make the bread crumbs, finely grind the cereal or pretzel pieces in a blender until they’re in tiny, almost powdery, crumbs.

ROUX: To thicken curries, stews, and even mac and cheese, I love to use chickpea flour in place of all-purpose. It works wonderfully and gives a nice toasty flavor, too!

PASTA: Easy enough! There are zillions of gluten-free pastas on the market. Sometimes I use it just because I like it. My favorite varieties are quinoa and rice pastas.

COOKIES AND SCONES: Other baked goods can get more complicated, but for cookies and scones, it’s pretty simple. I use certified gluten-free oats. Grind the oats into a flour and then measure. I usually need a bit more flour than the recipe calls for; say, a tablespoon or two extra per cup of flour. For everything else, just read online reviews for the best baking mixes and purchase them that way.


Okay, so we’ve got tree-nut allergies, and we’ve got nut and seed allergies, and we’ve got peanut allergies. Life for cookbook authors can get complicated fast when trying to accommodate! Here are a few of my favorite swaps for all different sorts of no-nuts-allowed occasions.

PEANUTS: If the diner doesn’t have a tree-nut allergy, use cashews. If your guest does, then sesame seeds make a nice treat in savory dishes, even if the texture will be different.

PEANUT BUTTER: Sunbutter (which is sunflower seed butter) makes a great replacement. Although, in baked goods, it sometimes turns the dough green. Maybe that would be fun? If your guest doesn’t have a tree-nut allergy, then almond butter is a great alternative.

CASHEWS: As far as the recipes in this book go, cashews are probably the biggest bummer because of all the cashew cream recipes. My heart bleeds for you, it truly does! But listen, a few of my testers had cashew allergies and they had happy results using sunflower seeds instead. In Thai and Indian dishes, coconut milk is a fantastic alternative as well.


I hope that I’ve provided enough soy-free recipes to keep you entertained for years. But if you’re looking to replace soy sauce, there are soy-free miso pastes that you can blend with water. Just make sure that it’s still good, thick, and salty, and not too watered down. You can then use it anywhere in place of soy sauce, even in seitan!



I tried my darndest to make these recipes with pots and pans and utensils that you already have hanging around. While I don’t call for any super-specific one-task tools (no avocado slicer here!), there might be a few things you should add to your equipment checklist. And since it is entertaining, why not grab a few cute mini tart pans or cookie cutters just to make things extra special?


If you purchase a whipped cream canister and some chargers, you can make your own whipped cream effortlessly! Just blend together a can of full-fat pure coconut milk and 1 tablespoon agave. Fill, chill, charge, and squirt!


You don’t need a stovetop smoker to smoke at home, although they are really awesome. A stainless steel pot fitted with a steamer basket works just great! Simply line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil and fill with the soaked wood chips. Place the items to smoke in the lightly greased steamer basket and smoke on low.


Pressing tofu helps it soak up marinade more easily, and gives it a firmer texture. Wrap the tofu in a paper towel, then a kitchen towel. Rest a heavy pan on it or a cookbook (not this one!), then add a couple cans of beans so the weight is even. Flip after a half hour and press the other side. It’s ready!



Immersion blender

Large food processor

Hand mixer


Large wooden cutting board

Chef’s knife

Thin metal spatula

Slanted wooden spatula

Potato masher (big and small)



Slotted spoon


Microplane grater

Pasta spoon


Large cast iron pan

2-quart stainless
zero calorie foods, great dinner recipes, wine price, basics of keto diet, dutch chocolate,
fruits and herbs from your cocktails—unless you want to spend the evening picking basil from your teeth. The cobbler shaker, on the other hand, is a confusing little contraption. The cobbler shaker has three pieces: a metal container, a metal lid with a built-in strainer, and also a metal cap to cover the strainer. That’s a lot of pieces to keep track of! Just try using a cobbler shaker without the cap (#notadvised), and the cobbler can be difficult to open once it’s cold. We suggest going with the Boston shaker—it’s wicked cool!

STRAINERS. Your best bet when building your own bar is to invest in a Hawthorne strainer. While they’re not the easiest to clean, these springy bad boys easily adapt to fit any size cup or glass, ensuring a spill-proof fit. Plus, your friends will be impressed that you own this nifty little tool. A julep strainer is easy to work with and even easier to clean, but we think it’s a bit sloppy to use. In a pinch, a fine mesh strainer will do the trick, and you probably already have one in your kitchen.

BAR SPOONS. Bar spoons are a necessary alternative to a cocktail shaker when your drink needs to be stirred, not shaken. Purchase a few long-handled metal bar spoons for blending spirits and mixers in tall glasses or containers.

MUDDLERS. There are SO many options, but we don’t want to muddle the waters, so let’s cut right to the chase. If you’re a newbie mixologist, go with a plastic-tipped, lightly textured muddler that’s versatile and easy to work with. Wooden muddler handles are easy to hold, but wood is porous and won’t withstand multiple rounds in your dishwasher. Plastic, which is nonporous and dishwasher safe, is a better and more durable option. Once you’ve graduated to higher mixology skills, you can play around with muddlers with smoother or rougher tips and those made with other materials.

JIGGERS. This handy little two-sided (larger side, 1½ ounces; smaller side, ¾ ounce) steel measure ensures precision when building your clean cocktails, and it’s a good idea to use one if you happen to be a mixologist with a heavy pour. If you don’t happen to have a jigger, a favorite shot glass from your college days can also keep you in check.

CITRUS PRESSES. While it’s not absolutely essential, you’ll find that a handheld citrus juice press is extremely useful when making clean cocktails. (We’re talking fresh here, people!) Perfect for extracting the juice of lemons and limes, this easy-to-use tool keeps the seeds out of your sangria. Of course, you’ll need something larger if working with oranges or grapefruits.

JUICER. So that citrus press will not get you very far when making cocktails requiring fresh vegetable purees or even the juices of watermelon, cantaloupe, and such. For this, you will need a small juicer to separate the fresh juice from the fiber and pulp of your fruits and vegetables. Keep it small and simple­­—you won’t need an expensive or fancy model to achieve your goal.

ZESTER/GRATERS. You’ll need this for freshly grated spices like nutmeg and ginger and also for removing zest from citrus fruits. A small zester is the best choice, but in a pinch you can use the small outward-facing spikes on a regular cheese grater. Either way, watch your fingers!

MEASURING CUPS. Any old set of measuring cups will do, but we recommend using a set with spouts for easier pouring.

KNIVES AND CUTTING BOARDS. There are definitely many cool cocktail knives on the market for slicing fruit and garnishes, but we think any paring knife you already have in your kitchen will do. You’ll use the knife for cutting lime and lemon wheels, fruit wedges, and swaths of citrus zest for twisting over cocktails. Looking to snazz up your cocktail game? A channel knife will make those long, curly pieces of citrus zest a snap.


So you have the freshest ingredients and the proper tools at your fingertips. Now what? Those cocktails won’t make themselves! Don’t panic—this is the fun part. With these few techniques and a little bit of practice, you’ll be comfortable entertaining in no time.

CHILL. Chilling glasses is simple: just pop the glasses you’ll be using in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes before use. If you forget, fill the glasses with ice while you’re mixing the drinks and dump out the ice before you pour.

RIM. Rimming is the art of creating a very tasty accent on the lip of a glass. A proper rim will complement and enhance the flavor of your cocktail. To rim a glass, place the elements of the rim—let’s say kosher salt or coconut sugar—on a plate. Moisten the outside rim of the glass with a lime wedge (if working with the salt) or an orange or lemon wedge (if working with the coconut sugar). Then, dip the rim of the glass in the salt or sugar until it’s coated. Do your best not to coat the inside of the glass… you don’t want the excess to land in your cocktail and ruin the taste of your drink.

hunan cuisine, chicken and rice, exercise gliders, tea caddy, t bone steak,
large enough, pour half the tomato base into a second frying pan, and cook 4 eggs in each.) Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the lid and scatter over the parsley or coriander and the remaining dried and fresh chilli. Bring the pan to the table and serve at once with the sourdough bread to mop up all the delicious sauce.


This has to be the easiest loaf you’ll ever make. Don’t be scared if you haven’t made bread before, as this recipe takes all the hassle out of the process but tastes incredible. It’s vegan, and a great source of fibre too. I love to eat it in the morning, spread with nut butter (here ) .


480g wholegrain spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp sea salt

80g pumpkin seeds

40g dried apricots, finely chopped, or raisins

40g goji berries

1 tbsp honey

520ml tepid water

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas mark 6. Lightly grease a 1kg loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.

Combine all the dry ingredients, including the seeds and fruit, in a bowl, then add the honey and water and mix again until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, then carefully remove the loaf from its tin and continue to bake the loaf upside down directly on the oven rack for a further 10 minutes. (This gives it a better crust.)

Remove the loaf from the oven and leave it to cool completely before cutting (otherwise all the steam escapes, resulting in a drier loaf). Once cool, cut into slices and spread with your favourite topping. This will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.


During the week, who has time to linger in the mornings? No one, that’s who. We would surely all rather have just a few more minutes in bed. This is the ultimate breakfast for those of us out there who like to press the ‘snooze’ button more than once; a quick and easy wrap that can be eaten on your way to work or while dashing round the house getting what you need for the day. You’re getting protein, veggies and healthy carbs in one meal, making it an ideal low maintenance breakfast that will keep your energy levels constant until lunchtime .


2 tsp coconut or olive oil

4 eggs, beaten

100g spinach leaves, rinsed and drained

2 spelt or wholegrain tortillas (gluten-free if you prefer)

1 ripe avocado, halved, stone removed, and flesh sliced

100g roasted red peppers from a jar, drained and cut into strips

1 red chilli, halved lengthways, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional)

A few fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the oil in a frying pan over a low–medium heat. Add the eggs and spinach and cook gently, stirring frequently, for 4–5 minutes, until you have silky scrambled eggs and the spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour off any excess liquid from the pan.

Place a dry frying pan over a high heat. Warm the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side or until softened.

Divide the egg and spinach mixture between the two tortillas, top with the avocado, red pepper strips, chilli (if using) and parsley. Season with a little salt and pepper, then fold over the tortillas to enclose the filling and eat straight away.



My local café started serving a similar breakfast, and I was desperate to recreate it at home so I could eat it whenever I wanted. It’s so delicious and a wonderful variation on porridge. Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient and amazing both sweetened as well as used in a savoury way. It’s such a powerful breakfast fuel, full of protein to sustain your energy for the day. You can experiment with toppings using whatever fruit, nuts and seeds you have at home, but I love adding sliced apple, blueberries, goji berries and pecans to mine .


200g quinoa, rinsed

400ml full-fat coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

1½ tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 dessert apple, cored and chopped into small pieces (skin on)

80g blueberries

1 tbsp goji berries

Small handful of roasted pecan nuts

Bring 800ml water to the boil in a pan (with a lid). Add the quinoa, bring back to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all of the water has been absorbed. Stir in the coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Simmer gently, covered, until most of the coconut milk has been absorbed and the quinoa has the consistency of creamy porridge. Remove from the heat, stir through the maple syrup or honey, spoon into bowls and top with the apple, blueberries and dried cranberries.

MOIST AND TENDER: Using leaner cuts of ground beef or ground poultry can slash fat, but these substitutions can also make for dry, flavorless dishes. Lean ground beef and ground turkey helped us lighten our cheeseburgers, but a panade (a paste of milk and bread) was essential for moist, tender patties. In our shepherd’s pie, a small amount of baking soda kept the lean beef tender and juicy.


* * *

When you are trying to lighten recipes, there is less room for error—you need to make sure that you are using the right volume of ingredients, otherwise what you might think is a low-fat dish may not be. Here are some helpful measuring tips that are specific to certain ingredients.


Meat and Fish


Messy Ingredients



Dry Ingredients

Meat and Fish

Be sure to buy the right amount of meat or fish that’s called for in the recipe, but if you’re not sure you have the right amount, you can double-check it at home with a digital scale. to keep the scale clean, place a sheet of plastic wrap on it before setting the food on top.


When it comes to cheese, the volume you end up with can vary based on how you grate it. for example, 1 ounce measures ½ cup when grated on a rasp-style grater and ¼ cup when shredded on a standard grater. You’ll find both weight and volume in most recipes, so you can make sure you’ve got the right amount.

Messy Ingredients

Malleable ingredients like mayonnaise and yogurt can be hard to measure using a dry measuring cup; the ingredient may get trapped in the corner, and a rubber spatula will get you only so far. To measure these ingredients accurately, simply add them to an adjustable measuring cup and level it off, then push them right out.


To measure broth or larger amounts of oil or other liquids, set a liquid measuring cup on a level surface and bend down to read it at eye level. Be sure to read the measurement from the bottom of the concave arc at the liquid’s surface (this arc is known as the meniscus line).


When you measure small amounts of oil, it’s easy to overfill the teaspoon and have oil spilling into your skillet or sauce. for more control and accuracy, fill a plastic squeeze bottle with oil, then squeeze it into measuring spoons. Or, pour the oil into a small bowl and dip your spoon into it.

Dry Ingredients

We recommend weighing flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients, but we’ve found that the dip-and-sweep method is also reliable. to measure with this method, dip the measuring cup into the ingredient and sweep away the excess with a straight-edged object, like the back of a butter knife.


* * *

Here is a list of ingredients that helped us lighten or add flavor to the recipes in this book.
















1. GREEK YOGURT: Thicker, creamier, lower in carbohydrates, and higher in protein than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt made a great stand-in for sour cream. We used nonfat Greek yogurt as a topping for tostadas and nachos and even used it in our potato salad so we could cut back on the light mayo. Our favorite brand of Greek yogurt, both full-fat and nonfat, is Olympus Authentic Greek Strained Yogurt.

2. LIGHT MAYONNAISE: Mayonnaise is a big offender when it comes to fat and calories—not a shock given that it’s made from egg yolks and vegetable oil, plus a few other ingredients—so we recommend using light mayo. But you can’t use just any jar; brands vary widely in taste and fat content and the labeling can be confusing. In our taste tests, we found Hellmann’s Light worked best; it offered a creamy texture and good flavor comparable to that of the full-fat variety. We call for it in creamy dips, salad dressings, and pasta and potato salads.

3. LIGHT CREAM CHEESE: One of the secret weapons in our makeover arsenal is ⅓ less fat cream cheese (also labeled neufchatel in the supermarket). We used this reduced-fat ingredient to impart a creamy richness in dishes like chicken fricassee, shrimp scampi, and green bean casserole.

4. LOWER-FAT CHEESES: For ultra-cheesy pizza and calzones, we used part-skim mozzarella; it melts well and adds a nice, subtle tangy flavor. As for lower-fat cheddar, we found the 50 percent light variety melted best and offered good flavor, making it perfect for macaroni and cheese and chicken enchiladas, which need a bold, cheesy presence. When we needed cheese fo


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