kale or chard pie

Serves 4 to 6. From "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman. 

• 2 tbsp. butter, plus more as needed • About 8 large kale or chard leaves, thinly sliced • 1 medium onion, sliced • Salt and freshly ground black pepper • 1/4 c. chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, chervil and chives • 3 hard-cooked eggs and 3 uncooked eggs • 1 c. whole-milk yogurt or sour cream • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise • 1/2 tsp. baking powder • 1 1/4 c. flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the butter in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. A minute later, add the kale and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are quite tender, about 10 minutes; do not brown. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Shell and coarsely chop the 3 hard-cooked eggs. Add to the cooked kale mixture and let cool while you make the batter. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and 3 uncooked eggs. Add the baking powder and flour and mix until smooth. Lightly butter a 9- by 12-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. [Yes, Bittman asks for this size, but a 9- by 13-inch would also work.] Spread half the batter over the bottom, then top with the kale filling; smear the remaining batter over the kale, using your fingers or a rubber spatula to make sure there are no gaps in what will form the pie's top crust. Bake for 45 minutes; it will be shiny and golden brown. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing it into as many squares or rectangles as you like. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Replace the kale with 1 medium head of Savoy or white cabbage and the mixed herbs with 2/3 cup snipped fresh dill.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 308 Fat 16 g Sodium 207 mg Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 162 mg Protein 12 g Cholesterol 230 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 2 fat.

mediterranean baked cod

Serves 4. From "Fish Forever," by Paul Johnson.

• 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided • 3 to 4 saffron threads • 1 or 2 leeks, white part only, rinsed and chopped (about 1/2 cup) • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and finely sliced (reserve fennel fronds for garnish) • 3/4 c. dry white wine • Juice of 1/2 lemon • Four (5-oz.) cod, pollock, hake or haddock fillets • 3 tomatoes (about 1 pound), quartered • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9-inch-diameter casserole. Add the saffron, leek and sliced fennel and toss with the olive oil. Cover the casserole and bake for 10 minutes, or until the leek and fennel are sizzling and beginning to brown at the edges. Remove the casserole from the oven, pour in the wine and lemon juice and let cool for a minute or two. Place the fish on top of the vegetables. In a small bowl, season the tomatoes with plenty of salt, pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour the tomato mixture over the fish. Cover the casserole and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. There will be plenty of golden-hued broth, spiked with chunks of braised tomato. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with minced fennel fronds.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 313 Fat 16 g Sodium 160 mg Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 78 mg Protein 29 g Cholesterol 75 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving:
2 vegetable, 4 extra lean meat, 2 fat.

bananas with coconut and cardamom

Serves 2. From "Where Flavor was Born," by Andreas Viestad.

• 4 to 8 cardamom pods • 1 c. unsweetened coconut milk • 1 clove • 4 small slightly underripe bananas • 1 to 3 tbsp. brown sugar

Bruise the cardamom pods gently between your hands, making small cracks in the hard pods, but stopping short of breaking them open. The more you crush them, the stronger the cardamom flavor. Combine the coconut milk, cardamom and clove in a pot large enough to hold the bananas. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to release the flavor of the cardamom. Sample the coconut milk and adjust the flavor if necessary by crushing or bruising one or more of the cardamom pods with a wooden spoon. Peel the bananas and add to the coconut milk. Boil gently for 5 minutes, turning once. Add sugar to taste and allow it to dissolve before gently transferring the bananas to serving plates. Spoon the coconut milk over them and serve.

Variation: When the bananas are cooked, take them out of the coconut milk and transfer to a baking pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar and a small dusting of ground cardamom, and place under the broiler until the sugar is caramelized.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 425 Fat 21 g Sodium 62 mg Carbohydrates 63 g Saturated fat 18 g Calcium 18 mg Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 8 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving:
4 fruit, ½ medium-fat meat, 3½ fat.

portobello parmesan

Serves 4. From "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without," by Mollie Katzen.

• 4 firm portobello mushrooms (4-in. diameter) • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil • 3/4 c. ricotta cheese • 1 tsp. minced or crushed garlic • 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste • 1 medium-size ripe-but-firm tomato, thinly sliced • About 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried thyme) • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Remove and discard the portobello stems, and scrape out and discard the gills, being careful not to damage the mushrooms' edges. (OK to leave a few gills around the edges to protect them.) Place a large skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Lay the mushrooms cap-side down in the hot oil, and let them cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Turn them over and cook on the other side for 10 minutes, then flip them over one more time. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, garlic and mozzarella in a small bowl, grinding in some black pepper, to taste. Add about 3 tablespoons of this filling to each mushroom cavity (OK to do this while they are still in the pan, if you can), spreading it gently into place. Arrange a few tomato slices on each mound of cheese and sprinkle the tomatoes first with a little thyme, then with a nice coating of Parmesan. Heat the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the tops of the filled mushrooms turn golden brown. (Watch carefully so they won't burn, which can happen quickly). Remove from the broiler and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 189 Fat 12 g Sodium 224 mg Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 5 g Calcium 302 mg Protein 15 g Cholesterol 26 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving:
1 vegetable, 2 medium-fat meat, ½ fat.

bacon-almond cheese spread

Makes 21/2 cups. From "The Bacon Cookbook," by James Villas.

He suggests using a honey-cured or maple-smoked bacon. • 5 slices honey-cured or maple-smoked bacon • 2 c. creamed cottage cheese • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste • 1/4c. finely chopped toasted almonds • Toast triangles

In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, drain on paper towels and crumble. In a blender or food processor, combine the cottage cheese, chives, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; blend until just smooth and scrape into a bowl. Add the bacon and almonds, stir until well blended; cover and chill about 30 minutes before serving on toast triangles.

Nutrition information per serving of 20: Calories 21 Fat 2 g Sodium 49 mg Carbohydrates 0 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 4 mg Protein 1 g Cholesterol 2 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving:
½ fat.