WE EAT FIRST with our eyes, then aroma comes into play. Our brain says if it looks good and smells good, it will taste good. And if it’s a big pile of food, we will be satisfied.
Here’s the trick: You can fool your senses. One of the easiest ways is with the size aspect. How many calories in canned whipped cream? Only 15 in two tablespoons. That’s an ounce in a measuring cup. A shot glass full. Granted, no one in recent memory has only two tablespoons very often, but it shows that the eyes can fool the mouth.
If you were to weigh a plate of raw spinach, the result would be very little. A whole bag can be five ounces, and it cooks down to only a small bowl. There is no air in the cooked leaves. So enjoy it raw in a salad.
Start with two eggs for the protein portion of a meal. Fried, they are maybe four bites each — if you have a small fork. I used to work with an editor who made one bite of the white and slid the yolk down whole. Scramble the eggs gently and you end up with a small pile of maybe six bites.
Here is a recipe for a soufflé omelet that needs a rest in a hot oven. Depending on the filling and your appetite, four eggs can be enough for three or four servings. It’s from Incredibleegg.org. Make it savory with a cheese or tomato filling or sweet with fruit.
BASIC SOUFFLÉ OMELET
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
Heat oven to 350° F. Combine egg whites, water, and lemon juice in large mixer bowl. Beat on high speed until stiff but not dry, just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted. Beat egg yolks and salt in small mixer bowl on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gently but thoroughly fold yolks into whites.
Heat butter in 10-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle over medium-high heat until hot. Pour in egg mixture; gently smooth surface. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until omelet is puffed and lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. (Lift omelet at edge with spatula to judge color.)
Place pan in 350° F oven. Bake until knife inserted halfway between center and outer edge comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Loosen omelet edge with spatula. Serve immediately, flat or folded, filled or with filling on top.
Yields: two to four servings.
Speaking of cream — as we were a few tasty paragraphs ago — Florida strawberries are in season. Dip a juice berry in whipped cream and you have a bite or two. Chop the berry into small pieces and add it to the cream and you have a small serving. It can be the topping on a soufflé omelet.
A serving of meat, chicken breast for instance, cut into one-bite pieces, makes you feel fuller than large chunks. You have to chew each one and your head tells your stomach when to quit. Taking your time is the key. You can gobble down a lot or chew leisurely and enjoy your food.
It sounds funny, but you might lose weight eating with chopsticks. The reason? You pick up one piece of food at a time. Stir frying is a great way to make a little look like a lot. Cut a carrot into four pieces or eight pieces. Add a can of sliced water chestnuts, each slice cut in half. A few mushrooms, quartered, not halved. Some broccoli in small florets. Onion in thin slices. Green pepper in dice, not slices. Add the chicken, and your eyes say you have a lot of food there.
Shrimp is a favorite of mine when making not so much look like a lot. If you buy 30-to-the-pound shrimp, you have 30 bites. If you lay each one flat on a counter or board and slice it in half horizontally, you have 60 bites. Each bite curls when it cooks and looks appetizing, too.
To avoid cuts and make the preparation speedy, put your hand flat on the shrimp and slice between your hand and the counter.
The quickest way to fool your eye is also the cheapest — after an initial investment. Serve smaller portions on smaller plates.
article by TRENT ROWE, CFHN Food Editor
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Posted Jan. 12, 2016