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May, 2011

Huevos Sofrito

By Cheryl Forberg

Whole grains have sustained families and civilizations, as a familiar and comforting common thread
.

But in recent history, they've fallen from favor. It's no wonder, since we're deluged with choices that are tasty, fast, and economical. But "fast" is usually a dead giveaway for a grain that is refined. And though refining pares back preparation time, it also peels away the most valuable parts of a whole grain.

Grains do lack the vibrant colors that proclaim the phytochemical bounty of many fruits and vegetables. Berries, citrus, and grapes are the pipeline to polyphenols. Yellow- and red-hued fruits and vegetables are the gateway to carotenoids. And phytosterols, the cholesterol-clones, are found in avocados, soy, nuts, and seeds. But the truth about whole grains is this -- they have all three. This translates to a versatile array of choices that are not only rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Their antioxidant activity is on par with many fruits, and exceeds most vegetables.

It's true that some whole grains take longer to cook than their refined, less nutritious counterparts. But here are a few quick ways to spike your whole grain intake while enjoying a lingering fullness. The extra cooking time will be well worth the wait.
• Toast your oats! Substituting toasted oats in your favorite oat recipes imparts a nutty richness. Spread oats on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring halfway.
• Toss a handful of dry bulgur into your next pot of soup. It delivers a subtle thickening quality while adding chewy texture to every bite.
• Whole-wheat couscous is now widely available as a sweet or savory starch choice. It takes the same amount of time (5 minutes) to cook as refined couscous, with more than triple the fiber.
• Corn meal and polenta are different types of ground whole corn and are gluten-free. Most corn tortillas are products produced with 100% ground corn but be sure to check the labels.

Here is one of my favorite recipes from Flavor First, using whole grain corn tortillas.

Huevos Sofrito

Huevos Sofrito

You’ll be making this recipe again and again. Serve with iced tea and diced melon.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
4 6-inch corn tortillas
4 slices Canadian bacon (about 1 ounce each)
8 egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)
¼ cup grated low fat pepper Jack cheese
1 recipe (2 cups)
Sofrito Sauce (see below)

Garnish:
Fresh cilantro

Instructions:
Warm tortillas and Canadian bacon and set aside. Spray small non-stick sauté pan with cooking oil spray. Add egg whites and cooking until nearly set; about two minutes. Turn egg with silicone spatula and finish cooking; about one minute longer

To serve:
Place one warm tortilla on plate and top with Canadian bacon. Place “fried” egg white on top of ham. Top each Huevos with ½ cup hot Sofrito Sauce garnish with cheese and fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Analysis for one serving Huevos Sofrito
Calories 190
Total Fat g 5
Sat Fat g 2
Chol mg 25
Sodium mg 430
Total Carb g 18
Fiber g 3
Sugars g 4
Protein g 19

Easy Sofrito Sauce

Sofrito is a sautéed vegetable mixture used as a seasoning in much of Latin America and the Caribbean. There are as many variations to sofrito as there are to curries or mole, though it usually contains Bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, onion, and sometimes tomatoes. Sofrito is usually chunky, but I’ve pureed it to use as a sauce. Great for enchiladas, Huevos rancheros or Southwestern style pasta!

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients
1 roasted red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
½ cup diced fire roasted tomatoes
½ cup fat free low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chopped chipotle (in adobe sauce)

Instructions:
In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender purée all ingredients until smooth. In a sauté pan, simmer sofrito, stirring, 3 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sofrito may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size ½ cup

Calories 30
Total Fat g 0
Sat Fat g 0
Cholesterol mg 0
Sodium mg 130
Total Carb g 6
Dietary Fiber g 1
Sugar g 3
Protein g 1

*Photo courtesy of Rodale Books, Flavor First, by Cheryl Forberg, RD.