Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
Celebrate Valentine's Day with a flavor that, like love, can be sweet, savory, and/or spicy.
TIP Keep fresh ginger unwrapped in your refrigerator. When you are ready to use it, simply slice off the exposed 1/4 inch or so that has dried.
2 cups marshmallow crème, divided
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup ginger preserves
16 gingersnap cookies
1. Combine marshmallow crème and cream cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Combine the apricot and ginger preserves and warm in the microwave or on the stove until just melted; set aside. Crumble 12 of the gingersnaps into a bowl; set aside.
3. Place about 1/4 cup of the crème mixture in each of 4 parfait glasses or goblets. Top with one-fourth of the crumbled cookies and spoon the apricot-ginger mixture in an even layer over the cookies. Top with the remaining crème.
4. Dip the end of a toothpick in crème remaining on the sides of the bowl or the spatula to draw a heart with the crème on each of the remaining 4 cookies; allow to dry 5 minutes or so. Place the cookie upright in each parfait dish just before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 448 calories, 4 g protein, 89 mg carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 291 mg sodium
GINGER ROAST CHICKEN THIGHS
Ginger lends piquant spiciness; the red pepper flakes increase the heat and may be adjusted to suit your palate.
2 pounds chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Season chicken with salt, ground ginger and pepper; place on prepared pan and roast 25 minutes, until thighs reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, combine the fresh ginger, lemon juice, honey and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. When the thighs reach 170 degrees, brush them with the honey-ginger mixture; return to oven and roast another 5 minutes, until the glaze is set and the chicken reaches 175 degrees. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 339 calories, 30 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 20 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 406 mg sodium
GINGER-SESAME JADE VEGETABLES
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 cups broccoli florets
8 ounces zucchini, cut into 1 / 2-inch slices
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add ginger and cook, stirring, 15 seconds, until just fragrant. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add zucchini and green beans and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add snow peas and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender and brightly colored.
3. Stir soy sauce mixture to be sure cornstarch is dissolved and pour over vegetables. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are lightly coated, about 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat, toss with sesame seeds and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 107 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat