Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
4 medium russet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyere (or other cheese)
1. Light half the grill for indirect, medium-high cooking. Score the potatoes deeply across in 1/4-inch slices, taking care to not slice through the bottom of the potato.
2. Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper. Brush about 1/3 of it over the entire surface of each potato. Place the potatoes on the unlit half of the grill with the sliced side facing up and cook 30 minutes. Brush the potatoes with the remaining oil mixture and grill until the potatoes have spread open and are tender, about another 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and grill until the cheese is just melted, about 2 minutes. Cut each potato in half and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 256 calories, 7 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 324 mg sodium
TIP: Score potatoes as far down toward the bottom as you can without cutting through using the tip of a sharp knife.
EASY REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
4 Kirby cucumbers, cut across on a diagonal in 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1. Place the cucumber slices in a shallow heatproof bowl.
2. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic clove, dill, bay leaf and mustard seed in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the cucumber and toss to coat the cucumbers with the liquid. Cool, at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 24 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 391 mg sodium
SMOKEY, SPICEY GREENS
10 cups collard (or other) greens, cut in 2-inch pieces
4 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (or to taste)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the greens and cook 20 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander and press to extract most of the water.
2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet; when crisp, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until somewhat softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are heated through. Add the sriracha and toss; stir in the bacon and add more sauce and/or salt to taste. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 68 calories, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 120 mg sodium