Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Simple Cooking
Take a break from hard work in the kitchen without sacrificing taste
After spending hours in the kitchen for the holidays, I rely on a few good and super quick recipes to feed my family while still delicious and cost conscious. You see, there is no truth to the fact that the harder a recipe is to make or bake, the better it is. Sometimes, the very best recipes are ones that are put together quickly but just contain ingredients that pair so well together that their beauty resides in their simplicity.
I remember once, having a few chicken breasts in the refrigerator and no vegetables to make sides with other than a few baskets of mini tomatoes that I had bought to munch on. I quickly chopped a red onion, and in the same pan, added those little tomatoes, cut in half and sautéed them for just a few minutes, not quite sure what would come out of them. Add a few sprinkles of dried herbs that I had in the cupboard, sliced the chicken and let it rest on a bed of candied tomatoes…. it was one of the most exquisite meals I had had in a long time.
We have so much to gain at making things simpler and letting the ingredients shine. When you purchase ingredients at the peak of their maturity, they are the ones to do the talking. In one of the attached recipes, the salmon is cooked in a papillotte, which is a fancy French word for wrapping it in parchment paper. The salmon then cooks with all its juices and the added flavors of basil and lemon and none of those are released until you open the mysterious package at the table and relish the smells and aromas it contains.
Another easy trick is to bake a fruit that would, otherwise, be kind of bland and ordinary. With a touch of butter and cinnamon, the apple evolves into this extravagant candied and soulful expression of itself that needs but a whisper of whipping cream to complete it.
The best part of these recipes is that all the ingredients are there to support the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet and help you maintain control over what you cook and eat.
Sautéed Apple Slices
4 large apples
1 lemon wedge
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp coconut (or palm) sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Core apples and rub inside with lemon wedge. Peel if desired. Slice about 1/4 inch thick, or a little bit thicker depending on the texture of the apples.
Melt half of the butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. When the butter stops foaming (wait this long so that the apples sear when you add them to the pan) add half of the apples, half of the sugar and half of the cinnamon.
Cook, flipping apple rings often, until apples are caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Test, using the tip of a knife or the edge of a spoon, to see if the apples are soft all the way through. Remove to a bowl.
Repeat with remaining apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon.
Advance preparation: You can make these hours or even a day ahead and proceed to second cooking right before serving.
Return first batch to pan, add vanilla and continue to cook, flipping apples, until the liquid evaporates. Transfer to a bowl or serving dish.
While the apples are cooking for the second time, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Serve the whipped cream alongside the apples.
Bacon Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza
1 store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough
2 Tbsp butter
2 large onions, peeled and cut in thin slices
4 slices turkey bacon
2 pears, peeled and sliced thin
6 oz gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 package arugula
1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 2/4 cups red wine vinegar and 3/4 cups olive oil.
Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator at least one hour before baking. Open the package and cover the dough with a clean towel to let it rise before shaping.
Use a few tablespoons of whole-wheat pastry flour to roll out your dough into a 12 to 14-inch circle. You can also line a sheet pan with your dough and shape it into a rectangle before transferring it to the sheet pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Use another sheet pan to cook the bacon: Place a cookie cooling rack on top of the sheet pan, and spread the bacon in one layer. Top with another cookie cooling rack to maintain it and cook for 20 minutes until browned and crispy. Crumble or cut into small pieces.
Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are cooked through and slightly caramelized. Spread the onions onto the dough. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the onions. Cover with the pears in one layer and sprinkle the gorgonzola on top. Spread the walnut pieces over the pears and cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted through and the crust is browned throughout.
Let sit for 5 minutes. Mix arugula with a few tablespoons of dressing and serve with the pizza.
Salmon En Papillottes
Time: 30 minutes
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 pounds salmon fillet, cut crosswise (4 pieces)
12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Salt and pepper
16 basil leaves
For each of 4 packages, place one 12-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil on top of another. Smear top sheet with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and layer a fillet of salmon, 6 tomato halves, salt and pepper, 4 basil leaves and another half tablespoon oil.
Seal package by folding foil onto itself and crimping edges tightly. Repeat to make other packages, and refrigerate until ready to cook, no more than 24 hours later.
When you are ready to cook, heat oven to 500 degrees. Place packages in a roasting pan. (Or they can be cooked on top of the stove in 2 skillets over medium-high heat.) Cook 5 minutes (for medium-rare) to 8 minutes from the time the mixture starts to sizzle, or roughly 10 to 12 minutes total.
Let packages rest a minute, and cut a slit along the top with a knife. Use a knife and fork to open the package. Spoon the salmon, garnish and juices onto a plate, and serve.