Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Cool-Off Menu
Beat the summer heat with these three recovery friendly recipes
When summer hits our kitchens, the last thing we want is to stand for hours, watching over a burning oven and standing next to a pot of boiling water. Heat affects our appetite in ways that we might not always understand and we crave more than ever the crunchy, refreshing taste of foods, adding a little spice and a lot of punch in flavors. There is something about how our body acclimates to temperature that is marvelous to observe when we take the time to think about it.
Depending on where you live you might have different choices of what to put on your menu in the summertime. We will devote another essay to grilling next month. This time around, there is an appeal for me to dig into raw foods, the ones that sacrifice nothing to the cooking process and leave you feeling satisfied but still light and refreshed.
A starting salad with lots of raw additions can feed a crowd for your summer entertaining, and, according to your fancy, you can add avocados, other fruits, more of this, less of that. When composing your salad, try to understand what your main goal is: do you want to bring crunch (romaine, endive), or maybe a little pungency (arugula, wild rocket). Spinach, as a base, offers more chew, as does kale, so should not be paired with softer foods. Butter lettuce is tender and very subtle in taste, so it needs chives or shallots to bring it a little contrast and keep it out of the “boring” zone.
When you have the luxury of having access to fresh fish, a very rewarding option is to go raw. There is nothing more refreshing than a shrimp ceviche in the summer, or a Carpaccio of salmon, or the attached recipe for tuna tartare. The lemon juice, or any other acidic addition, will lower the pH of the food which lowers the negative charges on the protein molecules and encourages coagulation. So, in fact, it is a slow version of cooking, rather than submitting the food to heat and causing a quick and forceful coagulation. As long as the fish you are using is fresh you can use this method of cooking.
And last, one of my favorite summer desserts is a rhubarb and strawberry fool. Light as air, a little acidic with the rhubarb and smooth with the addition of the yogurt, this is a winner for all. Rhubarb is a plant that few people use because of its bitterness, but the intensity of its flavor paired with the strawberries is such a delight at the end of the meal. It also looks spectacular in a large triffle bowl, with strawberries scattered on top.
Cool-Off Summer Salad
1 head of hearts of romaine
3 heads of endives, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 small jicama, peeled
2 persian cucumbers
1 bunch spring onions, sliced thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch radishes, sliced thin
1 oz raw almonds
1 pint strawberries, cut into 4
4 hard-boiled eggs
For the dressing
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, place the romaine, the endive
Cut the jicama into slices, then into batons 1/4 inch wide, then into small dices. Add to the bowl.
Using a mandolin, slice the cucumbers into thin slices, then the radishes and add to the bowl.
Slightly chop the almonds and add to the salad as well as the strawberries. Top with the hard boiled eggs that have been cut in quarters.
Make the dressing by mixing together the mustard, the red wine vinegar and the olive oil in a mason jar. Pour enough over the salad to dress it without drenching it.
Toss the salad and serve.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 pound sushi-grade tuna
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced jalapeño
1 1/2 tsp wasabi powder
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallion
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tomato—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch dice
2 Tbsp chives chopped finely
Combine the olive oil and ginger and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Filter the oil to remove as much of the ginger as possible.
With a very sharp long knife, cut the tuna into 1/8-inch dice. In a large bowl, combine the tuna with 3 tablespoons of the ginger oil, 3 tablespoons of the cilantro and the jalapeño, wasabi, sesame seeds, scallion and lemon juice. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Use a 1 1/2-inch-tall and 2 1/4-inch-round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a salad plate. Fill the mold with tuna tartare, pressing gently. Lift off the mold.
Repeat with the remaining tartare on each plate.
Drizzle the remaining ginger oil around each tartare and sprinkle with the tomato, the remaining tablespoon of cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Fool
9 stalks of rhubarb, leaves removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pint strawberries, divided
1 cup Fage 0% yogurt
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup agave
Make sure you select stalks of rhubarb that are firm to the touch. If the stalks are limp, they are too old and should be discarded.
Divide the strawberries in two. Set aside the prettiest 6 strawberries for decoration. Cut up the rest of the first half in small pieces. Add the second half to the rhubarb.
Place the rhubarb in a pan with the agave and 2 Tbsp of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook slowly for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is completely softened. Let cool.
With a mixer or by hand, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. In a bowl, whisk the yogurt and add the cream, small portions at a time until perfectly combined.
Place the rhubarb/strawberry compote in a food processor and, using the pulse button, break down the rhubarb into a soft puree, with small traces of fruit remaining.
Add the small pieces of raw strawberries to the puree, and little by little, blend in the whipping cream, leaving streaks of puree in it.
Divide into serving bowls and place a strawberry on top of the rhubarb fool. Refrigerate until time to serve.