Malibu Beach Recovery Diet – Snacks!
Healthful recipes for hummus, ricotta crostinis, and sweet potato Spanish tortillas
When you are following any type of diet or restricted eating program, it is a major contribution to your success to be able to plan ahead. The moments where you are the most tempted to go off-track is when you become hungry and the more you look into your refrigerator or your pantry, the hungrier you become because, either anything takes too long to prepare or there is actually nothing available that would constitute an adequate meal.
As such, preparation is key. To summarize, you should have ready in your refrigerator the following:
- Cooked (oven-roasted) chicken breasts
- Cut-up vegetables, either raw or cooked
- Cooked rice or pasta
- Vinaigrette – I suggest the “1-2-3 dressing”
- Spreads and dips
- Frozen leftover meals assembled in portion containers
This will allow you to make a solid pasta or rice salad in less than 5 minutes and, if you are in the mood for a hot meal, the same elements can be popped into the microwave, topped with grated cheese. You can also easily reheat the frozen meal in 5 minutes.
As such, you will never have the excuse of heading out to the nearest fast-food restaurant.
One additional item that can definitely help you in staying on-course with your diet is to have adequate snacks readily available to you. Many times, just a few bites in between meals will allow you to stretch your appetite into the next meal, or if you are in the kitchen to prepare a meal, they will keep you steady until you are ready to sit down and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Snacks can also become the highlight of an evening with friends and will showcase your skills as a considerate host.
The recipes I have included require a bit of preparation but you will never go to buy these items in the store again once you realize how simple they are to make. They can also be adapted to make them your own with a twist of your imagination.
Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
Fresh Ricotta Crostinis with Red Pepper Coulis
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 quart whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup plain whole yogurt
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 whole-wheat or sourdough baguette
- Chives for decoration
Line a colander with a quadruple layer of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Bring to a simmer and heat until the mixture just begins to curdle. Pour mixture into colander. (For a drier ricotta with bigger curds, continue to simmer 1 to 2 minutes longer until mixture completely separates.)
Stop draining when mixture begins to look like ricotta, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how dry you like it. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks.
Red Pepper Coulis
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Roast the red peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning occasionally, until the peppers are blackened all over. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and let cool completely. Peel the peppers and discard the skins, seeds and cores. Coarsely chop the peppers.
In a food processor, combine the peppers with the olive oil, shallot and vinegar and puree until very smooth. Season the coulis with salt and white pepper.
Grill slices of whole-wheat or sourdough baguette and spread with ricotta. Place a dollop of red pepper coulis on top of the ricotta and sprinkle with chives.
Sweet Potato Spanish Tortilla
Makes about 28 pieces, depending on how it is cut
- 1 bag (16-oz) of sweet potato fries
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (1 1/2 pounds)
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 10 large eggs
Pour enough olive oil into a large saucepan so it’s about an inch deep. Heat over medium heat until a slice of onion bubbles gently when placed in the oil, about 310 degrees. Add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally until just golden, about 8 minutes. Scoop the onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-towel lined baking sheet.
Add about half of the sweet potato fries, and fry until lightly golden and a little puffy, about 10 minutes. Scoop the potatoes from the oil, add to the onions. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes. Reserve the oil. Cut the sweet potato fries into small pieces. Season the vegetables with 3 teaspoons of the salt. (The preparation of the vegetables can be done up to 2 hours ahead.)
Break the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk just enough to combine but not so much that they get loose and runny, about 15 times. Add the vegetables and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
Heat a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil and heat. Add the tortilla mixture and stir briskly with a spatula to get peaks and valleys in the folds of the egg, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the eggs are set but still pretty loose, about 5 minutes. Lay a flat pan lid or a plate on top and invert the tortilla. Add more oil to the pan if needed, and slide the tortilla back into the pan, cover and finish cooking until set and lightly brown, about 3 minutes more. Slide the tortilla out of the pan to a cutting board to cool slightly.
Cut into cubes or thin wedges and serve warm or room temperature.
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas (250 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light tahini paste (270 grams)
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 ½ tablespoons ice-cold water (100 milliliters)
- 1 package whole-wheat pita bread
Put chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain chickpeas. In a medium saucepan, combine drained chickpeas and baking soda over high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook at a simmer, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, from 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
Drain chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 cups (600 grams) now. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in ice water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed, up to two days. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Top with a little stream of olive oil. Serve with warm whole-wheat pita bread or toasted whole-wheat pita triangles.
- Pine Nuts
- Chile Paste or Sriracha
- Basil and chopped walnuts
- Oven-roasted garlic
- Chopped olives