Malibu Beach Recovery Diet – Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad, Southeast Asian Style Turkey Burgers with Pickled Cucumbers, 4th of July Pie
Many of us see the coming of the summer as a great way to remind us of our New Year’s Eve resolutions to eat better, be healthier, make commitments to better ourselves and enjoy our lives to the fullest. The appeal of fresh fruits and salads at the farmers market, the many invitations to wear skimpy outfits at the beach, the length of the available daylight and our general seasonal impulses make this a season to reflect on the choices we make. As a baker by choice, this is a hard one for me, believe me!
However, we have immensely successful tools to help us, not that they are necessary new, but their benefits have been newly rediscovered and are now celebrated in the press as the best way all around to take care of your body, the best diet out there to successfully lose weight and the overall better way to go! The Los Angeles Times recently cited a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that demonstrated the benefits of “a low glycemic index diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and designed to prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar.”
The low glycemic diet that is practiced and implemented at the Malibu Beach Recovery Center, emphasizes the use of whole, organic products, fruits, vegetables, the systematic exclusion of processed and overly manufactured, industrialized goods, the balance between satisfaction and nutrition enhances our bodily functions, accelerates recovery and allows peak performance at any age and in any condition. We have, in addition, seen physical transformations that were nothing short of miraculous: within days, patients have better skin coloring, bright eyes, shiny hair… well, that’s if they had hair… we can’t work that miracle just yet! They would also express how their level of energy had increased and how much clearer their thought process was becoming.
I am a firm believer that the body is an extraordinary healing machine that, if steered in the right direction, can blow us away by its ability to renew and regenerate itself. The low-glycemic diet is one of those tools. It is nothing short of extraordinary… but, though our knowledge of the value of ingredients, some pretty nifty cooking skills and a taste for experimentation, we have also made it fun, delicious, surprisingly tasty and overall very, very satisfying.
Click below on “Continue Reading” for the recipes.
Yield: Serves 8-10 as a side.
Do not refrigerate the tomatoes ahead of time. Doing so will hurt the flavor of the tomatoes and can make the texture mealy.
- 8 ounces orzo pasta
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
- Juice of a lemon
- Black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Add the orzo, stirring it so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook, uncovered, at a high boil until al dente, cooked through but still a bit firm. Drain the pasta (it helps to use a fine mesh sieve for this as the small orzo might pass through holes in a colander), and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.
- Toss the pasta with the olive oil in a large bowl. At this point you can make ahead and chill until you are ready to serve (or transport to a party). Toss with the rest of the ingredients, the tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, green onions, oregano, lemon juice, and black pepper. The feta is salty so you shouldn’t need to add more salt.
Southeast Asian Style Turkey Burgers with Pickled Cucumbers
Yield: Serves 4
If you do not have time to make the pickled cucumber, the recipe is perfectly fine. I just enjoy making these once a week and pairing them with this turkey burger, salads or any other sandwich.
For pickled cucumbers
- 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon agave
- 1/4 cup pickled ginger (optional)
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 slices firm white sandwich bread
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
- 4 light hamburger buns
Make pickled cucumbers:
In a bowl stir together vinegar and agave until dissolved. If using ginger, chop. Slice enough cucumber crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices to measure 1 1/2 cups and add to vinegar with ginger, tossing well. Marinate mixture at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Mince garlic. Into a blender tear bread slices and grind into fine crumbs. In a bowl with your hands mix garlic with bread crumbs and remaining burger ingredients until just combined (do not overmix) and form into four 1-inch-thick patties. Season burgers with salt and pepper and grill on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals about 5 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. Transfer burgers to buns and top with drained cucumbers.
4th of July pie
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 1 stick butter
- 2 Tbsp Almond Meal
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp milk
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 Tbsp agave syrup
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
- 2 Tbsp agave syrup
- !/3 cup orange juice
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, and almond meal with butter in food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and milk and pulse until dough forms a ball. Line a tart pan with removable bottom with the crust and place in the freezer for a few minutes. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the pie and line with uncooked, dry beans. Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the crust starts to dry out. Remove the beans and parchment paper and place the crust back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
For pastry crust: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, agave, and flour until the mixture is completely smooth.
Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170F on a digital thermometer and is very thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before filling pastry.
Fill pastry crust with pastry cream and dispose the fruits in circles starting from the center of the pie, one row red, the next blue, leaving a small space in between the rows. Heat the orange juice and the agave to melt together and let cool. Brush the fruits with the glaze.
Finish: Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks for. Place in a small piping bag (or in a sandwich bag and snip a small hole at the corner) and pipe stars in between the fruits for a red, white and blue effect.
Serve remaining whipping cream on the side.