Malibu Beach Recovery Diet – Olive Oil Baked Shrimp, Cucumber Salad, Chocolate Sorbet
When I think of summer, especially in California, I think of extremes. I think of hot scorching sun with cold beverages, spicy foods with cool-off yogurt dips, luscious hot desserts with ice cream. When you look at the country where temperatures are the most elevated, this is also where you find the spiciest foods. Our palate is intricately excited by the combinations of tastes, temperatures, textures and acidity. It keeps eating and cooking interesting and makes all food more palatable. Always think that, when you are on a food journey (I’m trying hard not to call it a diet there!) and are experiencing any restriction whatsoever, your chances of success are directly proportional to the interest you develop in your food. Boring food will never be something you can look forward to eating and you will soon start thinking of what you are missing rather than the beneficial consequences of the diet. But add a kick of flavor, a bit of heat, a contrast in the development of your recipe, and your palate will never know what you have deleted from your food dictionary, either temporarily or permanently, and will explore the new flavors it is being subjected to with excitement, anticipation, and a sense of adventure.
The first recipe that I would like to share with you is one that fully illustrates the above. When you mix cool cucumbers with a tangy dressing and a shot of red pepper flakes, the result is nothing close to boring. Make sure to apply the crushing tip so that the structure of the cucumber is softened and it can better soak in the dressing. You can add arugula to the mix if you want to bulk up this salad for a crowd but you can be sure it will be a hit on a hot summer day,
Follow this by a super quick and super tasty dish of oven-baked shrimp. Once again, the flavor profile reminds me of a hot Brazilian night on the beach. Tender and fiery, the shrimp offer an excellent contrast to a bowl of steamed couscous with plenty of lime juice to go around.
Last but not least, the chocolate sorbet is a revelation: smooth, creamy, intense and yet extremely easy to make, this will become quickly one of your go-to recipes for entertainment. Follow the directions precisely and you will be guaranteed exceptional results. Serve with fresh raspberries and a drizzle of raspberry coulis and get ready for the compliments to shower you with pride.
Please note that all the recipes below are make-ahead recipes so you can spend time with your friends instead of slaving at the stove… good company is the best ingredient of a successful party!
Click below on “Continue Reading” for the recipes.
Olive Oil Baked Shrimp
- 2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 4 limes cut into quarters
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 red pepper
- 2 scallions or fresh Mexican onions
- 1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients except limes in an oven-safe pan and bake for 10 minutes.
While the shrimp is baking, heat the vegetable broth in a saucepan. When boiling, turn off the heat and sprinkle the couscous over the broth. Cover tightly and let steam for 10 minutes. In the meantime, cut the scallion or the onion in paper-thin slices and julienne the pepper. When the couscous is cooked, use the tip of a fork to fluff it and pour into a serving dish. Add the butter, scallions and pepper and mix lightly.
Serves 4 as a salad
- 1 large or 2 medium European cucumbers
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp agave syrup
- 2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 5 Thai dried chiles, or 3 for milder heat
- 1/2 jalapeño, minced
- 7 Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup packed torn cilantro leaves
1. Peel the cucumber, leaving some thin strips of peel on for a decorative effect. Cut lengthwise into quarters and discard the seeds.
2. Use the flat side of a cleaver or large knife to bash the cucumber pieces several times. This will make them more permeable to absorb the dressing. Cut the pieces lengthwise into thinner strips, and then cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Place in a medium bowl.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and agave syrup. Pour over the cucumber, mix well, and set aside.
4. Place a wok or skillet over high heat. When it is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Toss in the dried chiles, jalapeño, and peppercorns and stir-fry for 20-30 seconds. Pour over the cucumbers. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well.
5. Mound the salad in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the cilantro leaves and serve immediately.
Makes about 1 quart
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 package frozen raspberries, thawed in their juices
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the agave syrup, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.
- For the coulis, pour the thawed frozen raspberries into the bowl of a blender. Process at high speed until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to eliminate all seeds and refrigerate.
- To serve, place a scoop of chocolate sorbet in a bowl or ice-cream cup and top with a few fresh raspberries. Drizzle a little raspberry coulis on top and enjoy!