Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Arugula Salad with Ricotta, Sweet Potato Crusted Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard Horseradish Sauce, Lemon Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries
Once again, the end of the year is upon us and with this come flurries of resolutions, past regrets and considerations of what is yet to come. One absolute truth is that, what belongs to the past is where it is for a reason… it’s gone, and whatever is in the future is around the bend but not much can be done about it right now. Holidays are a time to enjoy the present, the now, what surrounds us, every day, every minute of it, every little cousin who has grown beyond recognition, every brother or sister that we see only too rarely, people that we could not bear to see more than this one time of the year, and all the ones that we hold dear, the close supporters, the all-loving friends and family for whom each visit, every encounter is another occasion to appreciate their presence and love.
To that effect, the holiday table is one of rejoicing and laughter. No strenuous time spent taming a 15-lb beast that won’t defrost, no accumulation of infinite sides, no five-hour seating obligation that invariably ends up in a well-deserved food coma that will last as long as the leftovers in the fridge.
We are making a very easy Holiday dinner this year, not only in consideration of the time spent in the kitchen, but also easy on the pocketbook. Festive and classy do not need to equate to expensive. These recipes can be prepared ahead of time and assembled at the last minute; they look amazing and are as delicious as a five-star restaurant menu.
We will start with a simple arugula salad where the twist is brought by a trio of ricotta with three different toppings that can go round and round the table, served on bread toasts or directly on the salad.
After this conversation starter, we follow with a spectacular looking salmon filet crusted with sweet potatoes. The crispy topping contrasts sharply with the mellowness of the salmon and is accompanied by a whole-grain mustard horseradish sauce. The fish is served with a few criss-cross sweet potato chips and your choice of greens for vibrant colors.
For dessert, we have a lemon panna cotta which can be prepared way ahead of time and taken out of the refrigerator a couple of minutes before serving. Top with a fresh berry compote and you are ready to enjoy the end of your meal with the beautiful company you entertain.
This is about enjoying who is at your table as much as what is on your table. These recipes are festive and delicious and respect the principles of the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet, so you can be confident that you have all aspects of your new life covered.
Happy Holidays to you and Best Wishes for a festive New Year!
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2 bags arugula salad
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 pound very good quality whole milk ricotta
coarse sea salt
No sugar added fig preserves, stirred until smooth
crushed red pepper flakes
Balsamic vinegar (or you can reduce some regular balsamic to a syrup)
fruity olive oil
1 day-old crusty loaf of bread (Trader Joe’s Pain Pascal)
2 tablespoons olive oil, for the toast crusts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
For The Toast Crusts: Cut loaf in half width-wise. On a cutting board, stand the half-loaf up cut side down. With a serrated knife, shave off the crust of the bread into long strips. You want about a 1/4″ thickness on the strips. Not too thick. Move the loaf around and continue until all you are left with is the inner core of the bread. Reserve inner core for croutons.
Cut the strips into roughly 2″ pieces. You’ll have about 3 to 4 cups of crusts. Place crusts in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle on salt to taste. Toss until well coated.
Place crusts on a sheet pan and bake about 10 minutes, or until dark and toasty, but not burnt. Keep an eye on them! When done, remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or zipper freezer bag.
For The Ricotta Trio: With a large ice cream scoop dipped in warm water, place a scoop of ricotta on three plates. If you are making just one serving, you’ll have leftover ricotta.
Drizzle one scoop with agave. Sprinkle coarse sea salt.
Spoon another scoop with fig jam. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste.
On the last scoop, drizzle with Balsamic reduction and olive oil. Grate some fresh zest over top.
Make dressing: place all ingredients in a screw top container and shake to blend.
Place the arugula in a bowl, drizzle with enough dressing to taste. Serve the salad with the ricotta trio and the toast crusts.
Sweet Potato Crusted Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard Horseradish Sauce
8- 6oz pieces of salmon
For the crust
1 large sweet potato
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Whole-wheat flour as needed
1 Tbsp. Whole grain mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 Tbsp. chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil as needed
For the Chips
1 large sweet potato
1 quart peanut oil
For Sauce: Place all of the ingredients for the sauce into the blender and blend until combined, about 1 minute. Set aside.
For Crust: Grate the sweet potato and place in a strainer to let the liquid drain. After draining, place in a bowl, and add the dill, egg, whole grain mustard, salt and pepper. Add the flour one tablespoon at a time until you get a semi-thick consistency that is spreadable.
Take the salmon pieces, and spread a thin layer of the sweet potato mix on top of each one to completely coat. Set aside until all of the pieces are coated.
In a large sauté pan, heat until the oil is just about smoking, and place the sweet potato side down, and let cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the potato turns golden brown and the sides of the fish start to turn white. Flip over and place in a 400 degree oven for an additional 4 to 5 minutes (depending on the thickness).
For Chips: While the salmon is in the oven, heat the oil in a medium hevy skillet until it reaches 300 degrees on a frying thermometer. Using a French mandolin adjusted to the zig-zag blade, cut the potato into 1/8-inch thick slices, creating the waffle pattern by turning the potato 1/3 turn after each slice. Place 6 to 8 slices of chips at a time in the hot oil and fry until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
Remove the salmon from the heat and serve on a bed of the sauce on a plate with a fresh sprig of dill and the chips as a garnish.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (Fage brand is best)
1/3 cup agave
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup whole milk
1 cup each fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries
2 tsp agave
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Place the cream in a saucepan. Add the agave and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in a bowl and let stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.
Stir the gelatin mixture into the hot cream mixture until dissolved, then stir in the yogurt. Strain the entire mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl to remove any gelatin or yogurt chunks. Place the bowl into an ice bath or in the fridge. Intermittently whisk until mixture is cooled and bowl is no longer warm on the bottom – but not until thickened or set. Divide among six to eight 4-ounce ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
In a small bowl, combine the berries, agave and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Unmold panna cotta onto dessert plates; serve with berry mixture.
Dip each ramekin three-quarters of the way in warm water and invert onto a dessert plate. Serve with the berry mixture.
The panna cotta can also be molded in goblets and served with the fruit over it. This presentation saves the step of unmolding and is even more festive.