Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rosemary Acai Cocktail

Is there such a thing as a 'healthy drunk'?  Can liquor be good for you?

The little acai berry has garnered its fair share of press lately for its potentially powerful level of antioxidant activity; this little superfood is said to be better for you than a blueberry. Products from juice to face cream to shampoos are now touting the benefits from adding acai in the ingredient list.

So an acai liquor should not come as any surprise; it was the obvious next choice after acai berry toothpaste.

It's a clear liqueur similar to a sweet-flavored vodka, it mixes well with simple syrups and fruits.  Martini's are a given, cocktail concoctions are endless and I might even use this in place of gin in my classic sangria recipe.

Honestly, do I think this delightfully tasty drink offers real benefits of the acai?  Hardly.  Even if the antioxidants make it through the fermenting process, the liquor itself probably outweighs those benefits.  I wouldn't substitute a cocktail in place of my morning workout and daily fruit intake but there is no reason I can't add into my daily routine, just in case....

Tips and techniques:  Make the simple syrup ahead of time so it has time to cool.

Rosemary Acai Cocktail
Rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
1 shot Acai liqueur
Club soda (roughly 1/4 cup per glass)
1 small lemon quartered and a few slivers for garnish
Fresh rosemary leaves for garnish

Choose an 8 oz cocktail glass and add a few ice cubes.  Add a scant 1/2 cup of simple syrup, one shot of acai liqueur and a squeeze of lemon per glass. Top the glass off with fresh club soda, use a rosemary stem to give it a quick stir.  Garnish with the fresh rosemary and a sliver of lemon.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

6-8 large sprigs of Rosemary
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Heat the water and sugar over medium heat, stir, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat

Add the fresh rosemary sprigs the sugar water and cool to room temperature. Set in the refrigerator (or freezer) to chill.  Once chilled, remove the rosemary and follow the acai cocktail recipe above;  makes enough simple syrup for 4 cocktails.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella and Apple Bites

Shopping at a club store like Costco takes patience;  patience and the know-how to operate an over sized cart in-between slow walkers, around kids that dart out unexpectedly from a row of hanging sweat pants and the need to perform an occasional 360 degree loop-de-loop to avoid the free sample tables ... no matter how hungry you are.  It's quite similar to firearms training that policeman go through where a cardboard image of an old lady pops up at the same time as a gang member poster that is aiming an AK-47 at your head and you need to decided who to take out ... from what I've seen on tv, anyway.

I visit Costco about once or twice a year and it completely cracks me up; I often wonder if this is what the French envision when they think of Americans.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great place to save on 100 rolls of toilet paper in one pop; we just don't have the room to store 99 extra rolls. It's also eerily similar to the visiting the DMV.

Costo does make a very nice garlic bread and I've picked up some amazing deals on Quinoa, stuffed pickled peppers and canned tomatoes.  On my last visit I grabbed a great dual mozzarella deal only to realize later my eyes were bigger than any of my recipes. What to do with all the extra cheese overtook my mind for a few hours; so many options but I also wasn't up for a trip to the grocery store.

The bacon became an obvious choice to pair with cheese and the grill.  But I felt it lacked a little something, a little crunchy, a hit of flavor without overwhelming. Enter the apple and the appetizer is complete.  Choose a green apple for sourness or a typical Red Delicious for a milder option.

You don't have to brave Costco to make this simple fat and happy appetizer, but if you're looking for a little challenge, it might be just the adventure course you've been looking for.

Tips and Techniques:  Do pre-cook the bacon and do chill the cheese to avoid a droopy, sticky, melty mess on the grill. I also think it could be fun to have a little drizzle of apricot jam on these but it's totally optional and not needed.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella and Apple Cubes

4 strips of bacon, cut in half
8 cubes of mozzarella, roughly 2"x1'
8 thin slices of apple, peeled
1/2 lemon
fresh ground pepper

Cube the mozzarella cheese, place in the freezer while you pre-cook the bacon.  Cut 4 strips of bacon in half and begin to cook on the stove.  Continue to cook the bacon strips until they nearly begin to brown on both sides, remove from heat and cool.

Slice the apple and squeeze lemon on the apple slices to keep them from turning brown.
Wrap 1/2 piece of  bacon around one cheese cube and one apple slice, carefully thread on a skewer, add fresh ground black pepper.  You can make this recipe ahead of time through these steps.  Place the skewers in the fridge or freezer (don't freeze for more than one hour) until ready to grill. 

 Place the skewers on the grill over medium high heat, grill until the bacon crisps and just before the cheese melts down into the fire, about 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, once the cheese softens it will melt into the fire quickly.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cantaloupe Granita with Sugared Rosemary

I'm not a big dairy fan...unless you count cheese, and Greek yogurt.... AND heavy whipping cream!  Which makes sense considering the amount of ice cream that finds it way through my Cuisinart.  On this particular day however, my fridge was bone dry of the good stuff (the heavy cream) yet the heat in our loft screamed for a chilly treat.

 It was about this time that I noticed (read: smelled) the forgotten cantaloupe purchased at Stanley's a few days prior. I love this little fruit and vegetable market but it's not for the 'forgetful' type. You buy, you use.  Now. 

Granitas are a nice, simple dessert; admittedly they have not always topped my favorite list (probably because there was no cream in them!) However, if you think of this as a gourmet version of those icey pops we had as kids- you know, the ones you cut the plastic top off and then sucked all the good flavor out leaving a lackluster tube of ice...

Behold the flavorful granita. It's more slushy than tubes of ice and more refreshing than fake grape flavor. Enjoy this recipe during the upcoming hot summer days; do change up the fruit and feel free to add a drizzle of vodka to really bring home the 'gourmet' Fat and Happy icey pop version.  You'll find it's actually a nice break from dairy and your body will thank you as well.

Tips and techniques:  Do scrape often with a the tines of a fork; this will help keep the granita slushy instead of having big clumps of ice. Try various fruits when they are at their ripest for the best flavor to shine through.

Cantaloupe Granita with Sugared Rosemary

1 Cantaloupe (2 heaping cups, chopped)
1 Tbls lemon
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 large sprigs of Rosemary

Heat the water and sugar over medium heat, stir, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat

Add the fresh rosemary sprigs the sugar water and cool to room temperature. Set in the refrigerator (or freezer) to chill.  Once chilled, remove the rosemary and follow the candied rosemary recipe below. 

Add the the cubed cantaloupe and the lemon juice to a cuisinart, pulse a few times while slowly drizzling in the sugar water.  You should only need about 1/2 cup of the sugar water, but take a quick taste and add more as needed to your liking.  Pulse enough times so that you have a near liquid concoction; be sure all the big hunks of melon have been crushed.

Pour the mixture in a small Pyrex baking dish or a parchment lined baking pan, carefully place in the freezer.  Allow to set up for about 2 hours, remove from the freezer and scrape the entire granita with the tines of a fork.  Place back in the freezer and repeat the scraping about 2 more times over a two hour period.  (Or if you are like me, as often as you remember!)

To serve, place in a pretty serving dish or glass and top with the sugared rosemary (below).  Add a drizzle of chilled vodka (optional).  Serve immediately.

Sugared Rosemary
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 - 4 rosemary sprigs

To make superfine sugar, simply pulse regular white sugar in the cuisinart or blender for a minute to create smaller particles.  Pour the sugar onto a flat plate.

Remove the rosemary sprigs from the sugar water, shake lightly.  Carefully roll the rosemary sprigs in the sugar and allow to dry.  Garnish each granita with a sprig.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Honey Lemon Micro Greens Salad

Green City Farmers Market in Chicago offers a bevy of  succulent fruits and vegetables; it also offers a place that will annoy the crap out you!  It's the place to be and be seen... it's the place to dodge double wide strollers, dogs and people walking their bikes (rather than locking them up outside of the event.) Oh, and did I mention it's the place to push, shove and cut in line just to get a teeny tiny sample of cheese that barely fits on the end of a sharp toothpick?

All that aside, there are a few good reasons to go. Today's good reason was micro greens; those cute little baby plants that pack a killer amount of flavor.  I picked up a mixture of four: cabbage, pea shoots, radish, cauliflower; each lending their own crunchy flavor to entice your tongue.  A great substitute for lettuce in wraps or in a spring roll, but equally amazing mixed as a salad.  Don't be afraid to ask for tasting and choose the ones that you like best. One ounce of the pea shoots and  a mere one third of an ounce of the littlest baby greens gave me enough to create 2 large salads; easily enough for 4 as a light starter or side.   Ultimately, there are times when annoyance is worth it- this was one of those days.

This recipe is also my shout out to the Weight Loss Challengers at Gozamos. Seems I've been tempting them with some of my not-so-skinny recipes like the unbelievably yummy Choco Taco.  This super delicious and healthy salad will help keep you on your path.... just don't expect these kinds of healthy recipes too often, after all, it the Fat and Happy Blog!

Tips and techniques:  If you can't find micro greens, simply substitute other lettuce.  I've done it previously and the flavor is still quite wonderful, it's just not as exotic.  Go heavy on the pepper; it plays well with the honey and lemon.

 Honey Lemon Salad

4 cups of micro greens (loosely packed)
1/8 cup dried cherries (or cherry craisins), chopped
1/8 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbls sesame seeds
Goat cheese
2-4 Tbls of fresh basil and mint, chopped
fresh black pepper

Toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan, careful not to burn them.  Add in the sesame seeds a few minutes before the almonds are finished toasted, set aside.  Make vinaigrette (below).

Combine the micro greens with the chopped cherries, basil, mint and toasted nuts; add fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette over the salad, toss lightly. Crumble the goat cheese on top with a light hand; you only need a few small crumbles or it will overwhelm the salad.  Taste, add more dressing and pepper if needed.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
2 Tbls fresh squeezed lemon
2 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls honey

Add the ingredients together, warm just slightly for 20 seconds in the microwave and whisk together.  Serve slightly warmed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Roasted Artichoke, Green Chili and Sausage Tostada

Cinco de Mayo appears to be celebrated more throughout America than it does throughout Mexico.  The day is to honor the victory of the Mexican army at the Battle of Pueblo.  It's a celebration of heritage and pride.

So in keeping in the theme of this American-celebrated Mexican day I decided to make a tostada that resembles Mexican food but clearly has an American thread to it.

The Italian sausage, green chili and white bean flavors are a fun spin on a traditional beef and black bean version.  The roasted artichokes finish the combination with an unexpected intense sweetness.

Definately serve this with a salt-rimmed margarita or a Mexican beer.  And no matter what your nationality, celebrate your heritage today... and be fat and happy proud.

Roasted Artichoke, Green Chili and Chorizo Tostada

Make the bean spread first, set aside and keep warm.  Roast the artichokes and toast the tortillas while creating the meat filling.  Have the avocado and goat cheese ready, then put it all together and enjoy immediately.

White Bean Spread

1/4 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno, diced
1 can white beans, partially drained
water, broth, white wine

Sautee the onion and celery in a bit of olive oil until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic, the jalepeno and the white beans.  Continue to sautee for about 5 more mintues to allow the flavors to meld and everything to soften.  Add about 1/4/ cup of water, broth or white wine as the pan begins to get a little dry.

Carefully pour the ingredients into a mini cuisinart (or blender).  Allow to cool slightly, cover the blender with a towel to shield yourself from any hot splatters and then blend into a puree; again adding a few tablespoons of water, broth or wine to thin it out.  Cover and set aside but keep warm.

Roasted Artichokes
Drain 1 can of artichokes; turn on the oven broiler to high.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with Pam.
Lay out artichoke quarters on the pan, place under the broiler until the edges of the artichokes begin to darken.  Toss the 'chokes and place under the broiler again until all of them have roasted spots on them

Green Chili Sausage
3 hot italian sausages, casing removed
1/2 cup chorizo (optional)
1 small can Green Chilis with juice (if you have a fresh green chili, chop it small and add to the sausage sooner.

Remove the casings from the sausage, crumble into a sautee pan and cook over medium heat, breaking up any large sausage pieces with a wooden spoon. Add in the chorizo if using.  Just before the sausage is ready, add in the green chilis and everything meld together.

Toast the tortillas (one per person)
To toast the tortilla- either place under the broiler until the top side is crispy and then flip over and repeat on the other side.  Or toast in a dry pan until the bottom is crispy and then flip and repeat.

Putting it all together

Lay the tortilla on the plate, smear the tortilla with the pureed white bean mixture.  Cover the beans with a large scoop of the sausage mixture, a couple of avocado slices and a handful of the roasted artichokes.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Australian Blueberry Biscuit Scone

A friend once gave me an Australian scone recipe his Mom used to make him in the land down under.  It's quite a simple recipe that's more like a basic biscuit than American scone.  I have to admit -I'm not a huge fan of these American scones often found in chain coffee shops as they are typically  dry, hard and tasteless; a well done, flavorful biscotti fills that need for me.  Most of my own scone recipes create a much lighter, fluffly scone.  The question for you is, how do you like your scone?

I liven up this basic Australian scone recipe by mixing a blueberry jam in the layers of the dough along with fresh blueberries.  The addition of the jam intensifies the flavor profile of the blueberries for a super burst to your senses.

There are two ways to make the scones, either pat out the dough or just scoop mounds out of the bowl for a more rustic look.  I like to make tiny scones, one or two bites allowing me to eat more than one; choose the size that works best for you. You will love these scones- Australian or not!  And if you really can't get past the idea that scones should be dry, hard and tasteless, then just call this an Australian blueberry biscuit instead; no reason to jeopardize a fat and happy morning over the naming of a food.

Tips and techniques:  Do try mixing and matching berries and jam, an apricot jam with blackberries or raspberries with a mint jam would be sensational.  Turbinado sugar is brown in color and the grains are larger; you can substitute regular white sugar if needed.

Australian Blueberry Biscuit Scone

1 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbls + 2 Tbls turbinado (raw) sugar
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbls butter, cold and diced
3/4-1 cup milk
1/2 - 1 cup fresh blueberries
4 Tbls jam

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, add 4 tablespoons of the sugar and the butter, using your hands work the butter into the flour until all the butter clumps are worked in.

Slowly add the milk, a few tablespoons at at time. Depending on the humidity level, you may not need to use all of it.  Continuing to use your hands, work the dough just to the point of being able to knead it, careful not to get the dough too wet.

Decide if you will pat out the dough and use a cookie cutter or if you will make more rustic, drop scone.  If you decide to do a simple drop scone, add the blueberries and jam to the dough and mix lightly.  Use a spoon to scoop out a small ball of dough, drop it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment, simply grease the baking sheet).

If you decide to pat out the dough, pour the dough onto the counter and pat out to about 1 inch thickness.  Spread the jam and the blueberries across the dough, fold the dough in half and re-pat it out to about 1 inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter or a small glass to stamp out the scones, place the scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Some blueberries may fall out- just pick them up and push them into the scones.

Brush the top of the scones with milk, sprinkle with the raw sugar and sliced almonds (optional).  Bake at 400 degrees until the scones are golden brown; approximately 15 minutes depending on the size.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tilapia Fish Sandwiches

I'm constantly looking for creative ways to work fish into our meals. Dave is not a fan of fish, but the health benefits of fish (at least when it's not fried) outweigh his whining- so bring on the fish.

These are two completely different sandwiches. One has an Italian flare with a spread boosting lemons and capers, while the second sandwich plays off of South American and Thai flavors using lime and chili powder mingling with cabbage and mint.

Don't fear fish even if you are land locked, just get creative.  Do you know about Greek yogurt?  If not- drop everything you are currently doing, go straight to the store and buy some now. It's thick, creamy and tasty, and can be a replacement for fattier options like sour cream.  For heartier spreads and if you are NOT watching your weight, you can use mayo or sour cream rather than yogurt. These sandwiches are a fun way to hearty-up fish to help it become a more fat and happy meal.

Tips and techniques:  Substitute whatever white fish you like, I happened to have tilapia on hand.  It's a nice simple fish, with a mild flavor. Use a light hand as this fish is flaky and can break apart easy.  The remaining spreads can be used on eggs the next morning or mixed in a salad for lunch.

Tilapia Fish Sandwiches

4 fillets of flaky white fish
1 cup cornmeal
1 Tbls butter (or olive oil)
4 crusty bread rolls

Make the two spreads first (recipes below). Pour the cornmeal on a flat plate. Dredge each fillet in the corn meal, place in a heated pan with the butter.  Sautee the fish, about 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat.  Then assemble each sandwiches with the ingredients below.  Use one fillet per sandwich.

Italian Fish Sandwich

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbls lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbls capers
3 Tbls red onions, finely chopped
1 Tbls chopped parsley
tomato slices
Red leaf lettuce

For the spread, combine the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, capers and onion in a bowl. Stir to combine.  When the fish is ready,  place the spread on the bun along with a tomato slices, a sprinkle of parsley and fresh leaf lettuce. Top with the sauteed fish and serve while warm.

Spicy Cabbage Fish Sandwich

1/2 cup yogurt
2 Tbls lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 large garlic, minced
1 tsp mint, chopped
1 tsp parsley, chopped
thinly sliced cabbage or broccoli shreds
Tomato slices
Thinly sliced red and yellow peppers

For the spread, combine the yogurt, lime juice and lime zest, chili powder, cumin and garlic in a bowl.  Mix to combine and set aside.  When the fillets are ready, add the spread and sprinkle with the the chopped mint and parsley and then add the cabbage, tomato and peppers to the buns; then top with the sauteed fish.  Serve immediately while warm.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spicy Mustard Sauce

Meatballs sitting in a barbecue sauce is a staple at hors d'oeuvres parties.  Honestly you can't go wrong with that- I love it. But if barbecue meatballs are at every party you host and go too... what a drag.  You've got to set yourself apart.

This spicy mustard sauce does the trick.  It still offers the ease of the classic crockpot meatball idea, but takes the sauce up a notch on the sophistication level and kicks up the spiciness your guest will be addicted too!  I would suggest you make homemade meatballs, but there are a few frozen options that you could get away with if you needed to.

You'll never go wrong with the classics, but when it's this easy to take it up a level, why not be fat and happy!

Tips and Techniques:  Serve your meatballs with baby twice-baked potatoes for a hearty appetizer party.  Make your meatballs a few days head of time and freeze them; remove from freezer the morning of the party.

Spicy Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup mustard
3 tbls worchestershire
1 tbls sriracha sauce
1 tbls horseradish
1 garlic clove, grated or pushed through a garlic press
1 cup greek yogurt

Stir together all the ingredients in a sauce pan, place over medium low heat until warm.  Or place them in a microwave safe bowl and warm on low in your microwave; pull the dish out and stir often.  Serve warm.


Related Posts with Thumbnails