Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year Recipes

Here we go again, another New Year's and many more resolutions. YUCK! Years ago I gave up on the whole idea of resolutions, way too much pressure. I will say that after hanging out with some amazing chefs over the holidays and over indulging in so many fabulous treats, I could step up my work out and eat a bit lighter! Don’t get me wrong, I have never been a big fan of long term no carb diets. I mean think about a diet that says you can have a burger wrapped in bacon and cheese, but don’t eat a carrot! I also hate the word diet! I think for the long haul moderation is the key. And so many people believe that no carbs means no Italian! I love to watch my Italian friends eat. It is all about pleasure! I think we could learn something from them. How they savor or every bite of small amounts of a wide variety of foods. It could be a simple lettuce salad with balsamic or a tiny chocolate truffle or a glass of Pinot noir. It is all about pleasure! You can take many Italian dishes and un-carb them. Have a Caesar without croutons or use a classic pesto over swordfish or scallops. You can use your favorite sauce over spaghetti squash as I have done with a classic tomato and basil. I invite you to try some of these Northern Italian inspired recipes. A bit lighter perhaps, but you can always serve them up with a little risotto, pasta or roasted potatoes! Mostly I encourage you to embrace the body you have and to be healthy, happy and live a love filled life.

Prosciutto with Melon

This is a classic appetizer. It is also great with a loaf of crusty bread or you can wrap the prosciutto around figs; or spread some goat cheese on slice and wrap around grilled asparagus.

1 melon, cut into 6 wedges
18 paper-thin prosciutto slices

Place 1 melon wedge on each of 6 plates. Arrange 3 prosciutto slices alongside melon or drape over melon and serve.

Spicy Mozzarella with Oregano and Capers
Serve with an assortment of artichoke hearts, olives and salami for an appetizer or light lunch.

12 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
3 tablespoons capers, chopped
Kosher Salt and ground Pepper to taste

Overlap cheese slices on medium platter.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper and stir just until garlic begins to color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in oregano, salt, and pepper. Cool. Stir in capers and remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Spoon
over cheese slices.

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

3 pounds of spaghetti squash (1 large or 2 small)
2 tablespoons butter OR 2tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons fresh basil
Preheat oven to 375. Place squash on baking dish and pierce with a fork 6 times. Bake until squash tests tender when pierced with a fork. About 45 minutes; turning once during cooking.
Half way through cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Sautee onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until tomatoes are thickened. Remove squash from the oven and using an oven mitt, cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds then pull the long strands into a large bowl using a fork. Toss well with butter, Parmesan and basil. Divide four ways and spoon sauce over top.

Halibut in Herb Sauce

1/4-cup fresh lemon juice
1/4-cup olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
6 6-ounce halibut fillets
Olive Oil for brushing

Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler. Brush fish with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer fish to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 chicken breast halves with ribs and skin, cut crosswise in half
3 chicken drumsticks with skin
3 chicken thighs with skin
6 ounces 1/4-inch cubes prosciutto
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup crushed tomatoes with added puree
Fresh rosemary for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, sauté chicken until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Add prosciutto, sliced garlic, and chopped rosemary to same pot. Stir 1 minute. Add dry white wine, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes with puree. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Boil 5 minutes. Return chicken to pot, arranging in single layer. Return to boil. Cover pot and place in oven. Bake until chicken breasts are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from oven.
Bring chicken mixture to simmer. Transfer chicken to platter; tent with foil. Boil until sauce is reduced to 2 cups and coats back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

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