Malibu Beach Recovery Diet™ January 2012 - Creamy Cauliflower Soup, Sea Bass Steamed in Rosemary Oil, Chocolate Mousse
First of all, my best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. May all your dreams cometrue and all your resolutions last more than a month! For me, healthy eating is one of the hardest ones to maintain. Do not get me wrong, I love the farmer’s market and cooking a beautiful dish that makes your heart and your eyes sing, and your body show you endless grattitude. However, our world is surrounded with the worst possible combinations when it comes to food. Do not get me started on the power of an industry that cares more about dollars than it does about a nation’s health. It is mind boggling that we have just come to realize what has litterally been pushed down our throats by unscrupulous corporate giants. And those combinations are addictive and it takes serious willpower to walk away. We have all been made aware of the catastrophic impact of sugar in our lives, and if not, just imagine a four-year old on Halloween night and you pretty much have the picture of what sugar addiction can cause to your mind, body and blood sugar.
Another excess in our food stream is salt, sodium, soy sauce and all other combinations that greatly contribute to the increase of major diseases as indicated by this article in the NY Times:
“Although there has been on-and-off controversy about the value of limiting dietary salt, there is no question that a high level of sodium in the diet raises blood pressure and the risk of chronic hypertension by stiffening arteries and blocking nitric oxide, which relaxes arteries. Hypertension, in turn, contributes to heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death. Potassium, on the other hand, activates nitric oxide and thus reduces pressure in the arteries, lowering the risk of hypertension.”
Unfortunately, highly processed foods gain in sodium what they lose in potassium, therefore creating an inbalance that puts our health at a higher risk.
Once again, we are reminded that we are the keepers of our bodies and that, if the convenience of eating out, whether fast food or not, is something we have grown accustomed to, the trade-off might be a couple of years shaved off of our life expectancy, whether we like it or not.
The key for me to reclaiming control over our food is to use simple recipes that use fewer ingredients, being able to assess their level of processing and using herbs and spices instead of salt to bring out the true flavors of each ingredient. The following recipes for Creamy Cauliflower Soup, Sea Bass Steamed in Lettuce with Rosemary Oil, and Chocolate Mousse (an MBRC favorite) all have in common is the amazingly clean and strong flavor of each component.
When we compare the ease of preparation and intensity of flavor from a simple meal such as this one, we enter a whole different word of refinement and enjoyment where fast and heavily processed foods will no longer hold their appeal on us.
Click on Continue Reading (below) for the recipes.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
- 1 head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
- Salt, pinch
- 5 1/2 cups water, divided
- Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
- Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.
- Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Seabass Steamed in Lettuce with Rosemary Oil
- 4 8-oz black or Chilean sea bass fillets (or other delicate white fish)
- 8 large green leaf lettuce leaves
- 2 tsp plus 6 Tbsp rosemary oil, (store bought or make your own below)
Remove any little bones from the fish. Season fillets lightly with freshly ground black pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add lettuce leaves and boil for one minute or until just pliable.Remove immediately to a colander and rinse under cold water, being carefuk not to tear the leaves. Pat dry with paper towels.
Brush 1/2 tsp rosemary olive oil on each piece of fish. Wrap each fillet in 2 lettuce leaves, pressing them down to tightly and completely enclose fish.
Bring a large pot of water fitted on top with a flat steamer basket to a boil. Place wrapped fish in the basket in a single layer, vocer and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
While fish is cooking, gently heat 6 Tbsp rosemary oil in a small pot with 3 Tbsp water and a pinch of salt. Keep warm.
Carefully remove fish from steamer and transfer to plates. Drizzle warm sauce over the fish and serve immediately.
- 1 large bunch fresh rosemary
- 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Separate rosemary leaves from the stems. Pack a 1/4 cup measure tightly with rosemary leaves. Wash and dry well.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Place rosemary in boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain in sieve under cold water. Dry with paper towels. Plae rosemary in blender with olive oil. Process until rosemary is finely chopped. Transfer contents to a bowl or to a jar with a lid. Let sit 3 hours, stirring frequently, or shaking the jar.
Strain the oil through a paper coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve. Place in a jar, adding a few rosemary branches if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
French Chocolate Mousse
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- Place the chocolate, butter and vanilla in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Let alone until chocolate is melted. Stir until completely smooth
- Combine the egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in the chocolate while still lukewarm.
- Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until stiff but not dry.
- Add one third of the whites to the chocolate mixture and slowly mix it in to lighten the mass. Pour the rest of the whites in the bowl and carefully mix it in with a spatula until no streaks of white are visible.
- Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.