Book Reviews by Norene  

The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook

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Going South for the Holidays

(For great hors d'oeuvres recipes from The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook visit Hors d'Oeuvres for a Crowd)

If you're thinking about getting into a bathing suit for your winter vacation, let South Beach be your destination! 

Entertaining doesn't mean giving up the foods you love. Cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston has added yet another book to his popular South Beach Diet cookbook series. In The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook (Holtzbrinck Publishers, $32.00 Cdn), there are more than 20 menus and 150 healthy and delicious recipes for entertaining family and friends. 

The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook: Healthy Recipes for Entertaining Family And Friends
by
Arthur Agatston, MD

Holtzbrinck Publishers, $32.00 Cdn

Tel. (800) 848-4735

Order Now from Chapters.Indigo.ca or Amazon.com

Every recipe meets the South Beach Diet guidelines for healthy eating and great taste. For each menu, there are helpful make-ahead tips for stress-free entertaining. Dr. Agatston provides practical advice on maintaining your South Beach Diet lifestyle for celebrations throughout the year and making the best food choices possible, whatever the occasion. Full colour photos offer beautiful table settings, centerpieces and tempting food presentations.

Every recipe meets the South Beach Diet guidelines for healthy eating and great taste. For each menu, there are helpful make-ahead tips for stress-free entertaining. Dr. Agatston provides practical advice on maintaining your South Beach Diet lifestyle for 
celebrations throughout the year and making the best food choices possible, whatever the occasion. Full colour photos offer beautiful table settings, centerpieces and tempting food presentations. 

You'll find recipes for Tahini Dip with Veggies, Matzo Ball Soup, Three Grain Tabouli, Roast Turkey with Fresh Herbs, Grilled Ginger Salmon, Paprika Roast Chicken, Mocha-Hazelnut Brownies and Sponge Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting. Each recipe includes a nutritional analysis and a designation of phase one, two or three of 
the South Beach Diet program.

Although this book includes some non-Kosher recipes, Dr. Agatston is sensitive to the needs of his Jewish audience and offers helpful menus and delicious recipes for Passover and Chanukah. Now you can enjoy those latkes without guilt!

From the book:

Chanukah celebrates the triumph of Judah Maccabee and his soldiers in their victory over the tyrant Antiochus more than 2,000 years ago. After a long, hard-fought battle, the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to find their temple stripped by looters. They cleaned house, made repairs and, having found just enough oil to light the menorah for one day, were surprised and blessed with the miracle of eight days of light. 

Today the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of a candle on the menorah for each of the eight days, in memory of the miraculous oil. Naturally, part of the tradition is cooking foods in oil, including latkes, the potato pancakes that are loved by young and 
old. Crisp and delicious, they are made here with nutritious sweet potato and zucchini in place of white potato and cooked in healthy canola oil.

SWEET POTATO AND ZUCCHINI LATKES (Phase 2)

This twist on a Chanukah favourite yields a delightfully crispy and slightly sweet pancake. Prepare the batter right before cooking to prevent excess liquid and soggy pancakes; pour off any excess liquid while cooking, if necessary. These lacy latkes are delicate, so don't press down too hard on them once they are in the pan. 

1 medium zucchini (1/2 pound), ends trimmed
1 large sweet potato (3/4 pound), peeled
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. canola oil
Unsweetened apple sauce (optional)

Slice zucchini lengthwise and remove seeds. Coarsely grate zucchini and potato in a food processor or with a hand grater; transfer to a medium bowl. Add onion, egg, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, add zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoons to skillet, gently flattening with the back of the spoon as you go. Cook until the edges are golden, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook until bottom is golden, about 1 minute more (adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning). Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining zucchini mixture. Serve latkes hot with applesauce on the side, if desired.

Makes 24 (2-inch) latkes.

Per 2 latkes: 100 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 220 mg sodium

Make-Ahead: Latkes can be made up to 6 hours in advance and kept covered at room temperature. Reheat on a baking sheet (preferably dark bottomed) at 375F until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

BRAISED MINI MEATBALLS (Phase 1)

If this is your first time making meatballs without breadcrumbs, be prepared for a terrific surprise. They hold together beautifully and are just as delicious as those made with bread. 

1 1/2 lbs. extra-lean ground beef
2 large eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
2 cups lower-sodium beef broth
2 tsp. granular sugar substitute

Combine beef, eggs, onion, parsley, basil, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Mix well with wet hands or a wooden spoon. Form into 36 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Carefully add meatballs to the skillet (this can be done in batches, if necessary) and cook until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Pour off any excess fat from the skillet. Return all meatballs to the skillet and reduce heat to low.

Whisk together wine and tomato paste in a small bowl; pour over meatballs. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tomato mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add broth and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in sugar substitute. Sprinkle with additional parsley just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 (3-piece) servings.

Per serving: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 15 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 132 mg sodium

Make-Ahead: Meatballs can be cooked, cooled and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator before gently heating on the stove top over low heat.

CINNAMON-CHOCOLATE MANDELBROIT (Phase 3)

These twice-baked cookies, a Chanukah favourite, are similar to Italian Biscotti.

1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup trans-fat-free margarine, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granular sugar substitute
1/4 cup undiluted orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop.

Combine margarine, 1/4 cup of the sugar substitute, orange juice concentrate, eggs, zest and vanilla in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, sift together whole-grain and all-purpose flours, baking powder, 2 tsp. of the cinnamon, and salt. Stir in chopped almonds and chocolate. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and stir just to combine. Using 
your hands, knead the dough gently until it sticks together and forms a ball. Divide dough in half and shape each half into an 8-inch-long log. Place logs on a baking sheet and press each gently to flatten to 1-inch thickness.

Bake logs for 20 minutes, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tbsp. sugar substitute and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl. 

When logs are cool, use a serrated knife to cut each log crosswise into 12 pieces. Lay cookies flat on the baking sheet and sprinkle the tops evenly with the cinnamon mixture. Bake until cookies are lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve. 

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Per cookie: 100 calories, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 60 mg sodium

Make-Ahead: Mandelbroit can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store in a covered container.

For great hors d'oeuvres recipes from The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook visit Hors d'Oeuvres for a Crowd 

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