Mmmmm, Memorial Day. Makes me (and probably all of you) think of barbecue, sun, family and the hopefully, a beautiful summer ahead. I’ve got some little treasures to share to set yourself up for Memorial Day festivities, Nutritious Life-style. In addition to all of the usual tips, consider these:
Starters: don’t waste your time with chips, pretzels or other nutrient poor nonsense. Make a gorgeous crudite plate, filled with veggies you may normally overlook: jicima, fennel, radishes, green beans and endive leaves are perfection on a warm day. Sometimes just shaking up your veggie routine is enough variety to keep you satisfied . Hollow out a pepper and use as a little bowl to fill with hummus or a low fat Greek yogurt dip. In lieu of packaged fried chips, make your own by slicing soft tortillas (look for 8 grams of fiber or more on the package) into chip size triangles and tossing them on the BBQ for a few seconds on each side.
CUCUMBER – FETA GREEK YOGURT DIP
Time: 5 active minutes, 1 hour – 24 hours to marinate
Serves: 8 – 10
- 2 cups (16 ounces) Plain fat free Greek Yogurt
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely chopped, and spread on a paper towel to remove excess moisture
- 8 ounces crumbled feta
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons scallion, cut fine
- 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Mix all ingredients well. Prepare a few hours in advance and leave in the refrigerator for flavors to marry. Serve chilled.
So now that you have your cold app, here is a hot and easy one for you. Grilled jalapeños stuffed with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes wrapped in extra lean and delicate prosciutto will make you look like you have just completed culinary school. Full of capsaicin and monounsaturated fat, these one up a pig in a blanket any day!
GRILLED PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED JALAPENOS
Time: 30 minutes
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 1 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, diced
- 18 Jalapeños, washed with a vertical slit cut from top to bottom (remove seeds if you like less heat)
- 18 extra thin slices of lean prosciutto (remove visible fat)
- Mix goat cheese and sundried tomato together.
- Spoon cheese mixture into the jalapeño slit and wrap with a slice of prosciutto
- Secure with a toothpick
- Grill at moderate heat for 12 minutes, until the jalapeño is no longer bright green
Main course: I’m not anti-bread, but truth be told, the bun of a burger or hot dog just doesn’t taste as delicious to me as what is inside. Buns tend to be nutrient poor and over processed. Let’s not waste time with them. I like to focus on the smoky barbecue flavor of the steak, chicken, fish or burger. I used to just skip the bun and go the fork and knife direction, but that is a little anti-barbecue, as it requires a seat and a table to be most effective. These days I put my grilled goodness into a cabbage leaf or sturdy lettuce leaf and chow down – an idea that came from one of my favorite Korean dishes bulgogi.
Time: 30 active minutes, 1 – 24 hours for marinade
- 1 pound extra lean beef sirloin
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 head of lettuce, such as Green Leaf or Boston, washed and drained
- For easier slicing, place beef in freezer for 30 minutes. Cut across the grain so meat will be tender. You want super thin slices – ¼ inch thick at most
- In a bowl, stir together agave, soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds, scallions, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Add the meat until all the slices are coated.
- Cover and marinate 1-2 hours at room temperature or 4 – 24 in a refrigerator.
- Barbeque meat 1 minute on each side. Serve immediately in lettuce cups. Eat like a sandwich.
Just a reminder – avoid charring meat as it is grilled over a hot barbecue. Do not eat blackened or burned animal protein, including beef, pork, chicken or fish – we know that charred meats contain heterocyclic amines – compounds that are known to cause cancer.
Dessert: brush some peaches, pineapple and plums with a little bit of honey and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Toss them on the grill for 3 – 8 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is and serve with a spoonful of sorbet or vanilla bean ice cream and fresh mint.
Happy and healthy Memorial Day. I hope your 2012 celebration is just the beginning of a summer filled with healthfully grilled deliciousness.