Tag Archives: Light

A Side that Won’t Hurt Your Sides

Faux is not a word I generally include in my vocabulary.  Let’s be real, this Bite-Sized Blonde keeps it real, and that’s the way I like my fur and my food.  Faux-fur…more like faux-pas.  But there is one faux that is definitely more friend than foe and that’s faux fat.  Faux fat – as defined by the Bite-Sized dictionary is a term used to describe something luscious but low-cal; also see deceivingly distending.

I’ve been known to throw caution my waistline to the wind and eat what I want when I want.  You only live once to me really just means you eat what you want.  See here, here and here.

But sometimes, as luck will have it, some of the most dynamic recipes end up being figure friendly and seriously kind to your behind.  Case in point, Banging Brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts are trendy these days, probably because they are hearty and filling but light and leafy, not to mention de-li-cious.  The short, but impactful, recipe below is approachable and totally unexpected, and what you’re left with is a dish that is familiar but extraordinary.

Apple cider vinegar is an underrated ingredient.  It adds an element of tanginess that will keep your taste buds on their toes.   The crème fraiche and mustard mixture adds an element of creaminess that screams fat; but it’s faux! One tablespoon of crème fraiche is about 55 calories. Mixed with 1 tablespoon of mustard, only 30 calories, this dish is low cal – high taste that is sure to impress.

Banging Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients
16 ounces of Brussels Sprouts
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbs. Crème Fraiche
1 tbs . Grained Dijon Mustard
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Wash the Brussels Sprouts. Some of them might have a long stem, so trim the sprouts that do. Make sure not to cut the stem off entirely, or the sprout will fall apart! Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half. And place in a plastic Ziploc bag with the apple cider vinegar and let sit for approximately 10 minutes. Place the Brussels Sprouts on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until they look well done. They should be dark brown and crispy. When they are completely cooked, remove from the oven. In a medium bowl, combine the crème fraiche and Dijon mustard and mix well. Add the Brussels Sprouts to the mixture and toss. Coat the Brussels Sprouts well.  Serve, enjoy, grab a fork and let the guilt be gone!

The Juice is Worth the Squeeze

It’s no secret that I love cooking.  And researching recipes, well that’s like foreplay for me.  But not every recipe gets my attention.  What can I say? This Bite-Sized Blonde is one tough cookie, or something that sounds like it tastes better? Who came up with that saying anyway? Why would anyone want to be a tough cookie? Personally, I’d like to think I would be a soft baked cookie, preferably one that was kind of still gooey on inside.  But, I digress.  The truth is, there are a couple key characteristics I look for in a recipe, including accessible and appealing ingredients and the prep to table ratio.  The prep to table ratio is all about time management.  And a wise man once told me it’s all about time management, although I’m pretty sure he was talking about dating.  I, being a Foodie, obviously related that to what I know best.

The prep to table ratio is a tool I use to help me decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.   A time consuming recipe becomes more appealing if it can last longer.  The L word is not one I say often, believe you me, but every now and again I let it slip.   Leftover.   That’s right.  I don’t like leftovers, so my prep to table ratio really only relates to what I can freeze and make again when I’m ready.  I think the best example of this is soup.  It’s time consuming by nature because the flavors develop as the soup cooks.  But, one big pot can make about 10 servings, and with 10 plastic containers, that easily becomes 10 meals.

Have a date coming over for dinner? Heat up a soup.  Got home late from work? Heat up some soup.  Bad weather blues? You get the point.

Porcini Mushroom Soup (makes about 8 servings*)

Ingredients
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms
½ ounce of dried maitake mushrooms
½ white onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of mushroom mélange seasoning
½ lb. small new potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
4 cups water
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions
Soak the porcini and maitake mushrooms in 2 ½ cups of hot water for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside in two separate bowls.

Heat a splash of the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot, sauté the onions for a couple of minutes and then stir in the rosemary and potatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, the mushrooms and the soaking liquid, 4 cups of water, 1 cup of vegetable stock, salt and mushroom melange seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes.  Here comes the important step: taste it!  If the broth doesn’t seem flavorful enough, play around! Add salt, pepper or more of any of the ingredients listed above and let the soup continue to cook over medium to high heat for another 30 minutes.  If the broth is too intense, you may want to add more water a bit at a time.

If you are ready to serve, sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with a piece of crunchy, toasty bread.

Make sure to freeze your leftovers.  Ladle individual servings into plastic containers.  That way, when you come home on a cold, dark night, and want some soup, you can simply grab a frozen soup out of the freezer.

*I usually double this recipe so I have lots of extra to freeze! That way, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze…

Recipe inspired by http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/porcini-mushroom-soup-recipe.html

Soup Solution of Delicious Proportions

That feeling when you know you are about to get a cold can be one of the worst feelings.   It can be so much worse than actually having a cold. When you have a cold, there are medicines you can take to make yourself better.  When you are about to get a cold, you can feel like getting sick is pretty much inevitable, no matter what you do.  But, it doesn’t have to be.

Any Jewish mom will tell you to have a bowl of matzo ball soup; it is known as the Jewish penicillin for a reason.  But this Bite-Sized Blonde has another soup solution for your sniffles.  Carrot Ginger Soup is a not so obvious remedy of delicious proportions.

Most people know that carrots are high in vitamin a, but did you also know they are chock full of vitamin C, which is why they make such a great base for a get-well soup. Ginger is antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria.   It also helps eliminate congestion, eases throat pain and has been known to combat chills and fever.   Sounds like a winning combo if you ask me.  This soup is even more delicious than it is beneficial, if you can believe it.  This is such a great make-ahead soup to keep in yourfreezer for a rainy day or an unexpected cold.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Ingredients
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup of peeled and finely chopped ginger*
1 ½ pounds of carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Blender (regular or handheld)

Directions
Heat 3 tbs. of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the stock, water and carrots.  Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the pot to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the carrots are very tender.  This will take approximately 30 minutes.  If you have an immersion blender, as shown in the pictures above, use this to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  If you have a regular blender, puree the soup in batches by adding portions of the soup into the blender at a time.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

*Ginger can be tricky to peel because it is so misshapen.  An easy way to peel ginger is to actually forgo the peeler altogether! Use a spoon to peel the skin away; it helps with all the nooks and crannies!

Recipe Inspired by:
http://whippedtheblog.com/2009/12/01/simple-carrot-ginger-soup/

Post inspired by:
http://cravingsgoneclean.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/get-well-ginger-butternut-squash-soup/

Skinny Spaghetti

There’s only one thing this girly girl likes to twirl more than a giant party skirt, and that’s a fork full of spaghetti.  If I could have one wish granted from a genie it would be that all carbs would be calorie free, and if the genie told me that was greedy, I would happily accept pasta as my calorie free carb of choice.  Or pizza? No, I’m gonna stick with pasta.  But alas, I don’t have a magic lamp to rub, so it looks like I am sh*t outta luck.

There is nothing comparable to a big old bowl of starchy spaghetti, but there are alternatives.  Don’t worry; I’m not getting all “hippie dippie tofu fake spaghetti” on you.  Yes, that is a real term.  But, I am forgoing the flour for something a little more figure friendly.  Zucchini, if cut properly can transform into silky strands of spaghetti.  How you ask? Let me tell you – the solution is simple and it’s just one word – Julienne.  Julienne is a type of knife cut in which the food is cut into long thing strips.  These thin strips usually resemble shoe strings.  But if you ask me, spaghetti sounds way more desirable than shoe strings any day of the week.  The easiest way to julienne cut your zucchini is to use a mandolin.  But since the good ones are really expensive and slightly dangerous, they aren’t the most popular kitchen appliance for the average Joe.  Of course, I have another solution for you – a julienne peeler.  Not only is this little tool effective, it is totally reasonable.  At $8, it would be silly not to buy this easy to use utensil.  And of course, there is always the option of practicing your knife skills and cutting these bad boys by hand.

No matter the tool to get the job done, the once average zucchini is now spaghetti, and that’s seriously magical.  If you thought skinny and spaghetti didn’t go together before, think again.  This recipe will fill you up and trim you down.

Skinny Spaghetti (serves 2)
Ingredients
4 medium-large zucchini
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of tomato sauce

Directions
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  (Once the zucchini is cooked, it will need to be cooled down immediately to stop the cooking process.)  Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.  When the water is boiling, add the julienne cut zucchini for 1 minute.   Remove immediately and place into the ice bath for 1 minute.  While the zucchini is cooling off in the ice bath, heat 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce.  You can use my recipe for a chunky tomato sauce, or use a jar of your favorite! Once the zucchini is cool and the sauce is hot, add the zucchini to the pot and toss in the sauce.  Serve with some grated parmesan or mozzarella.

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Oh, Irene.  You are such a tease.  And since it takes one to know one, I can say this with conviction.  You got us New Yorkers all riled up, and for what? Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  Except maybe a little junk food eating contest.  If you stocked up on food to prepare for the possible power outages, I bet you ate it all this weekend.  Not because the power went out and you needed to, but because you were so bored the food actually provided an activity.  Well, if you gained the “Irene Fifteen” this weekend, you might be looking for a light and easy dinner, out of your apartment, which of course now feels like a jail cell. 

Westville is the perfect place to go.  This small and simple restaurant has a menu that speaks to everyone.  Their food is prepared simply and tastefully, which is exactly what the doctor ordered, or nutritionist, whatever.  

The Greek Salad is loaded with olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and avocado.  It is served over grilled bread with melted herb goat cheese.  I like to add the Grilled Steak to this salad to make it a meal.  The steak is flavorful and juicy and the salad is crisp. 

The Grilled Lemon Herb Marinated Chicken is my favorite item on the menu.  The chicken is packed with flavor and it is incredibly juicy, the way chicken is meant to be cooked.  It is served with 2 sides from the market.  What’s the market? Glad you asked.  The market is Westville’s abundant list of veggies.   They offer everything from asparagus to bok choy and back again.  It is a vegetarian’s dream come true, and mine as well.   I love the Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts, and for good reason.  They are little tidbits of veggie heaven.  I couldn’t resist the Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad.  After all, it is tomato season.

Riddle me this.  What’s dinner without dessert?  While you ponder that, feast your eyes on this.  A homemade ice cream sandwich. Clearly, I’ve become a little obsessed with Ice Cream Sammies recently.  This isn’t on the menu, but ice cream is, and so are cookies, and the waiters are more than happy to accommodate your needs, no matter how indulgent they are.

With three locations, Westville convenient for everyone.   I happen to love the Lower East Side location, but they offer the same menu in the West Village and Chelsea.  So, whether the weather has you feeling on a bit on the bulky side, or you just want an easy, light dinner, head over to Westville.

Westville East
173 Avenue A (11th Street)
New York, NY  
212.677.2933

Westville West
210 W 10th Street (Between Bleecker and West 4th Street )
New York, NY
212.741.7971

Westville Chelsea
246 W18th Street (Between 7th & 8th Avenue)
New York, NY
212.924.2223

Mother Shucker

My favorite summer activities include going to the beach, rollerblading and shucking corn.  Yes, I just said shucking corn.  You know why? Because summer corn is the sweetest and cause I find it relaxing.  What can I say? I’m a quirky chick. But I also love shucking corn because I make a damn good Summer Corn Salad, and I would NEVER use anything but the sweetest, freshest corn for this refreshing salad. By the way, I am a terrible rollerblader.  Watch out now.

I could eat a big bowl of this salad all by itself, and, in fact I usually do.  But, it’s really more of a side-dish, like a great accessory.  It is the cognac colored wedges to any summer outfit.  Although this Bite-Sized Blonde likes to walk around in shoes, and only shoes, sometimes an outfit is not only necessary but desired. Queue the main dish…Chicken Paillard.  So, here’s to a well-rounded meal in a well-rounded outfit.

Chicken Paillard and Summer Corn Salad (serves 4)

Summer Corn Salad
Ingredients
6 ears of corn
6 oz. Baby heirloom tomatoes
2 Shallots
4 oz. Feta Cheese
3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs. Rice Wine Vinegar
Basil
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
To make the summer corn salad, shuck the corns! Add the corn to a pot of bowling water.  Cook for approximately 7 minutes, or until the color of the corn brightens.  Remove from the boiling water and add to an ice bath to chill.  This will stop the cooking process so the corn doesn’t overcook.  Remove from the ice bath after 1 minute.  Cut the kernels off and add them to a large bowl.  Cut the tomatoes depending on size.  If they are big, you may want to cut them in quarters.  Add the tomatoes to the bowl of corn.  Mince the shallots and add them to the bowl as well.  Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle on top of the salad.  Toss with the extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with pepper. Set in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  Garnish with basil before serving.

Chicken Paillard
Ingredients
4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
All purpose flour
1½ tbs. butter
1½ Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.  Season with salt and pepper, and then dust with flour to coat lightly.  Make sure there is no excess flour!! Melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.

Once the salad is chilled, add it to the Chicken Paillard to a sweet and healthy summer meal.

A Little Something Eggstra

Before the summer started, and bikini season was in full force, I was the Sweatheart of Breakfast Sammies…not to be confused with the Breakfast Sammies Sweatheart.  This Bite-Sized Blonde does not fancy Ron Ron, although I am excited for the start of another wild season of the Jersey Shore.  But that’s neither here nor there.

What’s really important here is breakfast, ya know, the meal that dictates your day, maps out your morning, and amplifies your am.  Of course, I am still enjoying the Sweet Breakfast Quinoa and not just because it’s summer.  I have been eating it several times a week, most often for breakfast, but sometimes as a sweet mid-afternoon snack.  What can I say? I am a creature of habit.  But just in case you are looking for a little something to switch up your morning mix, I have another breakfast recipe that is great on the go and good for your gut.

Egg salad is easy and portable.  Since eggs are protein, it’s filling, and it really is a great accompaniment to the king of all carbohydrates, the bagel.  If yolks aren’t your thing, because they aren’t eggsactly mine, wink wink, I have a delicious egg white salad for you.

You can add it to toast, if your heart and belly so desire.  But the toast is truly optional here, as I’ve made sure to include some belly-friendly carbs by adding quinoa.

Ingredients
1 dozen eggs, hardboiled
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 handful of spinach, chiffonade*
½ cup quinoa, cooked
½ tbs. mustard
1.5 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
Remove the yolk and chop the egg whites to your desired consistency.  Add the scallions, white and light green parts only.  Add the spinach.  *Chiffonade means to cut into thin, long strips. To chiffonade the spinach, stack the leaves and then roll them tightly. Then, cut across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife to produce long ribbons.  Add the quinoa.  In a small bowl, mix together the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Mustard.  Pour over the egg salad and toss to combine.