We always wonder why the French are so thin. Remember the best selling book by Mireille Guiliano, French Women Don’t Get Fat?
They manage to eat cheese, Pâtés, bread, dessert, drink wine and still manage their weight. Her message is simple in that she encourages us to not deprive ourselves but just to have smaller portions. Yet her advice is counter-productive to our culture of big houses, big cars, big plates and growing sizes. Part of my New Year’s resolution was to enjoy more variety and less food and I am really enjoying it.
Having a dinner of several small courses can be fun and filling. Most nutritionists and gourmands agree that eating a few courses or “layering” your meals is more satisfying and is effective in managing weight.
A light multi-course dinner will leave you feeling lighter and energized for a romantic winter evening this Valentines Day.
Dinner Menu: Small Plates
Creamless Cream of Broccoli
Arugula salad with broiled figs and walnuts
Tomato-Mozzarella with fresh basil chifonnade
Seared Tuna, sliced sashimi style with soy dipping sauce
and pick up two of chocolate truffles from your favorite chocolatier
Bottle of Pinot Noir, Castello di Borghese
Start with a simple soup and make the night before. Try a creamless cream of broccoli. Fresh broccoli and your favorite stock in your blender. Finish with a bit of Grana Padano upon serving.
Creamless cream of broccoli
Stop at your farmer’s market or local market and pick up a head of broccoli. Cut last two inches of stem off and reserve for stock. Use half of your florets for another meal like some steamed broccoli for your salad the next day. Chop the tender part of the stem and part of the florets to total 2 cups of roughly chopped broccoli. Also chop half of a medium size onion. Bring your stock to a boil and add the broccoli and the onion and cook for 15 minutes or until fork tender. This way you are cooking the vegetables in the same stock that you will use for the purée. Set up your counter with the blender, a ladle, a bowl and a saucepan.
Ladle equal parts of stock and vegetables into the blender (only filling 1/3 of the way) and puree until smooth and pour into your bow. Continue pureeing and ladling the creamy into the bowl. If the puree is too thin, add more stock, if too thick, add more broccoli. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat just before serving and you may garnish with a sprinkle of some freshly grated Grana Padano or a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.
The next course can be a simple green salad tossed with pine nuts and fresh fig. Finish with oil and vineger, salt and pepper to taste. I am partial to Sang
Lee Farms www.sangleefarms.com peppery Arugula.
Your next couse can be a Caprese salad (sliced tomato and Mozzarella) and use more tomato than cheese. Look for vine tomatoes or even plum tomatoes. The trick is to avoid the mealy hot house tomatoes during the winter. If you make this during the summer, pick up some heirloom tomatoes from any of the Nort Fork farmstands and you will never eat another hot house tomato. Cut some fresh basil Chifonnade and drizzle with your favorite EVOO.
Your main course can be a small filet per person of Salmon or Tuna seared in a hot pan, served sliced Sashimi-style with soy dipping sauce.
Pair with a lighter red like a Pinot Noir from Castello di Borghese. The light tannins in this North Fork Pinot will compliment the subtle flavors of the starters and will stand up to the salmon as well.
And if you don’t feel like cooking, come by The Greenporter’s la Cuvée bistro and wine bar for Tapas Thursdays. We are located just at the entrance of the Village of Greenport on the North Fork, just by the turn for the Shelter Island Ferry.