I love the holidays because I actually get to cook. I don’t mean prepare the easy meals that are palatable to five/eight year old boys. I mean spending hours finding recipes, shopping for top notch ingredients, and making stuff from scratch. This year, I cooked for friends and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the week leading up to New Years Day, and I’ve found new energy to keep cooking and entertaining into the new year. Everybody is in post-holiday health mode, so I’m looking for stuff that is dinner-party worthy, but not going to bust everybody’s buttons at the end of the evening.
Thankfully, I’ve gotten some inspiration at a lunch I attended hosted by Father, Chef, and Restaurateur Richard Blais and Alli. Chef Blais has lost a ton of weight over the last year, and he’s been working with dietitians to refine his dishes to be healthy, delicious, and doable at home (rather than his usual cooking that requires a PhD in chemistry)
The event started with a cooking demonstration that included some great tips that you would only get from a chef.
The first course was Raw Beets with Jicama, Apple and Mustard Dressing. Chef’s Tip: use the stems of herbs like cilantro– same great flavor!
I really enjoyed this salad and could imagine serving it at home. It’s nice to bring in vegetables like beets and jicama that I wouldn’t normally put in a raw salad. A lot of chopping involved though, so this is definitely for entertaining rather than the weeknight meal.
The second course was Lamb Glazed with Date Syrup and Swiss Chard. Chef’s Tip: use citrus and spices rather than additional fat to add flavor.
The lamb was excellent and full of flavor. The health factor here is portion control more than low fat, but certainly enough food for lunch.
The third course was Whipped Buttermilk with Lavender and Clementine. Chef’s Tip: the whipper that chef’s use is a great way to add volume to a dessert without adding fat and calories.
This was a fun dessert that satisfies your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling stuffed. I’m not going out to buy a whipper, but might try it with a stand mixer.
Overall, a great lunch that inspired me with some techniques that will increase the health factor of my cooking without sacrificing taste. Special thanks to Chef Richard Blais and Alli for inviting me to lunch!