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The Lighter Side Of Indulgence


jm chen
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Okay. So. Valentine's Day. I'm thinking of making a romantic dinner for myself and my +1, but we are both dieting, and therefore trying to stay away from exactly the kind of rich deliciousness we would usually indulge in on such an occasion.

So -- how do we indulge without overeating?

What I'm thinking right now is a really nice seafood or fish entree, something we usually don't get because most of my shopping takes place at Safeway. Maybe some scallops or a nice piece of something white and flaky. No salmon, please, I can't stand it.

Maybe some roasted golden baby beets as a side, maybe some artichokes as an app. Unusual but not unhealthy.

Champagne, of course.

Help me indulge! Responsibly!

(Please, no "Eat what you want and then just go to the gym more," that has of course crossed my mind already.) :lol:

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Okay. So. Valentine's Day. I'm thinking of making a romantic dinner for myself and my +1, but we are both dieting, and therefore trying to stay away from exactly the kind of rich deliciousness we would usually indulge in on such an occasion.

So -- how do we indulge without overeating?

What I'm thinking right now is a really nice seafood or fish entree, something we usually don't get because most of my shopping takes place at Safeway. Maybe some scallops or a nice piece of something white and flaky. No salmon, please, I can't stand it.

Maybe some roasted golden baby beets as a side, maybe some artichokes as an app. Unusual but not unhealthy.

Champagne, of course.

Help me indulge! Responsibly!

(Please, no "Eat what you want and then just go to the gym more," that has of course crossed my mind already.)  :lol:

Head over to the fish counter at Blacksalt and see what they have. I know their scallops are very good. You might also see something else that you might want to cook instead.

You could do some pan seared scallops (maybe crusted in seasame seeds or dusted with some spices of your choosing) and serve on braised greens.

Do you have a bamboo steamer? Some fish steamed with veggies could be very good.

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I'd say go to the BlackSalt market on Monday and buy whatever is fresh and piques your interest. Ask the counter folks what they would recommend for said dish if you don't have a prep method in mind.

More specific suggestion (what I'll be doing on Tuesday): mussels sauteed with leeks, garlic, tomatoes, white wine; maybe leave out the butter to finish the sauce, or cut back on what you would normally use. Quick and easy stew-y goodness, plus mussels are just plain fun to eat.

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Okay. So. Valentine's Day. I'm thinking of making a romantic dinner for myself and my +1, but we are both dieting, and therefore trying to stay away from exactly the kind of rich deliciousness we would usually indulge in on such an occasion.

So -- how do we indulge without overeating?

What I'm thinking right now is a really nice seafood or fish entree, something we usually don't get because most of my shopping takes place at Safeway. Maybe some scallops or a nice piece of something white and flaky. No salmon, please, I can't stand it.

Maybe some roasted golden baby beets as a side, maybe some artichokes as an app. Unusual but not unhealthy.

Champagne, of course.

Help me indulge! Responsibly!

(Please, no "Eat what you want and then just go to the gym more," that has of course crossed my mind already.)  :lol:

seared sea scallops are always nice...

or you could do a whole roast fish like a red snapper, drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt etc. serve with a cous cous and roasted veggies

or get some chunks of tuna and do a seared tuna, rare in the middle deal...black peppercorn or sesame crust... I like to go asian serve it with a ginger salad, you can buy the pickled ginger they use at sushi restaurants in jars at a good grocery store...make some brown rice...several different options with the tuna.

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I like the scallops from Blacksalt idea too. I've donethis Cooking Light recipe for Broiled Sea Bass with Pineapple-Chili-Basil Glaze with scallops from there and it was awesome (and about the best picture I've ever taken of food I've made).

I served it with a salad with an Asian-inspired dressing, but same jasmine rice is nice too.

post-33-1139505122_thumb.jpg

Edited by bilrus
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Buy yourself a big old bag o' bones a bottle of wine and an indulgent quantity of stew beef (plus leeks, onions, etc), brown the beef (not the bones), add about ten gallons of water and everything else and boil the bastard down to about three thimblefulls of the most decadent beef stock ever while skimming compulsively. Drop a couple of sawbucks on chanterelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs or $40/lb cepes/porcinis. Have Ray's pachage up one -- only one -- raw uncooked cowboy steak, hold the diablo sauce just this one time (or get the dry-aged stuff at Whole Foods).

Combine in classic fashion and eat naked. Maybe with a half bottle of old, old Bordeaux.

It's not "lite" but it's relatively low fat and brings a warm romantic feeling that -- as much as I love it -- grilled fish just don't give you. And it's sure as hell indulgent.

Edited by Waitman
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I used the following recipe when I've got tilapia fillets and it worked marvelous:

----------------------------------------------------------------------

FISH SKEWERS WITH TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

Shrimp or sea scallops would also work well in this recipe. Serve with: Grilled plum tomatoes, herbed orzo salad, and grilled French bread.

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 pound tuna, monkfish, or halibut fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks

6 cups mixed baby greens

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk oil, vinegar, shallots, tarragon, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Place fish in pie dish. Pour half of vinaigrette over and turn to coat. Marinate 15 minutes at room temperature. Thread fish onto 4 metal skewers, about 5 chunks per skewer. Grill until fish chunks are just opaque in center, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss baby greens with remaining tarragon vinaigrette. Divide salad among 4 plates. Place fish skewers atop greens and serve immediately.

Test-kitchen tip: If you don't have metal skewers, substitute the wooden ones. To prevent them from burning, be sure to soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before placing them on the grill.

Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appétit

July 2004

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for dessert, try strawberries with some really good quality balsamico. The Florida strawberries at WF now are surprisingly good, given that it's February. I'm not sayin' they're good compared to what you'll find at the FMs in May, but all things considered... they ain't bad.

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Y'all are awesome. I expected a handful of suggestions but there are some really great ideas coming fast and furious here.

Any other suggestions of sides for those broiled scallops with the sweet-hot glaze? A lightly dressed beet salad could go before instead of with, hm.

For dessert, the strawberries with balsamico do sound tempting; other ideas still welcome.

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I came up with the recipe below when I was dieting, as a way of making oyster stew without cream/milk. I can't guarantee the exact results, as I wrote it down after the fact and have tweaked it without necessarily updating. This should give you a sense of the approach, though.

Strawberries dipped in melted semisweet chocolate are a not too indulgent indulgence. I just bought a nice clamshell of them at Trader Joes yesterday that I plan to use for Valentines Day.

Pat's Fennel-Oyster Stew

2 fennel bulbs, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4-1/3 cup dry white wine

1 quart chicken broth, divided use

1 (24-28 oz.) can tomato puree

2 red potatoes, peeled and chopped

black pepper

powdered mustard, thyme, sage, bay, rosemary seasoning to taste

pint shucked oysters, liquid reserved

Saute chopped fennel and garlic in olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until softened. Raise heat to high and add wine; cook off wine for a minute or two. Lower heat and add 3 cups chicken broth and all of the tomato puree. Stir and add the potatoes and seasonings. Bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, adding additional chicken broth as necessary. Fifteen minutes before serving, add the oysters. Correct seasoning, add oyster liquid, if desired, and additional chicken broth, if necessary.

Edit to explain that seaasoning mix. I use Penzeys Bavarian Seasoning for this, and wrote out the ingredients when I gave the recipe to someone else.

Edited by Pat
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The post-dinner report:

Wow. The scallops with pineapple-chili-etc. glaze were absolutely delicious. Very easy, too; I threaded them on skewers to make it easy to glaze and retrieve, and that worked perfectly. The best part is the little minced bits of sweet garlic that get browned from the broiler. Five minutes on a side, no muss, no fuss. If it didn't cost me about $2 per scallop I'd have them again tonight.

Rounded out the meal with some baby squash dressed in parsley, capers, and lemon, and then this roasted beet and shallot salad, that was a little less diet-y because of the truffled goat cheese I put in it, but in the grand scheme of things, it met the indulgent-but-not-rich criteria.

Finished with dessert: figs poached in port served in a martini glass over (nonfat, heh) yogurt with a few pine nuts for garnish. I had really been hoping for fresh figs, but came up empty-handed at both Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods, so I settled for mixing two kinds of dried figs, Turkish and Black Mission. Wish I'd taken a picture of these, since they turned out really lovely and elegant.

Thanks, all!

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Someone want to post the recipe for the pineapple-chili glaze?   Sounds really good (and great picture, Bill).   I believe there's no copyright violation if you only post the ingredient list.

As I think I mentioned above, this recipe was originally for Chilean Sea Bass (and very good with it). But the availability of scallops and the sustainability issues with the sea bass led me to tweak the recipe. I'll post it and give them full credit here, but if someone thinks I should take this down, just let me know.

Broiled Sea Bass with Pineapple-Chili-Basil Glaze

From Cooking Light

3 tablespoons pineapple preserves

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

4 (6-ounce) sea bass or other firm white fish fillets (about 1 inch thick)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking spray

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 5 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the fillets with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place the fillets on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes. Remove from oven; brush fillets evenly with glaze. Return to oven; broil for an additional 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)

NUTRITION PER SERVING

CALORIES 208(15% from fat); FAT 3.4g (sat 0.9g,mono 0.7g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 31.4g; CHOLESTEROL 70mg; CALCIUM 23mg; SODIUM 487mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 0.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.7g

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2001

Edited by bilrus
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