Saturday, May 27, 2006

Losing Weight the Low Carb Way #4

YAY! 135 pounds!
I don't believe I've ever had such a difficult time losing so little weight. But here I am, at 135 pounds - halfway to my goal of 128. Can I? Should I? Celebrate? Not in the eat-what-you-want-for-a-day manner that you might expect. Nooooo. We're leaving on a jet plane tomorrow. I do know when I'll be back again and, at most, it will be carrying the same poundage I'm carrying now and not one ounce more - and if there really is a weight-loss goddess with kindness in her heart, when I return I will have lost even a few more (ounces, pounds, I'm not picky.) No, I'm going to celebrate by getting a new pedicure, manicure and massage, during which I will be brought cups of steaming, aromatic green tea followed by a chilled glass of dry white wine with a large, lusciously red strawberry floating in it.
Beginning at 142 lbs
I started on this weight-loss journey by deciding to cook recipes from George Stella's book, "Eating Stella Style: Low Carb Recipes for Healthy Living". And I did, and I lost a few pounds but then got stuck until I realized that I needed to lower my consumption of fat. George loves his fat, and if that works for him I say, "You go!" Sadly, it does not work for me.

Then I decided that I had to leave George and his book for a while so I could tackle this thing on my own, promising George that I would be back, baby!

Then at 139
So how am I doing this?
V e r y
s l o w l y
b y
e a t i n g
l o w e r
c a r b,
l o w e r
g l y c e m i c,
l o w f a t
f o o d s,
s o m e t i m e s
f o r g e t t i n g,
t h e n
g i v i n g
b i g
s i g h
a n d
b e g i n n i n g
a g a i n.

It's the forgetting part that's the deal killer. These are hard-won pounds, people. Let's hear a standing ovation for all those people trying to lose weight, having set-backs, but somehow in the end persevering and MAKING IT.

I haven't made it yet, but half-way there is some incentive, huh?

Here are a few links so you can review my journey thus far while I'm gone:

Losing Weight the Low Carb Way #1
Losing Weight the Low Carb Way #2
Losing Weight the Low Carb Way #3
Low Carb Sides
Blackened Chicken Breasts

See you in two svelt weeks, dahlings.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chevre-Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Because we're headed east for two weeks in a few days, and I've got a lot to do before hand, like get ready, I'm trying to do as little food shopping as possible. So, looking to see what was lurking in the freezer and the fridge, I brought some leftovers together and came up with this rather spectacular dish, if I do say so meself.

Chicken breasts, the last of Kalyn's Buttermilk-Mayonnaise coleslaw dressing (thank you Kalyn!), a few of the frozen mini-muffin sized cilantro pecan pesto cups from a previous post, and local herbed chevre all made for some fine ingredients. Put this together per the instructions below, or add your own twists, saute some vegetables, add a salad and you've got a meal fit for company.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded (I'll tell you about that below)
1 8oz round Cypress Grove Herbed Chevre, or other chevre
1/3 cup Cilantro Pecan Pesto or your own pesto or storebought
1 cup finely ground almonds (I get almond flour from Trader Joe's)
3/4 cup Kalyn's Buttermilk-Mayonnaise dressing, or my version of same (scroll to the bottom of the post), or storebought ranch dressing
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano (or good parmesan)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Set your oven to 375 degrees.
To pound the chicken breasts, remove the tenders from the underside of each breast and set aside for another use. Take a large zip-lock plastic bag and cut open one of the sides. Insert a chicken breast into the bag (don't seal) and, with your handy-dandy meat mallet (smooth side), pound the breasts to a uniform 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.
Mix the chevre and the pesto together until well blended. Place a chicken breast, cut side up, on a work surface. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper if desired then place about 2 tablespoons of the chevre mixture at the more ragged end and roll up, burrito style, tucking in the sides to keep the cheese filling in place. Set roll seamside down. (You can secure the rolls with toothpicks, but finding them after cooking is a pain, let alone removing them.) Repeat with the rest of the breasts, reserving any leftover chevre mixture for another use - like spreading on crackers, or in your lunch tacos...

Place the dressing and the almond flour in separate shallow, wide bowls. Dip a rolled chicken breast first in the dressing and then roll it carefully in the almond flour. Set seamside down in a roasting pan that has been drizzled with a small amount of olive oil. Repeat this process with the rest of the chicken rolls. See my note below.

Pour the white wine into the roasting pan around the chicken. Sprinkle the rolls with the grated cheese and the chopped cilantro. Dot the butter over the top. This will all melt together to form a great sauce when the chicken is done.

Place in the 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and place breasts on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes. Whisk the pan liquids together to combine.

To serve, cut each breast into 4-5 slices but not all the way through. Fan each breast on a plate and top with the pan sauce.
I served this with asparagus, cut on the diagonal, sauteed in walnut oil until tender-crisp, and sliced tomatoes with slices of champagne mango, dusted lightly with finely ground black pepper and drizzled with a very small amount of walnut oil.

Note: Dipping the rolls in buttermilk dressing not only adds a delicious tang, it will help seal in moisture which is often lost when baking white-meat chicken. It's amazing how tender and juicy these are when they come out of the oven. And, using ground almonds is a low-carber's option. If you prefer, you can use flour with good results.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Incredible Deviled Eggs with Fried Capers

Have you ever fried a caper? What's that got to do with deviled eggs?, you may rightfully inquire. I put fried capers in them. And smoked trout. And adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilis. AND, Kalyn's Buttermilk-Mayonnaise coleslaw dressing. People swooned. Eyes rolled. Sound bites like, "Oh, my god!", and "What did you DO to these?", and "Ohhhhhhhhh!", came bubbling forth from the crowd. It seems I've hit the jackpot. And now, I'll share my winnings with you...
The VERY first thing to do, if you want to duplicate my recipe exactly, is make some of Kalyn's buttermilk-mayonnaise dressing. Because I had some leftover from making coleslaw the other night, I used it in the eggs instead of plain ol' mayonnaise and they are very tasty this way. I'll give you the list of ingredients below.

Next, you've got to fry some capers. This is very easy, actually, and having fried capers around is not a bad thing at all. They're great in salads or just to pop in your mouth. I have a small, cast iron "butter melter" pot that works perfectly. Into it, or another serviceable pot, pour about 1 cup of peanut oil (because it has a high flash point) and set it over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, drain 4 tablespoons of capers from their brine and place on several layers of paper towels. Gently blot the excess moisture from the capers. When the oil is hot, carefully drop about 1 tablespoon capers into the pot. The oil will boil up furiously so be ready to adjust the heat. You want the boiling to continue, but not boil over. After a few minutes, the boiling will settle down and the capers will begin to pop open, exposing their little flowery insides. When they've done this, and browned a bit (not burned), scoop them up with a small strainer or slotted spoon and set onto another layering of dry paper towels to drain. Repeat this process until all the capers are fried. Taste a few. I'll bet you can't eat just one. They are a marvelous combination of salty, crunchy, paper-thin goodness that almost melts on your tongue.

Have at the ready 6 hard cooked eggs, peeled, sliced lengthwise with the yolks removed to a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork until fine. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of minced sweet onion, 4 tablespoons buttermilk-mayonnaise dressing and 1 to 2
teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis. Mix well. To this add one can of Trader Joe's Smoked Trout, shredded. This newly discovered delicacy consists of boneless fillets packed in canola oil and, oh my, are they delicious. Mix gently.

Then, very gently, mix in 3 tablespoons of the fried capers, taking care not to mash them. Save the best capers for garnish.

Spoon the egg mixture into each egg half, exercising restraint by not tasting with each scoop, until all the eggs are filled. Now you can taste the bits of leftovers.

Snip a few chive stems finely and sprinkle over each egg. At this point, they may be chilled for a later use. Just prior to serving, artfully place a few fried capers on each egg. 

Ta Da!  Oh, My!
Now, on to the buttermilk-mayonnaise dressing ingredients. I made a few slight adjustments to kalyn's recipe, for which I'm sure she will forgive me.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 2 cups light mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 2 teaspoons (heaping) wasabi powder, 1 tablespoon Splenda (or sugar if preferred) and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk to blend. This makes a lot of dressing and will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Not only is it great over coleslaw and in these eggs, you can dip cut veggies in it, drizzle it over a tomato and avocado salad or use it as a marinade for fish.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mojitos... Summer Can''t Be Far Off

Mojito: A refreshing alcoholic drink of Cuban origin
employing mint, sugar, rum, fresh lime juice, selzer water, plenty of ice and a muddler. A muddler is an implement used to mash fresh mint with sugar, causing the herb to release its volatile oils. I use a very large wooden pestle that belonged to my father-in-law. I'm sure he would enjoy the use that I've found for it. Here's my recipe for a large crowd. Please drink them judiciously.

3 cups mint leaves, packed (Save some of the tops of the mint stalks for garnish)
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste (or Splenda-sugar blend. Splenda granular works too)
3 cups Bacardi Gold Rum
2 cups Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the mint leaves in a large wooden bowl or mortar, add the sugar and mash with the pestle until the volatile oils of the mint are released. Place the mix into a large glass pitcher.

Pour the rums and lime juice over the leaves and give it a stir. Taste for sugar adjustment. TASTE, I said! When it's to your liking, chill well in the fridge for a few hours. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the mashed mint leaves. Press on the leaves to extract all the liquid.

To serve, fill glasses with crushed ice then add 2-4 oz of the rum mix, depending on the size of the glasses. Fill the glass with chilled selzer water, top with a mint sprig.

These are wonderful on a hot summer's afternoon. Or, on the beach in the fog. Wherever...

For a non-alcohol version, follow the directions, steeping the mint in fresh lime juice and white grape juice. Top off the glasses with chilled ginger ale.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Back to Beach Night: A Leftovers Dinner with Friends

Last Wednesday we had our first Beach Night of the season - actually on the beach. Although we were few in numbers, it made the outing that much sweeter - enjoying our friends Annie and Bruce as we do, having them all to ourselves for an evening on the beach was delightful.

And in the spirit of dinner on the beach, our food fare was simple and portable. Although I did make MOJITOS! which were fully appreciated and readily dispatched. I adapted the recipe from and will share it with you here, as soon as I make another batch and photograph it.
Taking George Stella's recipe for deviled eggs to a higher level, I added smoked trout, fried capers, and the sauce from canned chipotles in adobo. WOW! Please do try this recipe. I think it's a winner. Plus, deviled eggs are very easy to make: hard boil the eggs the evening before, assemble them in the morning and take them out of the fridge for dinner.

And, Kalyn, I made coleslaw using your wonderful buttermilk-mayonnaise dressing. It was fantastic. I added wasabi, as was suggested by Anna at Cookie Madness, which was a terrific touch. I also added toasted pecans just before serving which added another dimension of crunch. And if I'd had them on hand, I would have added a small bag of frozen pettit peas into the mix, giving them enough time to thaw before serving. That's for another time.

Using leftovers from the night before to which I added some grilled corn cut from the cob, we wrapped them in a foil packet and heated it in the fire, then placed the mixture onto a hot, locally produced Brio roll and bit into a blissfully juicy, tasty, hot sandwich that was perfect for a rather cold and foggy evening.

Was it a perfect Beach Night? Well, we could have had a spectacular sunset and I'm sure there was one, somewhere. And the rest of the gang could have been there, but they'll be back. All in all it was a lovely evening, to which the photos attest.
Good night!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Grilled Beef Short Ribs... It's What Was for Dinner

I'm of the opinion that if I have nothing particularly good or inspiring to write about, I shouldn't. It's in direct conflict with my obsession to post EVERYDAY (and now I have another blog for which I can't stop photographing flowers and insects in compromising positions).

If I don't write in my blogs, I feel that something is missing from my life. Sounds dramatic but it's, sadly, too true. I'm constantly composing posts in my head; many make it to my computer and many are lost, seemingly forever, in the nether-regions of my mind.

So here I am, with a simple and homely recipe that really isn't very blog-worthy, but I'm going to do it anyway 'cuz I HAVE to. And in the process I'm going to shamelessly promote previous posts not only from my cooking blog, but from my garden blog as well, because, well, sometimes after a busy week it's all I've got.

Boneless beef short ribs, marinated in a locally produced raspberry-chipotle sauce, grilled to medium rare, served on top of a tenderly sautéed melange of Vidalia onions, mushrooms, orange bell pepper, herbs and spices - and dinner is served.

We don't eat much beef. I like poultry, fish and shellfish better, and, of course, our neighbor's lamb. Oh, and then there's pork, the other white meat. So I don't think about making a meal out of beef very often. Plus, I find the chewing factor (as in a LOT) during the course of eating red meat to take longer than I desire. But these short ribs were fairly lean and good looking, so I took a chance. Besides, I'd discovered that our local market, Murphy's, now produces its very own sauces and marinades and I wanted to try the Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ sauce and thought, ah! Beef! So there you have it.

The ingredients that went into my quick, weeknight meal are in the photo below and include fresh oregano and fresh snipped chives, making this a candidate for Kalyn's Herb Blogging Weekend #33.

There's no big secret to putting this together: You place the boneless short ribs in a non-reactive bowl and pour a generous amount of the raspberry-chipotle marinade (or your favorite marinade even, as long as it will compliment the sauteed veggies) over the top and mix it in, coating all the pieces of meat evenly. Let it sit for about 1/2 hour then grill over medium-high heat until well-browned on the outside and medium-rare on the inside. Clay figured about 6 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, for the sauté: Have ready a peeled Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut in half crosswise then sliced into half-moons. Peel and finely dice 3 or more cloves of garlic. Seed and de-vein a large orange bell pepper (or your favorite color, just not green) and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Clean and slice about 10 large-ish mushrooms, creminis are good. Go pick several sprigs of fresh oregano and chop the leaves finely. Snip a few chive stems and reserve them. What? No oregano or chives growing in your garden?

Get thee to your local nursery and buy a few 2-inch pots for 49 to 99 cents. They grow very well in 1 to 5-gallon pots and are herbs without which no kitchen garden should be. (That admonishment was for my children.)

Back to cooking: Begin with the onions over medium heat in a cast iron skillet into which you've poured about 1 tablespoon of good olive oil. Cook until slightly tender and golden. Add the garlic and stir for a bit. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become soft, then add the peppers. Continue cooking gently until it's all tender and golden. Don't allow any of it to burn - duh.

When the sauté is finished, stir in the chopped oregano then season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Per serving, place the veggie saute on a plate and top with 2 of the shortribs. With your kitchen scissors, snip the chives over the top and serve immediately.

When you're finished, click on a few of the links I've peppered throughout this post (shameless hussy that I am) and refresh your memory that I sometimes do make somewhat gourmet meals.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Net Neutrality

Keep the Internet accessible to ALL!

Today is a no-blog day. No food blogging, that is. Today food bloggers (and others) everywhere are uniting to send a clear message to Congress that Internet Neutrality is imperative to a democratic Internet, accessible to all.

Congress, as we speak, is considering legislation for a two-tiered, two-speed Internet. Being funded by a group of big Internet service lobbyists, known as "Pipes", a two-tiered Internet means that favored sites (big money) would remain at the high speed we know today, while others would be limited to much slower service, limiting access to hundreds of thousands of small Internet users, like bloggers, small businesses, students, libraries. And, your local Internet provider would have no control over this speed determination. Think about it.

Right now, our country operates under a system of Net neutrality. This proposed change could threaten democratic access to the Internet for people in the U.S. or anyone who accesses sites that originate in the U.S.

Here's what you can do:

We cannot afford to sit on the fence with this important piece of democracy-stripping legislation. Please help save the Internet from being controlled by big business - ACT NOW!

To read what other bloggers are saying, please visit the following sites:
Chez Pim
Farm Girl Fare (An especially inspired posting with a link to "Frequently Asked Questions" about this issue)
Kalyn's Kitchen

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Herb Blogging Weekend

I've been doing a lot of gardening and photography lately, but not much cooking. I guess this is the time of year when food bloggers who have gardens are out in their gardens. Time to sow; the cooking will come with the reaping.

I love it when the mint wakes up from its sleepy winter's nap and starts pushing its fragrant leaves skyward. I like putting it in salads, salsas, juleps, mojitos...

Hmmm... mojitos! Did I read somewhere that Kalyn is the last word on mojitos?

Here's a sprig for mojitophiles everywhere and especially for Herb Blogging Weekend over at Kalyn's Kitchen. I'll be making mine this weekend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dinner at Erika's: Pan Fried Catfish with Onions, Ginger, and Cilantro

This past weekend while in the Sacramento Valley, not only was I able to take many, many photos of my friend Erika's garden, which are being featured right now at Raven Ridge Gardens , but my husband and I were treated to one of her delicious dinners. Standing in her kitchen, wine glasses in hand, the four of us chatting as she made her preparations, the heady aromas that wafted through the air had me salivating in eager anticipation.

Catfish with onions, fresh cilantro and grated ginger, accompanied by nutmeg-coated steamed carrots and asparagus, created a visual delight on our plates. The juicy, perfectly cooked catfish was superb. A salad of cucumber, tomato and scallions that had been marinating in a divine dressing was at the side.

Erika is my dearest friend and a wonderfully creative cook. And when I asked if I could share her recipes on my blog, she readily agreed. Our meal was not only made from fresh, organically produced ingredients, it was soooo very good and simple to prepare. A whimsical bonus for me was that it was all low carb. Well, except for the deep, dark Valhrona chocolate we had for dessert and the delicious white wine we consumed. Sigh.

Measurements in the recipes below are approximate, as the lady cooks by intuition!

For the fish:
4 catfish fillets
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
olive oil (Erika and I both use a Portuguese Saloio, available at Tuco's Wine Market and Cafe in Davis)
water or white wine
ground pepper
wedges of Meyer lemon at the table to squeeze over the fillets

Place olive oil in skillet (large enough to hold the catfish all at one time) over medium-low heat. Add onions and a bit of salt and saute slowly until onions are tender and caramelized. A small amount of water may be added to keep them from sticking to the pan. Meanwhile, grind pepper generously over one side of each fillet. (Erika likes McCormack Peppercorn Medley in a jar with its own grinder.)

When the onions are done, move them to one side of the skillet and lay the fish fillets on the bottom of the pan. Cover the fish with the onions, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, the grated ginger, a bit of salt and place over medium to low heat. Add a small amount of water or white wine to the pan and cover with a lid, cooking the fish slowly until done. Remove from heat.
For the veggies:

1 pound young carrots, peeled and left whole
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
freshly grated nutmeg
salt to taste

Grate the nutmeg generously over the carrots, adding a bit of salt. Place carrots in a steamer pot and steam for about 10 minutes, add the asparagus on top of the carrots and continue steaming until both veggies are just tender.

Vinaigrette for the salad:
In a jar with lid, combine Meyer lemon juice and brown rice vinegar in a ratio of 2/3 lemon juice to 1/3 vinegar. Add at least 3 cloves pressed garlic, salt and pepper to taste and about 1 cup olive oil. Shake ingredients well to blend.
Pour dressing over cucumber and tomato slices and top with finely sliced scallions. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

An evening with my dear friend and her sweetie Bill is special enough. Pair it with fine food and it is richness beyond compare. What could be better than that?

Friday, May 5, 2006

Sauces, Syrups, Vinegars & Oils

I'll be away for a few days and won't be posting so I thought I'd leave you with a few of my favorites sauces, syrups, vinegars and oils. I know I've written about most of them, but I haven't shown photos. Most of this stuff is readily available either on line or at a good market. I've given links and information below. Click on photos to enlarge.

Napa Valley Naturals Extra Virgin Olive Oil, available at the Arcata Coop, Arcata, CA. Bariani Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sacramento estate grown, produced & bottled

Fondo di Trebbiano Balsamic of Modena, aged 8 years then bottled. Thick and syrupy with a raspberry-like flavor, available at Tuco's Cafe and Wine Market in Davis, CA. Tony Tantillo Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, a descent, everyday balsamic, avaliable at Safeway

I always have Michael Chiarello's NapaStyle Toasted Spice Rub and Cocoa Spice Rub in my kitchen. I use them on all kinds of meats and roasted vegetables. NapaStyle makes many types of spice rubs but these are my favorites.

Cuisine Perel is located in San Rafael, CA. They make many vinegar products and a lot more. These are my favorite Cuisine Perel vinegars, Black Fig, D'Anjou Pear, and Spicy Pecan.
La Tourangelle Toasted Walnut Oil, grown and produced in Woodland, CA. I recently saw it in the gourmet section of our local safeway and at the Nugget Market in Davis.
Saloio Portuguese Olive Oil is deeply flavored and is best used as a dipping oil. Available at Tuco's Wine Market and Cafe in Davis, CA.
Kozlowski Farms of Sonoma County, Premium Burgundy Wine Vinegar is a good all-round red vinegar. Others from Koslowski that I use mostly in vinaigrettes are Black Raspberry Vinegar and Red Raspberry Vinegar. All are available at a well-stocked market.
Golden Whisk POMEGRANATES au MERLOT maybe purchased by contacting; This was updated on 8-30-06.
Tulocay's Made in Napa Valley, Baja Marinade with Chiles and Lime. This is superb with fish, chicken and pork. Available on-line and in kitchen and specialty stores.
Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar from Trader Joe's and Grapevine Trading Company. Fantastic for lighter marinades, salads, fruits. Go asian by adding garlic, ginger, cilantro, hot peppers, lime juice and soy sauce for a chicken or fish marinade that's hard to beat.

I'll be back soon with more product updates.
Last updated, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Lots of Chicken Dishes Lately, Christine ...

You've got to get out of this rut. Just one more? Okay, but then you really must move on. (All this being whispered to me by the bitchy mini-cook who occupies a (small) space somewhere in my brain and often gives her unsolicited opinion.)

Still, chicken is a lower fat, low-carb meat so it stands to reason that I'd use it a lot when trying to lose this damned weight. Which is not coming off very quickly, people. Truth to tell, I slipped up. Had people over for dinner. Went out to dinner a few times. I was good during the entrees, then tanked when it came to dessert. That and the several glasses of wine consumed. During each meal. This is not low-carbing!

It's also why you haven't seen my little painted toes on the scales lately. Way too embarrassing. Nope, got to start over. Well, not entirely over, but I haven't lost an ounce since the last scales photo. What I've got to do is something called a "Fat Flush". Ugly term, isn't it? It's two weeks of really, really low carbing. Not much fun and not at all blog-worthy. But I know it works. And I'll do it quietly, thank you.

And in case you're wondering, George and I are not having a spat or anything. I just have to back off from the higher fat ingredients that most of his recipes contain. And mostly I have to not cook so much. (Clay, are you reading this?) Then I'll get back to blogging his recipes. Promise.

The photo is what we had for dinner last night (Pete Wells, take note). I'm going to tell you about it because I want to introduce this spice rub from NapaStyle. I use it on all sorts of meats, roasted root vegetables and roasted summer vegetables - it's very versatile. This is my favorite of all the rubs they produce.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Toasted Spice Rub and Cilantro-Pecan Pesto

From the freezer, remove two cute little mini-muffin-sized portions of the Cilantro-Pecan Pesto that you made when I posted the recipe (ahem!) and allow to come to room temperature.

Trim fat from 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and sprinkle both sides with NapaStyle Toasted Spice Rub and kosher salt, rubbing in well. Have your grill on medium high heat and grill the thighs 4 to 6 minutes on one side, then 3 to 4 minutes on the other. Top with a spoonful of the pesto and serve.

Mashed Cauliflower, a la South Beach Diet fame, a spinach salad with diced red bell peppers and cucumbers, tossed with an organic buttermilk dressing, rounded out this tasty and fairly low-carb meal.

Mashed Cauliflower
Cook florets from 1 cauliflower head in boiling, salted water until very tender. Drain and put back into the pot over very low heat to dry. Don't allow to scorch. Add 1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup fat free 1/2 & 1/2 and mash to blend. Place in a food processor and pulse until it becomes the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. I usually make this dish with 2 heads of cauliflower. You can adjust the rest of the ingredients to your liking.