I really enjoy this time of year because in addition to the religious significance, it gives me the excuse to entertain on a grander scale than usual. I love reaching out to friends, family and those I would like to spend more time with. It’s important to me that I spoil my guests, but that doesn’t mean with rich, tasty foods that aren’t necessarily good for you. There are plenty of FoodTrient-worthy entrees (or ‘centerpieces’ as I think of them) that are both indulgent and healthy for mind and body.
There are a number of main courses in my book, The Age GRACEFULLY Cookbook that are as good for you as they are festive. First, there’s Spiced Rack of Lamb. Lamb and other red meat have vitamin B12 for energy and lysine for repairing tissue. I use garlic with black pepper and horseradish to spice up this rack of lamb. Garlic’s many compounds, including allicin, work in tandem to create a relaxing effect on artery walls, keeping them free of excess cholesterol and minimizing inflammation. New Zealand lamb is lower in fat, cooks faster, and is more tender than American varieties such as Colorado lamb.
Spiced Rack of Lamb
New Zealand rack of lamb (about 1 lb.)
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. prepared horseradish
1-2 tsp. minced rosemary
1-2 tsp. minced thyme
1-2 tsp. minced parsley
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Sprinkle the rack of lamb with the salt and pepper.
3. Sear the lamb, fat side down, in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Turn over and sear for 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in a roasting pan.
4. Mix the garlic and horseradish. Spread over the lamb.
5. In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, thyme, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Fold in the melted butter.
6. Pat the herb-breadcrumb mixture over the lamb and roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes for rare, 12 minutes for medium rare, or 15 minutes for medium to well done.
For many people, nothing says, ‘holidays’ like some version of beautifully cooked beef. My Mustard-Crusted Tri-Tip looks impressive, but it is really pretty simple to prepare. As with all red meat, the lysine in beef repairs tissue and helps skin build new collagen. I use grass-fed beef for its Omega-3s and other healthful fats. Mustard is a highly popular and widely used condiment that has sparked interest among nutritionists. The selenium and magnesium it contains have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce blood pressure. Its phytonutrients seem to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells. Mustard also stimulates the saliva glands, aiding in digestion. I like to use Dijon mustard for the crust on this tri-tip, but you can use any flavorful prepared mustard. Any leftovers from your dinner party make delicious sandwiches.
Most consider lobster the ultimate luxury food, but the fact is, until the early 19th century, it was so plentiful that it was used for bait! Now that lobster is more rare and expensive, you can reel in your special ‘foodie’ guests with this recipe for Baked Lobster Tails. Lobster not only tastes delicious, but its succulent flesh is loaded with Omega-3s, selenium—which increases the ability to fight infection, zinc and B vitamins, which protect the brain and can help fight cancer cells. The olive oil mayonnaise brings additional anti-inflammatory benefits while helping to keep the tender lobster meat from drying out in the oven.
Baked Lobster Tails
2 lobster tails
Seasalt and ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. olive oil mayonnaise
1Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges as garnish
Chopped parsley as garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 350˚
- On a cutting board, arrange the lobster tails shell side up. Use a sharp knife to split the top of each shell lengthwise. Loosen the lobster meat from the shells and leave it inside.
- Sprinkle the tail meat with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Spread the mayonnaise over the meat and top with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350˚ about 15 minutes, until the shells are bright red and the lobster meat is cooked. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.
So celebrate the season by indulging your guests with foods that promote health and well-being for a joyful and sustainable life.