• December 2011

Prepare a Figure-Friendly Feast This Holiday Season

Chef Kim Alvarez of Avenida Restaurant is on a health kick.

It’s an impressive step, given her grueling schedule of 18-hour days running a popular restaurant with her husband Chef Edgar Alvarez, catering holiday parties, preparing their signature Cena Completa to-go meals, which are also available in local gourmet shops—all while raising their two kids.

But the Philadelphia native, who has loved cooking—and eating—since she was a kid, knows the importance of staying fit. “I can’t keep all these balls up in the air if I’m not healthy,” she realizes.

So this fall, Alvarez joined forces with Pamela MacElree of Urban Athlete in Mt. Airy, and embarked on an exercise routine that in the last few months has toned her body—and her attitude about her life. “I just feel better,” she admits.

Eating healthier is also an essential part of her new routine. The week before Thanksgiving, in fact, Alvarez and MacElree co-hosted a cooking demonstration / dinner event at Avenida to share some healthy recipes with their customers. You’ll find those below. Enjoy!

On the Menu:

• Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Soup

• Spinach Salad, with Anjou pears, pumpkin seeds, queso fresco, lime-basil vinaigrette

• Spice-Rubbed Turkey London Broil

• Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

• Cranberry Orange Compote

• Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Vidalia Onions

• Butternut Squash Apple Crisp, with almond oat crumble

Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Soup

What you’ll need:
4 T. olive oil
8 large Spanish onions, sliced
2 T. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
½ cup white wine
½ cup red wine
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
2 zucchinis, grated, no seeds, with 1/4 cup reserved
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the yogurt drizzle
2 cups Greek yogurt, fat-free
2 lemons, zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separate, as you will need 1 T. juice for the drizzle). Set aside remainder; you may want to add it to the soup.

Here’s how:

1. Place olive oil in a soup pot, and heat until it begins to smoke slightly.

2. Add sliced onions and stir until coated with oil, and caramelizing.

3. Add the fresh thyme, and salt and pepper. (Go easy on the seasonings; you can always add more, but can never take it away.)

4. Stir until everything is a rich brown color, and then add white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook until all of the liquid evaporates.

5. Add in red wine (you may substitute sherry for the red wine), and reduce by half.

6. Add the stock or broth, the Worcestershire sauce, and the grated zucchini (reserving 1/4 cup of the zucchini), and cook for 45 minutes. Taste, then season with salt and pepper, as desired.

7. Begin preparing the yogurt drizzle, by first placing the yogurt into a small mixing bowl.

8. Add the lemon zest and 1 T. of lemon juice, and mix until combined. Set aside.

9. When the soup is boiling, reduce heat and taste.

10. Perfect? Then it’s ready to serve. Dish into bowls, and add ¼ cup of freshly of grated zucchini to the hot broth. Add a dollop of the yogurt to the soup as a garnish.

Spinach Salad with Anjou pears, pumpkin seeds, queso fresco, and lime-basil vinaigrette

What you’ll need:
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 Anjou pears, ripe, sliced
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
¾ cup queso fresco

For the lime vinaigrette:
4 limes, zested and juiced
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 T. honey
¾ cup – to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s how:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine lime juice, zest, rice wine vinegar and honey. Mix well. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Add basil. Mix well.

3. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

4. Toss well with vinaigrette. Serve.

Spice-Rubbed Turkey London Broil

What you’ll need:
¼ cup onion powder
¼ cup garlic powder
¼ cup chili powder
¼ cup ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
1 T. fresh ground black pepper
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 turkey (thawed if frozen)

Here’s how:

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until a paste forms.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Place turkey on a flat surface, and massage the rub into the skin, making
sure the entire turkey is covered.

4. Now put the turkey into a preheated grill or hot sauté pan, and drizzle a little oil over top. Grill or sear on all sides. Place in pan and finish in the oven. (Depending on the size it should take about 20 minutes per pound to cook.)

5. Remove from the oven and let the turkey rest for 10 minutes so that it will retain its juices. Slice and serve.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

What you’ll need:
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper, to taste
Balsamic vinegar (dark or white, as desired)

Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Clean Brussels sprouts, and cut in half. Place in bowl and sprinkle salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar over top. Toss until coated.

3. Place on greased sheet tray, and bake until al dente; about 20-25 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Compote

What you’ll need:
1 bag fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons raw sugar
¼ cup orange juice
2 oranges, segmented

Here’s how:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the orange segments.

2. Place saucepan over medium high heat until compote comes to a boil. Reduce the heat, and cook until cranberries burst.

3. Remove from heat, and stir. Add in the orange segments.

4. Let cool, or serve hot, as desired.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Vidalia Onions

What you’ll need:
5 sweet potatoes
5 large Vidalia onions
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. pumpkin spice seasoning
2 T. ground coriander

Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash the sweet potatoes, pat dry, and cut into wedges (6-8 per potato)

3. Peel onions, and cut into large dice (about 2-3 inches wide)

4. In a mixing bowl, combine spices, and add sweet potatoes and onions. Add
enough oil to coat the vegetables.

5. Place on a sheet tray or baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are browned and soft to the touch. Serve.

Butternut Squash Apple Crisp with Almond Oat Crumble

What you’ll need:
1 medium butternut squash, diced
3 medium Honey Crisp apples, peeled and diced
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 T. raw sugar

For the almond oat crumble:
2 cups almond paste
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 T. raw sugar

Here’s how:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine first three ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl. Mix nectar or sugar through well, and then place mixture in a sauté pan over medium heat.

3. Cook for 5 minutes. Set aside. (Note: We are heating this to add moisture to the fruit mixture, because if it’s too dry when you place it in the oven, it will remain dry and burn before it is cooked. So be sure to keep the fruit moist.)

4. Begin preparing the oat crumble by combining the almond paste, oats, and raw sugar in a mixing bowl. Combine well.

5. Coat a baking dish or casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place apple mixture in the dish, place topping on apple mixture, and bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly.

About Avenida Restaurant

Indulge your taste buds in the bold Latin American flavors and tantalizing cocktails served up by Chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez at Philadelphia’s award-winning restaurant, Avenida.

Set in a historic Mount Airy home built in the 1700s, patrons will sit by the stone fireplace or on the romantic outdoor porch sipping margaritas and sampling Chef Edgar’s signature guacamole with homemade tortilla chips and salsa.

Stop by for dinner tonight to sample the award-winning delicacies that he and wife and partner Chef Kim Katz Alvarez have prepared. And do bring the kids! The owners of Avenida pride themselves on being family-friendly. Click here to make your reservation.

About Urban Athlete

Are You an Urban Athlete? If not, do take time this week to walk into this fabulous gym in Mt Airy, PA. Just one step through the door will make you feel exhilarated—and inspire you to strip down to your shorts for a great workout.

“Urban Athlete is raw, it’s energized, and it’s a place where people come to improve themselves; improve their strength, their fitness, and their self-confidence,” says owner Pamela MacElree. “It’s also a place where an incredibly diverse group of people come together and feel a great sense of camaraderie. We have a lot of fun, even if the workouts are often painfully rigorous.”

Chef Kim can attest to that. Since September, she has been training with MacElree, and so far has lost 5 pounds and 3 inches. “The workouts hurt like heck, but they also feel so good.”

The chef admits that she is like most people who have tried to stay fit—and failed. “I have battled my weight for most of my life,” she shares. “I obviously love food. But Pamela has taught me so much about fitness that I finally feel like I can make a permanent change. I am forever indebted to her, and encourage anyone who is ready to push past their fears, and sweat like a crazy person, to sign up for a class.”

Are you ready to get fit? Click here to learn more.

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