South Beach Cookbook Cover
The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook
242 Pages, soft cover, w/ color photographs
Arthur Agatston, MD
Rodale, New York, NY, 2006
$25.00 US/$32.00 CAN
Reviewed by: Nont Vongsawad for Good Cooking, Inc., December 2006

Parties and Holidays are a very important part of our society. It is also the time when family and friends enjoy a memorable meal. The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook by Arthur Agatston, MD is a cookbook that is intended to change the way Americans eat. This book really offers a reader a lot of interesting healthy recipes. It contains more than twenty menus and one hundred and fifty recipes for many parties and holidays throughout the year.

This is a really good cookbook because the author figured out the entire menu planning for each party and holiday. Therefore, there is no need to worry about what dishes will have to go together. For instance, a Christmas menu (see page 217) was divided into two parts including Wake-Up Breakfast and Christmas Dinner. Wake-Up Breakfast menu contains: Egg, Pepper, and Scallion souffles; Whole-Grain Cranberry Spice Cake; and Spiced Tea. Christmas Dinner menu contains: Crown Roast of Pork; Apple-Onion Chutney; Braised Red Cabbage; Green Beans Amandine; Wild Rice Pilaf; Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette; Chocolate, Almond, and Orange Clusters; and Holiday Apple Crisp.

Crown Roast of Pork with Apple-Onion Chutney, Braised Red Cabbage and Green Beans Amandine

Since Christmas day is coming pretty soon, I decided to make Apple-Onion Chutney (see page 224) and Braised Red Cabbage (see page 225) right after I finished looking through the book. I actually was very surprised that most of these recipes require such simple ingredients that we normally have in our kitchens. By the way, my Apple-Onion Chutney and Braised Red Cabbage turned out to be really good. I used unsweetened apple cider but the granular sugar substitute really gave the chutney a good sweet flavor. I really think that this is a great cookbook for someone who would like to enjoy a memorable meal during this holiday season without feeling guilty!!!

Braised Red Cabbage

Pre time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes

The ruby red hue of this colorful cruciferous vegetable contrasts beautifully with the green beans at this elegant Christmas meal. Although all cabbage contains vitamin C, the red variety packs the most, providing nearly two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance in a 1-cup serving. If you have a food processor, use the grating attachment for easy cabbage shredding.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium (2-pound) head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
1/3 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick saucepan. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage, broth, vinegar, and caraway seeds, if using. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until cabbage is very soft, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings
Per serving: 40 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 45 mg sodium

Make-ahead: Cabbage can be braised up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a microwave or on the stove top before serving.

Crown Roast of Pork

Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 8 hours or overnight
Cook time: 2 hours
Resting time: 20 minutes

This regal dish is easy to make. Ask the butcher to trim the fat, French the bones to expose the tips,
and tie the rack into a crown.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6- to 7-pound) crown roast of pork, fat trimmed and bones Frenched
4 celery stalks, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup red wine

Whisk together 2 teaspoons of the oil, garlic, sage, oregano, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Rub pork all over with garlic mixture. Cover pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Position rack in lower third of oven and heat oven to 425 F.

Toss celery, onions, and carrots with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan; set pork on top. Wrap bone tips with foil to prevent burning. Roast pork for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F, and continue roasting, turning pan halfway through, until thermometer inserted in thickest part of a few of the chops reads 155 to 160 F. for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove roast from oven and remove foil from bone tips. Carefully transfer roast to a platter, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

While roast is resting, remove vegetables from pan and discard. Place roasting pan over low heat and add water and wine. Bring to a simmer and, using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits of pork from bottom of the pan. Simmer until you have a flavorful juice, 3 to 4 minutes.

Carve roast into thick chops and serve with pan juices.

Makes 16 to 20 chops

Per chop: 170 calories, 9 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 19 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 75 mg sodium

Holiday Apple Crisp

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

Warm and fruity, this seemingly familiar apple crisp is spiked with sweet and tangy dried cherries. Fresh or dried, cherries contain impressive amounts of antioxidants, as well as soluble fiber and potassium. Ounce for ounce, dried cherries are higher in nutrients than their fresh counterparts, but they also have more calories. So it's best to enjoy them in moderation, as you will here.

1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup trans-fat-free margarine
1/2 cup whole-grain pastry flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granular sugar substitute
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
9 Granny Smith apples, sliced (9 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place cherries and water in a bowl and soak cherries until ready to use.

Meanwhile, combine oats, margarine, 1/4 cup of the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar substitute, and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl; stir until mixture is crumbly.

Toss apples and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar substitute, and remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon; stir to combine.

Place apples in baking dish. Pour cherries and soaking water over apple mixture; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over fruit. Bake until apples are tender, about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12 (1-cup) servings

Nutrition at a glance

Per serving: 150 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 60 mg sodium

Make-ahead: Crisp can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cool completely in the baking dish, then cover and refrigerate. Heat through in a 325 F oven before serving.

Good Cooking likes this book. The recipes are easy to understand, the ingredients are readily available and the book is easy to pick up, not heavy. One of the big highlights is the color photography, through simple presentations the food shines through. You'd be surprised that food that looks this good is part of a diet and good for you too! Just look at the setting for a cheeseburgeryes a cheeseburgerit's "simply" beautiful and it's worth buying the book just for this!!!