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Chef's Corner: Recipes to keep those New Years resolutions

Janet Pole | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 9th, 2006

Most people made a New Years resolution to eat better, hit the gym more often and fit into their high school jeans. Well, for those of you who vowed to enjoy things more and count calories less, here are some absolutely delicious recipes to help you get the most out of your meal.

Buttermilk French Toast
4 large eggs

1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of sugar
Canola oil for griddle
1 loaf of French bread

1 pint strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar
For the topping, lean and hull strawberries, slice in half, and place in a large bowl. Rinse blueberries and remove any debris. Add to the strawberries. Gently pick through the blackberries and raspberries and add to the bowl.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and carefully scrape out the seeds. Place seeds and bean (or vanilla extract) in a small saucepan, along with water and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour syrup over berries and cool. Remove the vanilla bean before serving.

To make the French toast, crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and add buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Whisk with a wire whip until well combined.

Place a griddle or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brush canola oil over the griddle surface. Dip slices of bread into the batter. Place on griddle and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Serve topped with the berry topping.

New York Cheesecake
For filling:
1 pound cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
For crust :
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 tablespoons melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
To make the crust: in medium bowl combine crumbs, sugar and butter. Mix well.
Butter a 10 inch cake mold. Spread mixture evenly over the bottom of the mold. Refrigerate cake mold while cake is being prepared.
To make the cake: mix the cream cheese, sugar, salt and sour cream.
When cream cheese mixture is smooth, add the egg yolks, one at a time. Then add the heavy cream and milk.
Stir in the lemon and orange zest. Mix until smooth.
Remove cake mold from the refrigerator. Pour the mixture into the prepared 10-inch cake mold. Set in a larger pan and surround with one inch of very hot water.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Coconut Shrimp

1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup beer
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups flaked coconut
24 shrimp

3 cups oil for frying
In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.
Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer.
Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Make sure to enjoy these delicious foods - every meal should be a good experience, not just a time to balance your good carbs and lean proteins. Live like the French, and cook good food, not just good-for-you food!
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