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Get "The Sweet Life" in Your Kitchen

by Playbook 360   September 10, 2012 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 1,830

Sam Talbot isn't just a top chef, he's now the author of "The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries", a memoir and cookbook. We're pleased to bring you three tasty recipes for you to try out in your kitchen.

Guacamole with Feta Cheese and Almonds

We all love guac any time of the day or night, rain or shine, snow or waves, right? I do! But I wanted to give it a fresh spin, a new face -- call it a makeover! After countless efforts mixing this with that and that with this, here is, by far, the winner. It's got flavor and punch and is the type of snack that is good anytime, anywhere.
Put some in a baggie on ice and take it on a road trip with some blue corn chips, and you will never again be tempted by those fast-food and gas-station junk food emporiums.
Note: This isn't supposed to be a smooth guacamole--the tomatoes should stay chunky. Also, avocados are definitely necessary for a balanced diet--thank goodness!

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted in the oven
4 Hass avocados
Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
6 to 8 dashes of hot sauce
1 small red onion, diced
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor, process the almonds until coarsely ground.

Halve the avocados, pit, and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, hot sauce, onion, feta, and ground almonds. Mix until well combined, mashing the avocado with the back of a spoon. Fold in the tomatoes and oil. Transfer to a serving dish and season to taste with salt and pepper.

PER SERVING: 210 calories, 4 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 18 g total fat (3 g saturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 85 mg sodium

Crab Ceviche with Blueberries and Popcorn

Crab may be my favorite food of all time -- except maybe for scallops or octopus -- and I like it any way I can get it, including in this totally kicky ceviche dish. I know this combination of foods sounds totally off the wall, but I love to play with food, and this play knocks it out of the park. Trust me! (And if you don't want to trust me, trust the diners at The Surf Lodge, where this dish is a top seller and the one people always ask for.)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons agave nectar
3/4 cup yuzu juice
Grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
1 pint blueberries
1 cup plain popcorn

In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, agave nectar, yuzu juice, lemon zest and juice, and the oil. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the crab and blueberries.

To serve, spoon the ceviche into bowls and garnish with a handful of popcorn per serving.

PER SERVING: 229 calories, 19 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 8 g total fat (1 g saturated), 80 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 344 mg sodium

Pulled Blackened Chicken with Toasted Couscous

Manna, a 24-hour Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant that is just down the street from my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, makes great traditional dishes like okra hummus and stuffed grape leaves -- but my favorite by far is their roasted chicken with turmeric-scented couscous. It's a dish that should be on everyone's weeknight to-do list.


1 3-pound free-range organic chicken
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup blackening seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, halved
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons

To roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.

In a small bowl, toss together the garlic, blackening seasoning, oil, lemon halves, thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper. Remove the lemon and thyme from the seasoning mixture and stick them into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken and transfer the bird to a roasting pan.

Roast the chicken until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 180° 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, take the lemon halves out of the cavity, and squeeze them over the chicken. Let the chicken cool for 10 minutes, then, pull the meat off in chunks.

Meanwhile, to make the couscous: In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk and broth and bring to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat; keep on a back burner.

In another medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, pine nuts, cinnamon, and turmeric. Cook until the spices bloom and the aromatics take over the room, about 2 minutes. Add the couscous and cook, stirring, until it is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and pour in the hot milk-broth mixture. Add the scallions. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and steam for at least 20 minutes.

Season the couscous liberally with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the lemon juice. Stir in the pulled chicken shreds to combine and serve warm.

PER SERVING: 613 calories, 33 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 41 g total fat (8 g saturated), 110 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 724 mg sodium

Recipes courtesy: "The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries" by Sam Talbot. Rodale Books.