Wednesday, December 31, 2008


In the south, tradition (and our mamas!) dictate eating black-eyed peas and a green (typically cabbage) on January 1st for luck and prosperity, respectively, in the new year. In my family, the typical New Year's day meal is meatloaf, coleslaw, and black-eyed peas. This year will be no exception, the only change will be all of the above will be leener. To get you ready for your healthy and prosperous 2009, here is our suggested Paul Leen menu:

Live and Let Lean Loaf : Get the recipe and watch the video on!

Skinny Peggy's Coleslaw: Get the recipe and watch the video on!

Fee-leen Lucky! Black-eyed Peas:
Our mama's traditional recipe for black-eyed peas is something along the lines of drop a big ol' hamhock in a pot of water and peas. Cook to death. Salt and pepper to taste. But this year, we're letting the flavor (and health) of the peas shine through. Black-eyed peas and most all beans are a perfect leen food. They're good for your wallet (the bag of peas I bought cost 80 cents) and your health (high in fiber and nutrients).

1 16oz bag bag dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through (sometimes tiny rocks make their way into the bag, so just be sure and give it a quick sort through)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1-2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper plus additional to taste

In a large pot, saute the onion in the olive oil unti soft and transluscent. Add the garlic and jalapeno (if using) and cook about 1 minute more. Add the peas and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer. Cook until peas are tender (could be an hour or more). Season to taste. Serve with meatloaf and coleslaw and have a happy, healthy new year!

-- Bever-Leigh

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: New York Episode #6 Recap WITH SPOILERS!

Quickfire Challenge:

This weeks challenge? To make it through this episode.

You know what the "reality" is? I am SO mad at this episode that I don't even want to review it.

IS THAT WRONG? (Please don't judge me the way Tom judges the chefs.)

Fine, here's the jist: Fabio was charming, Jamie was whining about Ariane, Carla had her eye thing and Eugene is getting more cocky than Stefan. Oh, also it was a Christmas Show where they had to make a holiday menu for Martha Stewart (yawn) and no one got eliminated even though THREE PEOPLE deserved to. (SUPER YAWN! I HATE YOU EPISODE SIX!)

Paula's Judging Table:

"Y'all, the wheels still turning, but the hamster's dead." -Paula Leen

*Next week they get a new judge and everyone hates him and he eliminates two people, not including Gail. THANK YOU!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Wishing everyone the healthiest and happiest of holidays! From all of us at!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Putting the 'LOT' in Latkes!!

According to the Associated Press, A 23-year-old mechanical engineering student has downed 46 of the potato pancakes in eight minutes to win a contest at a Long Island deli.

Ummm, he knows Hanukkah lasts EIGHT days, right?

Pete Czerwinski, a Toronto bodybuilder, said he'd never eaten a latke before consuming about seven pounds of them Sunday at Zan's in Lake Grove, NY. Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (Don't get me started on THAT title y'all...) Chairman Arnie Chapman says Czerwinski demolished the contest's previous record of 31 latkes, set in 2006.

So in honor of that, we would like to remind you of Paula Leen's Low Fat Sweet Potato Latke recipe:

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's been no-calorie sweetening the world for some time now, but until now stevia had not been a "legal" sweetener in the U.S. Per

"The newest no-calorie sugar alternative, Stevia, is a substance naturally found in the Peruvian stevia plant...With 300 times the amount of natural sweetness of the popular sugar cane we have used for centuries, Stevia has been used in sodas marketed as dietary supplements and in other countries for sweetening treats and other foods but before now was not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

So, what do you think of stevia? How about "artificial" sweeteners in general? The Paula Leen team is divided. Some believe natural sugar only and just in vastly reduced amounts (yes, Virginia, there is black coffee) while others are a-okay with a little sweet help from science.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: New York Episode #5 Recap WITH SPOILERS!

The episode starts out with Melissa saying that her "almost" being eliminated was a wake up call. Here's another wake-up call: you're boring. The girls start bitching about Stefan and Jamie thinks he's SUPER cocky but appreciates the gifts he gives her even though she's an advertised lesbian and he still wants in.

I guess THIS is television.

Quickfire Challenge:

In this quickfire challenge they are playing IDENTIFY THAT INGREDIENT! The game that is as exciting to Chef's that CLUE is to normal people.

The Chefs draw knives and they soon find out they get paired up for this challenge. Stefan and Jamie (sitting in a tree) go head to head with competing to name the most ingrediants, from taste, of a sample sauce.

Hosea says he can name 4 and Danny says he can name 4 as well but rules state he has to go one higher and he calls Hosea's bluff saying that Hosea can't name 4 just by tasting the sauce. Well, Hosea names 4 ingrediants and Danny loses.

Jeff and Ariane. Jeff guesses wrong and Ariane wins.

Stefan and Jamie. Stefan wins. (DAMN!)

Leah and Eugene. Eugene fails.

Radhika and Fabio. Radhika wins.

Carla and Melissa. Carla wins.

Then there's ROUND TWO and they get re-paired and taste a new sauce:

Hosea and Ariane. Hosea wins with naming 7.

Leah and Stefan. Stefan wins with 8 (and Leah calls him an asshole. LOVE IT!)

Carla and Radhika. Radhika loses.

ROUND 3 is round-robin:

The remaining chefs have to taste a new sauce and each name a new ingredient after each other:

Carla fails on the first go. (DOH!)So, Hosea and Stefan remain. But Stefan guesses incorrect with Tomato Paste and Hosea guesses one more correct and wins immunity.


Elimination Challenge:

They draw knives again and are split up into teams: OLD, NEW, BORROWED, BLUE. The challenge is for Gail's bridal shower the following evening for 30 women. No veal or black beans are requested and the guests are mostly from Food & Wine Magazine.

BORROWED Team: Radhika, Jamie and Ariane.

BLUE Team: Melissa, Fabio and Leah.

NEW Team: Daniel, Eugene and Carla. Daniel pushes pickles. Why? We have NO idea... but Carla is NOT speaking up. (Tragic foreshadowing?)

OLD Team: Stefan, Jeff and Hosea. They are going tomato-y and Jeff and Hosea are already OVER Stefan. (Much like the rest of America...)

They go shopping and Fabio looks gorgeous in a pink polo and Stefan calls Hosea a douche.


Once back in the kitchen, they have 2 1/2 hours to prep. Team BORROWED is the third course, Team NEW is doing the second course, Team BLUE is the fourth course and Team OLD is first course. (Did they just say Tomato sorbet as a course? Ugh.)

Tom comes in and let's Team BLUE know there is NO such thing as blue food in the food world, it's all purple. Blueberries, included. The team tells him they are going with an ocean theme and that's how they are working in the Blue. BORROWED tells Tom that they are borrowing food from Radhika's Indian culture...Cultu-HER if you will and NEW tells them they are doing Sushi, BBQ Sauce and Wonton Salad cups, giving the guests "NEW" insight into Sushi... as the world as a whole rolls it's eyes... and OLD shares with Tom that they are going "Old" Country for their entrees.

Recapping, Tom is NOT excited about Team Blue and can't figure out what to think about Team NEW and then there's Carla.
Oh, Carla.

Eugene changes his entree because his rice got screwed up and Hosea is concerned that he doesn't get to taste Stefan's dish and frankly, it's getting old with Team OLD.


The Bridal Shower:

The guest judge is revealed to be Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine Magazine: Dana Cowin.

Nothing really happens during this segment except produced non-drama and really BAD faux-shadowing. You can already tell who is going to be eliminated and it's only about half way through the episode.

Here are the perspective teams and or their dishes:
Leah, Fabio, Melissa: Blue Corn Sea Bass, Roasted Corn, Swiss Chard

Ariane, Jamie, Radhika: Lamb Marinated in French and Curry Spices, Vadouvan Carrot Puree, and Kale

Eugene, Danny, Carla: Chili Sticky Rice, Yuzu Giner Granita, Miso BBQ

Hosea, Stefan, Jeffery: Tomato Gazpacho, Tomato Carpaccio, Tomato Terrine

Judges Table:

Team Borrowed and Team Old get called into the judge's room and they are told that they are the judge's favorites. The top two dishes are down to Jeff's Tomato Sorbet (again, blech!) and Ariane's Lamb. Jamie is NOT happy because she REALLY wants to win adn thinks her puree was better than Ariane's meat, while Stefan is pissed that Jeff's dish was liked more than his. (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!)

The winner of the challenge is Ariane (YEAH!) even though she was SUPER surprised and now Jamie is SUPER pissed:
...and you can check out the recipe for her/their dish HERE. (FYI: It's got twelve thousand ingredients and it looks a little ridiculous to make.)

They are told to send back the other two teams but not before Jamie starts to sound more whiny then Stefan sounds cocky.

As the two least favorite teams are walked in, they tell Eugene that they didn't understand his dish at all. They call him out on his rice (and a note to him AND ALL OF US: if your rice sucks, chuck it. Don't try to save it.)

Carla says she allowed the crap to happen and then Daniel says that he LOVED the dishes and stands by it... even adding mushrooms to someone else's dish...DANIEL... and they hated that too. Leah says she was overall 'happy' and the Gail says that the flavor the guests liked, but the texture of the dish was no good. Tom is OBVIOUSLY in a bad mood and being a total jerk and then Fabio steps in and starts standing up for himself but then as the judge's table starts to turn on him, he shuts up.

Smart move, kid.

They release Team Blue and start to wreck Team New a 'new one'. Is it going to be Eugene or Daniel? Carla is safe, but is told to start standing up for herself. (It's SO going to be Daniel but Eugene knows it's going to be him and I still think Carla has REALLY big eyes...)

All the judges came together and the chef that was eliminated was:

Next week: Martha Stewart and rotten meat. Ironic?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sangria 'Sass'-pacho

You want your Gazpacho with a little sass?
Then here's Paula Leen's Sangria Sasspacho!

2 Mangos, peeled and pitted*
1 Cup fresh strawberries*, washed and stems removed
1 Cup Soy or Low Fat Milk
1 Cup Red Wine
3 tbsp Sugar Free Vanilla syrup
2 tbsp chopped fresh Mint
Mint leaves, for garnish

In a blender, place, well: EVERYTHING and blend until smooth and creamy. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

This is not only a great appetizer and/or soup, it would also be AHHHMAZING over ice cream or...shoot: as a cocktail! Just replace the milk with more red wine!

("That's what my momma always did!" -Paula Leen)

*Frozen can also be used depending on the season. Also, here is a video of the PERFECT way to peel a mango:

PLEASE pay no attention that it looks like he's in his garage or has broken into a house where the person who isn't home (or is tied up in the bedroom) is apparently a hoarder.

I'm just sayin'

Friday, December 5, 2008


The last bag of leftover turkey clings to the farthest reachest of the freezer, refusing to be part of another sandwich or casserole. Next to it sits the first holiday gift received - a huge slab o'meat from Cooper's BBQ in Llano, Texas. What to do with this meat bouny and still be leen? Heat the turkey or brisket with a little BBQ sauce and serve with a side of Skinny Peggy's Coleslaw. This isn't just great for a healthy coleslaw, it's just plain great! The crispy, salty bites of turkey bacon, the crunch of the cabbage, the creamy tang of the dressing, and the fresh herbal note of dill? Yee haw! Yee slaw! Watch Paula Leen's video demonstration of the recipe here!

1 package coleslaw mix (such as Dole Classic Cole Slaw)
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dill
6 slices turkey bacon, fried and crumbled.

Place coleslaw and bacon in large serving bowl. Toss to combine. Mix mayonnaise, yogurt, brown sugar, vinegar, and dill. Pour over coleslaw mixture. Toss to completely coat coleslaw with dressing. Chill before serving.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: New York Episode #4 Recap WITH SPOILERS!

Okay, when did Alek join team Rainbow? I mean I get that Richard is gone, but did we REALLY need someone to fill his clogs shoes ?

Quickfire Challenge:

Rocco DiSpirito is the guest judge for a quickfire BREAKFAST challenage. They have to create a Breakfast Amuse-Bouche. (a single, bite-sized hors d’Ĺ“uvre.)

Stefan starts talking about blah, blah, cocky, blah and Jack does the same thing. Daniel pulling out corn flakes = me terrified. and Ariane plans.

Melissa: French Toast Eggs in a Nest - LOVED
Stefan Huevos Rancheros - LOVED the presentation
Radihka- Latke. um, no. Didn't she see Paula Leen's brilliant version?
Daniel - Um NO!
Ariane - Stuffed French Toast. LOVED
Jamie- Egg BLT. LOVED

Leah EGG BLT -THE PERFECT SIZED (and she made sure to say to the judges AND the camera) Quail Egg BLT. -LOVED
Husband Fabio - Briouche Brulee - IFFY
Jeff- Twice Baked Potatoe


and sorta Jamie

And the winner is:

LEAH with her Fried Quail Egg with Tomato and Cheese:

...and then Rocco pushes his new cookbook.

Elimination Challenge:

They have to make an entree that they can teach on a television segment. (That means in like 2 minutes, people)

Okay, I officially hate Jeff. And FYI: Carla, Leah and Radhika are a mess.

Jamie served raw egg white because she ran out of time and Alex is SO about to get screwed trying to make a creme brulee in under an hour.

The judges went back and forth on Daniel and weren't impressed at all with Stefan. (Thank goodness!)

In the end they like Jeff, Fabio (of course) and Ariane and they become the top three.

The bottom three:
Melissa, Alex and Jaime.


SO, it turns out the top three will get a chance to have their meal tasted on The Today Show and so they woken up at the buttcrack of dawn (the time, not the person) and as they watch the hosts taste and rate their food Kathy Lee Gifford spits out Jeff's food.


Ariane wins the challenge with her Watermelon Caprese Salad:

... and Meredith comes back and congratulates her.


Judges Table:

Jamie did REALLY good defending herself. Like, REALLY good. (Not ugly, not snotty, just very stand-up-for-yourself meets You-Go-Gurl!)

Alex, was kind of whiny and I could care less about whatever he said because I totally zoned out because, well, who cares.

Oh crap, then Melissa starts talking again about how SHE wants to be here and OH MY CRAP WHO CARES!!!

Alex realizes that Melissa JUST threw him under the bus. DUN, DUN DUNNNNNNN!!!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Jew-SWISH Low Fat Sweet Potato Latkes

Latkes (Latkas/Potato Pancakes) are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah and came from a preference for fried food to celebrate the miracle involving olive oil. (Or in the South, just from a preference for fried food...)

Paula Leen's Low-Fat Sweet Potato Latkes are baked, not fried and by using yams instead of potatoes, this treat will be rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium not found in the common potato.
That's right...the potato is common.

2 Large grated sweet potatoes
I Medium onion, finely chopped
2 Egg whites
1/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

-Pam Cooking Spray

*Also, Latkes may be topped with a bunch of different things ranging from low-fat or fat-free sour cream (if you want savory) to Mott's® Plus Applesauce (if you should want the sweet).

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and then spoon by 1/4 cupfuls onto a Silpat Baking Mat and then flatten with a spatula. Sprinkle salt on top and then spray with Pam. Bake for 13 minutes; flip and bake for another 13 minutes.

"We're taking The Festival of Lights
and making it The Festival of Lite Food!"

-Paula Leen