By Arthur Agatston
Publisher: Rodale Books; (April 13, 2004)
The South Beach Diet book, by Dr. Arthur Agatston, was published in April, 2003. The book quickly topped the Best Seller list, and the diet plan claims a high success rate, helping millions of people lose weight. The diet limits certain foods, such as saturated fats and high glycemic carbs, and concentrates on good carbs and good fats. South Beach followers frantically searched for recipes which would be suitable for the plan. Dr. Agatston has addressed this need by publishing the South Beach Cookbook in April, 2004. The South Beach Cookbook begins with 3 short chapters which cover the basics of the plan, how to stock your pantry, and general questions regarding allowed foods. This is followed by 9 recipe chapters that contain over 200 recipes combined. Each recipe contains detailed nutritional data. Weight Watchers members can also use these recipes, and easily calculate the point values for each serving.
This cookbook presumes you have already read the original diet book. The first chapter, What is the South Beach Diet? provides a brief history of the modern diet, and how the increase in high glycemic foods has contributed to our poor health and high obesity rates. Dr. Agatston gives a definition of good carbs and good fats, without divulging too many details. You’ll need to read the original book for that. The second chapter, Stocking the South Beach Kitchen gives advice on cleaning out your pantry to make room for new foods. We are given a general rundown of foods to discard, and suggestions for restocking the shelves. The third chapter, Ask Dr. Agatston, attempts to answer questions that were not covered in the original book. There are only 24 questions in this section, but it is helpful. These first 3 chapters only take up 26 pages of the book, leaving plenty of room for what we came for – the recipes.
The first recipe chapter covers Breakfast ideas, and may be one of the best for most South Beach followers. Breakfast is often the biggest hurdle in our daily diet. This chapter contains 20 delicious recipes, and several pages of helpful tips. Included are a variety of smoothie recipes, muffins, pancakes, omelets, and more. Who wouldn’t want to begin their day with pancakes, covered with a warm peach and blueberry compote? How about Maple Walnut Muffins? If you prefer a more savory breakfast, you’ll enjoy the Asparagus Omelets with Goat Cheese, or the Breakfast Croque Monsieur. Each of the recipes in this chapter are easy to prepare, yet complex enough in flavors to begin your day with a smile.
Appetizers and Snacks are not just for parties. You’ll enjoy these recipes whenever you need just a bite of something to keep you going. There are 18 recipes in this chapter, and a few pages of tips for entertaining. We are presented with recipes for elegant treats such as Sun Dried Tomato Tartlets with Cheeses, made with phyllo dough, goat cheese, ricotta cheese, scallions, garlic, fresh basil, and sun dried tomatoes. One of the more interesting additions is for Wild Mushroom Cappuccino, provided by the Forge restaurant in Miami Beach. This interesting recipe is actually a seasoned mushroom and chicken broth, reduced and strained. It is then poured into coffee cups, topped with frothed nonfat milk, sprinkled with porcini powder. This chapter also contains recipes for items suitable for nibblers, such as roasted chickpeas, and a variety of dips.
19 Recipes for Soups will help fill out your menus year round. There are light soups which make wonderful starters or lunch, and heavier soups that are perfect for a comforting supper. A recipe for Indian Tomato Soup is seasoned with a green chili pepper and a hint of curry powder, for a lively twist on an old favorite. If you crave hearty flavors on cold Winter nights, make sure you have the ingredients on hand to make Walnut Soup. This rich pureed soup contains fennel, leeks, cauliflower, chicken broth, half and half, dry sherry, lemon peel, chives, Stilton cheese, and walnuts.
Salads are a mainstay of most diets, but are frequently underrated. Why settle for a simple vegetable salad when you can have Smoked Chicken Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette? This, and 21 other salad recipes, will tempt you at lunch and dinner. Enjoy Frisee Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts, a creamy Chicken Salad, as well as a refreshing Chayote Salad.
You don’t like green beans? You will after trying the Homestyle Green Bean Casserole recipe! This updated version contains green beans in a creamy sauce, topped with homemade onion rings that have been breaded with buttermilk, bread crumbs, and walnuts! The chapter of 22 Side Dishes and Accompaniments recipes will make it easy to eat your veggies. The accompaniments include sauces such as Roasted Pepper Cream, dressings such as Sweet Onion Dressing, and even a low sugar South Beach Ketchup.
The South Beach Diet Book contained a lot of poultry recipes, but seemed to be lacking in seafood choices. We are delighted to find a more than ample selection of of each in the Fish, Shellfish, and Poultry chapter. Included are 22 recipes using seafood, and 21 recipes for poultry. The chapter begins with a recipe for Zesty Crab Cakes with Creamy Pepper Sauce. You’ll also find lighter fare, such as easy Citrus Tuna with Fruit Skewers. Poultry selections cover everything from a country style Oven Fried Chicken with Almonds, to Balinese inspired creamy Coconut Chicken.
The Meats chapter includes 23 beef and pork recipes that utilize lean cuts of meat, such as beef tenderloin. Many of these recipes are for variations of steak, but you will also find recipes for meat loaf and meatballs. Grilled Filet Mignon with Roasted Garlic and Chipotle Pepper Chimichurri is provided by the Smith and Wollensky restaurant. This flavorful recipe is simple to prepare, yet highly seasoned and delicious.
Vegetarian Entrees include 15 recipes that will appeal to everyone. Baked Portabello Caps with Melted Goat Cheese includes pine nuts for crunch, and a fresh tomato sauce that is included in another chapter. You’ll also find many recipes for tofu, including a Smoked Tofu with Salsa that will tempt even the non-tofu fan!
The Desserts chapter contains 20 surprisingly decadent desserts that will satisfy all of your cravings. You wont be able to resist the Chilled Expresso Custard, Ricotta Romanoff Sundae, or the Apple and Almond Souffle. Refreshing fruit desserts are also included, such as Berry Granita, or Strawberry Shimmer. You’ll even find a healthy version of New York Style Cheesecake.
Many of the recipes in this collection were provided by upscale restaurants or celebrity chefs. The South Beach Cookbook isn’t just for the South Beach Diet. Most of the recipes are lower in fat than standard fare, and many are also suitable for low carb diets. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, which help make this diet attractive. We highly recommend this cookbook for all diet plans.