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A Gourmet Cinco de Mayo: Recipes From Julian Medina

Written on April 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm , by

Our May issue (on stands now!) features a lightened-up version of enchiladas, along with tips from Julian Medina, Chef/Owner Toloache, Yerba Buena and Coppelia restaurants in NYC. And with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, we were psyched to score a few more online-only recipes from the inventive chef! Combine the gourmet recipes below with the guilt-free one in the mag and you’ll have a flavorful fiesta ready to go!

toloache guacamole recipe

Photo courtesy of Toloache Restaurants.

Guacamole de Frutas (serves 4)

  • 2 Mexican Hass avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mango, diced
  • 2 tablespoons peach, diced
  • 2 tablespoons apple, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon habanero pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Thai basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
  • Kosher salt to taste

1. Scoop the pulp out of the ripe avocados into a bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt.  Mash the ingredients together, leaving it chunky and check the seasoning.

3. Serve with warm corn tortillas or chips.


julian medina toloache margarita

Photo courtesy of Toloache Restaurants.

Toloache Margarita (serves 1)

For the Hibiscus Puree:

  • 1 cup of hibiscus flower
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 ounce sugar

Combine ingredients into a blender, or food processor and puree until smooth. Let cool.

For the Virgin Mix:

  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce lime juice

In a separate container combine the Cointreau and lime juice, stir well.

For the Toloache Margarita:

  • ½  bar spoon of blueberries
  • 2 ounces hibiscus puree
  • 2 ounces Herradura Blanco
  • 1 ounce virgin mix
  • Splash of simple syrup

1. In a cocktail shaker muddle the ½ bar spoon of blueberries, then add the hibiscus puree. Pour in the Herradura Blanco, virgin mix and simple syrup. Add ice and shake well.

2. Pour the margarita into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with a hibiscus flower and lime wedge.

Keep reading for an ambitious chicken quesadilla…!

Read more

Build a Better Party Platter

Written on December 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm , by

veggie platter

Photo by iStock

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or bringing a dish to share, you can keep yourself and fellow party goers from overdoing it by building a party platter that not only tastes delicious, but is full of healthy choices. How to make it happen:

Load up on veggies. Use fresh veggies to complement party dips instead of crackers or chips, or consider incorporating your favorite vegetables into the dips themselves. Carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, and even asparagus spears can make great dipping options. Meanwhile, avocado, onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms are great additions to any dip. Give this Sweet Potato and Sage Dip a whirl.

Think Lean Protein. Foods rich in protein can help you and your guests feel more satisfied, but you’ll want to consider leaner fare to keep calories low and the fat content within reason. White meats like chicken and turkey are often lower in fat than their red meat counterparts, and many seafood options are also relatively low in fat. Remember to remove the skin and avoid frying them or smothering them with calorie-ridden sauces. Instead, stick with baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling and flavor with your favorite herbs and spices.

Incorporate Beans. You can serve them in soups, salads, dips, quesadillas, or even by themselves. Beans are tiny nutrient powerhouses with one half cup of them providing as much protein as a one-ounce broiled steak. They are also a great source of fiber which can help keep your guests feeling satisfied without the extra calories.  White Bean Bruschetta, anyone?

Get Nutty. Although mixed nuts are no stranger to many holiday parties, these aren’t necessarily the best choice. Instead, think unsalted almonds and walnuts. They are loaded with nutrients and, although they are a source of fat, it is the kind associated with improved heart health. Serve these nutty delights with your favorite fresh fruit for a colorful and complementary display.

Mind Your Portions. No matter what you decide to serve at your party, make sure to watch your portions. Consider putting out smaller plates…tapas feel chic, anyway! Another idea: Keep the platters in a separate room away from the best place to congregate. This will help take the emphasis off the food and put it back onto what really matters – the people you are choosing to spend your holiday time with.

Eating healthy over the holidays doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, there are many ways to offer nutritious options to your friends and family. What are some additional ways you like to healthify your party menu?

More from Diets in Review: Healthy Holiday Gift Guides Featuring $1,800 in Prizes and Gear

Fall Entertaining Tips From Celebrity Event Planner Andrea Correale

Written on October 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm , by

Stack your apps for instant appeal. If you're feeling fancy, trim with a cookie cutter. (Photo courtesy of 1-800-Flowers)

Summer parties seem to come together in a flash: Toss some flowers in a vase and put it on the picnic table, light up the grill and flip some burgers and dogs. The low-key, relaxed vibe of the season doesn’t hurt either! Fall can provide some unique challenges, with cooler climates, fewer fresh decorations and different guest cravings.

So we turned to Andrea Correale, celebrity event planner, caterer and Celebrations.com expert, to gather some tips about how to throw the perfect healthy and fun autumn dinner party.

  • Let the sun shine. Use a sunflower color scheme to harken back to those summer blooms. For a fall feel, “accent it with burlaps or bronzes,” Correale recommends.
  • Make shapes. Cookie cutters are a quick tool that add elegance to your meal presentation. “Try making an appetizer by stacking beefsteak tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and cutting a shape that fits your theme,” Correale says. Stock up on a leaf or acorn pattern, or swap the tomato for roasted squash and use a pumpkin-shaped cutter.
  • Cater to your guests. This tip fits for any season: Ask your guests ahead of time if they have any favorite dishes or dietary restrictions. The whole crowd will be happier and it might save you some last minute stress! “I did an event last summer where Mary J. Blige was on a special diet and had to have homemade guacamole,” Correale says. “So we drove through rush hour traffic in the Hamptons to get the ingredients and make it happen!”
  • Get them talking. ”Edible bouquets are a visually beautiful option for a centerpiece and they’re also a conversational piece,” Correale says. People will gather around the fruit to snack on their favorites and you’ll save money by combining your flowers and food.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern)

Now tell us: How do you make your fall parties festive?