And speaking of divas, Drop Dead Diva, whose finale is this Sunday, August 29th at 9pm on Lifetime, is a fun romantic comedy that follows Jane, a high-powered, highly intelligent attorney who is actually a deceased model/actress--you may be saying to yourself: "Is this Housel chick on crack?" But I assure you, it is not crack (unless Diva writers are using...that I can't speak to), but the premise of a show all about second chances. It's sweet. It's funny. And I love the foray into our human condition within those parameters.
Deb, the deceased model/actress who was super-thin and super-pretty (and super-blonde, of course) now inhabits Jane's body--Jane died saving her boss from an ill-intentioned bullet--but when Deb found her way back to Earth, she also found her way into Jane. Now, Deb/Jane is no longer super-anything, except super-smart. Jane is pretty but plus-sized. Best friend, Stacey, who's just enough of a California girl to believe Jane when she tells Stacey that she is, in fact, Deb, is always trying to feed Jane light, bright foods and beverages to "sparkle and cleanse." In honor of the Janes out there, the Debs, and the well-meaning best friends--here's a few fun recipes:
"Flat-out" Flatbread Pizza
What you'll need:
-3 teaspoons of your favorite tomato sauce
-1 "Flat-out" flatbread (I like the Light Original for the least carbs and most protein, but there are GREAT flavors--usually near the produce section, or the section where pita bread or other breads are sold)
-1/4 cup of Italian Blend Sargento shredded cheese (or your favorite shredded mozzerella)
-freshly ground black pepper (about a teaspoon or to taste)
-freshly grated parmagiano reggiano cheese (about 2 tablespoons or to taste)
-extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle on finished product)
-2 whole basil leaves rolled together and cut in thin strips on the bias for garnish
Put grill pan on stovetop and heat on high after spraying surface with Pam. Place flatbreaed on grill pan. After golden brown to dark brown grill marks form on bottom of flatbread, turn flatbread over and reduce heat to medium. Spoon tomato sauce on flatbread and spread out evenly with back of spoon. Next, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of Italian cheese over surface covered in sauce. Grind fresh black pepper over surface of cheese. Allow flatbread to form grill marks on bottom side while cheese begins to melt. Once you're satisfied with the bottom grill marks, you can remove your flatbread pizza with a spatula from the pan to plate. Cut flatbread pizza into slices. Sprinkle top with parmagiano reggiano cheese and garnish with strips of basil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil to taste. Total cooking and prep time: 10 minutes.
If you make this dish using the above ingredients, it's approximately 250 calories and is a great TV snack for 1-2 people. If you want to get fancy, substitute the tomato sauce for olive oil (using only about 1.5 teaspoons to cover top surface of flatbread) and crumble blue cheese on top, followed by slices of fig (which you can slice and grill prior to putting your flatbread pizza together--just brush each side of sliced fig with olive oil and grill for about 30-60 seconds each side, depending on thickness of slice). Garnish with thin strips of Serrano ham or leave the ham out if you're vegetarian. Carnivore? Add pepperoni slices to the original recipe. Or, if you're a vegetarian who wants amped-up protein, microwave 2 Morningstar Farms vegetable-protein sausage links. Cut into slices and sprinkle on top of tomato sauce layer before adding cheese.
Keeping things on the light side, the next beverage is a favorite of skinny girls everywhere but with a Housel-twist!
White Wine Spritzer
*This is an alcoholic beverage. A non-alcoholic beverage will follow.
What you'll need:
-1 bottle of your favorite white wine (try award-winning Keuka Springs Gewurztraminer or Casa Larga Tre Blanc--the best of New York's Finger Lakes whites in 2010)
-1 bottle of San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water
-10 freshly washed raspberries
-1 sliced, peeled ripe white nectarine
In bottom of wine glass, place 2-3 slices of white nectarine and 3-4 raspberries. Pour in white wine of choice until the glass is 1/3 full. Next, pour in San Pellegrino until glass is 2/3 full. Garnish with a slice of nectarine or a few springs of cilantro. Et voila! Your drink is served...and because we cut our wine in half, we only have to worry about half the calories! Whose the diva now??? If you're feeling diva-naughty, add a teaspoon of peach liqueur/glass. And yes, you can make this one in a pitcher using one part white wine to one part San Pellegrino. Place all the fruit in the bottom of the pitcher before adding liquids. You may want to reseve a few raspberries to put in the bottom of your serving glasses.
Faux Wine Spritzer
Substitute white wine for your favorite juice--any flavor will do. My favorite is mango peach from V8. Follow directions for fruit in bottom of glass; pour over juice until glass is 1/3 full. Pour in San Pellegrino until glass is 2/3 full. And you're good to go! Garnish as desired.
Now, you're all set to sail into the end of the summer TV season. Next week, please join Pop Culture Cooking for a fall preview, including a recipe for Viking Glogg to celebrate our favorite Viking-vamp, Eric Northman. What else can we expect to drink on the last night of True Blood's season 3???
Buono appetito, mia pop culture famiglia!!!