Tag Archive for 'salad'

Tex-Mex-inspired Salad

I have to admit, my vacation in Mexico was a long time ago. 15 years in fact. I had just started a research semester at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and feeling rather lost and confused in the very different world of Texas, my best friend from Germany came to see me and whisked me off to Mexico. I don’t remember the food at all, as I was either ill or heart-broken on that trip. It turns out my boyfriend back home in Germany broke up with me on the phone while were staying on the beach in Playa del Carmen. After that it was mostly a liquid diet of margaritas and such. Shame that, as we missed out on all that lovely food. Well thankfully, my next boyfriend and now husband, who I met not much later back in Houston, is a big fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex food and he took me to some great restaurants in Austin and Houston, to make up for what I missed on holiday. Funnily enough, he also cooked for me occasionally back then. The first dinner he made was a very greasy casserole, filled with beef, beans, cheese, chilies, tortillas, tomatoes and who knows what. I had just given up vegetarianism and was smitten! The second dinner at his place was fajitas and I remember him being quite grumpy because I got talked into a beer with a friend first and arrived a bit late for dinner. I think that was the last time he cooked a whole dinner for me from start to finish. Hmmm.

Anyway, now you know all about my link to Mexican or probably more correctly, Tex-Mex food. What I call Mexican food these days in my own kitchen is probably not exactly what you can get in Mexico, but it’s close enough to Tex-Mex food, with a little less cheese in it may be. We love tacos with any filling, fajitas, burritos, salsas in all consistencies and colors and definitely quesadillas. I used to bring a stack of packages with Whole Foods whole wheat tortillas back from the States and stuck them straight into my freezer. They lasted for about 6 months, and everybody was envious of my tightly managed supply. Now of course I learned how to make my own corn tortillas but still, I am sure I’ll get some more the next time we go back. It’s such a great thing to have ready in the freezer for a quick dinner. That and Amy’s pizza… sigh.

Last night I made this salad, which I have made for years now. It’s a variation of a salad/salsa I came across so frequently back in Houston, and it’s so healthy and lovely in the summer time. Whenever I can get the first organic corn, peppers and tomatoes, it’s time for this salad. It goes really well with any fish or meat and makes a great taco filling. 

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‘Spring Cleaning’ Recipes

Now that you know all about my recent detox adventure, I am excited to share some of the truly amazing meals I have eaten during that time. They were a fantatsic success in my recent ‘Spring Cleaning’ cooking class and are totally suitable for all those of you who don’t have the slightest interest in doing a detox. The recipes below are inspired by the ones in the book ‘Clean‘. I used different ideas and combined them in the Quinoa Salad recipe, but the Stir-Fry recipe is almost identical to the one in the book.

Quinoa Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing

 

serves 4

Ingredients

for the salad

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained or a mixture of white and black or red quinoa
  • 4 spring onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini or cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in water for 2 hours, drained
  • 2 cups of mixed greens, washed and picked

for the dressing

  • 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup white sweet miso, also called young ‘shiro’ rice miso
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar (optional)

Method

Place rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 12-15 minutes or until germ ring is visible and quinoa has softened. Remove from stove, fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool.

To make dressing; in a food processor, blend ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and miso. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too sour, add one teaspoon of light agave nectar and give it another whiz. Add 1 tablespoon of water if you prefer a runnier dressing.

Mix quinoa with chopped herbs, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Stir in dressing. Serve on top of greens on large platter.

Stir-Fried Vegetables with Chicken and Buckwheat Soba Noodles

 

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250 g 100% Buckwheat Soba
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 baby bok choi, sliced length wise
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • olive or natural (not toasted) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon wheat free tamari or nama shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

for the cooked chicken breasts

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Directions

To make marinade, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken breasts to marinade and coat evenly. Cover and put in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Place marinated chicken breasts with marinade in oven proof dish, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.

In the meantime, bring 2 quarts (2 liters) water to boil in a large pot. Add noodles, stir and cook according to package instructions.

When the noodles are done, place in colander and rinse with cold water. This will prevent them from turning into a sticky mess. Place drained noodles in a large bowl. Toss with toasted sesame oil and set aside..

For the stir-fry, heat wok or heavy pan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of natural sesame or olive oil. Add ginger and garlic and fry for one minute, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, except for spring onions and coriander, stirring and tossing for about 5 minutes. Vegetables should retain their colour and a nice crunch.

Add tamari or nama shoyu, lime juice, spring onions, salt and pepper to wok. Stir once more and turn heat off. Sprinkle with coriander.

Toss in a bowl with soba noodles. Serve with sliced chicken breast on the side.