Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wild Child Summer Salad

I'm not really sure how to categorize this salad. Extravagant coleslaw? Caribbean? Whatever it is, it is delicious and a real looker! And it's really good for you too! This gorgeous salad will outshine any dish you try and serve with it, so you might as well let it be the star!

Warning: If you think nutrition is boring, skip the next paragraph because here it comes!

Eating by the rainbow ensures you are getting the full range of antioxidants and vitamins from your foods and also pushes you outside of your comfort zone to try new foods. Variety is the key to healthy eating. Here are the ingredients and health benefits by color:

Cranberries, Radishes vitamin C, lycopene, anthocyanins
Carrot, Apple Cider Vinegar alpha-carotene
Mango, Cumin beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin A
Cucumber, Cilantro, Magdalena Pepper, Avocado, Pistachios vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, capsaicin, lutein flavonols, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, folic-acid
Purple Cabbage, Shallots, Purple Garlic vitamin K, vitamin C, Manganese, Potassium, vitamin B6, diallyl sulfides, anthocyanins
(The cloud right?) Feta Cheese, Coleslaw Dressing Calcium
Flax Seed (definitely the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) Iron, Fiber, Protein

Let's get started with the dressing. . .
Yes, I use store bought Coleslaw Dressing because I like it, but I give it my own twist. Start by chopping up some purple garlic, about 2 cloves, and scrape it onto a flat piece of tin foil. Add about a tablespoon of flax seeds to the tin foil. Place it on a cookie sheet and place on the top oven rack and put it on broil. Don't walk away from the oven! The flax seeds burn really quickly. Only let them bake for 2 or 3 minutes. Then pull them out and mix them into the dressing. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the Apple Cider Vinegar to the dressing as well as salt, pepper, and a good dose of Cumin.

Slice the cabbage into strips, I like mine about 1/2 an inch wide and 2 inches long. The cabbage should make up about 2/3 of the salad's bulk.
Skin the cucumber and then slice.
Slice the radishes, carrots, and scallions.
Mince the magdalena pepper.
Chop the cilantro.
Cube the avocado.
Slice the mango into wedges.
Top with the feta cheese and cranberries.
Crack open the pistachios, and smash them between two paper towels so they are crumbled. Sprinkle over the top of the salad.
Top it all off with the dressing and fresh ground pepper.

You can have a lot of fun with layering this salad since it's so colorful, so play around with the presentation!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spicy Papaya Fried Rice with Snow Peas

There is something wonderful about eating a papaya on a sunny day that just makes you feel like you are on vacation on a tropical island. Life is always good when you eat papaya.

And so I had no choice but to buy the big beautiful mexican papaya that was waiting for me a Trader Joe's, I just had to have it.

And since the Easter Bunny was still on my brain, I couldn't help but think of bunny ears when I cut open the papaya. Do not try this at home, it resulted in lots of papaya seeds in my hair.

What you will need:

Brown Basmati Rice
Snow Peas
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Ginger
Cal├žot Onion (or Green Onion)

I started by cooking up a cup of rice or so in my rice cooker. If you don't have one, you clearly don't know what you are missing.

Once you have the rice going you can move on to the fun stuff.

Fresh ginger is amazing in cooking and not as tricky to use as it may look. Chop off the amount of ginger you would like to use, I used about a finger's width. Use a sharp knife or peeler to remove the skin. Then you can dice the ginger the same way you would dice garlic. Then chop up two or three cloves of garlic.

Wash the snow peas and remove the ends. Toss the ginger, garlic, and snow peas into a frying pan with a little bit of canola oil and about 1/4 cup of water and turn to medium heat.

While this is cooking chop up the onion. Toss the white bulb part of the onion into the frying pan and save the green part to use as a garnish.

Shell the pistachios and wrap them up in a paper towel, place them on your cutting board, and smash them with the bottom of a glass. Set the crushed pistachios aside to use as a garnish.

Cut your papaya in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Mexican papayas are much larger than regular papayas, so I only used a 1/4 of it. If you are using regular papayas you might want 1/4 - 1/2 papaya per person. Slice the papaya into strips and remove the skin.

Once the rice is done add it to the frying pan. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the rice and add Srirachia to your desired level of spice. In case you haven't noticed, I have developed quite a tolerance to spicy food, making me want everything hotter and hotter. It's almost like I want my food to be so spicy it challenges me. Maybe I'm crazy. If you are not a spice lover, you could add pizzazz by adding soy sauce, rice vinegar, or teriyaki.

Scoop the rice and snow peas onto your dish. Top with the sliced papaya, green onion, crushed pistachios, another dash of Srirachia, and serve with a slice of lemon.