Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mexican Salad with Tacos

Continuing with the salad theme, we have a simple and flavorful Mexican entree with accompanying tacos. I used beef (organic!!!!) for the filling, but you could of course use  whatever you want -- fish, chicken, etc. And, I opted for hard shells, as they are fun to crunch, but soft would be just as good.

This recipe is easy to prepare, which is nice for summer evenings after work. As a salad, it is heartier than your normal dinner prelude, so keep that in mind when preparing any side items. The proportions listed below make enough for one person with leftovers.

Finally, gluten-free eaters will want to make sure to use corn tortillas, and check your sour cream to make sure it is legit. NOW, to work ....



INGREDIENTS:
- Green or red leaf lettuce (could be pretty much anything except sodding Iceberg)
- 1-2 chicken thighs, cut into chunks and marinaded (see below)
- 1/2 cup red salsa
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 handful blue corn tortilla chips, crushed
- 1/4 lbs. ground beef (taco seasoning optional -- you know, it is really just chili powder and cumin)
- 1/4 white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 hard or soft taco shells
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

For marinade: combine lime juice, chili powder and cilantro in a bowl. Add uncooked chicken, tossing to coat. You will be HAPPIER if your meat is room temperature when it hits the skillet.

Crack a beer or a cold glass of white wine, put on some tunes ...

Marinade chicken and set aside for the moment. Put two skillets on medium heat, adding 1 tbsp vegetable oil to one. As they warm, cube avocado, wash and prep lettuce, chop onion and chop parsley. Add ground beef to the dry skillet, mixing in the chopped onions. Here, you could also add taco seasoning if desired.

Place marinated chicken into the oiled skillet. With a couple of wooden spoons, stir and babysit the meats while they cook. Work on your drink, sing or dance a little to your music ...

When the meats are done, remove from heat and let stand for a minute. Place lettuce in a large serving bowl or dish. Add avocado, chicken and crushed tortilla chips, then add salsa and top with sour cream and chopped parsley. Place meat filling into taco shells -- add additional toppings (sour cream, cheese, etc.) if desired and plate.

Get another drink and enjoy!

Tonight's music: Bruce Hornsby, Intersections, Disc 3

Technology tip: I ran across a nifty little tutorial site called Tut City recently. It's been around for a few years, and offers freely available user-created software tutorials in a variety of application areas such as graphics, drawing, spreadsheets, scripting, animation and photography. It's pretty easy to navigate, and anyone can submit a tutorial to be added to their database. Check it out at: http://www.tutcity.com/.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Simple Summer Salad

The warm weather is upon us, and it is time for another salad. This is a quick recipe, and while the version I'm making here is fairly light, it could be fleshed out to be a more hearty. How you fix it will of course depend on whether this salad is served as a light prelude to an entree, or as a mid-week meal in itself (for the latter, I'd add walnuts, crushed pecans or pistachios). As always, increase proportions if you're feeding more than 1-2 people.

.... and, once again, we are gluten-free this week.


INGREDIENTS

- Green leaf, red leaf, romaine or boston lettuce
- 1 chicken thigh or breast
- 1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful craisins
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Flat-leaf parsley (a few sprigs)
- Creamy dressing (some make of blue cheese or something similar will do - I used Annie's Cowgirl Ranch, but you may not be able to find that in your area)

First, pour a nice glass of cold white wine and put on music. Now, to work ....

Rinse lettuce and shake excess water off (spin it if you have a spinner). Mince garlic and chop parsley. Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces, and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

Next, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and when it becomes fragrant, add chicken. While that cooks for a few minutes, julienne carrots and slice strawberries (removing the tops of course). Set aside for the moment.

Stir chicken occasionally until most of the pink is gone. Then, add white wine and parsley. Stir and let cook down.

When the chicken is done and the white wine and parsley have cooked down, remove from heat. Assemble salad in a bowl or on a large plate. Start with the lettuce then add the chicken, carrots, craisins and strawberries. Top with a drizzle of a nice, creamy dressing -- remember, less is more when it comes to dressings.

Enjoy!

Tonight's Music: Kostelanetz Plays Gerswhin

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