Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leftover D-lite (vegetarian, even)

(yes, also first posted at Friends of Rutabaga...)

Had some zucchini, yellow squash, and plain ol' spaghetti in the fridge, left from an experimental dish the other day, and was thinking about sautéing up the squash and probably throwing away the pasta (there was so little of it left, just a small handful). But here's what ended up happening:

I heated up the cast-iron skillet and melted some butter in it. Tossed in the squash, along with a pinch of salt, some chopped garlic, and crack (aka MSG). Cooked that for 2-3 minutes, then threw in the pasta. After a couple more minutes, in went a small handful of chopped cilantro. Stir, stir, smell, drool. Then came a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Taste test- oh yeah, how you doin'?
That would have been good enough, yes sir, but did I stop there? No I did not, because then I added a splash of soy sauce. Taste test- ooh, now you're talkin', baby.
And that would have been good enough, yes sir, but did I stop there? Oh no, I did not. That's when I brought out the big guns-

Oil Chili!

A little pricey (I paid 3.25 for a little under 10 oz.) but the stuff is crazy, sick delicious! Well worth it if you can find it. It takes whatever you use it on/in to the next level.

Final result:

(The color's not so great because my home has the worst lighting ever, but the stuff was D-lish! And easily configurable to whatever else you have in the fridge waiting to get used up.)

Cheers, mates!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Magical Salad

Hello kids, and welcome back to another delicious episode of How's it Taste? Today we're going to make a magical salad, and I'm sorry to say, but no, it's not that kind of magic. At least not when I make it. What you put in it is totally up to you. I won't tell a soul, promise. No, the reason I call it a magical salad is because it reminds me of a couple times when I saw some magician on tv do a really awesome trick and I thought, 'Wow, that was really great, but how the heck did he do it?' and then he proceeded to show the audience exactly how he did it, and then I'd think, 'Man, that was so simple. Why didn't I think of that?' Well, in this case, I did think of it, and I love it so I want to share it with whoever happens across this blog.

In an effort to start eating healthier and maybe even lose some weight in the process, I've been cutting out the potato chips with lunch 5 days a week, and substituting some fresh veggies or salad. Most of the time it was just romaine and tomatoes with some salt and pepper and a light dressing of some sort, but then one day at work I threw together the following:

cucumbers, seeded
tomatoes, seeded
kosher salt (sea salt is awesome too!)
black pepper (preferably coarse)
rice vinegar

Magic! That's how good it was! You should totally try it, you won't be disappointed.

Normally I just throw it all together and go with it, but since I decided to post this here, I actually kept track of the cukes-to-tomatoes-to-avocado ratio, and ended up going with the following-

1 medium cucumber
2 largish roma tomatoes
1 avocado

(It's enough for one decent-size salad. I ate the whole thing in one go, but you could make a side salad for two with it.)

Peel the cucumber, if you like. I do those alternating peels you see on the cucumber rings at salad bars and stuff-

Seed the tomatoes and the cucumber, dice and mix up in a bowl. I think it's better to mix them together now before adding the avocado, so as to avoid mashing the avocado too much.

Dice up the avocado- here's how I like to do it:

In the skin, after you've removed the pit.

You just make a bunch of thin slices one way, then turn it 45 degrees and do it again, then you can scoop them all out with a spoon, lickety-split. I also recommend using a not-very-pointy knife, such as a butter knife or something similar, at least for the first couple of times until you get a feel for it. Using a chef knife, it's pretty easy to stab/cut yourself through the avocado skin.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper and give a couple quick tosses with your fingers, then add some coarsely chopped cilantro and give a couple more. It's pretty damn good just like this, but you can take it to a whole other level by drizzling some rice vinegar over it too. I like it both ways, so I tend to eat half without, then add the vinegar and finish it.

It's Super good and Super healthy- you control the amount of sodium, and it's fairly low-fat. I'm not sure exactly how much fat is in an avocado, but since it's considered one of the 'good' kinds, I have no problem eating as much of this stuff as I like. Try it out and see what you think. Also, if you're not a cilantro fan, give it a go with basil, or your other favorite herbs. I haven't tried anything else out yet, but I imagine they're just as good!

Until next time- if there is a next time- Bon Appétit!