TURKEY TACO SALAD

When we go to Mexican restaurants, my default request is taco salad, in part because most other offerings are pretty heavy and the portions huge. At least when I have a salad the risk of getting into a food coma are a bit lower. The inspiration for this version came from many sources, and I must say I’m pretty happy with it. What made it special for me was the inclusion of red cabbage and jicama. Full disclosure: julienning the jicama was not particularly pleasant. A small price to pay.

TURKEY TACO SALAD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (no need for precision here)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup grape seed oil

for the salad component:
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups shredded red cabbage
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 large jicama, peeled and julienned

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and puree until as smooth as possible.

Add the red cabbage to a large bowl and add half of the dressing to it. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or so.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the turkey and salt, and cook for a few minutes. Add the chili, cumin, mix, and drizzle about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover, simmer gently for a few minutes, the remove the lid and allow most of the water to evaporate. Reserve.

Assemble the salad: Place the cabbage (already seasoned) on a serving platter, add the lettuce, jicama, toss gently. Add the cooked meat on top, and the additional reserved dressing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to turn this into a vegetarian meal, omit the turkey and add roasted garbanzo beans instead. Or maybe sweet potatoes. The red cabbage gives it a very nice texture, and the jicama also contributes a lot. I just wish there was an easy way to deal with jicama, I am always afraid I’ll lose one or two fingers whenever I prepare it. But it has such a nice, fresh flavor. Totally worth the trouble.

I love this dressing. Definitely not for the cilantro-haters out there. Finally, what makes this perfect for me is the contrast of hot and cold. I’ve been planning many meals now with this in mind. We had a very small amount leftover and as usual, I was the lucky one who enjoyed it the following day. My husband is a real gentleman.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cheese and Pesto Emmer Roll-ups and Elaine’s Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Mango-Hazelnut Entremet Cake

THREE YEAR AGO: Lebanese Lentil Salad and a Cookbook Review

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NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI DRESSING

This is getting a bit annoying: the number of recipes I am sharing of food that simply does not show well in pictures. This salad exceeded my expectations in terms of flavor and texture, but it is hard to believe if you just look at the photos. Once again, I will ask you to trust me. I have a few pointers to modify it slightly, so check the comments if interested in making it. Let me just say before I forget, leftovers hold super well in the fridge and taste delicious even with a brief warming in the microwave, going from salad to a regular side dish. The green and red motif will be perfect for the holidays, an observation made by the husband. In fact, he’s already requested we have it for Thanksgiving. That is some endorsement! Make it. You will love it also… The picture below shows the salad right before incorporating the dressing, so you can see how thick and luscious it is, and adjust with water if needed. Tahini can be quite different depending on the brand you have.

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI DRESSING
(adapted from Pure Delicious)

1 head of broccoli, florets only (enough for about 3 cups)
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

for the dressing:
2 Tablespoons tahini
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
water to thin sauce if needed

Cut the broccoli florets in very small size using a knife or if you prefer, a food processor, but try not to over-do it.

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing except the water, in a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth. If too thick, add some cold water.

Pour the dressing over the broccoli, add the tomatoes and pomegranate seeds and toss gently. Salad holds well for many hours, keep in the fridge and serve at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used the food processor to cut the broccoli, but I advise you to cut it by hand, so that the pieces end up slightly larger and more homogeneous in size. Yes, it is a bit more work, but it will be worth it. If you want to have the broccoli warm later, save some pomegranate seeds to add on top. The contrast of cold pomegranate seeds with the slightly warm broccoli is particularly nice.

We had ours with Bulgogi Chicken, which I intend to feature in the blog soon because it was another super simple recipe but exploding with flavor…

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey-Spinach Meatballs with Cardamon-Tomato Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: British Baps, a Technical Challenge

THREE YEAR AGO: Japanese-Style Cupcakes with Cherry Blossom Icing

FOUR YEARS AGO: Quick Weeknight Soups

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sourdough Loaf with Cranberries and Walnuts

SIX YEARS AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

NINE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

TEN YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

RED QUINOA “TABBOULEH”

Another great recipe that the editors of the New York Times raved about. I ate leftovers for two days, with a slightly bigger smile on the last time. It gets better and better. I adore colorful food. And clothes. And earrings.

RED QUINOA “TABBOULEH”
(slightly modified from The New York Times)

1 cup red quinoa (or a mixture of colors)
3 cups wate
Salt to taste
½ cup fresh lemon juice½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup finely diced cucumber
1 pound ripe tomatoes, cut in small dice

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, and combine with the water and salt to taste in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa displays a little white spiral. Drain through a strainer, tap to remove excess water, then return the quinoa to the pot. Place a dish towel over the top of the pot, and return the lid. Let sit for 15 minutes. This gives the quinoa a perfect texture.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Mix together the lemon juice, salt to taste and cumin, and toss half of it with the quinoa. Allow the quinoa to cool. Combine the remaining lemon juice and olive oil, and toss with the cooled quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We enjoyed it with grilled chicken breasts, for a very simple but delicious dinner. It became my lunch for the following two days, on the second time I added a sunny-side egg on top. Heaven. I hope purists will forgive the tabbouleh label in the recipe, but I was not the one who started. The New York Times was the first sinner. I just went along with it, but added the quotation marks to protect my reputation as a food blogger. At any rate, tabbouleh or not, make this recipe. It is super refreshing and satisfying.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cucumber Salad with Yogurt-Harissa Dressing

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THREE YEARS AGO: Hickory-Smoked Beef Tenderloin

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SIX YEARS AGO: Fifteen Years!

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NINE  YEARS AGO: Headed to Hawaii

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD

Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD
(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ode to Halva

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (re-blogged)

THREE YEARS AGO: Apricot Linzer Torte

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TWELVE YEARS AGO:
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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2021

Last time I shared Incredibly Simple recipes was 7 months ago, so it’s been a while… The first three are embarrassing simple. The fourth will surprise you. Read on, my friends!

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER FLORETS

I admit that the picture is not that great. The problem is I had no intention of blogging about it, until I realized I made it three weeks in a row, and now it’s pretty hard for me to prepare cauliflower any other way. The air-fryer is the perfect environment to get crispy, tender inside florets, in 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes start to finish. No mess, no fuss. Perfect results every single time.

Toss the florets in a large bowl with a little grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), season with salt, pepper, and when you want to rock your world a bit, go for smoked paprika, maybe a touch of curry. Set your fryer to the highest temperature (mine is 390F), and let it roast for 20 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

HARD-BOILED EGGS, THE AIR-FRYER WAY

If you own an air-fryer and want to expand your horizons to use it more often, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Place as many eggs as you want in the basket. Set it to 270F (or around that temperature, depending on your model) and set the timer to 15 minutes. You might need a little adjustment in the time. For my fryer and my taste in hard-boiled eggs, that combination hits the spot. If you want to have soft-boiled eggs, reduce the time to 8 to 10 minutes, but again you’ll have to tweak the conditions. The eggs peel like a dream, by the way.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

SWEET AND SPICY WALNUTS (or PECANS)

Phil came up with this idea and now we do it all the time for our salads. Grab a handful of walnuts or pecans. Coat a non-stick small skillet with a tiny tiny tiny amount of olive oil. Heat, and add the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, or if you like to change things a bit, go for a touch of paprika. When the nuts start to get fragrant, drizzle a very small amount (maybe 1 tsp) of maple syrup. Everything will bubble furiously. Shake the pan to move the walnuts and coat them with the syrupy mixture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl to cool down a bit. Add to your salad. Any salad. Try to refrain from picking those babies from the bowl when no one is looking

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

FRIANDS

You may ask yourself… “Has she lost her mind?” BAKING in Incredibly Simple? Nope, I did not lose my mind (at least not for this particular reason). This is a recipe that a 5 year old can make with minor supervision as the young child will need to operate a food processor.

Melt 1 stick (113g) of butter and place in the bowl of a food processor together with
90g all-purpose flour
110g almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites
190g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Process for 1 minute. It will be very foamy. Spoon the mixture in non-stick muffin tins (or friand molds), filling each cavity no more than 3/4 full. Place two raspberries in each portion, top with some slivered almonds. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes, remove from the molds and when fully cold, dust with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope that if you consider yourself a non-baker, or worse yet, a bake-o-phobe (like I used to be), you will still grab the ingredients and try this recipe. You can vary the nut flour by adding some hazelnuts or even ground pistachios in some proportion together with almond flour. Or you can bake this simple version. They are delicate, moist, fragrant, absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. And so incredibly simple to prepare! Make sure to surprise whoever is around and when you bring those to the table, say very non-challantly… “I’ve made some friands for you”… Work on your best French accent, it is a must in this case.

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