Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

26th August
written by Loren

During my recent weight loss efforts, I’ve found that, for me, it is much easier to make small changes which compound over many days rather than big changes which I won’t be able to stick with. A great example of that is switching to taco salads instead of tacos or burritos. I find that tortillas are one of those foods for which I don’t intuitively account for the calories they contain. It doesn’t seem like food, it seems like what goes around food, but at around 150 calories for a medium tortilla, they can start to add up if you eat more than one taco/burrito per meal. Moreover, they don’t seem to add all that much to the meal in terms of flavor or even texture. Unless, of course, you know a little old Hispanic lady who makes homemade tortillas from scratch. If that’s the case, damn the calories, you can find somewhere else to cut them out.

Since I don’t have that homemade tortilla hookup, I made this delicious chicken taco salad the other day, and it came out great. The main flavors here are the chipotle marinated chicken thighs and the really fresh black bean/corn salsa.

To make the marinade: mince 2 canned chipotle peppers and add to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the adobo paste from the can, 2 tablespoons of oil (olive, peanut, or vegetable), 2 teaspoons of garlic paste, a few dashes of worcestershire sauce, the juice of one lime, and salt and pepper. Mix this up and pour over four boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If I can make a recommendation: buy whole chicken thighs and bone them yourself. You’ll pay about half as much per pound, and you can keep a collection of thigh bones in your freezer until you have enough to make chicken stock (foreshadowing some  soon to come posts? perhaps…). Back to the recipe. Let the chicken marinate for a few hours, then throw it on the grill.

To make the corn & black bean salsa, add the following to a mixing bowl: 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed; 1.5 cups sweet corn (roasted is better if you can find it or want to make it); 5 green onions, sliced, 1 red bell pepper,  finely chopped; 1 handful of cilantro, chopped; 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced; 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered; the juice of one lime; 1/2 teaspoon of cumin; and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.

This salsa is spicy, smoky, sour, crunchy and so fresh. For salad greens, I went with swiss chard. For one, I bought some at the farmers market with no real plan for how to use it, so this was a pleasant surprise. Two, I think the assertive flavor and texture of chard, as compared to something like lettuce or spinach, better stands up to a meal with aggressive flavors like chipotle grilled chicken and lots of salsa. So rinse and cut your chard (removing most of the stem), add a nice heap of salsa, top with sliced chicken and half of a sliced avocado, and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco.



29th December
written by Loren

The Apostles of America's Test Kitchen

Once you try this vinaigrette recipe you may never spend another dollar on supermarket salad dressings. This is another recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, whose endless testing of seemingly infinite variations of recipes will usually produce a complete gem – this one is no different. The real beauty of this recipe is that the basic structure allows you to vary the outcome to make a wide variety of vinaigrettes to compliment any number of other flavors in the meal you are serving. Because you people are so special to me, I’m going to share the master recipe and the three suggested variations from ATK.

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot or red onion
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional, but not really)
  • 1.5 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, dill, basil, or oregano, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

    The Word according to Jesus... I mean Christopher Kimball


Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid. This will last up to one week in the fridge, but bring it back to room temp before you re-mix it. Now, the recipe says you can substitute dried herbs, and to be fair I have never tried this, but I don’t think it would be nearly as good without the fresh herbs.  Substitute at your own peril.

The last time I made this was on Christmas day when I had the pleasure of cooking for my brother Allen, his wonderful wife Heather, my mother, my aunt Pat and our family friend Annette. I went with white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of fresh tarragon, and 2 cloves of garlic and it was fantastic. Don’t shy away from the Dijon mustard either. I don’t like it on almost anything, but I love it in vinaigrettes. There is always a bottle of it in my fridge, and it never gets used unless I’m making one of these recipes. Now the 3 variations:

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Subsitute balsamic vinegar for the wine vinegar, and use oregano as the herb of choice. Reduce the amount of garlic to 1/2 clove. Note: Because of my respect for the testing methods of ATK’s recipes, I included that bit about the garlic. Obviously, I disregard all steps which require actually reducing the amount of garlic.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Substitute raspberry vinegar for the wine vinegar. Increase the amount of minced shallots to 1 tablespoon and the fresh tarragon to 2 teaspoons. Omit the Mustard.

Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

Substitute vegetable oil for the extra virgin olive oil and cider vinegar for the wine vinegar. Increase the mustard to two tablspoons. Omit the shallot and herbs, add 2 tablespoons honey and one tablespoon poppy seeds.