IMG_9648Every so often I feel like channeling Jose Andres of “Made in Spain” for he has always had the ability (at least on television) to make me feel transported to another land, a land where they are more relaxed and even take “siestas.” From what I read though, the siesta has pretty much died out, but, a girl can dream, no?

That being said, I have been super-tired of the boring old tuna salad. I’ve branched out into other fish salad options, most recently using mackerel (which in this case is from Portugal, not Spain, but, they are close to each other, and that’s how my mind work)

One can of this mackeral is 266 calories, 19 grams of protein and 31% of your daily iron needs (that’s quite a lot if you ever check out food labels, tuna is usually around 2% of your daily iron for a much larger serving.) Lots of the good omega 3 fatty acids as well.

For this salad, I used Cole’s Wild Mackerel in Olive Oil. I have also used their trout and and even sardines on several occasions and they always taste great. If you have a food processor, this can be done very quickly with just a few pulses, but, chopping and mixing it up manually won’t take any time at all either.

Ingredients

1 can Cole’s Wild Mackerel in Olive Oil

1/2 vidalia onion

1 plum tomato

Handful of fresh basil, oregano (whatever herbs you have on hand are fine)

Splash of red wine vinegar

Himalayan sea salt to taste

1 slice Hummlinger Whole Spelt Bread (110 kcals slice, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein)

Method

1- Throw all ingredients (except for bread) in food processor, pulse on rough chop a few times (if you like a smoother consistency, go a few more)

2- Toast the spelt bread, cutting into four pieces

3- Enjoy!

Tip:

Lemon juice would be an excellent addition (I just didn’t have any so I had to use red wine vinegar) as would some red pepper flakes and even sriracha if you like it hot. And if you want to keep it super low carb, you can always swap out the bread for some endive, celery or romaine and wrap it up!

 

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Unintentional "cooking" of my salad planned for the beach

Unintentional “cooking” of my salad planned for the beach

Super motivated on a Sunday morning to go to the beach and bring some healthy vittles to avoid a trip to the snack shack at the beach. The shack at the beach is lacking when it comes to food offerings. Overpriced frozen foods that you wait to have heated up and served to you in a paper box. The worst offender is the “pizza.”

I’m reasonably sure it is a knock off of Ellio’s pizza. No offense to Ellio’s, but, I think my parents may have served us that Ellio’s pizza a few too many times. I can barely look at it and I always thought it didn’t really taste anything like real pizza. But, I digress…

So, I got out my mandoline, “french fry cut” the yellow zucchini, orange pepper, etc. I threw all the ingredients together in Tupperware, drizzled some oil, vinegar and lemon juice and set it on ice. I was super excited to eat it while kicking back in the salt air.

After putting in my time at the shore watching three energetic boogie boarders, I finally sat down to have my salad. Took it off the ice, it was nice and cold. And then it dawned on me…I DIDN’T BRING A FORK!

Oh yeah, and the (now maligned) snack shack didn’t have any forks either! Criminy!

So, I brought the salad back with me and finally got a chance to eat it this evening. The veggies were nicely “cooked” by the citrus and vinegar, a ceviche if you will. Super crunchy and refreshing. Big on Vitamins A, C, Potassium and loads of other vitamins and antioxidants. Oh yeah, and of course low calorie.

Ingredients

1 yellow zucchini (sliced on the mandoline to look like noodles)

1 orange pepper (also sliced on the mandoline)

1/2 vidalia onion

Handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4-5 broccoli florets (only threw these in because I grew them in the garden)

1/2 cup of hearts of palm, salad cut

Herbs (Basil, Oregano, savory, thyme)

Red wine vinegar

Toasted sesame oil

Juice of half a lemon

Method

Throw all vegetables together, drizzle oil and vinegar and lemon juice over them in a tupperware. Add a few pinches of salt. Shake up the tupperware. Enjoy immediately or let stand overnight for a more crunchy/pickled version.

Salad Nom Noms

Salad Nom Noms

I do have a garden growing in the backyard, but, the yield has been spotty at best. We are talking like one green bean per day, a few snap peas here and there, shabby chard and broccoli that flowers before I get a chance to eat it. The tomatoes are coming along, but, they are still green. Oh yeah, and peppers that are at a stand still. Honestly, I have had better luck accidentally growing peppers in the refrigerator by leaving them in the vegetable bin too long. (that phenomenon is called “internal proliferation” and for you fellow food geeks, there is an explanation of it here.

So, even though I planned on making myself some killer homegrown salads this summer, so far, not happening. Thus I settle for a “refrigerator salad.” My herbs are doing well though, so I try to treat the basil like a “green.” I do always have on hand a few salad staples and they make for a hearty, healthy side dish or as a base for some fabulous protein topping (i.e. salmon or tofu.). If you have leftover of the salad, it can be used as a stir-fry base as well.

Ingredients

1-2 handfuls Snap Peas (Blanched) (1 cup has 44 calories and 4 grams of fiber)

1-2 heads broccoli (blanched)

2 carrots (peeled/blanched)

1/2 red pepper

1/2 red onion

Basil and any other herbs hanging around

Sesame oil (only used it because I was out of olive oil)

Red wine vinegar

Himalayan sea salt to taste

Method

1. Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil.

2. Prepare an ice bath to submerge the vegetables in after boiling.

3. While waiting for the water to boil prep all vegetables.

4. Once the water is boiling, throw in the snap peas for roughly 1-1 1/2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and submerge into the ice bath.

5. Repeat with the broccoli and carrots.

6. After all the vegetables are blanched, toss everything into a bowl, drizzle with some sesame oil and red wine vinegar.

7. Add the herbs and salt to taste.

Light and refreshing summer salad

Inspired by one of my favorite Tyler Florence recipes, Zucchini Carpaccio, I thought I’d try to make my own version using on of my favorite vegetables, the radish. Mr. Florence’s dish is an amazing appetizer salad which is very light, especially in the summer. It also has  nice tangy/savory taste which is somewhat addictive.

My version includes:

1 bunch of radishes (the bigger the radish, the better), thinly sliced by a mandoline

Olive oil

Juice of 1/2 fresh lime (lemon is preferable, but, I was all out)

Fresh chives

Crumbled blue cheese (~1/4 cup)

Arrange radish thins in 1 layer on a plate. Drizzle over the olive oil and lime juice and scatter with chives. I sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.  Allow the radishes to sit for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator, sprinkle on blue cheese (or cheese of your choice), and enjoy!