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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

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For the recipe you will need…

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Mariana’s Mexican Tuna Sashimi

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This makes for a versatile dish: appetizer, summer dinner, or lunch; place it in any part of a summer’s day. If you just want something lighter, easy, and extremely tasty, with a little Mexican flair, this is your recipe to go!.

Forget for a bit about the tired guacamole and chips or ceviche. I know they are delicious, but this is going to turn on your appetizer-snack light bulb. There are so many other ingredients in Mexican cuisine, and so many fusions that can take place, that this dish stroked me last night and it was a delicious dinner…Yes, yes we had this for dinner, along with a couple of pomegranate Margaritas…if you want the recipe for them leave me a comment and I will post it next week…

Let me introduce you to my version of Mexican Tuna Sashimi. In Mexico there is a kind of sashimi preparation named Agua chile. Agua Chile is a quick appetizer in which shrimp, octopus, are partially cooked in lime juice and a fresh serrano pepper and a couple of dashes of a well known dark sauce seasoning starting with “M” are added. It is ridiculously simple and delicious.

With this Agua chile dish in mind and Masaharu Morimoto whispering in my ear: “Tuna Sashimi”~
I fused a couple of ideas and created this scrumptious appetizer, summer lunch, Desperate Housewives re-runs, or foodie football game night.

Mexican-Sashimi-ready-to-eat!

For the recipe sushi grade tuna, a crisp English cucumber, creamy avocado, red onion, lemon juice, soy sauce are plated and combined with my weapon of choice: a red toasted chile de arbol oil sauce. To add some fun and crunch factor, Kettle potato chips or some salty crispy rice chips are delicious on the side to complement the ingredients in this crazy adventure.

The result is a cosmic bite that takes you to Japan and back to play at a mariachi band! Please, you must try this. Share and repeat.

You will find your self craving this appetizer often. Just like we now do…

Mexican-Sashimi_Ingredients

Mariana’s Mexican Tuna Sashimi

Serves 2 or 4.

½ lb tuna steak, sashimi quality, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger for best available.
½ English cucumber thinly sliced
½ small red onion thinly sliced
½ Mexican Hass avocado
1 lemon
1-2 teaspoons mirin
2 teaspoons tamari sauce or soy sauce

For the Chile de Arbol oil-sauce :

12 dry Chiles de Arbol remove stems if any.
1 garlic clove
2 good pinches of sea salt
¼ cup grape seed oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.

Garnish with:

2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts
toasted golden sesame seeds.

Preparation:

1. First make the sauce. In a small pot heat up the oil and chiles on medium-low, until the chiles are deep dark red, almost black. Set aside and let it cool. Once its cooled down blend the chiles, the oil, sesame seeds, garlic, and salt until you have thick chili oil. Feel free to add a bit more oil if it is too thick. Set aside.

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2. Now, place your tuna steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes before slicing, this way it will slice easily. I usually set up a timer so I don’t forget its there and you end up with a tuna lollipop!
3. Meantime, with a Mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice: cucumber, red onion, avocado.

Mexican-Sashimi_Slicing_avocado,-cucumber,-red-onion
4. Remove the tuna from freezer and slice with the sharpest knives you have. It can be a filet knife, a fish knife, if you own a sashimi knife you are my idol!… Me, I used what I was confident would make a great thin slices, My Santoku knife…I know a lot of people will be reading this and they would want to hang my neck for this… The only person that I could feel I need to apologize to is Masaharo Morimoto… “sorry Chef… I had to”
So yes, using my sharp confidence knife I proceed to slice my tuna steak. It is very important you follow the picture below, on how you cut your tuna steak to avoid a tuna massacre.
There is just a few points to follow:
– Cut the tip of the triangle that is separated by a silver tissue.
– remove the opposite tip of the triangle, the one that looks darker in color and it almost have no visible grain. This is the most tender and delicious part of the tuna steak, its the little corner that it is closer to the vertebra, therefore its tender. Save it to make two special bites if you want.
– Once you remove the two tips, your tuna steak will look more like a rectangular shape.
– Start slicing your tuna from the shortest side of the rectangular shape. Making sure you use just one slide motion on your knife like if you are cutting air. Sway the knife to get the cleanest cut possible.

Mexican-Sashimi-Slicing-Tuna
5. Now the fun part begins, layering the flavors. In a large plate or platter, start layering the cucumber slices, onion, avocado and tuna. Squeeze some lime juice, soy sauce, mirin, sesame seeds, and little drops of the chili oil. Start another layer, until you finish with your vegetables and tuna.

Mexican-Sashimi_Fun-platting

Note: You will have lots of chile de arbol oil left. You can use it on stir fried dishes, shrimp, fish, or save it in a air-tight container in the refrigerator and it will be good for at least 4 weeks.

6. To finish up sprinkle the roughly chopped roasted peanuts on top of the plated items, grab you kettle potato chips, a nice pomegranate margarita, or any drink of your choice, sake, Japanese or Mexican beer will work too!
And enjoy!

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Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Mucha Muchacha by Esquivel

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Avococo Salad Dressing

Avocado-Dressing-ingredients

Wicked! Is how I describe this creamy dressing. Avocados the natural butter of the fruit kingdom, and coconut milk make a fantastic duo. Lemon Zest, Lemon juice, salt pepper and herbs is all you need.

You have to try this dressing, forget about that white stuff you have been dumping on your salads and make this spectacular dressing on a blink of an eye!

I used this avocado-coconut dressing over a Boston Lettuce, thats what I found on my farmers market incredible fresh and so beautiful that I could not resist to bring it home with me. I’ve included step by step photos of a 4 step easy method to leaf and separate with out bruising this gorgeous and delicate Boston lettuce, I really believe you gonna find this method a keeper for your vegetable techniques.

Avococo dressing drizzle liberally, over lettuce, carrots, fish chicken, your hiking boots, it’s delicious everywhere!…Celebrate and be green green green Spring time is here!

Avococo-salad-Dressing~Yes,-more-please!

Avococo Salad Dressing

Makes about 2-2.5 cups of dressing, it stays good for about 4 days, avoid plastic, save it in a glass jar with an air tight lid.

1 medium size ripe avocado
1 to 1-1/2 cup coconut milk (depending on avocado size and preferred consistency)
4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil.
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
the juice and zest of a lemon
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1  garlic clove
6-8 sprigs of parsley, basil, or cilantro. (use only the leaves)
1 teaspoon dry dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper.

Preparation:

Place all ingredients on a blender or on a glass of an immersion blender, puree until smooth and desired thickness. If needed, adjust thickness by adding a bit more coconut milk.
Keep it on a glass jar with an air tight lid, it will keep for about 4 -5 days.

Avocado-Dressing-all-ingredients-to-the-blender!

How to wash and de-leaf a Boston lettuce?…

Wash:

Holding the head of lettuce upside down, submerge the lettuce into a big bowl with iced water and shake a few times. Leave the lettuce floating for a few minutes to allow the little dirt particles to sink to the bottom. Remove from water, shake several times, and live it air dry upside down over a clean kitchen towel. Shake 2- 3 more times to make sure all water is out. Then proceed to de-leaft.

De- leaf the lettuce:

1. Run a pairing knife around the back of the stem.
2. Gently pull the core of the stem.
3. Hold the head of lettuce in your hands and place your thumbs in the center, gently pull apart.
4. With a small lettuce, like this one, half will make a great portion, if bigger, arrange and divide leaves in 4 portions.

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Dress your lettuce and Enjoy!

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 Avococo Salad Dressing, Yes, more please!

 

 

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Raw Veggie Tostadas

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Is it Spring time yet?… I think we are almost there. This Raw Veggie Tostadas scream welcome spring!, Spring is about renewal, everything in nature starts again, a new cycle that makes me feel like eating fresh,crunchy root vegetables. There is an abundance of them right now, lots of cabbage, carrots, radishes at the farmers market. For me is time to set aside the roasting pans, lets eat them raw. Raw vegetables have an earthy and unique flavor, they are juicy and sweet. I’ve learned to loved them when I shred them, it is so easy to eat them raw and when you combine them in a salad they are also so attractive to the eye and all together make a crunchy symphony texture, simply amazing.
This recipe screams “easy”, you can whip this up for a week dinner or an easy-laid back weekend lunch.  This recipe its one of my favorites, Ian and I used to have them almost once a week for our veggie night or our MM, Meat-less Monday. Have fun and enjoy!

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_shreded-veggies~Yes,-more-please!

Raw Veggie Tostadas

Makes 4-6 Tostadas

Ingredients:

6 tostada shells*
(Baked or Milagro brand if you are her in Austin, definitely the best..)
1 cup of black beans cooked and smashed
4 shredded carrots…any color any variety.
2 shredded mexican zucchini (light green kind preferable)
¼ head of red cabbage, shredded
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 lime
1 lemon
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt (upon your taste)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish with:

2 tomatoes diced or in slices
4 thinly slices of red onion
1 avocado
3 tablespoons of greek plain yogurt + 1-2 tablespoon of milk + pinch of salt.
Whisk until well combined, to create a lighter creamy sauce. (for vegan options use tofu yogurt)
2 Tablespoons queso fresco or  feta cheese crumbled or  small diced firm tofu.
Red Roasted Tomato Salsa(recipe follows)

Red Roasted Tomato Salsa:

2-3 medium size tomatoes roasted and peeled.
6-8 toasted chiles de arbol.
2 toasted chiles cascabel (remove seeds)
1 medium garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
Place all the ingredients in the food processor, until well blended, add a little warm water if needed for consistency. The salsa should reassemble a lose puree.

Preparation method:

1. Warm up the beans, you can use refried beans if you like.
2. In a large bowl, combine carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cilantro, the juice of lime, lemon, salt and pepper to taste, toss well.

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3. Make your Salsa…I made this Salsa Roja Asada click for recipe here.
4. Prepare your garnishes.
5. Assemble the tostadas, spread a light coat of beans on the tostada (this will be your glue!) and then a generous amount of the vegetable concoction. Top with slices of onion, avocado, drizzle some of the yogurt sauce, and some salsa. Serve immediately. Enjoy!Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_assambling-the-veggies-~Yes,-more,-please

Raw-veggie-Tostadas_topings`Yes,-more-please!

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Raw-Veggie-Tostadas-healthy-and-delicious_Yes,-more-please!

Have you had your rainbow today?

Cook with music! Music always sets the mood for cooking, My music pairing for this recipe:

 

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