"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating the Sun

Well...it's been a little while, hasn't it?  Hello again.  I fear I haven't been accomplishing much in the way of cooking of late.  Having been down with a bug for the past few weeks, I just haven't felt overly inspired in the kitchen. At long last, I do believe this bug's on its way out, possibly from the hefty dose of Vitamin D - a la day spent soaking up the sun yesterday, and I've (finally) got a little recipe for you fine people.

But first, let's reminisce on yesterday's beautiful rays, whereupon we headed to the river for a lovely day of fun with friends.

It's about bloody time we had some nice weather.

There was time for a little wood sprite sort of action...

 ...time for a little explore...

...time for fresh water sand sculptures...

...and as it usually goes, time for a good laugh.

So, after our (very needed) rejuvenating day, a little celebratory dinner was in order. Something bright and cheerful, yet quick and simple to prepare, as we had some tired kiddos.  Tyler requested Mexican, and apparently I was feeling a little retro, hence...here's what transpired:

Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing - serves 4

Salad Ingredients:  This is just a list of what I had in the house, feel free to mix it up, use what's local and fresh, or whatever you've got in your house. You really can't go wrong here.

1 head hearts of romaine, chopped
1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, as fresh isn't happening just yet around these parts)
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 avocado, chopped
1 small bunch radishes, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (measure after chopping)

**Other ideas to include:  chopped, grilled chicken breast; grilled salmon and asparagus, ground beef or turkey, black or pinto beans

Toss all above salad ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside until ready to serve.

Creamy Lime Dressing:

1/3 cup sour cream ( I recommend the full fat variety, I think it mixes with the lime juice better than low-fat, but do what you've got to do)
zest of one small-ish lime
juice of 1 1/2 limes
pinch paprika
pinch ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
few dashes hot sauce, to taste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, using a whisk or fork, mix all dressing ingredients together, and set aside until you're ready to dress the salad, just before serving.

Toppings and Extras:

1/2 cup grated cheese
Fresh salsa, store bought or homemade
1 can refried beans (or whole beans, see above **note), heated if refried, cold and tossed into salad if whole

Retro Taco Salad Bowls:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place 2 oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet, mine were old-school pyrex, sized just a bit smaller than the tortillas.  You're going to use these bowls to shape your tortilla into a bowl, so you can either use a slightly larger bowl and press the tortilla inside it, or a slightly smaller bowl, upturned, and drape and fold the tortilla over the outside.  I used one of each.  The larger bowl works best, but they're both perfectly fine. Lightly spray the side of the tortilla that will be touching the bowl, with cooking spray, arrange it inside (or over the upturned bowl), then spray the other side of the tortilla.  Bake for about 10 minutes, checking regularly.  If the taco bowl needs a little more crisping, after 10 minutes in the bowl, remove it from the bowl, place directly on baking sheet, and bake for another 2-3 minutes.

Horrid photo, I know, but just so you get the idea.

Now, all the remains, is throwing it all together.  Toss the salad and dressing together, and spread the refried beans, if using, on the bottom of the taco bowl.  Fill the bowls with the dressed salad, and garnish with cheese, salsa, or whatever else your heart desires.  

Healthy, colorful, tasty, and darned easy after a day out in the sun.  And seeing some of these photos makes me painfully aware that I really must look into getting a new camera.  Or asking for one for my birthday...wink, wink.

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