Beet and Orange Salad

This salad is simple and unexpected. Perfect in beauty, flavor, and nutrition. The acidic fruit balances nicely with the distinctly sweet beet flavor. A little red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh mint, and orange zest bring it all together.

Beet, Apple, and Grapefruit Salad

Yes…more beets!

Beet Apple Grapefruit Salad

Just now I felt like something light, healthy, but sweet. We had yet more beets to use up, and I had half and apple from an egg salad sandwich I made a day earlier, so this is what went down: Beets, apples, grapefruit, red onion for a bite, dates and some maple syrup for some additional sweetness, red wine vinegar and olive oil for balance, and toasted walnuts for a salty crunch. Exactly what I was craving.

Ingredients:
1 beet, roasted and chilled
1/2 medium apple (I used fuji)
1/2 grapefruit wedges, bitter part removed
2 tablespoons thinly slivered red onion
1 date, chopped (or a tablespoon of rasins. optional)
A few walnuts or other toasted nuts
A dash redwine vinegar
A drizzle honey or maple syrup
A drizzle olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Slice beets and apples in thin discs, as thin as you can. Add grapefruit wedges and thinly sliced red onion. Toss with vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add finely sliced date, or whole raisins, and toasted nuts.

Good Things Happen When You Buy Too Many Beets: Beet Slaw Three Ways

There different versions with the same base: grated raw beets and carrots. The raw beets maintain more of there superpower nutrients than boiled or even roasted beets. And they are fresh and delicious. Besides how they stain my hands, I love how they make everything they touch fuchsia. People, give beets a try!

Beet Salads - Mint

1. Beets, carrrots, apples, grated. Red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly torn mint leaves- quite a bit of it.

Beet Salads - Cilantro Dressing

2. Beets and carrots grated. Cilantro-lime yogurt dressing (1/2 cup plain yogurt, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/4 cup cilantro pureed). Salt and pepper to taste.

Beet Salads - Pepitoria and Queso Seco

3. Beets and Carrots grated. One tablespoon pepitoria (ground, toasted pumpkin seeds. Try sesamee seeds or sunflower seeds as an alternative, toasted and crushed a bit in a coffee grinder). One tablespoon queso seco (use finely grated parmesan or roman as an alternative). Juice of one lime. Toss to combine.

Grapefruit Salad with Emmenthal-Apple Croutons

Grapefruit Salad - Salad and Toast

This is a light refreshing salad, accompanied by a savory-sweet, even tangy cheese toast. The red onion gives its usual bite, which complemented quite nicely the refreshing bittersweetness of the juicy grapefruit. And I always enjoy the savory crunch of the pepita tossed on top. The toast adds to this light salad a bit more substance, so that as a lunch it could last you through the afternoon. I used Emmenthal cheese, initially because it was what we had leftover from the fondue, but I’ll tell you that it was a true complement to the grapefruit. Remembering how the apple was the favorite of all the dunkers in our fondue mixture, I decided to place a sliver of a slice of an apple on the whole wheat bread before layering on the slices of cheese and baking it until it bubbled over to a crisp. Cut into little triangles made a lovely appearance, and the toast gave was just enough robustness to make this salad a meal.

Grapefruit Salad - Solo SaladGrapefruit Salad - Toast in Oven

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Greek Salad, Guatemalan Style

Greek Salad

I eat lots of salads these days, and they are continually changing and evolving depending on the ingredients we happen to have, how productive my herbs have been, and where my cravings may be leading me. In general, my “Salad” entries will probably be quite short (although this one is not), because there are plenty of them. And in all honestly they’re not that complicated, and perhaps not anything too out of the ordinary. But I love salads, and I am quite particular about the way I have my salads (I rarely order a salad as-is on the menu, and always ask for the dressing on the side because I abhor soaked salads). Besides, this is a blog about everything I love foodwise, so I’m gonna write about them anyway. Also, its often an exploration into ingredients that are new to me that I discovered in Guatemala. Perhaps you are already very familiar with them, or perhaps they will be ingredients that are difficult to find outside of Guatemala or Central America, and maybe sometimes they will be ingredients I am longing for (like sweet wide-leaf basil).

This is a Greek-style salad. I say this mainly because it has olives (yes, we found a shop with high-quality Kalamata olives with pits in the brine – I also abhor canned olives), tomato, and a white crumbly cheese — all things that remind me of a good Greek salad. Also, I don’t care for cucumber unless peeled and seeded, so that will always be left out of my Greek Salad. This salad is different, however, because the cheese is not feta. Feta you can find here in Guate, and its not all that expensive (1/2 lb for 3USD, does that sound reasonable? I really don’t remember). Nonetheless, queso seco, a crumbly salty dry (seco means dry) is much more common, less expensive, and very Guatemalan. Despite my love of international cuisine and goods, I really enjoy keeping with Guatemalan goods and produce wherever possible. After all, when I eventually move away, it will be difficult to find some of these things. So I used queso seco.

Additionally, I added to my salad some toasted pepita, or pumpkin seeds. I was not very familiar with pepita before coming to Guatemala, although have seen them used in a few bloggers’ recipes. Here in Guate they use it on everything. They put toasted and ground pepita on unripe mangos with lime and salt, on oranges, and they even make a fresco, or juice, from it. I use pepita in a lot of my recipes, both whole and ground, especially lately. They are very inexpensive, when toasted they offer a wonderfully crisp pop to in your mouth, when ground they add a nutty flavor and crumbly texture. I especially love the sound they make when toasting — in just a few seconds in a hot pan or in the oven they pop very much like popcorn. I like to prepare everything in my salad and then toast them, and throw them on top still warm and making popping noises. I know people say to let everything cool before putting them onto greens, however I love the effect the hot seeds have on the rest of the textures and flavors.

Greek Salad Guatemalan Style (for one):

Ingredients:
3 Leaves Red Escarole, or two handfuls of any other green you prefer
1 roma tomato, diced (seeded if you prefer, but I like the juice)
5 olives, pitted and sliced
Red onion, slivered (use as much as you like)
2 Tablespoons queso seco (alternatively, finely grated romano)
2 Tablespoons toasted pepitas (perhpas sunflower seeds as an alternative)
A dash of red wine vinegar or juice of 1/2 a lime (both are lovely)
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (the cheese is salty, so you may not need any)Directions:
Start with the greens finely torn. Add the diced tomato and sliced olives, and cheese. Salt and pepper a pinch and few turns. Vinegar and Olive oil last, tossing with your fork.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

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This is a simple, healthy, Mediterranean-style salad which can be served as an entrée or as an accompaniment. The fresh ingredients stand out for themselves, so there is little need for fancy culinary IMG_2216skills. It looks like a work of art, yet it is so simple. I would have added some nice fresh tomatoes, perhaps cherry, if I had had them, or also feta cheese.

Mediterranean-Style Chickpea Salad


Ingredients:
2 cups chickpeas, soaked, cooked, and patted dry (or 1 can, drained).
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, and peeled*
10-12 fresh olives with their pits
24 cloves garlic, roasted** (more or less to your taste)
Handful of  either fresh cilantro, basil, parsley and mint (I used a mixture of all), torn.
Olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lime

Directions:
Make sure the garbanzos are patted dry. Heat some olive oil in a pan on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beans. Sauté until the outsides become golden brown, and crispy in a few areas. Then add the chopped red onion and remove from heat. You may cook it all the way through, or leave it raw. I like it with a bit of a bite, but wanted to soften it a bit for this recipe. Heating it slightly in this way will start the cooking process but leave it with some of its sharpness. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Add a few glugs of olive oil, the lime juice, zest, and fresh herbs. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Let the mixture marinate for at least an hour. The longer it sits the better it tastes, in my opinion. I like this at room temperature, but it is good both hot and cold as well.

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*Roast the bell pepper at 400ºF for about 10 minutes, or until the pepper has become soft. Seal in a ziplock bag and let cool. Once cooled, remove from bag and the skin should easily peel off.


**Roast the garlic at 400ºF wrapped in foil, drizzled with olive oil for about 45 minutes until soft.

Tuna Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Broccoli, and Dill (vegetarian alternative suggested)

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Today I was going to be my “day off” in the kitchen, and I was going to buckle down on my Spanish studies. I had some beans I prepared a few days ago, and for dinner I was simply going to heat them up in the pan with egg and onion for the traditional huevitos con frijoles, one of my favorite “day off” meals to make. No one is unsatisfied…unless someone had eggs for both breakfast and lunch. But late in the afternoon when I went to the fridge to get the beans, the tupperware container was all bulged out. I immediately recalled Mr. Weiland, my 9th grade Biology teacher, and his lesson on botulism, and I threw those babies out. I couldn’t remember exactly when I made those beans, but it doesn’t feel like too long ago. Dang it! So it was 4pm, and I didn’t want to think very hard to prepare something, I didn’t want to go out to a restaurant, and I didn’t want to eat those delicious but not so nutritious Choco Krispies we just bought.

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Tuna is something we usually have in the pantry, and we had some broccoli left over from Fondue the night before, dill left over from the tatziki, and we always have apples and walnuts (or some type of nut). It is like a Waldorf tuna salad with dill. I was a little concerned of all the ingredients mixing well, but it turned out to be divine — a refreshing combination of sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy. We ate it on pan de agua, a very light fluffy white bread common in Guatemala, with lettuce, and accompanied with homemade potato chips. It is packed full of nutrients, veggies, fiber, omega 3-fatty acids, protein, vitamins. A simple last minute meal, perfect for lunches, perfect for when your beans go bad.

A vegetarian alternative would be cannelloni (or white) beans in place of the tuna.

Tuna Salad with Apple, Brocooli, Walnuts, an Dill Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:IMG_2162
2 cans Albacore tuna in water (chicken is yummy too)
Handful of tiny broccoli florets, blanched (I remove the stems, but please don’t waste them!)
1 medium apple, chopped (I used Fuji)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, ect)
3 dates, roughly chopped (or rasins, cranberries, but all is optional)
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced (cilantro may be nice as well, and parsley you can’t go wrong)
3/4 cup plain yogurt of your choice
2 tablespoons strong brown mustard
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:
Drain the tuna. Mix together all ingredients throughly. See, that was easy.