One of my favorite things to do is to get creative in the kitchen. I love starting off with a concept of just a few ingredients that I have in mind (lately I’ve been craving avocados) and then feeling free to experiment with different complementary textures and spices that will pair well with the original concept.
Some of my best memories with Tara are days that we get together and cook. Our simple, bright idea always turns into something wonderful as we collaborate in the kitchen. It’s so exciting to create something original and healthy & have fun doing it!
It’s getting hot in Minnesota. So far we haven’t broken 100 but we’re sitting in the low 90’s with a muggy humidity that makes everything feel sticky and no air conditioning. Ew.
Tara has been making this simple lunch of cucumbers, red onion, balsamic vinaigrette, and goat cheese lately. That’s what inspired me for our kitchen-time on Thursday. Here’s what we ended up with:
First off, get a shallow pan of water boiling so you can make your whole grain couscous. If you’re smart, unlike me, you’d have it made and chilling in the fridge ahead of time. That way you don’t have to heat up your kitchen and you’ll cut down on the prep time.
Next, in a mixing bowl, throw a splash of apple cider vinegar.
I like Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – it hasn’t been processed so you still get the “mother” which is what is a little cloudy & contributes to the nutritional content of the vinegar. Bragg’s vinegar is rich in enzymes and potassium, helps with digestion & pH balance, removes toxins from your body & clears your skin. You can always take a shot of this (if you love anything with vinegar like me!) or throw it in some juice to give you a quick, natural energy boost.
Next, mix in a little bit of local honey (Tara just got some from the farmer’s market – really good at helping with allergies), cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, sea salt, black pepper, a handful of chopped cilantro, a small log of honey chevre (goat cheese), and the juice of half a lime.
You just made your dressing!
Next you’ll chop up some cucumber into 1″ slices & cut each “disc” into quarters. Slice up about half of a red onion and start to fold your vegetables into your dressing.
For the avocados, you’ll want to cut them into cubes. The easiest way to do this is to choose avocados that aren’t totally soft and mushy. Cut them length-wise, remove the pit, and start to “score” the avocado. Without cutting through the peel, green side up, make three slices down the length of the avocado. Next make three slices across the width of the avocado. Now turn the avocado inside out as if you were pushing (from the peel) the green fruit out into the bowl.
I think we used about three avocados, it depends on how big of a batch you’re wanting to make. As far as the amount of vegetables goes, it’s totally up to you and what you prefer. Next time I think I’ll do more cucumber, a jalapeno & a chopped red bell pepper. I think I would also chill the salad mixture in the fridge before I serve it next time.
Now, mix everything up and throw onto a bed of cold couscous & enjoy!