Question of the day: What does your name mean? Do you define your name? How do you define yourself right now?
And here’s a challenge for you: Cook a dish that defines you. It can be the person you dream to be, like I did. Let’s call it the “You Are What You Cook” Challenge. You can post it on your blog, and I might do a round-up of all your creations, linking to your recipe and posting your pictures. I think it’d be fun!
Nicole is my name and it means “Victory of the People”. Do I define my name? I think so! Of course, my initial thought goes straight to health and nutrition…not only because that is what I do as a dietitian, but it’s also what I AM. I am a woman who has lost weight in the past (and could stand to lose a few pounds in the present) and who wants to make a difference in the world — most specifically in fighting the diseases (diabetes!) resulting from our nation’s obesity epidemic. A reader just last week pointed out the fact that my LIFE is nutrition — work, home, blog, you name it!
Since beginning this blog, my skill in the kitchen has blossomed. I am becoming more creative and original in the things I make. Yet my ultimate goal will remain good taste + solid nutritional balance = SCOOOORE!
The theory of “if it tastes good, don’t eat it” doesn’t fly in my kitchen. I wish nothing more than to PROVE that that statement is nothing short of blasphemy!
In keeping with the challenge, “You Are What You Cook” I had several criteria I wanted to meet:
- Appearance — I LOVE beautiful food that calls my name just from the looks of it!
- Color — color = vitamins and minerals…I want lots of those!
- Bold — What can I say? I love bold flavors and things that make my mouth dance!
- Mexican-like — If you know me, you know Mexcian food and I go together like peas and carrots (Forest Gump reference…)
- Balance — protein, carbohydrates, fat…you know, the works. Balance.
- NUTRITIOUS — Duhhh. 😉
Final Product: Prevention Seafood Tacos with Black Beans and Guacamole
4 corn tortillas
*4 wild salmon fillets (approx. 3-4 ounces each), raw, thawed
*1/2 lb jumbo shrimp (pre-cooked), thawed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 + 1 Tbsp cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 red cabbage head, chopped (garnish)
*Either salmon of shrimp can be used alone. Tofu would be a great substitution for either seafood selection and would marinade beautifully.
Combine honey, soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add shrimp and salmon. Marinate salmon and shrimp for 20 minutes (or longer, if desired). Transfer salmon and marinade to a skillet. Cook salmon over medium heat until cooked on one side. Flip salmon and add shrimp. Simmer the seafood in the marinade until cooked through.
In a separate skillet, saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar until edges begin to brown.
Serve salmon and shrimp on corn tortilla topped with onion and red cabbage.
Discussion of dish: This taco is combining my favorite Mexican dish — tacos — with a bold, savory flare combining vinegar and onion with the crunch of cabbage. Nom nom nom!
Nutrition: Utilizes salmon which is high in omega-3 fatty acids versus high saturated fat steak. Topped with a sauteed onion and cabbage garnish versus high-fat sour cream and spicy salsa. A corn tortilla is lower in calories and fat than its flour counterpart…plus, it’s more authentic!
1 can lower-sodium black beans (no rinse!)
1 tomato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 jalapeno, diced
2/3 cup papaya, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
In a small pot soften the bell pepper over medium heat for several minutes. Add black beans, cumin, garlic, and jalapeno. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer another 2-3 minutes.
Combine papaya, red onion, and cilantro in a separate dish.
Plate the black beans and garnish with the papaya salsa.
Discussion of dish: A spicy-sweet combination. The flavor is good, especially with plenty of papaya salsa. The texture of the green pepper was a little off — I may omit that next time. Overall, it was an okay dish and pretty cost-effective.
Nutrition: High in fiber and loaded with color. Papaya is a somewhat scary-looking fruit great substitution for mango in something like a sweet salsa. These black beans are essentially fat-free and contain various vitamins and minerals (colors purple, green, orange were all used!).
1 large avocado
1 Tbsp salsa
2 tsp plain 0% fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 tsp olive oildash of garlic salt
dash of pepper
1/4 lime, juice only
6 corn tortillas
canola oil cooking spray
Preheat broiler to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Cut tortillas into quarters like a pie. Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on the foil-lined baking sheet. Spray tortilla triangles with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Broil 5-6 minutes or until they begin to brown.
In a small dish, combine avocado, salsa, yogurt/sour cream, olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, and lime juice until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.
Discussion of dish: Delicious! An all-time favorite.
Nutrition: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and a great source of vitamins and minerals. Olive oil is rich in good fats, as well. When served with saturated and trans fat-free tortilla chips, this is a great addition to any party or meal.
This was such a fun challenge and a great way to spend President’s Day! I hope some of you decide to take Sophia up on her challenge!
Question: Even if you don’t plan to enter into “I Am What I Cook” — what’s one initial thought on what you would create?
Random question: Do YOU know what YOUR name means?
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win the Vitalicious Super Sampler Giveaway ($35.99 value!)! Ends Wednesday, don’t delay! 🙂