No recipe. No Problem.

Food Alchemy

No recipe. No Problem.

This is not a recipe. I repeat. This is not a recipe. Not holistically. This is a guide. Why? Because some meals are simple enough to replicate, without step-by-step instructions. Because sometimes, given a blueprint, we can use our intuition to move us along in the cooking process. And because we trust, that you trust, you can do it!

Fajitas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, oh my! Experimenting with ethnic world flavors, makes breakfast, lunch and dinner, simple and interesting. It also helps boost our intake of grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. Preparing them in house, means it can be cost effective, especially for larger families or smaller ones who are tight on time. You can recycle the ingredients in many ways and you can make it as authentic, clean and healthy as you want.

As a family, we love it all! These all-in-one meals, fill the gap at least once a week, every week. It never gets boring because there’s more than one way to make a quesadilla, a burrito, a taco, a tamale, a fajita. Black beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, they all play the same role in most of them. Dried or canned? Dry beans are of course, more cost effective, and have no preservatives, like salt. But busy days may call for a can of beans. Paying attention to BPA lining is useful and thankfully, some companies are aware and getting better at packaging without chemicals. So, it’s your call.

It’s optional, but you can add brown rice to your beans and make it a complete protein.

Tomato salsa or mango-pineapple salsa? Sweet or savory? Still your call. Just keep in mind that the basics of most salsas are onions, garlic, jalepeno peppers, lemon or lime juice, olive oil (optional). You decide which fruit you want to use to define it. Think about it like grammar, the fruit is the subject or focal point and the other ingredients revolve around it. Describing, modifying, supporting, enhancing the subject. They add depth and to some extent, complexity. And of course, flavor. Don’t forget to end your process with salt, as salt is the punctuation that brings it all to a close. It’s worth the effort to get your hands on good quality salt, pink, sea, or kosher. Choose wisely. Use sparingly.

Home made tortilla or store bought? Most of the time, it boils down to… time and how much of it we can or choose to spare. It will take approximately 40 minutes to make 12 tortillas. So, it’s your call too. Worst case scenario, if flour is not an option, make it a rice or salad bowl.

Well, avocado is just delicious as good old fashion guacamole. For the guac, don’t forget about the modifiers, like onions, garlic, lemon or lime juice and of course salt to bring it all together. You can even spice it up with cumin and/or coriander. Both are great digestive aids. Hint: 2 medium sized avocado= 1 teaspoon of spice.

Wrapped, open face, folded, it’s going to taste delicious whichever way you present it. And easy enough to change it up from time to time.

Just to make sure we didn’t miss anything:

  • The basis of most salsas are: onions, garlic, jalepeno peppers, an acid like lemon or lime and olive oil (optional), but it does allow for better absorption of nutrients, all in support of the whichever fruit you choose as the subject. End it will salt.
  • The basis of traditional guacamole is onions, garlic, spice(ie: cumin, coriander). If you really want to get fancy with it, add fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.
  • The basis for making beans or rice and beans is flavoring it, otherwise, it won’t become the go to meal as regularly. Some must have spices that compliment or accentuate rice and bean dishes are onions, garlic, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cloves. How much you need will depend of the quantity of rice and beans. Always start small and adjust to your taste buds. Trust in them. They know what you like.
  • The basis for making homemade tortillas are, flour, water, oil, baking powder and salt. Creating foods with leavening agents, such as baking powder, requires a bit more precision. But it’s a good way to go if you want to control the type of flour, salt and oil or add spices.  Just in case you are up for the challenge, here’s a simple recipe that yields 12 tortillas.

2 cups flour (you still choose)

¾ cups water

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to form dough. Pre-heat skillet or griddle at medium heat. Cut evenly into 12 pieces and roll into a ball. With well-floured rolling pin, roll into thin round tortillas. Cook both sides until golden brown and bubbly.

Put it all together and your meal, whatever time of the day, is ready to go. It’s fast food made slow, simplified in house, and made healthier too.

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