J’Wow’s Salsa

I had the pleasure of training for my first Ironman with Jerrold, a good friend and triathlete known as J’Wow.  He’s like a little brother to me.  He’s rescued me when I was suffering from heat exhaustion during a long training ride and encouraged me to run with him when I was suffering from stomach pain during our first Ironman.  And like any little brother, he thoroughly enjoys annoying me with his teasing.

I joined J’Wow at Lake Tahoe this summer when he came up to train with his coach.  This is when I discovered J’Wow’s delicious fresh salsa.  Fresh salsa is a very healthy snack.  Tomatoes, onions,  jalapeños and lime juice contain vitamin C.  Jalapeños contain capsaicin, which generates heat, increases the heart rate when consumed and naturally raises the metabolic rate.  Avocados contain healthy fats, mostly oleic acid, which helps reduce bad cholesterol.  In addition, avocados contain protein, fiber and is an excellent source of potassium.  What a delicious way to consume raw and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

J’Wow prefers chips with a hint of lime flavor to serve with the salsa.  I’ve used the salsa with fish tacos, burritos and a variety of chips.  Although you can serve the salsa right away, it tastes even better the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to marry.  We had 6 people in the house and this recipe made enough salsa for us to enjoy for 2 days.

Serving size: 12

Ingredients:

  • 10 tomatoes on the vine diced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 ripe avocado diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 – 2 1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and minced
  • ½ cup of lime juice (4 medium fresh limes)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, dice the tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper and avocado.  Add finely chopped cilantro and minced jalapeno peppers.  I removed the seeds and was careful to wash my hands well after handling the peppers.  Add more or less peppers depending on your taste and how hot the peppers are.

Add the lime juice. One fresh medium lime should yield about 2 teaspoon of juice.  If the limes are small or dry, you may need more than 4 limes to yield ½ cup.  To get the most juice out of a lime, I put pressure roll it on the cutting board while putting pressure on it with the palm of my hand. I then use a reamer.  You can also put it in the microwave for 20 seconds before squeezing.

Toss all of the ingredients together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a good source of protein and fiber.  Roasting the chickpeas and tossing them in spices and honey transforms them into tasty, crunchy and healthy snacks.  They key is to bake them long enough to get a nice crunch without burning the honey coating.  If you prepare them without honey, you can bake them at a higher temperature (400F – 425F).  I prefer the salty, sweet and spicy combination and found that if you bake them “naked” for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature, you can achieve crunchy texture without burning the chickpeas.  There are many possible spice combinations.   Here are 2 recipes:

Preheat oven to 375F

Spicy Cumin & Paprika

  • 2 – 15 ounce cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed and dried
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin

Sweet & Spicy Rosemary

  • 2 – 15 ounce cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas) rinsed and dried
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder

Rinse and drain chickpeas and spread on paper towels.  Remove any loose skin.  With another paper towel, pat to dry and air dry for 1 additional hour.  Chickpeas should be dry before baking.

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Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake chickpeas for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

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In medium mixing bowl, mix all remaining ingredients.

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Add hot chickpeas to bowl and coat evenly. Lower the oven temperature to 325F.  Return chickpeas to aluminum lined baking sheet and bake for additional 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.  The chickpeas are done when they are firm and crunchy which may require more or less baking time.  Allow to cool and enjoy.

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Kale Chips

Salted kale chips make a healthy and satisfying alternative to potato chips. I was introduced to kale chips at a water stop during “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” in Lake Tahoe this year.  I was near the end of my 72 mile ride and craving salt.  A wonderful volunteer kindly shared his dehydrated salted kale chips.  They were so good I went back for 3 more helpings!  So I attempted to make them at home. I didn’t have a dehydrator so I tried crisping the kale up in the oven.  I ended up with these delicate and crispy treats!  I have a cramping issue so I am trying to take in a little more salt prior to my races or longer rides.

For more nutritional information on kale, check out this article:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Kale (I used Dinosaur Kale in the photo)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher/sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250F.

Separate kale leaves, rinse and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.  I recommend you leave the kale spread out in a single layer on paper towels to air dry even after you pat it dry.  Remove the ribs and cut the kale leaves into thirds.  The leaves will shrink when baked.  Toss in enough olive oil to lightly coat the leaves, about one tablespoon.  Use your hands to gently massage the oil onto the leaves.  Sprinkled with salt.  Place in single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes in the oven at 250F.  Using your fingers, gently flip over the leaves and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.  It shouldn’t be too hot to handle and you will be rewarded for the gentle loving touch with delicate, crispy kale.

Store in an airtight container to retain the crispness, however you won’t need to store them for long.  They are a salty addiction and will be gobbled up quickly.