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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Roasted Corn, String Bean, Tomato and Cucumber Orzo Salad

A great way to encourage children to enjoy eating vegetables is to teach them how to grow their own garden.  Chloe’s and Zachary’s parents built two garden boxes in their back yard, one for each child.  The children planted their first garden in the Spring, watered it diligently and watched with excitement, their garden grow before their eyes.  They were recently rewarded with strawberries, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans.

Innocently unbiased and ferociously inquisitive, Chloe and Zachary will ask to taste all the ingredients in its raw form no matter what it is.  When I cook with them, I guide them on what they should or should not try and am thrilled they are willing to try everything.  What a wonderful way for the children to appreciate the true flavors of raw vegetables and understand how their flavors can change when cooked or seasoned.

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My Roasted Corn, String Beans, Tomato and Cucumber Orzo Salad was inspired by Chloe’s and Zachary’s garden.  The vegetables in this recipe are either raw or lightly cooked so their freshness can be enjoyed.

This salad can either be served as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course.  Add chopped roasted chicken for a protein-rich main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 2 ears fresh corn, roasted
  • 1 pound green beans, blanched
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half or thirds depending on size
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Pinch Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook orzo in boiling water for 8-9 minutes until barely tender.  Drain and rinse in cold water.

Husk corn and roast on grill until some of the kernels are evenly browned on all sides.  Remove the corn kernels by holding each cob upright on it’s stem and carefully running a sharp knife down the cob over a large bowl.  Add cooked orzo.

Cut green beans into 2-3 inches.  Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Green beans should still have a crunch.  Drain and place in ice water.  Drain again and add to orzo and corn.

Cut cucumber in half.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds.  Cut the cucumber halves into thirds or quarters lengthwise.  Then cut into ½ inch cubes.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half or thirds depending on size.   Add cucumber and tomatoes to orzo, corn and string beans.

Rough chop parsley and add to orzo mixture.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard.  Add salt and pepper and whisk again.

Pour over orzo and vegetables.    Toss well.   Allow the orzo salad to sit for at least 1 hour to absorb the flavors of the dressing.

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