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Spa-ah

4 Jan

Ah. Spa. Can’t you smell the heady eucalyptus/rosemary/chamomile scent?
As deepest darkest winter hits, we are in need for some serious TLC.
Deep hair conditioning, exfoliating, detoxing.

We’ll start with our favourite spa water, followed by some other outstanding sippers.

SPA WATER
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1/2 grapefruit, pink or white, sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves

Add all of the ingredients to a clear pitcher and fill with water. drink at room temperature.
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CUCUMBER WATER
handful of mint
8 slices of skinned cucumber
half a lemon sliced in half circles
a bottle of sparking or still water
ice

Muddle or crush the mint in a pitcher, then add the cucumber and lemon. Pour the water into the pitcher and serve in tall glasses filled with ice.
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CANTALOUPE AQUA FRESCA
from the Trellis Spa, The Houstonian Hotel, Houston, TX

Cantaloupe and cucumber, peel and slice both.
Layer in pitcher with ice and four cups of water.

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Monday is Taco Tuesday

14 Sep

sweet potato taco 3

OMG. Again. OMG. This is a recipe we will make forever. Hoarded from the New York Times since Nov. 7, 2004, we just got around to giving this a whirl tonight. Post yoga, pre-sensible-September-eating.

It is magnificently bright tasting and full of vitamins. The vinaigrette is so tangy and puckery from lovely lime, and the soft chicken smooshes beautifully with the toasty, cumin-scented sweet potatoes (full disclosure: we used orangy yams because the yellow sweet potatoes at the market looked about 100 years old. No matter. This is better.)

Also, we love how few ingredients there are. Simple.

Sweet and sour on an earthy organic corn tortilla and crunchy greens. If we were Taco Tuesday people, this baby would be in heavy rotation.

UPDATE: We steamed and mashed the sweet potato, leaving it lumpy, and tossed it with cilantro and the vinaigrette. While you don’t get that crunchy taste, it was still delicious. And of course it sped up the prep time to warp speed.

Also, with a grocery store rotisserie chicken and a lightning fast mandolin for slicing the sweet potatoes, this comes together faster than ever. Making the sauce the day before would be genius.

CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO TACOSsweet potato taco 2
Recipe from NYT, PAULA DISBROWE

For the chipotle vinaigrette:
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil. (we chickened out and used a generous 1/4 cup)

For the taco filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breast halves (bone-in), poached
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro (leaves and tender stems), chopped.

To serve: 
12 to 16 warm flour (we’ve been using organic corn) tortillas 
2 cups hearts of romaine lettuce, shredded 
2 cups mixed field greens 
Red salsa (optional).

1. To make the vinaigrette, drop the chipotles, garlic, salt, lime juice and vinegar into a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender still running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.
2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the cumin and salt. Fry, stirring often, until the potatoes are golden and crispy, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, pull the poached chicken breasts off the bone and use a fork to shred the meat. Place in a large mixing bowl with the red onion, cilantro and potatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine well.
4. In a medium bowl, toss together the lettuce and field greens. Serve the filling on a platter with the lettuces, warm tortillas and red salsa, if desired.