better doesn’t mean boring

by Alice Dommert
October 26, 2013
Food/Nutrition, Yoga

I am an avid cook who subscribes to food mags and pours over health food blogs. When cooking meals, I am ultra-focused on health (and lately, some might say I’ve gone a little wild). I live with my longtime boyfriend and I am the primary chef, mostly because I love it, but also partially because I am afraid of what appears on the plates that he prepares. He is a Southern man, meat and potatoes at heart. His dishes include entire sticks of lard, bacon and cream and although they are rich and delicious, they always leave me lethargic and sweating in a fetal position afterwards.

I had made some pretty solemn vows to myself earlier this year, ie. no meat (bad energy!), no dairy (inflammatory!), no gluten (inflammatory! Digestive issues!), no alcohol (where do I even begin?), no fun!! Since loading these restrictions on to my proverbial plate, the stress of a normally relaxing evening of cooking (always with a glass of Montepulciano) in the kitchen was becoming unbearable. I would spend hours chopping, grinding, substituting, steaming and my finished product would be a mush of cardboard quinoa with blah-sauce. Although my man is gracious, no amount of “no, really, it tastes great” could hide his true disappointment. My meals had taken a turn for the worst. Something needed to change.

The perfect storm of deliciousness occurred one night, after a long day of teaching yoga, running around the city like a madwoman all day. I was spent. I stopped at the food co-op, bought some veggies and kale to make another boring salad, went home and proceeded to collapse on the couch before I had to head to teach one last class around the block.

“What are you thinking for dinner?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Kale salad. I’ll make it when I get home.”

“I’ll chop the veggies,” he said.

“Awesome-sauce,” I replied.

Two hours later, I came home to some seriously amazing smells. “Oh no,” I thought, “He’s ruined the veggies with devil meat and over-cooking.” Imagine my surprise when I walked into the kitchen. Two perfectly plated taco salads. Mine, with black beans, his with ground turkey. I made some dressing and we sat at the table, turned on some tunes, lit a candle and had a glass of wine. DELISH. I even added a little cheese to mine, because why the heck not?

Moral of the story? Eating better doesn’t mean eating boring and sometimes letting another cook into the kitchen can make the experience that much tastier. Eat better, Eat together! (And add a little cheese…)

Be Well,
Megan Tefft
deliver me wellness
NYC yoga team

Taco Salad:
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 ears corn, cut off cob or ¾ c frozen kernels
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1tsp cumin
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne (to your liking)
1 head of kale, cut off stems
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut for garnish
Dollop of yogurt mixed with 2 dashes of cumin
6 corn tortillas

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
fresh pepper to taste

Mix salad dressing, whisk together and add to kale. Toss. Add tomatoes, red pepper and set aside (the kale will soften a bit and flavors will meld).

Cut corn tortillas into inch-wide strips. In a small fry pan, bring 2-4 tablespoons (about 1/8in) of olive oil to high heat. Add corn strips one at a time and fry on both sides until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to cool.

Sautee the onions over medium heat in fry pan until soft, add beans, corn, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Cook until beans and corn are hot.

Arrange tortilla strips on plate, top with dressed salad greens and spoon the seasoned beans on top. Add cilantro, grated cheese and avocado and finish with a dollop of cumin yogurt and a wedge of lime. Fiesta!

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

View my other posts