See what I did there? With the pun? Okay sorry.
Some people are opting for a dry January, and while I respect their decision, this is not the time in world history for me to forego stimulants. Instead, I'm eating a little more clean, and I'm not sacrificing flavor.
On a recent trip to Miami, I was blown away by the vibrant colors, and the menus that were splashed with citrus and chopped mango. People were even eating their colors with their cocktails, which were laden with muddled mint and pineapple.
Another recent discovery is Guatemalan crema. It's thick, but pourable, spreading better than sour cream. It's a mix of sour cream, heavy cream and lime juice, and is quickly becoming a staple in our fridge!
Influenced by rainbow-like foods, I recently made tacos with butter lettuce, rather than tortillas. Wide and bendy, the leaves tear less often than tortillas, and hear me out, the flavor popped more! Sometimes grains can dull the burst of flavor you get from the filling.
And while I use traditional corn tortillas for my tacos, others use flour tortillas. I get it - you can practically braid them and they won't break. But in my opinion, they dull the overall flavor of every food they touch. Except when they are fried into taco salad bowls. In which case, come to mama.
For the below dinner, I did add grain to give it more heft because we were hungry, but even then I added lime and cilantro to...what else? Make it pop! You can make the below dinner with or without rice, and I can't stress this enough - use whatever protein you'd like. We repurposed leftover pork, pan-searing it with certain spices for a Latinx kick.
I wish we had more produce to toss in, such as avocado or tomatoes, but it was one of those nights where we simply used what we had. Think of my recipe as a jumping-off point, and enjoy!
Butter lettuce tacos
- Butter or Bibb lettuce (similar, but smaller)
- Guatemalan crema (available at most stores in dairy section)
- Sliced lemon or lime (at least 2 whole fruit)
- Any protein you'd like
- Chili powder
- 1 diced onion
- 1 head of cilantro
- 1.5 cups Basmati rice
- Roasted red peppers, chopped fine
What to do:
- Prepare the basmati rice as you normally would, with butter and salt. Once fully-cooked, fluff and add a handful of fresh-chopped cilantro, and the juice from a half of lemon or lime. Cover and put aside.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare your meat. We were fast and loose with this, taking leftover pork and pan-searing it with oil and dusting it with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and a handful of chopped onion. When done, we squeezed a little lime on top. You can do this with beans if you're vegetarian. It works with ground turkey, chicken - literally anything. Cover and put aside.
- For the remainder of ingredients, simply prep and lay out on the table. You should also have sliced lemon or lime, the Guatemalan crema, roasted red peppers, and corn on hand.
- Feel free to add your own extras, such as salsa, hot sauce or jalapenos.
You needn't follow the recipe to a tee to get the full effect - the more you play with this type of dish, the more creative and adventurous you'll be. Clean eating makes you feel great in the long run. I cannot confirm whether or not this is true for dry January.