I have a confession… I have a really quirky set of personal food rules.
I know my rules drive people nuts, yet I still fully embrace them. I’m particularly proud to say, too, that after years of repeating these dictums, my husband has finally accepted them as gospel. Lately he has been helping me out a lot in the kitchen, cooking entire meals without me overseeing the process, yet when in doubt he knows when to ask for my opinion. He has even learned that when I say, “I don’t care, do what you want to do” and he tells me what he wants to do, that I will in turn disagree and suggest to him what I think would be better (I’m still training him, you see). It’s a system I actually think works quite well for us.
So without further ado (and as a precursor to my salmon taco recipe down below) following are my Top 5 Food Rules that I honestly think every household should adhere to:
Visually bland food and dinnerware combinations are not allowed. Specifically, this means that no white, beige, or brown foods such as pork chops, rice and cauliflower can ever appear together on a white plate. Please note that in my opinion, adding a few sprigs of broccoli will not totally correct this visual problem, but it will help. The further addition of a colorful napkin, however, will get you a pass.
A good rule of thumb for correcting the problem introduced in Rule #1 is that lackluster foods should always be served on either colorful or decorative dinnerware.
When using decorative dinnerware as mentioned in Rule #2, be careful that the color texture of the food doesn’t fight for attention with the pattern on the dish.
To correct an additional problem that can occur when following Rule #2, do not use green dishes when serving green fruits or vegetables (and red with red, and so on). It’s like a symphony, where multiple fruit and vegetable colors must be carefully orchestrated so as not to conflict with the color of the dinnerware. This is where white can actually be used. Even with a pork chop.
All foods on a plate must taste good together. Leftover macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with horseradish, and chicken tikka masala together on one plate DOES NOT taste good. Ever. Besides, this combination violates Rule #1. It is okay to clean out the refrigerator, but it must be done with finesse.
Speaking of leftovers, instead of writing out a bona fide step-by-step, measured recipe this week, I’m giving you an idea for a clean out your refrigerator dish that you can actually make with fresh ingredients if you want. It’s funny, I once abhorred the thought of leftovers, particularly fish, even when it was only a day or two old. I have since learned, however, to enjoy the challenge of creating something totally new and exciting from what I have on hand. It’s not that I was being wasteful in the past. I did and still do give some of our leftovers to friends who live nearby. If I’m not feeling the love for a dish anymore, off it goes.
Note: This was my colorful (and very tasty) rendition of what could actually be called Leftover Salmon Taco for One, however, I’m quite sure that none of you would want to read about that. And, although this was a serving for one, if made fresh you could easily ramp this up to serve additional people.
Ingredients & Order of Assemblage
These are the ingredients I found when I foraged through my pantry and refrigerator:
One soft, yellow corn tortilla, heated on a griddle or using my favorite method – over an open gas stove flame (note: in my book, it’s not a taco unless you use a tortilla, although my raw foods friends would say a collard green makes a perfectly good taco shell).
Leftover salmon that was originally lightly seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, then broiled to medium. For this dish, I gently reheated it in the microwave – maybe 30 seconds? Note: Do not overheat or you will make salmon jerky. Keep it moist.
A slice of avocado. Not really a leftover, but I always have one on hand.
A slice of mango. Of course!
Crumbles of cojita cheese. Definitely. Salty goodness.
Julienned raw beets. The crowning touch left over from a salad. A seriously perfect addition.
Fresh lime slice for squeezing over the top. Not that fake stuff from a plastic lime-shaped container.
I would have added shreds of purple cabbage if I’d had them. Can you imagine the visual?
There you have it. Such a simple dish, yet so incredibly delicious! All of the flavors worked very well together, plus it was bright and colorful.
So much better than a plain piece of fish… on a beige tortilla… on a white plate.