I recently had the pleasure of going to a spa to enjoy a few days of rest, relaxation and, of course, food.
Upon arrival, I was first impressed by the extensive garden surrounding Lake Austin Spa Resort. I haven’t seen the ground since December in my own garden, currently covered in snow, mind you. I took a tasting tour and enjoyed the smells and flavors of chocolate mint (yum), lemongrass (which I have never seen growing before) and miles and miles (slight exaggeration) of kale, among other delicacies.
Then it was onto a real tasting: our first dinner.
As the first bite-size portions came out, we were all worried we hadn’t snuck in enough snacks and treats to fill up on after dinner. But, as the four courses progressed, and ended with a decadent chocolate tart, we started to understand the balance of the smaller-than-average size dishes.
It is a bit of a shock to the system to be served a meal that is over in four to six bites. But, when you have a few other dishes around the same size, a satisfying salad, and follow it up with a small dessert, you will be more than satisfied. It was a good reminder to stop piling my plate full of food every night.
One of the highlights of the food, in particular the dinners, was the fresh salads served straight from the garden. The resort also had some great salad dressings to go on the salads, and they offered up the recipes too (see below). My sister’s favorite dish was a Latin vegetarian stew, and I am happy to be able to offer her and you the recipe! This is the best way to eat lighter — not to diet but to eat smaller portions of naturally healthy selections. I hope to go back someday, but in the meantime will be making these dishes and hope you do too.[twocol_one]
Recipe: Green Goddess Salad
- Romaine hearts
- Cucumber slices
- Avocado slices
- Italian parsley, chopped
- Chives, snipped
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups of grapeseed oil
- 2 1/2 cups of Italian parsley leaves
- 2 cups watercress leaves
- 6 tablespoons minced chives
- 4 tablespoons minced tarragon
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 4 canned anchovies, rinsed
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- For the dressing, blend all the ingredients in a food processor until well combined and the dressing is smooth.
- Arrange the salad and drizzle the dressing on top.
Recipe: Latin Vegetarian Stew
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 1 large yellow onion
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4th teaspoon of black pepper
- 15 ounces of canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of canned chipotles in adobo sauce
- 15 ounces of black beans, drained
- corn tortillas
- low fat sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Steam and seed the peppers and cut into 1 inch pieces. Peel the onion and cut into thin slices.
- in a bowl, toss the vegetables with garlic, oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Spread on the baking dish and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Stir and continue to roast for another 10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy.
- While the vegetables roast, puree the tomatoes, chipotles and cilantro in a blender until smooth. When the veggies are ready, place them in a baking dish and stir in the tomato sauce and the beans then return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until it is hot.
- When read to server, warm the tortillas, put the stew into a bowl. Top with sour cream and more cilantro.