Food, Glorious Food! Heidi’s Taco Salad

Heidi has me on a special diet that she used a number of years ago to help her lose more than 60 lbs. We cut out carbs, which means, we cut out bread, beer, chocolate, fruit with too much sugar, beer, chocolate, bread, tortillas, chips, cereal, beer, chocolate … well, you get the idea. It is also a low fat diet as well. This means, brace yourselves, no bacon! I know! The humanity! It is not the Atkins diet, but a bit more complicated than that.

What we end up doing is eating about 750 calories a day and after the first full three days, I’ve lost 7 lbs. Just the fact that she has me on the diet is a huge success. Did I tell you that we are not eating bread, tortilla chips, cereal, chocolate, beer or any other grown-up drinks? Apart from the occasional bouts of hunger, the worst part of the diet has been the cravings I’ve had. I think the first day, I sat daydreaming about the crackers on top of the refrigerator, thinking how good those crackers would be with some chocolate icing, rolled up in a buttered-slathered tortilla, along with some bacon and country gravy poured over the top and a beer to wash it all down. Obviously, that would be a diet buster.

The biggest surprise of the diet, besides losing 7 lbs. in 3 days, has been the food we have been eating is absolutely delicious. For example, today we had Heidi’s Taco Salad. This was really quite a simple meal and I loved every bit of it, wanting to lick the bowl and my plate… to finish it all off.

This wonderful meal consists of a pound of lean hamburger, fried on cooking spray in a Lodge cast-iron skillet with some fresh garlic. (The key is getting enough fresh garlic. When you have cut two or three cloves, double that amount, and it should be enough). Then, douse the hamburger with a healthy amount of cumin (the key is to make sure you have enough, then double it). Next adding a healthy dose of chili powder (make sure you double what you think it is enough), and mix it together for about 15 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked.Food 001

While I worked on this, using our trusty Lodge cast-iron skillet, she made the salsa, which was more like pico de gallo, that brought the entire meal together. Using her heavy-duty Cuisinart Food Processor, she ground up a freshly cut up jalapeño, along with two cloves of garlic (think about doubling that), a red onion, and fresh cilantro. Once that was  pulsed, she added cumin, oregano, freshly ground salt and the juice of one lemon. Last, she added a carton of cherry tomatoes and mixed it all together.

We put the beef on top of a bed of lettuce and cucumbers on our plates (after weighing out 3 1/2 ounces for each of us), then poured the pico de gallo over the top of it. It was absolutely splendid. Given the level of spices, it was just zesty enough to make us almost break a sweat, which when eating any Mexican food is a good sign.

It was so tasty, just like every thing she has fed me while on the diet, that it has left me wanting more. I know that my senses have gone through the roof because I am hungry from time to time, but the reality is that the food has never been better. I guess you could say the principle of less is more, is coming through. We are eating less, but enjoying it more. Every meal is fit for a king, a thin one mind you, but a king nonetheless.

Besides, even if you decided to add the tortillas, cheese and chips to this meal, it is still quite tasty. Did I mention we also cut dairy out of the picture? Yup. I’m  drinking black coffee, without cream, for the first time in my life. It’s amazing how different it tastes.

Well, hope you enjoyed our foray into the world of cuisine. I can’t wait to taste what is on the plate for tonight… I wonderful it will have crackers with chocolate on it.

UPDATE: Sorry about the photo not being quite in focus. By the time I noticed the error, the subject was no longer available. In future editions of into the world of cuisine, I will try to get the camera in focus.