Monday, February 21, 2011

Warm spinach & corn salad with lime dressing

Happy Monday, minions!  Did you have a pleasant weekend?  I definitely did.  Friday I went rogue and totally skipped the gym or any semblance of exercise.  Instead, I headed to happy hour with friends -- gasp!  I've had Mad Mex and its legendary margaritas on my mind for months, so I finally indulged a little and enjoyed the warmer weather by walking there.  Certainly one of the perks of city life :)

At least that lowered the bar for the rest of the weekend so my stint as a sloth wasn't too disappointing.  Saturday morning started off on the right foot, I swear.  I was full of energy and, by 10:30, had made breakfast, cleaned the apartment, and organized my closet.  And then, out of nowhere, the motivation fairy came and took all that I had left.  What followed was the laziest day that I can remember... at least since college.

Weekends are probably the time when I do the least amount of cooking, especially Saturdays.  Breakfast is usually late and consists of a filling meal of pancakes, while the rest of the day is spent possibly nibbling on items like string cheese and fruit.  As for a square lunch or dinner?  By Saturday, my stock of food is nearly gone in anticipation of grocery shopping on Sunday, so meals are usually eaten out somewhere or I settle for cereal.  Classy, really classy.

When I looked in my fridge early that afternoon, there wasn't much to choose from: eggs, some shredded cheese, half of an onion, tortillas, spinach, and leftover black beans and corn.  You know how I like to play kitchen MacGyver, so I challenged myself to whip up something... anything... before I resorted to cereal.

Thank goodness for my stash of Kashi and Special K that I was able to squeak out a really impressive and well-balanced lunch.  Check out this tasty little number: corn and spinach salad with sweet lime dressing.

I will readily admit that I totally surprised myself with this one.  The lime and brown sugar dressing was unlike anything I've had before.  The slight tang of the citrus flavor balanced with the sweetness of the sugar poured over tender corn and baby spinach was out of this world.  The whole salad just screamed, "Spring! Summer! Vacation!  Fiesta!"  Just so incredibly refreshing.  And it took all of five minutes to throw together.  This little salad paired nicely with a Tex-Mex egg scramble with cheese, a few black beans, onions, and toasted tortilla strips.

So, after all of that hard work keeping myself alive with good nutrition you'd think I was once again full of energy, right?  Wrong.  It's as if that motivation fairy granted me a moment of brilliance and then took it away as quickly as it appeared.  As soon as the dishes were clean, I resumed my position on the couch with both a good book and a remote within reach and went about my Saturday being utterly useless.  I can truly say that not a single urgent thought crossed my mind... and I loved every minute of it.  [Note: I don't recommend a day like mine if there are spouses, children, or others that depend on you.  And, if you do take your very own fiesta, which I highly encourage you to do, please don't mention my name.  We'll keep this our little secret, no?]

Warm Spinach and Corn Salad with Lime Dressing
-serves 2

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup sweet corn, thawed from frozen
1 Tablespoon minced onion
Ground black pepper

In a large salad bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, brown sugar, and mustard.  Pile spinach on top of dressing (do not toss) and set aside.

In small skillet over medium heat, heat a dash of oil and cook onions until just softened.  Add corn and warm through, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and pour hot corn mixture over spinach and allow to sit briefly (a minute or two, until spinach wilts just barely).  Toss salad elements together and serve immediately.

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