pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette

pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com

We’ve been in our house for a little over a year now. I’ve walked the streets of our new neighborhood dozens--maybe even hundreds--of times since we moved in. So I thought I had a pretty decent handle on the highlights of this little corner of Seattle.

Earlier this week, however, I learned that I had been overlooking one of the hidden culinary treasures of the city: the Discoteca los 3 Reyes.

This is not, as the name might suggest, a Latin nightclub, but rather a little grocery store jam-packed with every sort of Mexican ingredient your heart could desire. They stock the more familiar offerings: hot sauce and canned beans and spice packets for taco meat. But also corn husks for tamales, hibiscus flowers, dozens of chiles and fat kernels of Mexican corn ready to be ground into masa harina. They have piloncillo and Mexican cinnamon and dried avocado leaves. In short, they carry everything I need to get my Oaxaca food fix on.

pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com
pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com

Naturally, I filled my shopping bag with tons of ingredients I don’t entirely know how to use (what do you do with yerba santa anyway?) and over the next couple weeks I’ll be testing recipes for my upcoming Oaxaca-inspired dinner--and just for fun. I’ll be posting my successes here.

Today's experiment was a Pineapple and Jicama Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette and I'm calling it a success. This dish was inspired by a salad we had as part of our photography workshop in Oaxaca. As well as by all the chile-dusted tropical fruit sold in the streets of the city. It treads a thin line between savory and sweet and has some crunchy toasted peanuts and fresh herbs thrown in to round things out. 

pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com
pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com

Beau and I devoured a plate of this for lunch alongside some jalapeño eggs. Then we started dreaming up other ways to eat it in the coming weeks: as a salsa on top of a nicely charred steak, as a bed for roasted halibut, with yogurt and toasted coconut. Beau even thinks you could get away with adding a scoop of sorbet or ice cream. (Of course, he thinks you can improve a lot of things with a scoop of ice cream, so I’ll have to let you know about that one.)

However you decide to serve this salad, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back soon with more dispatches from the Discoteca los 3 Reyes and more Oaxaca-inspired kitchen experiments.


Pineapple and Jicama Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 oranges, (I used cara caras)
  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, halved lenghtwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup peeled and julienned jicama
  • 3 dried arbol chiles (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped mint, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish

*Notes: This salad is fairly spicy. If you don't like spice, either cut back on the arbol chile or use a milder chile.

- I think this salad would also be delicious topped with crumbled queso fresco.

pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com

Using a sharp knife, slice the peel and pith from the oranges. Carefully slice them into 1/4-inch rounds and then cut each round into sixths (you'll have six little triangles for each slice). Arrange the sliced pineapple, oranges and jicama on a serving platter. 

De-stem the chiles and place them in a spice grinder. Process into fine flakes. Place the chiles in a medium bowl along with the lime juice, honey, oil, peanuts and chopped herbs. Stir to combine then add salt to taste (you want it to be a bit on the salty side). 

Pour the vinaigrette over the pineapple, oranges and jicama. Scatter the radishes and reserved herb leaves over the salad and serve.

Makes 6-8 side dish servings.

pineapple and jicama salad with chile-lime vinaigrette | millys-kitchen.com

open-hearted everything

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

Hello friends,

It's feeling like pretty dark days in my corner of the world. When I get up and read the news each morning, I'm stunned. Some days, I feel myself wanting to slide into depression and paralysis over the state of affairs here in the US. I’m finding it hard to post on social or write for the blog. Pictures of food and travel seem insignificant when the rights of so many are in danger.

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

But a lovely person posted this to my Instagram feed the other day: "I think open-minded/open-hearted travel is its own protest...protest against narrowness, ignorance, insulation in the safe bubble of 'us.'"

I'm going to hold by that. And advocate for more "open-hearted travel” during these uncertain times. More open-hearted everything, in fact. More travel, more discovering, more connecting with people who are different from you, more meals shared with others, more speaking out for what you believe, more action. 

To that end, I'm hosting a Love Trumps Hate dinner in Seattle on February 25. I'll be featuring a Oaxaca-inspired menu in honor of the many talented, wise and generous women and men I met during my recent trip to Mexico. And 100% of the profits will go to the ACLU so they can do the important work of protecting all our citizens' human rights and keeping America a country we can be proud to call home.

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
I'm going to hold by that. And advocate for more "open-hearted travel” during these uncertain times. More open-hearted everything, in fact. More travel, more discovering, more connecting with people who are different from you, more meals shared with others, more speaking out for what you believe, more action.
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
I'm going to hold by that. And advocate for more "open-hearted travel” during these uncertain times. More open-hearted everything, in fact. More travel, more discovering, more connecting with people who are different from you, more meals shared with others, more speaking out for what you believe, more action.

When I announced my intention to host this dinner on social media the other day, many of you reached out to volunteer your time. For this, I am touched and grateful. Feeling a sense of community in these upside-down times makes me feel hopeful. 

Since I started working on this project, I’ve finally felt inspired to cook again. I’ll be testing several Oaxaca-inspired dishes for the dinner this week. So I’ll be back with new recipes soon. In the meantime, if you could use a dose of community, come join me for an evening of delicious food, good company and a great cause.

xo,

Olaiya

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

oaxaca wanderings

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

I’m home from Oaxaca and what an amazing trip! I went for a photography workshop that turned out to be a little tougher than I'd expected. We rose early and headed to bed late. We shot through heat, dust, smoke and into darkness. We muddled our way through a foreign language to ask total strangers if we could take their portrait. I got a stomach bug. And slammed my finger in a metal door. And one night I drank WAAAAY too much cheap mezcal and danced my ass off at a salsa bar and then had the (second) worst hangover I’ve ever had in my life. It was not pretty. 

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

But was it ever worth it.

In addition to the above trials and tribulations, there were visits to some of the most beautiful, vibrant markets I’ve ever seen. A trip to see artisans making paper by hand and coloring it with locally sourced natural dyes. A visit with a group of feisty sisters crafting ceramics using techniques thousands of years old. A bumpy car ride to a palenque where we watched as our hosts smoked woody agave hearts, then mashed, fermented and distilled them into some of the finest mezcal I’ve ever tasted. Everywhere we went, we were greeted warmly and fed heartily. The Oaxacans we met generously shared their stories, their knowledge, their traditions and their tables with us. 

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

Through those sunrise shoots, rides over dirt roads to breathtaking locations, and interactions with the people we met in Oaxaca, I feel I’ve grown as a photographer, too. I learned more from Andrea and Martin in nine days than I would have in a year (or a lifetime) of experimenting on my own. Add to that the generous feedback and advice of my fellow travelers (many of whom I can now call friends) and this trip was truly invaluable.

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com

Oaxaca has changed me a little. The time I spent hearing the stories of such talented, wise, humble women and men in Mexico has left me feeling more connected to people everywhere and more grateful for my time on this earth. Bruised fingers, sleep deprivation, hangovers and all.

oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com
oaxaca on millys-kitchen.com