Friday, June 20, 2014

Southwest Salad

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     Today marks the first day of summer for the Northern Hemisphere and temperatures are starting to heat up here in Oregon. While the heat is not what I endured in Texas, it does seem to be compounded by the lack of indoor air conditioning. In addition to making the house uncomfortable during a good part of the afternoon and early evening, the heat often makes cooking a laughable notion.

     Genuine no-cook options for dinner are scant, so I mostly stick to low-cook or slow-cook foods that keep the heat output to a minimum. Soups made from canned beans or frozen vegetables are good, as are tacos or homemade pizza.

     One of the very few no-cook recipes I make on a regular basis is inspired by cowboy caviar, a salad of black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, onions, and the like, that I would often have at office parties or family events down south. I’ve been making this updated version for about two years now, about as long as I’ve lived away from Texas, and one of the reasons I go back to it time and time again is the versatility. Half-used bell pepper in the fridge? Toss it in! One jalapeno and some sad looking cilantro? Perfect additions. This is a great salad that can help you use up produce odds and ends.

Southwest Salad
Serves 2-4

1 Ripe avocado
½ Red onion
1 Can black beans
Frozen or fresh corn
1/3 Bunch cilantro
½ - 1 Jalepeno
Ranch dressing (I use Drew’s Roasted Garlic & Peppercorn Salad Dressing)
½ Lime

First... Peel and cube the avocado, dice fine the red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro, and rinse the black beans in a colander. If you are using fresh corn, now would be the time to cut that away from the cob. Don’t worry about defrosting the corn, just toss it in as is. Toss ingredients into a mixing bowl as you chop your way through.

Then... Pour 2 or 3 tablespoons worth of the ranch dressing into your bowl, then sprinkle around 1 teaspoon each of the paprika, cayenne, and cumin on top.

Finally... Stir well to combine all ingredients before adjusting the seasoning to taste and salt and lime juice.

- Patricia

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