Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bean Salad

So this weekend, when thinking of food to prepare for the week, I remembered this great recipe that was in this artsy cookbook my mom had. It was a recipe for a kind of bean salad. Robin made the salad for me one time and ended up keeping the cookbook (sorry Mom!) and I think my mom bought another one.

I really liked this salad, and I was thinking of calling Robin and/or my mom and asking if they had this book and would look up the recipe when I, you don't really need a recipe to make a salad with beans and cilantro in it. It's not rocket surgery.

So I got some ingredients and mixed up the following in a giant bowl:

2 cans of black beans, well rinsed
2 cans of corn, ditto (though I wished I had only used one can when I saw how much it was)
3 very good tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, cut into chunks *
1 small onion, chopped up pretty fine
1/2 of a cilantro bunch, diced to within an inch of its life
1 T olive oil
several splashes of lemon juice
salt, cumin (probably not enough to make a difference), & pepper

It didn't taste like anything right after I made it, of course, but after day in the fridge, it was pretty fantastic and exactly what I had hoped it would be (good in exactly the way I remember that recipe being good). It would probably also be good, and a little spicier, if you diced up a fresh jalapeno pretty finely and put that in there.

I ended up with about 10 cups of the stuff. I brought a 4-cup container to work to have as snacks, and the 6-cup container is at home. My boss wanted to try it, so I brought her about 1-1/2 cups yesterday, and she liked it a lot. (She said, "See, I could be a vegetarian if it was like this. This has flavor." Obviously she has not had much vegetarian food!)

(* I diced the avocados by splitting them in half and removing the pits, as one does, and then scoring each half down to the skin with a steak-type knife, in a criss-cross pattern. Then when I scooped it out with a spoon, it came out in little chunks.)


tam's momm said...

I remember that salad but can't remember what book it came out of. Anyway there are lots of recipes on the internet for it and yours looks pretty close. Have you tried using soybeans in salads. They're pretty yummy. Also quinoa is a great grain. I get all my ideas from the deli section at WFM.
PS-- Now that you've confessed to the cookbook will you fess up to breaking my adorable Christmas cat
plate that I got from Neiman Marcus. It was hanging on the wall in the kitchen on Wroxton. One day it was there the next it was gone.

Tam said...

I think the cookbook was called something like "Still Life with Menu."

I honestly don't remember anything about the cat plate. Given the evidence you present, it seems likely that I broke it, but I can't remember anything about it.

Tam said...

Oh, and I haven't tried soybeans in salads, but I've had them plain or with salt or in stir-fries, and I haven't really liked them. I mean, I can eat them, but they don't do anything for me.


tam's momm said...

It's pronounced keen-wah. I usually buy a box with seasonings already in it. I think the one I like is tomato basil. It would be better to buy it plain and use it in a salad. It's one of the healthiest grains (although not really a grain) Here is a nice web site about it:

sally said...

I still have a bag of quinoa that I bought at Whole Foods with the best of intentions but haven't managed to do anything with. This is a good reminder that I need to try it in something.

cartaufalous said...

The cookbook is indeed called “Still Life With Menu”. It's one of my favorites. I didn't actually steal it, I just spilled bean juice on the page with this recipe. Pretty sneaky, eh? Momm didn't want it back, and got a new copy the next day, so I got to keep this one, bean stains and all. I've added some more stains to it since.

Yummy Bean Stuff:

2 cups dried black beans
2 cups cooked or frozen corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup olive oil (+ 2 tablespoons for the tortillas)
1/2 cup lime juice
3 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
dollap of freshly ground black pepper
3 corn tortillas

Soak the beans overnight, and then cook them in fresh water for 1 1/4 hours or until tender. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, garlic, onion, bell pepper, olive oil, and lime juice. Salt to taste (I don't).

Toast the cumin seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add them to the mixture, along with the cilantro, parsley, and red and black pepper. Mix gently.

Cover the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to mingle.

Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and cut them into strips 1/4 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long. Cook them in a frying pan or toaster oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Ideally, they should be partly crisp and partly chewy. Scatter them on top of the salad as a garnish.

Eat! It's hard to believe how yummy something so simple can be. So yummy, in fact, that I like to double the recipe to make sure that I actually get to eat some myself. It tends to go fast.