Monday, July 29, 2013

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salad

Add avocados to just about anything and you've got a winner in my book.  I'd wanted to make this black bean and corn salad for a long time, but I had to wait for the perfect corn.   Well, maybe not perfect, but local.  

I try not to be a local food snob but once I'd bought corn that was on sale at the grocery store, and though it didn't look like the freshest corn, when I cooked it, it had a strange sweet taste.  But it didn't taste like that fresh picked sweetness.  Must be one of the newest hybrids with super sweet genes.   It was actually the first non local corn I'd purchased in years.  I wondered how it stayed sweet even though it sat in a warehouse and was delivered by truck.  

I'm  crazy about Washington-grown corn. The freshness of just picked corn can't be beat.  Drive on country roads and you see roadside stands loaded with great local options.

I love the bi-colored corn at the market and I ended up getting 8 ears so we could eat entire ears and have enough to add some to salads and quinoa.   

I recently decided to try weekly menu plans that resonate with a theme.  My idea is this will make making dinners much easier, especially when I haven't thought about what's on the menu or just don't have the time to go get ingredients  I won't have the "what's for dinner?" days.  This week everything has a Mexican focus--Black Bean and Corn Salad, Quinoa, Red Beans and Corn,  Quinoa and Corn Chowder,  Tempeh Tostadas, and Spicy Tofu Scramble.   I haven't exactly penciled out an entire month yet to see how this will work.   Will it be Chinese, Italian or Thai next week?  Maybe Italian with all the basil I've seen lately.

Pesto for everyone!

It's sometimes hard to find budget friendly peppers at the market.  And the season is nearly here, but if you look you can sometimes find odd bits and seconds from some farmers.  Check out these tiny red peppers.  They taste like peppers, but it takes about five of them to equal one pepper.

We might be the last people in the country to harvest tomatoes from our gardens, but once they appear, watch out.  Our stupice plant has a few that are red. And our little Sungold tomatoes are also just turning.  I used those and I'm counting on more turning red this week.

I taught cooking classes for so long, I can't get past the organization.  Once I got everything cut, this salad was a breeze to make, and that's exactly how I like summer dinners.  All you need to go with this salad are corn tortillas and a tossed salad.   If you want you can use it as a side dish, but it's so easy to make why bother with anything else.

Even my Cooking Assistant is impressed.  

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salad
(Serves 4)

1 sweet onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 or 2 zucchinis, diced
1 or 2 ears of corn
1 can black beans, drained
1/3 cup fresh salsa
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Agave nectar to taste
1 tomato, chopped 
1/2 avocado, diced
1 cup diced cucumber 
1 cup diced tomatoes 

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.   Add onion and red pepper.  Cook and stir.  After 2 minutes, add the oil.  Reduce the heat, stir and cook until onions and peppers are soft.

2. Add zucchini, stir and cook until zucchini is soft.   Stir in the corn and beans and cover.

3. Combine salsa and lime juice.  Add agave nectar a teaspoon at a time until the flavor sweetens a bit.  Top with avocado.  Serve tomatoes and cucumbers on the side or place on top of each serving.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
What beautiful tomatoes and corn. This is one of my favorite salads with all the fresh goodies, yum! Finn you look so cute today, Woof to you! Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great weekend and come back soon!
Miz Helen