Monday, September 3, 2007

Nancy's Corn And Black Bean Salad


On a weekend this August, Mr CC and I met with friends, some of whom we'd just spent time with in Ashland, some of whom we hadn't seen in a number of years and some of whom we had met only once, ten years ago, at the laying to rest of the man whose memory we had come together again to honor these ten years later - to remember his laughter, his sparkling wit, his comitment to the Marine Mammal Center, his love of a good woman, good friends and good beer.

That evening, in the heart of San Francisco, deciding that staying "in" would be ever so much better than going out, we cooked, drank, laughed, talked and ate around N&N's most hospitable table. An evening well spent and fondly remembered.

The salad appearing here was inspired that day by many minds, all food lovers, but mostly by Nancy who had a craving for fresh, sweet corn in a raw salad with celery, cilantro and red onion. She may have stipulated more of the ingredients, but by then we were all riffing on what could go into it. And forgive me, friends, if I've left anything out - Normie was mixing the drinks, and he's not known for his light hand, nor am I known for a stellar memory after hoisting a few.

Corn and Black Bean Salad
Recipe by Nancy, Norm, Susan, Harvey, Christine and Clay
Ingredients: (all measurements are approximate)
6-8 ears fresh, sweet white corn
several green and yellow zucchini
1/2 of a red onion
red bell peppers
cucumber
celery
sugar snap peas
canned organic black beans
fresh basil
fresh cilantro
fresh japapeno pepper
I'm pretty sure there was fresh, diced garlic in there also

Preparation:
Cut the kernels from the corn cobs, reserving the cobs for corn chowder later in the week (subject of another post coming soon.)
Cut the rest of the vegetables in small dice, shucking, peeling and seeding as appropriate, so their size doesn't overpower the corn kernels.
Toss all of the veggies together in a large bowl.
Rinse the black beans and drain well. Toss with the veggies.
Finely chop the basil leaves and sprinkle them in.
Rather coarsely chop the cilantro leaves and toss them in also.

For the dressing, we wanted something light with southwest flavors, so began with a base of cider vinegar and raspberry vinegar then added about 2 tablespoons of

this fabulous chipotle chile powder from Tierra Vegetables in Healdsburg (at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays) and about 3 tablespoons of

this lively sauce from Trader Joe's. The usual suspects of kosher salt, freshly ground black peppercorns, minced garlic and I'm sure some olive oil was used to combine the concoction together. Whatever you use, keep spicy and southwest in mind.

Toss the dressing with the veggies and let it sit for at least 1/2 hour to allow the flavors to blend.

As she took her first bite, Nancy's eyes lit up.
"This is exactly what I wanted."
I felt that pretty much summed the day up for all of us.
Rest well, Sweetie.





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