I’ve been in an unsurprisingly not worky mood (see how that’s done? Make up a word, put it in italics, then it’s ok) in the two weeks since I’ve become a self-professed, albeit temporary, woman of leisure. It turns out that although I started this blog as a means of escape, at least partially, from the drudgery of the “everyday”, I’ve gone ahead and relegated it to the “work” column. My summer days go something like this: wake up mid-morning, usually because hungry cat is scratching at side of bed, tend to hungry cat, tend to own breakfast (cereal–my “special blend” of Special K Protein Special K Fruit & Yogurt–with blueberries, always), drink two cups of café au lait (it just sounds better in French) on sun-dappled, still cool, patio, read the book, contemplate doing something (like maybe pulling that annoying weed over there, or maybe taking a shower before 1 pm), start thinking about lunch, then dinner. Repeat. When I’m not working, I wonder how I ever had time to work. I’ll stop bragging now. I’m just trying to point out why exactly when I have all the time in the world, I can’t seem to sit down at this here computer and compose a post. Today, finally, the weather made it happen. It’s 98 ridiculous degrees out there. I even cancelled plans to see my favorite local singer for a free noontime concert. Like I said, totally and completely ridiculous.
Lest you think I’ve slumped into a total and complete ball of lazy splendor, I should tell you that I have hosted and attended a patio/deck/wedding/happy hour party or two/three/four. The one I hosted would be of the patio variety and feature the following menu:
Watermelon Agua Fresca, which I have been dying to make since I clipped the recipe last September, but would like to add more lime and less agave nectar so will tweak and post later, Agave Margaritas from Bon App of course (I’d cut the tequila and agave nectar in half next time and double the lime, but that’s just me), Homemade Tortillas, which were a revelation but not of the photogenic sort (but really, try it some time–all that’s needed is masa harina, water and a tortilla press–you’ll never go back), and Fish Tacos.
Here’s the link. I subbed chipotle chile powder for the ancho and most definitely made the pickled onions.
There was also a tasty and tart side salad of Black Beans and Mango and whatever vegetables I had left in the fridge, dressed with a mix of lime and sherry vinegar, which is by the way, my new favorite vinegar. And there were Barb’s Mexican Pots de Crème, which she made by adding cinnamon to the Pioneer Woman’s version. Qué bueno.
Out of all this deliciousness, it was hard to decide which one to post. The salad, I mean salsa, is the one I decided on, not because it’s inventive (actually it’s rather obvious), but because I simply want to remember it here. I’ll feel better knowing I can refer back here for this particular combination whenever I need a side dish of the mexican variety. Anyways, Christine said she wants to take it to her work picnic, so let me also say this is for her.
It’s the combo of both lime and sherry vinegar that really takes this dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Definitely use both if you can.
Makes a huge bowl. Serve first as a side dish, then eat leftovers with tortilla chips. Or reverse it if you want. Adapted from Sue of The View From Great Island.
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 Serrano pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- a handful chopped cilantro
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper
First, drain, rinse and drain again the black beans. Let them sit in a colander while you dice, dice, dice the rest of the salad/salsa. By the time you’re done, the beans should be dry enough to hold the dressing.
The only help you may need with this salad is dealing with that darn mango. Here’s a tutorial, because above all, this salad should have its mango. Once all veggies are chopped and mingling happily in a large bowl, add the black beans. Mix. Zest and squeeze a lime (or two if it’s not that juicy) over the salad and add the vinegar. Season with coarse salt (about 1/2 tsp.) and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning and/or add more vinegar.
There isn’t much relief in sight for these god-awful tempertures, except for that vacation to Harbor Springs next week, where the 10-day is looking mighty fine. It’s clear I’m going to have to retire in Seattle or Ireland. Or maybe spend my summers in Argentina, where it’s winter.
And they have empanadas.
Ramble, ramble, ramble…