May 8, 2005

Party Salad/Salsa

D is moving to San Diego. R already moved to LA. As did N. I feel like everyone is leaving for Southern California. At least with D's departure, I'm not just losing the one of my closest friends, I also gained:

10 cans of corn
10 cans of garbonzo beans
10 lbs of jasmine rice
A box of chocolate covered pretzels
Worsteschire sauce

(Clearly, D shops at Costco.)

One of my favorite things in the world is to be stuck with random ingredients and to find a way to put them together into something inspired. When I succeed, I feel like an artist. Unfortunately, I did not find a way to combine all of these ingredients--I have not reached that level of nirvana. So, I'll have to deal with them individually.

Jasmine rice, it's a staple, and one I don't have thanks to the grain moth debacle. So I'll easily find a way to use it over the next year. Mustard and Worsteschire are also staples in the flavoring/marinating camp, particularly now that barbeque season has officially started. The garbonzo beans could be a problem if I hadn't already put falafel, hummus and this recipe for Channa Masala on my food-to-make-soon list.

But corn? What could I do with canned corn? Chowder? It's spring and soon will be summer (I'm optimistic despite the rain today), so that doesn't seem right. Fried corn fritters -- okay, but 10 cans worth? That's a hell of a lot of canola oil. Corn pudding? Maybe once, but it really doesn't grab me, it'd be a pity use of the corn at best.

So, I settled on pawning it off on the barbeque attendees in the form of a black-bean & corn salad or salsa. It was surprisingly delicious. I received more compliments on this thrown together concoction than I have for many, much more complex and difficult dishes. So, I'll share:

Corn & Black Bean Salsa/Salad

3 cans corn
3 cans black beans
1/2 huge red onion (probably one regular-sized red onion)
6 roma tomatoes
2 large bunches of cilantro
4 cloves of garlic
lemon juice (I cheat and use the bottled kind)
chili oil (could probably get away with olive oil and jalapeno, but I had it laying around)
olive oil
spices to taste (I used white pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, and paprika).

1. Dump the canned ingredients into a strainer in the sink. Let the juices drain while you work.

2. Chop the onion and tomatoes. Throw them in the strainer.

3. Combine the cilantro, stems and all (I only used 1.5 bunches), chili oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices in a cuisinart or blender. Puree, add lemon juice and olive oil if needed until it's the consistency that you like for pesto. (I did two batches, one that was more smooth and another that was made up of visibly small chunks/leaves of cilantro, the combination worked well).

4. Dump the strainer's contents into a big bowl. Top with the cilantro sauce. Mix and serve with corn chips or on its own. Enjoy!

No comments: