Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grocery Shopping and Favorite Bean & Corn Salad

It's a beautiful day today and I spent most of it doing chores. I shouldn't complain because on rainy weekends we are bummed it's raining. I tried to make the best of it.  I brought the stack of recipes I keep and a few cookbooks outside with the legal pad I was going to write my list on, keeping in mind what we picked up from the CSA on Friday. 

I sat outside gazing at my horribly overgrown perennial beds (inherited from the house's previous owner) trying to map out what kind of busy week was on the horizon. Where the appointments, meetings, sports, and after school programs fell.

It's a total pain the buttocks, but when the week is busy, it's too easy to fall into bad eating habits and eat bad(tasting) fast food. Last week was pretty much in that category.  Plus, when you make a point to get your share of local produce, you don't want it to rot in the fridge.  I always hate wasting food, but it's even more criminal when you know the folks and/or see them actually harvesting it!

Here's Lisa from and the Mighty Food Farm Crew transplanting spinach, which we enjoyed with pasta last night!

This Can't Be Tofu!: 75 Recipes to Cook Something You Never Thought You Would--and Love Every BiteI decided to go ahead and try a few recipes from the tofu cookbook. The author is a great vegetarian chef with a lot of good books out there.

Hopefully, her recipe for sesame noodles will match those served at Powers Market in North Bennington, which Kira insists are like no other.  Then I'm going to try to adapt her recipe for soba noodles with bok choi (which I got a bunch of baby sized from the CSA), since I don't want to make the stock from scratch.

Once I got the list, I headed over to Hannaford, totally feeling sorry for myself (my husband had just come home from a mtn. biking stint).  I snapped myself out of it by going the roundabout way, which is more mileage but probably not much more time.

I actually turned off the radio and put the windows down and just tried to take in the day and the surroundings.  I get to drive through Old Bennington, past the old First Church where Robert Frost is buried, past the Bennington Battle Monument, and through a covered bridge before coming out at the entrance to Bennington College and driving around the corner to the Hannaford shopping center.

I spent $213.00.  Even with the CSA pickup.  It is so darn hard to eat well and not spend a fortune. 

By the time I finished the trip, unpacked all the bags, cleaned out old food I came across while putting things away, unloaded the dishwasher, washed the #@!!!expletive!!(%* pots from last night and the dishes from breakfast, it was nearly 6:00 already.  A whole afternoon, basically.

Then I go to make this meal with fresh tuna and realize I forgot the crucial ingredient--capers.  (probably distracted by running into a cute colleague from my school, who was standing in the snack aisle with a can of shaving cream, tasked with the awful job of choosing exactly which bag of chips to buy himself. don't get me wrong, I love my husband and my family, but sometimes I envy these young teachers and their singular living, when the big decision of the day is sour cream & onion or bbq.)

I quickly decided to make a stand by summer salad.  Only downside was it tastes great with avocados, and the ones I bought aren't ripe yet.

I knew my daughter would eat some of the bean and corn salad, but Owen would balk if that was all that was on the table. I quickly made some cheese quesadillas and arranged them around the salad, and wouldn't you know it, no complaints! 

There are a lot of variations of this salad, and I'm sure if you did a search you'd find some good recipes. I just tend to throw together whatever I've got, but the key is fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed limes.  Don't make it if you don't have them.

Tonight's was a large can of black beans, white and yellow frozen baby corn nuked, a bit of jarred taco sauce left over, a bit of salsa, two limes, half a bunch of cilantro chopped, about three scallions chopped, half a yellow pepper, about 10 grape tomatoes quartered.  I added sea salt, ground pepper, cumin, chili powder.

I topped mine with jalapenos and black olives, and some extra sharp Cabot cheddar (I realized if it's good sharp cheese, an ounce crumbled suffices and it tastes better than a larger amount of low fat cheese!) I also put crumbled tortilla chips on top after spreading them around the edge of the plate. Be sure to get a good brand of chips, without trans fats, so they taste like corn and not junk. I like this brand quite a bit, and they're a decent price at Hannaford.

Here's the meal, all ready to go (and enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow):

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