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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fighting Fire with Fire

Here's a picture of one day last week in my car, while it is parked in my shady driveway! Actually, another day it was 108, but I didn't have my camera with me. Enough already. There is an expression, fight fire with fire and so, in my continuing spirit of adventure, here goes. This Meatless Monday, the heat is on, my friends!

To fight fire with fire is a saying that goes back to Shakespeare and means to "respond to one's attack by using a method similar to one's attacker". For more detailed info for you trivia buffs, check out this link: For those who are hungry, stay here with me.

Nutritionally speaking eating hot foods like chilies, ginger and peppers raises your body temperature but at this point in this scorching summer, I am giving it a try. What's another degree or two? Another feverish brow? More prickly heat? This salad is really pretty and can also be pretty hot stuff. Please take a look at the note below about adjusting the heat of the peppers. For those, heat-shy folks, a citrus-y vinaigrette would also be a great option. I did use dried beans because I like them so much better, but of course, in the heat of the moment, feel free to use canned. Just rinse well with water and drain. Allow enough time to marinate the cooked beans for two hours. You can also do this step the night before.

I served this salad with warm tortillas and a cold Tecate with a lime wedge. 102? Bring it on! Happy Meatless Monday, everyone.

And tune back in on Wednesday when I pour heat on some new information about skin and body care products, "skin food". Important for every man, woman and child! 

Black Bean Sunburst Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

1 cup dried black beans or 1 15-ounce can black beans (use BPA-safe Eden Organic)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped red, sweet or geen onion
1 cup fresh corn (I use raw off the cob)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, red or green
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 avocado
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or crumbled Mexican style cheese, like Queso Fresco (optional)
Fresh spring greens

Rinse and sort beans and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain and add water to cover by about 1 1/2 inches. Add 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional) to water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until done, about 2 hours. During last 1/2 hour, add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to cooking water. When done, drain.

Combine drained beans with olive oil, vinegar and salt. Refrigerate two hours or overnight.

To serve, drain beans. Combine the beans and onion in a bowl. Mix corn with bell pepper. Place spring greens on a large serving platter. Put all but 2 tablespoons of bean/onion mix over greens. Add on top of beans, all but 1 tablespoon of the chopped tomatoes. Add on top of that, all but 1 tablespoon of the corn/pepper mix. Cut avocado lengthwise into strips and arrange like a "sunburst" around edge of platter. Sprinkle on reserved beans, tomatoes and peppers.

Drizzle with Jalapeno Dressing and sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Serves 4-6.

Jalapeno Dressing

3-4 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined*
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

Place peppers, garlic, salt and vinegar in a blender and blend until pureed. Add in olive oil. Blend well and then add in cilantro and pulse until minced. Makes about 1 cup.

*Note: The heat is in the seeds and white, spongy membrane of the jalapeno. If you completely de-seed and de-membrane the pepper, it will be pleasantly tangy. Take a bite of the green flesh and see. Add in membrane and seeds, the heat is on! Your call here!

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