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Weekend calls for summer staples

We are not trying to jinx this weekend by talking about the potential for warm weather. We are Canadian, it is the May long weekend and right now snow does not seem to be in the forecast … we are still keeping our fingers crossed though!

This week we have two recipes for you: guacamole and black bean salad. Enjoy them with your favourite burger, steak or grilled chicken.

This guacamole recipe is dead easy: ripe avocado, lemon juice and salt – that’s it. This is how we enjoy it at our ‘work meetings’ where we sit around the table, talk food, and ‘eat avocado.’  There’s the good-for-you-fat in avocado that makes you feel like you’re getting healthier by the mouthful.  You can make it your own by adding diced tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, or even a little chipotle to add a bit of heat.

For the black bean salad, the added crunch of the pepitas adds interest, texture and extra protein to the salad, making it a great complete lunch as well. Pepitas are also known as roasted pumpkin seeds, and are a dark green colour.  They are a classic Mexican addition, and can be found at health food stores.

Black Bean Salad (Makes enough side dishes for 6)

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely diced
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup pepitas
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place beans, onion, pepper, jalapeno, corn, cilantro and pepitas in a large bowl;

In a mason jar, mix lime juice, oil, cumin and salt and pepper; put the lid on tight and give it a good shake; pour over all other ingredients, toss well, and chill until ready to use; remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before eating.

Guacamole (Makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 ripe avocadoes – this means that they are quite dark in colour, but still yield to some pressure
  • Juice of one lemon or two limes
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt

Run your knife along the outside of the avocadoes, the long way; twist to open the avocado, and then carefully whack your knife into the pit, and twist carefully to remove the pit. Press the pit on your cutting board, to remove – don’t try to pull the pit off of your knife;

Now make a cross-hatch pattern in the avocado with your knife and simply ‘squeeze out’ the avocado;

Mix with the lemon juice and salt. This is a nice chunky version, which is great as is, or added to a lettuce salad (or even the above bean salad).  Continue by adding the following to make a more classic guacamole, using a fork to mash.

If desired, add:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped

Chefs Kirstie Herbstreit and Jody O’Malley are both Red Seal certified chefs. Together they run the company YouCanCook2, specializing in interactive dinner parties. You can also find them cooking at Entertaining Elements in St. Jacobs, where they hold private dinners for eight people. To contact the chefs, visit their website www.youcancook2.com.

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