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Smells Like Bean Spirit

black bean taco salad slaw tortilla nirvana
“I’m worse at what I do best and for this gift, I feel blessed”

Theme song by Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nevermind 
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I know I’m supposed to marvel at the genius of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but I consider Screaming Trees the best band from the Seattle Grunge Years. I acknowledge Nirvana Nevermind (along with Pearl Jam Ten) took a regional music scene and turned it into a national frenzy, and for that, both albums deserve the iconic place they have in music history. I also acknowledge Nevermind is an almost All Killer No Filler album, close to perfect but just missed it by one or two tracks. Kurt Cobain was a great songwriter capturing the angst of a certain era, but, let’s face it, had he not died young we might have faced a Fat Kurt a la Elvis scenario. Not saying we would have, just saying I prefer the Legendary Kurt a la James Dean more.

I also prefer Big Salads.

If I’m going to have a salad, I’m going to make a meal out of it. Sure, there is a place and time for a small salad as a side for another meal item. I believe, most people ordering a salad as a meal want a Big Salad. Sadly, very few restaurants do big salads well with the exception of most diners. So when I want to Big Salad, I Big Salad at home.

The bowl needs to be large enough to toss the salad without creating a mess. This, of course, requires a large salad bowl. Technically you are looking for a serving bowl, something in the 1.5-quart category. This will offer up plenty of ingredient room. 

You want a salad big enough to qualify as a meal, provide vegetables and protein, but not be unwieldy. I tend to go heavier on vegetables than meat or cheese, but you want to be able to get a bit of everything in every bite. Too many Big Salads go way too heavy on cheese or croutons. As for the dressing, I go with a simple balsamic and oil. A salad should be dressed not costumed. Too much dressing ruins an otherwise great salad. 

Pickle slaw, black bean & corn taco salad, tortilla strips, cheddar, Rock Candy jalapenos, and scallions
Makes 1 big salad

2 cups of Pickle Slaw (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups Black Bean & Corn Taco Salad (see recipe below)
Tortilla strips
2-ounces of cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon Rock Candy Jalapenos 
2 scallions, sliced
Hot sauce (if that’s your thing)

Start by making some crispy tortilla strips by taking two corn tortillas and slicing them into thin bite-sized matchsticks. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet and fry the strips until crispy and golden. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

Place the slaw in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Sprinkle in 1/4 of the cheese and tortilla strips. Place the black bean & corn salad in the center well in a neat pile. Sprinkle the remaining tortilla strips and cheddar over the top. Finish with some scallions and Rock Candy jalapenos. Add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce if you want it spicy.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

3 cups of cooked black beans, drained & rinsed (or 2 – 15oz cans)
1 red onion, cut in quarters, and sliced thin
1 medium red pepper, medium dice
1 large poblano, medium dice
1 yellow pepper, medium dice
1 orange pepper, medium dice
2 scallions, whites diced – greens chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)
1 1/2  teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill for 1/2 hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

10 ounces green cabbage, shredded fine
2 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped Rock Candy jalapenos (or pickled jalapenos)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pickle brine
1/2  teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium bowl, toss cabbage, carrot, and pickles together. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, pickle juice, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour dressing slaw mix and toss to coat. Place in an airtight container and let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using it.

Posted in bushwick, cheese, cooking, food, foodmusic, grillclub, music, musicfood, recipe, salad, vegetarian


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