Hey, so all of a sudden it’s mid-summer. The fourth of July has come and gone and now, here we are, in summer. Because school went so late this year, I was sort of taken by surprise at the 4th showing up. I was all, “hey, how’re you doing? Oh wait, you’re here. Like, at the door? Shoot, I haven’t even showered yet…”
So we did something unprecedented this year. Not only did we not throw a huge party, we did not attend the fireworks which are best viewed from my mom’s roofdeck. It was a strange 4th for us. In past years we’ve always had lots of people over, and in our younger, childless, way wilder years, those parties necessitated parking on our lawn in order to fit all the cars. Plus lots of drunken revelry. Oh well, such is life post-kids!
Which is not to say that we didn’t eat well or visit with friends and family. Several family members and friends came by our place yesterday, laden down with food, snacks, drinks, pool toys, craft supplies and some of the best ribs I’ve had in years (thanks Uncle W.!).
The fireworks were lovely and earlier this year than in years past but we opted not to go because with all that happened in April, security was tighter and it made driving to my mom’s not an option. My husband was working until about 7 and the idea of bringing both kids (one of whom had been up since 5:30am with no nap) on the T, with a double stroller or parking at the Pru and walking over difficult. When we factored in the mass exodus from the area (which generally takes us about an hour to get through without the added security measures), it meant no one was going to be going to bed before midnight. But watching the fireworks from our windows and on television though teary eyes (what can I say? It was strange to be away from my mom on the 4th!) decided it for us: we will be there next year. Even if we have to camp out or sleep over!
At any rate, as I said, we had some seriously good food yesterday. The ribs were excellent but since I didn’t make them, I can’t really talk about them with you. My annual cheeseburger (beef) and hot dog hit the spot and the blueberry pie was a good finisher.
However, both beef-based products (which I eat only once a year) left me queasy this morning. So this afternoon, we’ll be going back to what is this summer’s staple- a cuban themed rice salad.
I found the recipe via a link on a message board I used to be very active on and have now been reduced to browsing at random times without ever posting. It’s delicious and versatile. I’ve added brown rice, quinoa, corn and chickpeas successfully. My version lacks cilantro because, as you all know, I abhor it. Which means that the salad definitely needs something green and crunchy for both color and texture but I haven’t figured out what yet. Peppers? Broccoli? I’m not sure. Try it out for yourself and let me know!
Cuban Black Bean and Rice Salad
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups cooked and cooled rice (I’ve used a mixture of brown, white and quinoa successfully- I’ve also used leftover rice that’s a day or two old)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces of tomatoes ( I use cherry but if you use whole, definitely chop them up)
1 avocado peeled and cubed
1 can chick peas drained and rinsed
corn off of two to three cobs of corn (or about 1 cup frozen, cooked)
parsley and cilantro to taste (I don’t bother with parsley because I never have any fresh and you know my feelings about that herb-that-must-not-be-named)
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl toss your rice mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Pour the dressing over and mix gently. Eat right away or let it sit in the fridge and soak up flavors for a few hours.