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Friday, July 3, 2015

Black Bean and Chicken Salad with Pico de Gallo

I'm baaaAaaack!
And I'm broadcasting from a new kitchen.  A much bigger, fancier kitchen!  Unfortunately, it is too hot to light up the stove or the oven.  I'm having trouble keeping the indoor temperature under 90°F.. even at night (most likely because I'm not allowed to open the windows at night because a bird or bat might fly in.)
Seriously?  Who cares.. LET THEM IN!  
I'm going to have to go back to my desert days where I would pour a bunch of ice on my bed and lay in it to keep cool at night.
Once I even jumped in the pool in the middle of the night and came back in, laid my towel on the floor of my room, turned the fan on, and went to sleep without drying off.  That was kind of crazy but at least it worked.
So with temperatures as I have described, the only thing I'm comfortable using is my slow cooker.  I think it's great in the summer months because it really doesn't heat up the house like the oven or stove.  You can even take it outside or in the garage during cooking time if really you think the heat will be a problem.
My favorite thing to cook in my slow cooker?  Beans.  Hands down.
Beans are great for summer because if you eat them hot as a soup in the winter, in the summer you can eat them cold, as a dip, or as a salad (or even a cold soup because that broth is just incredible!!)
So after quite some time in a stressful business trip/remodeling/packing/in laws/moving out/unpacking/moving in/finding my computer and setting it up, here is the first meal I initiated my gigantic kitchen with that I am able to share..

Serves 6
Black Beans
10 oz (30 cL) dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 cube chicken bouillon (or salt or veg bouillon)
2 bay leaves
4 dried chile de arboles
4 dried morita chiles
4-5 cups water
Place everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.  Let cool and refrigerate, reserving some of the liquid.  
I did this a day ahead of time without quite knowing what I was going to be doing with the beans, but just knowing I wanted black beans very very much... and ultimately deciding it was too hot to eat them hot.

Pico de Gallo Salsa
(yield about 2 cups)
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 jalapeƱos or serrano chiles, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice from 1-2 limes
pinch fleur de sel
pinch ground cumin
many grinds black pepper
Stir everything together.
This is a nice refreshing salsa for anything, not just for this salad.

Assembly per plate
handful shredded cabbage (I used savoy)
handful shredded cooked cold chicken (or skip to make this vegan)
generous ladle cooked (cold) black beans with a bit of the juice
heaping tablespoon pico de gallo salsa
extra chiles if you need
I'll be creating many more happy moments like this in due time..

I followed this with Sandia (Watermelon) in tajin.. oooooohhhh!!

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