You had me at cilantro

It’s hot here. It feels like a 100 degrees in the shade.

Yesterday we were invited to a BBQ in our neighborhood by this adorable couple (second relationship for both. They met while she was on vacation with her daughter in Italy. He came over to be with her. An amazing love story).

I met her through a book club that I joined (although I haven’t actually made it to any of  the meetings, ahem.)

Anyway. We were invited. We went. We had enough sangria to fill a pool. Good times were had by all.

Here’s a perfect salad to bring to a BBQ – especially on a hot, sunny day. No mayo. No diary. And it only gets better as it sits on the buffet (and you drink the sangria).

Here’s all you need  – black beans, whole kernel corn, cilantro, jalapeno, 2 peppers the color of your choice, an English cucumber, lemons, limes and some kosher salt.

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It’s all about the prep and dice. Drain the beans and rinse. Add the corn.

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Dice the peppers about the same size as the corn and beans. The jalapeno should be seeded and diced even smaller. I thought I would need 2 but these were lethal so I only used 1.

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Next, seed the cucumber with a spoon. Dice and add to your other stuff. I know English cucumbers are “seedless” but there are still some watery seeds that I like to get out. You can skip this part if you think I’m nuts. Which I am.

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Now comes the good stuff. My world could be made of cilantro and I’d be a happy camper. If you don’t like cilantro, made another salad. This one’s not for you. And neither am I. Just kidding. Not really.

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Add lemon and lime and some salt and you are done baby! If you are organized and have your shit together, make this the night before and let it sit. If you are like me, make this frantically right before you have to take it/serve it and smell like cilantro and corn for the party.

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A smaller quantity of this with red onions added can also be a spectacular salsa. Add diced avocado and top a taco or fill a burrito.

Happy hot Sunday.

’twas the dawn before Thanksgiving…

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for the nutty woman making cranberry sauce at 5am.

It’s pre-gobble time. Run to the store time, prep your turkey time, run to store again time. I love this holiday. It’s my all-time fav. We never celebrated it when I was growing up, which is ironic because a holiday about food would have fit right in. My husband’s family taught me to love Thanksgiving. The gathering, the laughing, the shouting, the forcing-the-vegetarian-to-mix-sausage-stuffing-by-hand-ing.  I digress.

Through the years I’ve found my own way of doing the holiday – I’ve tried garlic mashed potatoes and truffle mashed potatoes and pecan glazed sweet potatoes and apple cranberry stuffing and every other recipe that Martha Stewart pimped out. You know what I learned? All I need is pounds and pounds of butter. And maybe some heavy cream. Other than that – I leave everything alone.  My mashed potatoes just have potatoes in them.  I save the pecans for the pie, and the craziest thing I add to my stuffing is some green onions.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog throughout the cooking, but I’ll try.  Here’s almost everything – minus the 28 pound fresh bird that’s waiting for me at the market.

If I knew how to do one of those cool panoramic shots, I would. But I don’t, so I won’t.

Yes, we’re a Poppycock family. There’s no hiding it now.

I thought I’d highlight two of my favorite “cheats”.

Why cut celery and onions when you can use that time for more productive things, like watching Top Chef Seattle (do you love it like I love it?).

The best $2.99 cents you have ever spent at Trader Joe’s.

Here’s the other thing I don’t bother making from scratch … sorry about the blurriness but it’s early you know. Get off my back.

I do make a quick honey and maple syrup to drizzle on top. See, it’s kinda like homemade.

Ok, gotta get back to my day. Hope you are all knee deep in turkey day prep too! No? Damn.

Falling in Love and Snow

It snowed last night. Nothing major, just a few inches, but enough to cover my pumpkins in the front yard. It made me happy. And then, magically, something made me even happier.  Let me set the scene.

Almost every night, at about 9pm, my day ends. All mouths are fed and relatively happy, kitchen is closed, work emails have slowed down or mercifully died –  and I am tucked in for some series tuning-out-the-world time (my husband’s a lucky man right?).

One of the most used tools in my home isn’t the oven, it’s the DVR.  But last night, I didn’t need it. No reality shows for me. Nope. It was me, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep – and Metro North.

Have you seen Falling in Love? Yes? Ok so you get it. No? Please, go rent it, or itune it, or Red Box it. It’s so good and heartbreaking and wonderful. It’s about two married people who slowly, gently become friends and fall in love on a morning commute.  Not exactly your Ryan Gosling/Tatum Channing romantic comedy – but you’ll love it.

Because my husband loves me, because he knows me – he got the computer, put on his earphones and left me alone for an hour and a half.  To all you young lovers out there – this is equivalent to flowers and jewelry for a couple that’s been together for more than 2 decades. Trust me.  It’s the height of romance.

Go watch the movie – preferably with a quiet, ignored house.

Storemade with love

There are things that have fallen by the way side during this crazy busy time.

Covering up my grays. Dusting the house.  Planning for retirement. All put to the side.

Wondering why I haven’t done a cooking/baking post? No? Nevermind.

I love that I can be honest here and you don’t judge (or at least I don’t hear you judge or see you roll your eyes). I really love that my mother doesn’t know I blog – actually she doesn’t know what a blog is but whatever – I’ll take it.

Here’s what my family will eat tonight for dinner:

Thank you McCaffrey’s for thinking about making angel hair pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil, and for making Tilapia covered in breadcrumbs so I can call it “fish stick fish” for my son.

I’ll cook again soon. In 2013 at the latest.

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