Mad Science

My ex was a mad scientist in the kitchen.  He was always thinking up ways to ruin perfectly good meals, like adding soy sauce to the mac and cheese.  The conversations would often go something like this:

Him:  Hey, hon.  That chicken noodle soup would taste a lot better with a little vinegar on top.
Me:  Um…no.  I’m sick.  I just want to eat my sou…
Him:  [Pouring half a cup of straight vinegar into my bowl.]  See…isn’t that better?
Me:  Um…gee…thanks.

I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches during my marriage.  Which is not to say there weren’t some successes.  For example, cinnamon raisin English Muffins topped with melted extra sharp cheddar cheese taste amazing.  I’m not even kidding.  Amazing.

My resistance to strange food combinations does not mean that I’m a rule follower in the kitchen.  I’ve never been afraid to tinker with a recipe, substituting that can’t-stand-the-taste-of-it herb with a can’t-live-without-it option.  In fact, there are very few recipes I follow to the letter.

As I mentioned here and here, I joined a CSA this summer.  And this CSA thing has turned me into a bit of a mad scientist myself. See…I have more fresh food in the house, which means I go shopping less often.  And because grocery shopping day and CSA pick-up day do not always coincide, I can find myself with a fridge full of food and nothing for dinner.

Tuesday was one such night.  I picked up my veggies, but still had a few leftovers from last week’s bounty.  I needed to use up some ingredients and wasn’t in the mood to put on shoes.  (I hate shoes.  Especially in the summertime.  But, I suppose that’s a story for another day…)

I had some cooked corn in the fridge, and this Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad recipe from Whole Foods looked tasty.  The problem?  Disregarding pantry items (salt, pepper, oil and vinegar) the recipe calls for six ingredients.

I only had three of the six, and there was no way I was going to the store!

Ergo.

Sweet Corn and Red Bean Salad

Okay, okay.  Substituting red beans for black beans isn’t exactly rocket science.  Hey, I didn’t say I was going to be winning a Nobel prize for Gastrobiology with this one!

I started with two ears of corn from last week's CSA pick-up. I cooked them up a few days earlier, but hadn't gotten around to digging in.

Red beans. Groundbreaking, I know.

Diced cucumber. The recipe calls for red bell pepper. Cucumber. Bell Pepper. Same thing, right?

Red onion. Finally something from the real recipe!

Without the red bell pepper for spice, I needed some heat. So, I put in a few dashes of my favorite hot sauce and 1/4 cup of salsa for good measure.

I totally forgot that I was supposed to put vinegar in there. No worries. I didn’t miss it.

Do you need all those ingredients in one place?

1 cup of Corn (two ears worth)
1 can of red beans
1/2 large cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt
pepper
hot sauce (to taste)
1/4 cup salsa
fresh cilantro

Something was still missing…

Fabulous little sunsugar tomatos from my patio garden. Yummy!

Sadly, it’s still a little early for tomatos so there were only enough for the first serving.  Leftovers are tomato-less.  But, this is definitely one of those things that gets better after you give it a couple of hours in the fridge.  Or even a day or two.  Yum!

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