Salads, rice and beans … all with a Southwest touch Essay

The Southwest touch with Mexican seasonings gives a fresh taste tothese salads and side dishes. Designed as part of the desert picnicmenu pictured on pages 108 and 109, these dishes are also well suited tofamily meals. When part of the complete picnic menu, each of the dishes serves 12to 16; presented individually, each serves 6 to 8. The first salad is a crisp slaw of cabbage laced with cilantro andlime. The second has a dressing flavored by cumin. Black beans, or turtle beans, are now available in manysupermarkets; they can also be found in Mexican markets. Both the slaw and the black beans have make-ahead steps, withdirections for packing for a picnic. A kitchen maid gets credit for the name of the rice dish; cook itjust before serving.

Cilantro Slaw 1 small head (about 1 lb.) greencabbage, finely shredded 1 small onion, minced 1 to 2 tablespoons mincedcilantro (coriander) 1 European-style cucumber Lime and garlic dressing(recipe follows) Mix together cabbage and onion. Add cilantro to taste. Peel andseed cucumber; cut into 3-inch-long sticks. If made ahead, covercabbage mixture and cucumber separately; chill up to 1 day. Totransport, keep cold in an insulated container. Stir dressing into cabbage mixture. Pile cabbage into a bowl oronto a platter.

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Garnish with cucumber. Serves 6 to 8. Lime and garlic dressing. Whisk together 1/2 cup salad oil, 1/3cup lime juice, and 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed.

Add salt andpepper to taste. Use, or cover airtight and chill up to 2 days. Orangeand Avocado Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette 4 medium-size oranges 2 largeripe avocados 2 green onions, including tops, sliced Cumin dressing(recipe follows) With a sharp knife, peel oranges, removing white membrane. Cutcrosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Peel and pit avocados; cut into1/2-inch-thick lengthwise wedges. Arrange orange slices and avocadowedges on a platter. Pour dressing over them; sprinkle with onion.

Serve, or let stand up to 1 hour at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8servings. Cumin dressing. Whisk together 5 tablespoons olive or salad oil, 1tablespoon each red wine vinegar and orange juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed. Addsalt and pepper to taste.

Cover and let stand at least 1 hour to letflavors blend, or chill up to 2 days. Black Beans 1/3 pound salt pork,diced 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 2-1/2cups (about 1 lb.) dried black beans, sorted, washed, and drained About5 cups water 4 cups regular-strength beef broth Salt To a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat, add salt pork. When fatbegins to melt, add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion islimp. Add beans, water, and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduceheat and simmer until beans mash easily, about 2 hours. If beans aresoupier than you like, uncover and boil on medium-high heat, stirringmore frequently as mixture thickens; add salt to taste.

Serve; or, if made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days.To transport, keep cold in an insulated container. Reheat, covered, onlow heat or over medium-hot coals on the barbecue grill; stir often andadd water as needed to keep beans from sticking. Serve from the pan ora bowl. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Maid’s Rice 3 tablespoons butteror margarine 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice 1 small onion, cut intowedges 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped 3 cups regular-strengthchicken broth 1 medium-size tomato, cored and chopped Salt and pepper In a 3- to 4-quart pan, melt butter on medium heat, or on a grillabout 6 inches above hot coals. Add rice, onion, and carrot; cook,stirring, until rice becomes opaque and begins to brown. Add broth andtomato. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, or move panto a cooler position on barbecue. Cook until rice is tender to bite, about 2k minutes; stiroccasionally.

Remove from heat; let stand, covered and warm, for about15 minutes. Fluff with a fork; add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6to 8.

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