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

The Southwest touch with Mexican seasonings gives a fresh taste to
these salads and side dishes. Designed as part of the desert picnic
menu pictured on pages 108 and 109, these dishes are also well suited to
family meals.



When part of the complete picnic menu, each of the dishes serves 12
to 16; presented individually, each serves 6 to 8.

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The first salad is a crisp slaw of cabbage laced with cilantro and
lime. The second has a dressing flavored by cumin.



Black beans, or turtle beans, are now available in many
supermarkets; they can also be found in Mexican markets.



Both the slaw and the black beans have make-ahead steps, with
directions for packing for a picnic.



A kitchen maid gets credit for the name of the rice dish; cook it
just before serving. Cilantro Slaw 1 small head (about 1 lb.) green
cabbage, finely shredded 1 small onion, minced 1 to 2 tablespoons minced
cilantro (coriander) 1 European-style cucumber Lime and garlic dressing
(recipe follows)



Mix together cabbage and onion. Add cilantro to taste. Peel and
seed cucumber; cut into 3-inch-long sticks. If made ahead, cover
cabbage mixture and cucumber separately; chill up to 1 day. To
transport, keep cold in an insulated container.



Stir dressing into cabbage mixture. Pile cabbage into a bowl or
onto a platter. Garnish with cucumber. Serves 6 to 8.



Lime and garlic dressing. Whisk together 1/2 cup salad oil, 1/3
cup lime juice, and 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed. Add salt and
pepper to taste. Use, or cover airtight and chill up to 2 days. Orange
and Avocado Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette 4 medium-size oranges 2 large
ripe avocados 2 green onions, including tops, sliced Cumin dressing
(recipe follows)


With a sharp knife, peel oranges, removing white membrane. Cut
crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Peel and pit avocados; cut into
1/2-inch-thick lengthwise wedges. Arrange orange slices and avocado
wedges on a platter. Pour dressing over them; sprinkle with onion.
Serve, or let stand up to 1 hour at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8
servings.



Cumin dressing. Whisk together 5 tablespoons olive or salad oil, 1
tablespoon each red wine vinegar and orange juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4
teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed. Add
salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand at least 1 hour to let
flavors 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 2-1/2
cups (about 1 lb.) dried black beans, sorted, washed, and drained About
5 cups water 4 cups regular-strength beef broth Salt



To a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat, add salt pork. When fat
begins to melt, add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is
limp. Add beans, water, and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce
heat and simmer until beans mash easily, about 2 hours. If beans are
soupier than you like, uncover and boil on medium-high heat, stirring
more 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, on
low heat or over medium-hot coals on the barbecue grill; stir often and
add water as needed to keep beans from sticking. Serve from the pan or
a bowl. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Maid’s Rice 3 tablespoons butter
or margarine 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice 1 small onion, cut into
wedges 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped 3 cups regular-strength
chicken 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 grill
about 6 inches above hot coals. Add rice, onion, and carrot; cook,
stirring, until rice becomes opaque and begins to brown. Add broth and
tomato. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, or move pan
to a cooler position on barbecue.



Cook until rice is tender to bite, about 2k minutes; stir
occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand, covered and warm, for about
15 minutes. Fluff with a fork; add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6
to 8.

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