Lightning all around; we used the clouds as cover.
The plane swept in low over the horizon, the wings pitched right and then snapped back to the left.
We were headed in-country; we were headed to Dallas.
We went to Dallas last weekend. Not exactly swine flu central, but a heck of a lot closer than the upper midwest. We weren't going to be on the flu front lines, but we would be able to see them in the distance. There were a handful of people wearing surgical masks on the plane and maybe 20 more walking around the airport. It's amazing to me that with all the advances in medical science, we turn to thin paper as a protective suit of armor. From surgical masks to toilet seat covers, paper is what stands between us and certain germ death.
By now you all know that the swine flu pandemic seems to be over. Yes, there are some concerns that in South America it may become worse because they're heading into the flu season, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere it's petering out.
So we've closed entire school districts, slaughtered herds of pigs and quarantined Mexico for what amounts to a nasty cold. Yes, yes, I can hear you out there, "better safe than sorry", "patients have never asked me to be less prepared". How many confirmed deaths from swine flu in the U.S.? Two. How many die in a typical flu season? Over 30,000! Seems to me we're roasting the wrong pig.
Ah well, nothing overdoes it like a good case of excess.
You can't pronounce "Texas" without a little "excess", and in the coming posts I'll slip in a few stories about our trip, but for today I'm going to try and recover from the surf and turf eating binge I just lived through. Today just a little light side salad with a Southwestern taste. Chopped Southwestern Salad with Honey Lime vinaigrette is a great side for your next barbecue. Enjoy...
Roasted Southwestern Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
adapted by Crabby
2 large orange or red bell peppers
2 ears fresh corn
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small jicama, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 can (15 ounces), black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro and more for garnish
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
3 TBSP fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 TBSP honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Stem seed and core.
Husk the corn. Place the peppers and corn on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Lightly salt and pepper the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes.
When the vegetables are done, allow to cool at room temperature.
Cut the kernels from the corn and chop the peppers into a 1/2-inch dice.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the minced garlic, lime juice, orange juice, shallots, honey and cumin in a medium size bowl.
Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking to blend. Salt and pepper to taste. If you like a sweeter vinaigrette, now would be the time to slowly add more honey.
Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle lightly with the vinaigrette. Mix in the chopped cilantro. Reserve additional vinaigrette for serving table-side. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve.
There you go crablings. This salad tastes of the Southwest and is a perfect accompaniment for any grilled meat. Also, don't be bound to the ingredient list, this salad is a great way to empty out the fridge of small little bits of things (If you're in a hurry, use jarred roasted red peppers and frozen corn). Next time we'll get back to cooking stuff, until then, remember, you can do it, you can cook.