Saturday, February 7, 2015

Any Day Is a Party Day
What’s cooking? Corn and Black Bean Relish

Ok, so I missed giving you a recipe for SuperBowl snacks. But that won’t be the last time you gather a group of friends together, will it? Even just in February, there’s President’s Day (February 16), Mardi Gras (February 17), Chinese New Year (February 19), and Oscar Night (February 22).

Then we have the lesser lights, the geeks of the holiday list, that you and your friends might just use as an excuse to lighten the mood on one of these grim, wintry days. Like Hoodie-Hoo Day. Seriously, folks. It’s February 20, and the idea is that everyone goes outside at noon, waves their hands in the air and shouts “Hoodie-hoo!” to chase away the winter and encourage spring to show up. It makes as much sense as Groundhog Day, and sounds more fun. Or celebrate Umbrella Day (February 10) or Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17) or World Thinking Day (February 22), started by the Girl Scouts, of all people.

At least for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on February 24, which is... [drum roll, please]... Tortilla Chip Day. Now, how cool is that? Gather some friends to watch one of the old Oscar winners (Annie Hall, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sting,...), line up a bunch of dips, and pass the chips around. As a party format, nothing could be easier.

So if you decide to celebrate Tortilla Chip Day – or any of the others, or maybe just TGIF, the Kitchen Goddess has been saving just the recipe for you. She got it from a friend in San Antonio, so it naturally has a bit of a Tex-Mex or Southwest flavor. This “dip” isn’t really a dip – more like a relish – but it goes really well with chips of any kind. And it looks healthy. In fact, it actually is healthy, having no sugar or other sweetener and being very low in fat. And it’s gluten-free for those of you who care. Regardless, it’s delicious. Sweet and crunchy from the corn, tart from the lime juice, and then there’s that smoky flavor you get from black beans.

This is one of those great recipes where you just pile everything into a bowl and stir. It takes almost no time to assemble. The Kitchen Goddess has one friend who often makes a batch of this stuff up and just eats some with a salad for lunch.

Kitchen Goddess notes: (1) The Kitchen Goddess is a big fan of cilantro, so she often doubles the amount she puts into this relish. Cilantro is a critical ingredient in this dish, so if you don’t like cilantro, you should find something else to make. (2) On the other hand, the Kitchen Goddess doesn’t like raw onion, and the amounts in this recipe can easily be reduced to accommodate that preference without damaging the flavor profile. Soaking the chopped raw onion in water for 5 minutes, then draining it before adding it to the relish, will go a long way toward removing its pungency. (3) This recipe is a fabulous way to use field-ripened tomatoes in the summer. In winter, the Kitchen Goddess prefers to use grape tomatoes or the bite-sized sweet tomatoes that many stores now carry.

Lisa’s Corn Relish

1 16-ounce package frozen corn, thawed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup (or more) chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
¼ cup (or less) thinly sliced spring onion
¼ cup (or less) chopped red onion
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cumin (or more if you like cumin, which I do)
salt/pepper to taste

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (in winter, grape tomatoes work nicely here)

Stir together the first nine ingredients (all but the tomatoes) and refrigerate 2-3 hours, to allow the flavors to meld. Just before serving, stir in the tomatoes. Serve with chips.

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