I gotta be real with y’all: our fridge is going through an identity crisis. Bless his heart, y’all, he just isn’t who he used to be. For anyone who didn’t grow up in Texas, that’s how we throw shade. Let me show ya how it’s done:
“Bless her heart, y’all, she’s just plum dumb.”
See what I did there? No one thought it was mean to say someone was dumb because I blessed her heart first.
So, anyway, blessin’ the fridge’s heart and all, he’s become a bit of a disappointment of late. See, in winter he was bright and shiny and stocked with homemade lunches, my pride and joy — full of posole and chili, gumbo and Christmas Crack. When I opened the door, there was a little chorus of trumpets and I rubbed my grubby little hands together and picked my next meal from the bounty.
But it’s officially summertime and gallivanting season is in full swing here at Chez Leighto-Greato. We’ve been traveling and soaking up the sun every weekend, and the fridge has been suffering. Winter’s bounty of soups and stews has been replaced by wilting greens and a Tupperware half full of last week’s dinner. No more trumpets — the light that once seemed like it emanated from the faces of angels now looks like it’s coming from a basement of florescent-lit cubicles. I’ve come to learn that there’s something profoundly disappointing about coming home to an empty fridge. But there is something positively heartbreaking about what we came home to on Sunday — little more than a produce graveyard.
I almost lost you there among all the melodrama and dispair, didn’t I? Guys. C’mon. You know we always get somewhere happy. Anyway, I I can’t bear the thought of throwing away perfectly good food (and if you can’t either but find yourself doing it anyway, check out this book by Tamar Adler, which changed my [kitchen] life).
This salad was the rescue mission for everything I could salvage. Slimy cilantro was in the bin, while the romaine lettuce and green onions were tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and stuck under the broiler. Stirred up with roasted corn, a can of beans, sliced tomatoes, and a scoop of brown rice — and topped with some homemade Sriracha Caesar and a scoop of guac — it transformed into a hearty summer lunch.
Bless his heart, the fridge is starting to look like his old self again.
- 1 T. butter
- 1 c. brown rice
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 bundle green onions
- ¼ c. olive oil, plus 1 t.
- 2 ears of corn
- 2 avocados
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 3 limes
- 2 links fresh chorizo sausage (optional)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 T. anchovy paste (or minced anchovies)
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 T. sriracha
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your broiler to 525 degrees.
- In a rice cooker, add combine butter, rice and 3 cups of water with a fat pinch of salt. Turn on and set aside while you make the rest of the food. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can make the rice on the stovetop following the instructions on the bag.
- Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and wash throughly. Roughly chop the green onions, both white and green parts. Toss the onions and lettuce with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the lettuce and onions in a single layer on the sheets. If you don't have enough room on a single cookie sheet, just use two and do them in batches -- you want everything to get exposed to the flame, so do it in batches if you need to. Broil until charred, then set aside.
- While the lettuce and onions are charring, shuck the ears of corn and clean of all the little hairs. Leave the end of the ears on the bottom, which you can use as a little handle to turn the ears.
- If you have a gas stove, turn on two burners so the flames are just below the grates. Blacken the corn, turning so it cooks evenly. If you don't have a gas stove, you can do this under the broiler after the lettuce and onions are done.
- Let the ears cool and then slice the kernels off the cobs. I like to do this by holding the corn cobs pointing downward in the middle of a large bowl. Run a knife down the cob the corn will fall into the bowl.
- Slice the avocados in half, take out the seed, and put in a bowl. Add the minced jalapeno, juice from 2 limes, and a large pinch of salt. Mash together with the back of a fork until combined -- but I like chunks in my guac, so don't mash too much.
- Remove the casings from the fresh chorizo links, and brown in a skillet over medium heat breaking up with a spatula into small pieces until cooked through.
- Blend together egg yolk, anchovy paste, juice from 1 lime, red wine vinegar, ¼ c. olive oil, sriracha and a fat pinch of salt. Taste for salt and adjust.
- Toss the lettuce, onions, corn, rice, beans and tomatoes in a large bowl. Top with chorizo crumbles and a scoop of guac, and serve with a smear of dressing on the side.