I Found My Ideal Berry and Chicken, Rice and Bean Salad
July is here. It’s the first already. The days of wishing summer was upon us are gone and replaced with thoughts about the present “Dog days” of the season and how to stay cool. My sister is somewhere around 3 weeks away from being full term in her pregnancy and my first nephew will be here-the first child amongst “the children.”
In less than 2 weeks, my aunt and uncle will be visiting and after that, we’ll be back in Indiana to celebrate the newest family member’s arrival. I swear November was here about 2 minutes ago when she announced she was expecting. The forecast calls for good times. That’s my prediction.
Greg and I are eager to go home, especially in warm weather for once. The other travels have been in the winter with ice and snow storms. You can find me with sunglasses on, windows down, waving my hand through the air, sometimes feet on the dash, smiling at my husband, while belting out whatever songs I’m into at that moment. Looking forward to it!
I must share with you that I’ve discovered my new choice of berry-the golden raspberry, not the yellow variety. While visiting with our pal this week, we took our normal walk around his garden. He wanted to be sure that I see his golden raspberries. From a distance, I could see small, although large for raspberries, glowing (no kidding) fruit hanging from the thorny plant as if it knew it held a treasure and had to protect the fruit from thieves. A little prodding and pricking won’t stop me.
It was one of those moments where you feel yourself walking while being in utter awe, but at the same time felt like a dream-glowing I tell you! As a child I watched a movie that had fictional berries (youngberries) and this was the fantasy from my childhood coming into my adult reality. Blew my mind. Gorgeous and their taste? They were plumper, juicier, and sweeter than any other raspberry I’ve ever eaten. I carried them around like a prize until we arrived home so that I could try to capture even the smallest bit of their glory in a photograph to share with you great people. In a way, I was that little girl coming out of my grandparent’s berry patch while walking up the alley to our apartment. (I didn’t drop them because had I, they would’ve disappeared and I would never keep my youthful appearance…that’s from the movie.) I must have these in my garden, whenever I have a garden. Behold their beauty in my pictures or try to imagine a glowing orb of deliciousness. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
For the last…I don’t know how many summers, I’ve relied on rice-based meals for outings. Our 4th of Julys, where it was just the two of us, meant rice with a dressing and some toppings to bring along while we watched the orchestra play before the fireworks at Purdue. We only grilled when we well, had a grill and we haven’t had one in years. That too will be in my backyard, when I have a backyard.
My thoughts are that these dishes travel well, don’t need to be warm and I can make a large batch to keep for day’s worth of meals. You can put practically anything on top of rice and it will be tasty. This particular recipe would also work as a burrito filling-Greg thought of that one. He believes, with a few more ingredients, it could rival a few burrito places. He’s so sweet.
Chicken, Rice and Bean Salad adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded (see below for directions)
enough chicken broth to cover chicken breasts
15 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed (or bean of your choice)
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ large onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
coarse salt/freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp black sesame seeds-optional
Top with crumbled Cotija or feta cheese and cilantro
Poach chicken breasts by covering both in a large pot with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 7 minutes. Remove, cover and let stand for 30 minutes in the broth until cooked through. Shred with 2 forks and set aside.
Cook the rice as directed. (I like to steam it.) Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, add the beans, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, vinegar, oil and cumin. Season with salt/pepper and toss. Add the cooled rice, chicken and optional sesame seeds; toss again. Top with crumbled cheese and cilantro.