When does "soon" become "later," and "later" become "whenever," and "whenever" become the dreaded "never"?
Have you ever suffered from the dual bains of boredom and procrastination, where nothing excites your fancy and nearly everything feels a chore? I would have thought it was just me, except for the recent confessions of Sra and Cynthia, and the resonating comments each of their posts provoked. Apparently, there is something in the water.
After a lovely and desperately necessary spring break away from blogging, and with the best intentions to charge forward with renewed vigor earlier this month, I have found myself living almost exclusively in my head as far as blog posting is concerned: pondering ideas, developing recipes and envisioning photo compositions, but hardly executing any edibles worth a nibble, let alone writing about and presenting them as the best I can offer. Once I finally got cracking in the kitchen, a string of absurdly comical, almost cosmic, failures threatened to distance me further from that "slew of recipes" I had alluded to in an earlier post.
The only saving grace was a ravishingly salty and sassy jolt of fresh salsa, so good that I scarfed it down before I could artistically arrange it in a bowl. So very good, in fact, that I made it a second time, and, again, scarfed it down before I could get it into that bloody bowl. It is said by fairies, elves and other supernatural types that the third time is the charm. Well, it's true, and it had better be; that something in the water was beginning to taste suspiciously of Kool-Aid.
Black Turtle Beans
Black Bean, Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa – My own recipe
[While I like a moderately smoky fire-roasted flavor, you might prefer to char all the tomatillos, or forgo the process entirely. It is a matter of individual taste.]
1 ½ pounds tomatillos1 cup water or unsalted vegetable stock
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-5 serrano peppers, depending on your heat tolerance (you can substitute with jalapeños)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped; and a few whole leaves to garnish
2 cups cooked, drained and rinsed black beans
¾ cup sliced Manzanilla olives, with or without pimento stuffing
Additional salt or brine from olive jar to taste (optional)
Husk and rinse tomatillos under warm water, gently rubbing off their sticky residue with a paper towel. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut out the stem ends and discard them. With long-handled tongs, hold half the tomatillos, one at a time, over a stove burner flame to char the skin, turning them frequently until they are blistered and begin to collapse. [A well-ventilated kitchen will prevent setting off your smoke alarm.] Cut all the tomatillos into quarters and add to water or vegetable stock in a large saucepan. Bring contents to boil, then lower heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatillos are soft but still holding some shape. The mixture will be very watery. Leave to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Over low heat, warm the oil in a skillet, then add the onion and garlic, stirring frequently to brown evenly. Do not let the onions become very soft; you want to retain some crunchiness. Remove from skillet onto separate holding dish. Stem and slice the peppers. You can use them raw or shrink and blister the slices briefly in the skillet. I find raw peppers are much hotter on the tongue.
Pour tomatillos and their liquid into a blender or food processor, pulsing a few times to unify the texture without turning it into purée; leave it somewhat chunky. Pour into a large bowl, then add all remaining ingredients, stirring gently to mix without breaking the beans. The salsa will appear too runny for dipping chips into. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop. During this time, the starch from the beans will thicken the excess liquid. Stir gently. Taste for salt, adding it incrementally from the shaker or as small spoonfuls of olive brine. Stir again and garnish with whole cilantro leaves. Serve with tortilla chips, corn bread or corn sticks. Better second or even third day, if you can keep away from it that long.
Makes about 5 cups.
Been There, Done That ~
Olive and Pomegranate Relish
Grilled Corn, Mango and Avocado Salsa
Roasted Nopalito Tomatillo Salsa
Spicy Mango Lime Salsa with Asian Pear
On a separate note, Astra of Food for Laughter was kind enough to honor me with an award.
Thanks, dear Astra! There are many bloggers whose work I admire and enjoy for a number of reasons, too many to count. A few quickly come to mind, but cannot be considered a comprehensive list. No one is obligated to take up the tag; let your time, energy and interest guide you. Here's to Soma, Gabe and Lyndsey, Venus, Ramki, and Christine. I will acknowledge more awards and memes in coming posts. Thanks so much for the continued kudos.