recipe // black bean salad with corn, red peppers, avocado & lime-cilantro vinaigrette

I found this recipe on Repinly in their most popular pins of all time list. I was looking for a side to go with some barbecue pulled chicken and this seemed like a good fit. It looked really fresh but hearty at the same time, and as a native Californian, I’m sold on anything involving avocado. As a bonus, Jennifer at Once Upon A Chef suggested making the salad the night before and just adding the avocado right before serving, which cut out a lot of prep time for a post-work meal. All the chopping and mixing of ingredients the night before took about a half hour from start to finish. I also took the suggestion of using canned black beans with fresh cooked corn, and boiled the husked corn cobs in water for about 6 min before cutting the kernels off. Continue reading

recipe // spicy mango shrimp

This is a recipe from the “Fast & Fresh” section of Sunset, which is the first section I flip to whenever the new issue arrives. The photo looked amazing, as did the claim that it could be made in 30 minutes or less. I had to make a few variations to the recipe due to a lack of ingredients… as overwhelming as the selection is at Safeway, they did not have unsweetened or toasted coconut, so I used the sweetened variety and toasted it myself. I also used jarred instead of fresh mango, mainly because it was already 8pm and I was hungry. Overall, the dish was really good – just the right amount of sweet and spicy, and a good mix of flavors. And it actually only took 30 minutes to make, including peeling the shrimp. Even though it called for unsweetened coconut, it was unanimous that the toasted sweetened coconut was the best part. Although the recipe said it was for 4 servings, as a main course it served 2 with about a half serving left over, so next time I’ll definitely be doubling the recipe. Continue reading