Tonight was one spicy meal.  From the grilled London Broil to the fried peppers, from the corn salad to the dressing, there was chili to be had.

The corn salad was a wing-it recipe…

Corn and Pinto Bean Salad

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sofrito sauce
  • splash Tabasco
  • pinch cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook corn, cool, and cut kernels from cob.  Place in bowl with 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained, and 1 can chopped green chilies.

Add mayonnaise, sofrito sauce, tabasco, cumin, and salt and pepper.

Mix well and chill.

It was rather good.  The flavors and textures played off one another well.  It made a goodly amount, so we’ll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

The beef was another spice-sensation.  I did a dry rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chipotle powder.  Lots of chipotle powder.  It was spicy!  And good.  The really thin slices really picked up the flavor.

And then the dressing…

It was pretty much the same dressing as on the corn salad with the addition of lime juice!  I wanted something to jazz it up just a bit.

Creamy Sofrito Dressing

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sofrito sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • splash Tabasco
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients and chill.

The salad itself consisted of iceberg lettuce under spring mix, with some fried peppers, tomatoes, black grapes (love the sweet pop in a spicy dish!) the grilled beef, grilled zucchini, and the corn salad.

It was a lot of flavor for minimal effort.

Let’s face it – salads have to be one of the easiest meals to create.  They’re really not much more than open the ‘fridge, pull stuff out, put it atop some lettuce, and add a dressing.

Dressings seem to intimidate people.  They really are nothing but three parts oil to one part vinegar – and then stuff added, if you want.  Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, olive oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil or safflower oil.  They all have their own unique flavors and work with a variety of other things…  mustards, honey, maple syrup, soy sauce, rice wine… Usually stuff you already have in the house.  And the beauty of making your own dressings is you can make exactly the amount you need and not have a refrigerator-shelf full of partial bottles of molding science experiments (that you have no idea how long they have really been in there).  Not to mention the chemicals, additives, and flat-out garbage that so many of those “national brands” seem to have in them.

I mean…  you’re putting fresh vegetables on a plate.  Why would you want to cover them with crap?!?

And herbs!  ANYthing fresh from the garden works.  Anything.  Chop it up and throw it in.  But dried herbs work well, also, and herb blends like herbs d’Provence or Italian seasoning take all the guesswork out, completely.

No matter where you live, you should be approaching – if not already in – peak vegetable season.

Do your local economy a favor and make a salad with some locally grown ingredients.  Or better yet, with some things you’ve grown yourself!