Black Bean Confetti Salad

Sweet speckled sunshine, that was a good week. Never underestimate the power of blinding sun, square canvas umbrellas, swing barstools and ten thousand renditions of guantanamera to turn your mind back to tabula rasa. What did I do this week? Wish I could tell you, but every time I try to recall stretches of time, they skitter off like pieces of paper in a gusty breeze, just leaving me with small, unconnected bits, like the perfectly round, golf ball sized limes everywhere, sun so bright it demands your undivided attention, long piers that end in shade and a Havana-style eatery built from worn white wood, lounge chairs so comfortable, so well thought out you could lose a day–no a week–in one and not miss it at all. And so we did. And the only thing I cooked was grilled cheese sandwiches.

But I ate with glee. People, I love beans. I mean, really really love them and pretty much any day I get to eat them is one step up from the days I do not. Isn’t it great to that some things can be so perfectly simple? In Mexico, with no effort, you can eat beans at least twice a day and never did I tire of them. Never were they not the first thing I dove my fork into on the plate. You’d think after several mornings of huevos rancheros and seven dinners of small, shredded meat soft tacos it’d all get old, but it did not. And now I’m home — miraculously, with sunny days in tow — and still I long for these flavors.

So, when Jocelyn, my blog-sitter extraordinaire–seriously, how much fun is she?–invited us over for a rooftop barbeque this afternoon, it took me about ten seconds to decide that if I had to go a whole day without beans, vacation might actually be over, and vacation cannot actually be over, I simply will not have it, don’t make me throw a temper tantrum because, really, it’s a sure thing that I won’t elicit any sympathy from anyone… and so I made a black bean confetti salad with a cumin-lime vinaigrette (and salsa fresca, because I couldn’t resist) and we scooped it onto tortilla chips as the sun set behind Manhattan and it was delicious and vacation did not end yet. But I hear it will soon, so excuse me while I go hide for a while and don’t mind that margarita glass on the nightstand. I was just a little thirsty.

[More vacation pictures over here.]

Black Bean Confetti Salad

This works equally well as a small salad–even tossed with salad greens for more bulk–or alongside salsa fresca for scooping up with a tortilla chip.

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and well-rinsed

4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped into a small dice

1/2 super-large or 1 medium white onion, chopped into a small dice

Juice of one lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 fresh chile, very thinly sliced or finely chopped or hot sauce, to taste

Optional: If you’re the kind of person who loves cilantro, it’s a great match for this salad.

Mix beans, bell peppers and white onion in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Ideally, you’ll have a 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour it over the bean mixture, toss it well and adjust seasonings to taste.

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