Sunday, July 19, 2009

A cool dish for a potluck or a picnic

It's another scorcher here in the............ so the Mr and I jumped at the opportunity to attend a potluck BBQ in Bisbee - one of southern Arizona's cooler towns. Of course there's always lots of meet at these affairs but as I am a vegetarian I usually find it beneficial to make sure I bring my own meat free option.

Now before I hear a lot of meaty eye rolling let me just say I don't have any problems with meat (although I do wish it had a few less hormones), I grew up on a farm where we raised our own food, I have never tried to get anyone else to stop eating meat and I quite frequently cook meat for the Mr........ it's just a personal thing.

I do have to say that cooking without meat has really changed my perspective of vegetables. So much of the produce in the stores is tasteless, bitter, bland or whatever so when you have limited the options of ingredients you better go for quality because those veggies are going to be the star of meal usually. It also has driven me to become quite creative in my cooking style and really strive for variations on the usual that not only surprise people but also sate them. I like to make sure that if I am serving a meal sans meat that no one walks away from the table feeling like they missed out on something so those veggies (and whatever else) better sing!

So here's an easy dish to take to a potluck or on a picnic. It's also great as a cold lunch or as a cocktail hour appetizer with tortilla chips and a "Pink Putty Tat Tini". I'll share that recipe at another time. ;)

Homegrown lemon, orange bell pepper, jalapeno and tomatoes get rounded out with scallions, mango, avocado and parsley. I toss the avocado with lime, olive oil, salt and garlic powder to give them a bit of a kick and preserve their green color.

Toss the ingredients in beautiful serving platter given to me by my good friend and gifted potter Stef. You can see her wonderful wares at

Add in a can of black beans and corn and mmmmmmmmmmm! Well you'll just have to try it for yourself..... especially with your favorite tortilla chips!


  1. Looks like a winner to me! I make a corn and black bean salad that is very similar, sans "home grown lemon" (you heard I've killed three lemon trees at my AZ property, didn't you?), and without the avocado and mango. I make this with fresh corn, cut straight from the cob and uncooked, or frozen super sweet corn kernels (Costco). Whether it be on tortilla chips, or added to a lettuce salad, or rolled up in a warm tortilla that's spread with spicy refried beans, or just a bowlful plain, I inhale the stuff all summer!

  2. I'm glad it's not just me that's addicted to the stuff Granny. I've given up on trying to grow corn - I really would love to have it for this dish though.

    I saw a poster of you up in the post office. Wanted - citrus killer Granny! Consider her green thumbed but dangerous!

  3. I don't know why the lemon trees hate me so. I give them a lovely spot in the cactus garden, where they are protected from cold north winds in the winter and harsh sun from the west in the summer. I provide them with drip irrigation and citrus tree fertilizer. I plant them in early October, baby them all winter and leave a healthy green tree the first of April....then return in October to a dead tree. Then I start all over again. I finally gave up and planted a ficus. It has lived for two years now, and not grown an inch.

  4. I don't know what the problem could have been with the lemon trees - sounds like you were doing everything right. You can come and pick from my tree anytime Granny.

  5. Hi from Las Vegas!

    I am intrigued by your gardening, most particularly at the moment in the tomatoes.

    My partner's grandmother lives in Tucson so I know the climates are similar, altough Tucson's a tetch hotter. What did / do you do to make your tomatoes grow?

    And as for other veggies, what about your beans? I've been wanting to grow tepary beans here, which you can find in Tucson at Native Seed - SEARCH.

    Anyway, cool blog.

  6. Oops, forgot - the seed place is online at (although I'm having trouble connecting at the moment).

    We're hoping to visit G'ma in October and my hope is to go to the shop and talk with the folks who work there.