Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spicy Mango Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn


In a few weeks, we will be in Massachusetts.  Applying sunscreen, bug repellent, rinsing out bathing suits, licking ice pops, splashing in a baby pool.  Waiting for the corn to grow as high as an elephant's eye, see our laundry blow in the breeze, feel the cool grass sneak up between my toes, slightly prickly but also sort of soft.  Natural grass, not the very manicured kind, a nice shade of green.

Dad is positioned by the grill, watching it all. We are definitely singing.  Maybe he throws on some kabobs with marinated shrimp, certainly a sausage or two.  "Janma" offers me a glass of chilled white wine.  She takes Ethan and bounces him on her lap, making him laugh with paddy cake.  Lisa and the cousins come over and beach balls fly in the yard.  The kids start a game of badminton.  Yes, we should do that this year.  Dirty feet climb up onto the deck for dinner.

Perhaps we'll get to stay up late enough to see the fireflies come out.  I wonder what time they appear.


Spicy Mango Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn
Lime juice, cumin, cilantro and heat from jalapeño peppers make this salad highly satisfying for sophisticated (grown up) palates.  Enjoy with any grilled fish, chicken, or pork on a gorgeous summer night.

1/2 red onion (about 1/2 cup)
Juice of 1-2 limes
1 red pepper
2 jalapeño peppers (start with one, or go for two if you like a lot of heat)
2 ripe mangoes
1 can of black beans, rinsed
2 ears of fresh corn
1 handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons of good olive oil

Dice the red onion and let it soak in the lime juice for several minutes.  Add the diced red peppers, jalapeño peppers (remove the seeds, or leave them in for full heat.) Cube the mangoes, add the rinsed beans.  Shuck and roast the corn either on a grill or grill pan for several minutes.  (If you can't do this, just microwave it for two minutes and run it under cold water to cool it.)  Cut the corn off the cobs and add to the salad.  Chop the cilantro, then stir it in with the cumin and salt.  Drizzle in the olive oil and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Serve immediately or chill slightly.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Finding Italy in New York

Two years ago, we moved from Rome to New York City.  As we were getting settled in Manhattan, a friend mentioned I should write a post about finding Italy in New York.  Little Italy, Eataly, Buon Italia in Chelsea Market.  Sounded like a great idea to me.  Over the last two years, I visited those places when I needed an ingredient, but pushing through the tourists and making eye-contact with no one was a far cry from my stomping grounds in Rome.  The missing ingredient was not culinary.  It was human.


Then Roman and I stumbled upon Portobello's- our neighborhood pizzeria.  It wasn't long before Anthony, the owner, knew our names and we felt like friends.  This was the missing piece - humanity is not something you feel every day on the streets of New York City.  Southern Italian warmth cuts through the crush of strangers.   Someone commenting on Roman's growth, cracking jokes with him, treating him like he matters.  These are the things I missed most about Rome.

Facendo la pizza

Portobello's makes great pizza- that quintessential New York slice, that once you've tasted it, there is no substitute.  But it's also a place where we are not anonymous customers.  We feel at home there, and it's the reason why when it's time to go, we will miss New York City, too.

Order Up!


Anthony and the boys

Next time you're in downtown NY, stop in and have a slice.  Tell him Nicole sent you.

Portobello's Pizzeria and Sicilian Kitchen
83 Murray Street, Tribeca
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