Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black. The classic colors found in an 8 pack of Crayola crayons.
Warning. This recipe post is a whirling twirling merry-go-round.
Our family moved about the time I was entering 4th grade. A new school meant new friends and a chance to redefine myself. My mom, ever the optimist, could spin a situation faster than the new merry-go-round I was about to discover. I had been called ‘Libby’
for as long as I could remember, my entire life. Could I now reinvent myself?! Yes! I shall be Elizabeth!!
I entered Jaffrey Grade School, as Elizabeth, on what would have been about September 3rd or 4th, 1974. The teachers wore long black dresses and conducted class with a ruler in their right hand. I remember the three story brick building as a bit dark and intimidating, perhaps that was just a new kid perspective.
We were assigned seats and sat in rows, and when we veered off path, the ruler. Ms. Stratton called our names one by one. I sat anxiously, waiting to hear her call Elizabeth. Yes, here!! A tap on the shoulder, followed by “Libby!! Hi, I can’t believe you’re here!!” sent my personal reinvention squarely out the window.
Directly behind me sat Katrina, who had attended Kindergarten with me in my former home town. I had been exposed before I ever got a chance to re-introduce the new me.
About 4 seats behind me, one row over, was Ronnie. He became a complete distraction. And while Ms. Ruler taught class, I was writing intro-love notes to Ronnie. Anyone remember these?
The bright side of the school was the gymnasium. The place where that oversized parachute came out on gym day once a year, and where they forced us to square dance in the name of exercise, on any given PE day. Which may have provided a chance to hold hands with someone like Ronnie. Please tell me I’m not alone in my elementary school memories. We also practiced our ‘recorders’ in the Gym. Surely, I’ve got you now!!
We played kickball, baseball, hopscotch, and Chinese jump rope at recess. In the mostly paved, partially dirt back yard of our school, we spun out of control on a merry-go-round, climbed monkey bars, and played dodge ball. We survived.
We got through 4th grade and graduated to Middle School, where our town Jaffrey merged with our neighbor Rindge, and St. Patrick’s school. New friends, two years in a row. Whoa!
Fifth Grade, meant changing class rooms and padlocks on lockers. We survived. In Science Class, I met Michelle aka Micky. We both had a thirst for learning and developed a kinship with our teacher Mr. Lambert. He was passionate in his presentation, made us feel worthy of the message, and inspired learning. TEACHERS, on every level, make a difference!!
Small talk with Micky led to questions like, do you have any sisters or brothers? Her response, at first, left me speechless. There are 13 of us. If emoticons had been invented I would have been the one with two eyes wide open. Ann, Patty, Cathy, Martha, Nancy, Mark, Mary, Teresa, Clare, Michelle, Peter, Tommy, Laura. Why do I remember the names of her siblings? Why did I memorize the Crayon colors all those years ago?
Thank you for allowing me to pull out memories, pour out reflections, and randomly spin them into recipes. Ahh sixth grade…
Back to this fabulous Rainbow Southwest Salad, I’m equally as excited about the dressing. Check out my Fire Roasted Poblano, Cilantro & Lime Dressing.
I shared this salad with my Healthy Choices buddy this week. I got the nom, nom, nom nod. I shared the Fire Roasted Poblano, Cilantro & Lime Dressing with the Customer Service team at my office (in the form of salsa) and they gave it a hearty mmmm Mmmm!! I hope you love it like we did.
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 carrot, spiralized or julienned
- 2 ears fresh corn
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 cups blue corn tortilla chips
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to an even thickness
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed & drained (or Black Bean Puree)
- Fire Roasted Poblano, Cilantro & Lime Dressing (see recipe link in post)
- If making black bean puree, follow recipe link in post.
- Heat grill or grill pan to medium, cook chicken 8-10 minutes per side or until instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- Boil corn on the cob for 5 minutes. Then fire roast over gas stove burner, grill, or under broiler until slightly charred. Remove kernels from cobs and reserve.
- Line a large platter or serving bowl with loose green lettuce leaves.
- Arrange ingredients in a rainbow shape in this order: diced tomato, carrot, corn kernels, diced avocado, broken blue corn chips, sliced red onion, sliced grilled chicken, black beans.
- Prepare dressing according to recipe link in post.
A few recipe notes.
Fire roasting corn is a simple step that adds character to a dish. I steam or boil the corn for about 5 minutes before roasting. Then cut kernels off cobs and enjoy in your recipe.
For this Rainbow Southwest Salad, plain black beans will be delicious. However, our Black Bean Puree was over the top. You’ll love this recipe as a dip, filling, or salad addition.
We have a Sous Vide, a counter contraption (temperature controlled water bath) that cooks foods to precise temperatures with delicious moist results. That frozen chicken breast that you forgot to thaw…no problem. Want to infuse fresh herb flavors…no problem. I’m working on a dedicated post for Sous Vide cooking. Bring your protein up to ‘done’ temperature, then grill or sear it to add color. For this salad however, all you need is a cooked chicken breast, preferably grilled.
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