Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

The year after my freshman year of college I did a volunteer program called Mission Year.  For 11 months, I lived in West Philadelphia, spent four days a week volunteering in my community, attended the neighborhood church, invested in my neighbors, and lived intentionally with four other girls.  It was one of the most challenging years of my life.  And also the most life changing year of my life.  Most of what I learned during that year would have been much easier to ignore--things about myself, poverty and racism, to name a few.  But a nine year old talking about who in their class they want to have sex with, or a third grader who can't read words like 'cat' and 'dog', or discussions over lunch about who got shot down the street are hard to forget. 

A major part of my year involved learning to invest in my teammates.  My four teammates and I became very close during the year.  Although I don't talk to all of them very often and only see them about once a year, I still consider them to be close friends.  I experienced something with the four of them that most of the time I can't descibe to anyone else.  I think part of why we became so close over the year, besides living in a very small house and all sharing one tiny bathroom, was that we ate dinner together six days a week.  The five of us took turns cooking dinner once a week.  And it was a huge challenge for me.  I was 19 when I arrived in Philly.  I had one year of college under my belt but never had to cook for myself before.  Growing up, I usually had to cook dinner for my family once a week but that consisted of things like tuna helper, hot dogs or grilled cheese.  Unfortunately, my cooking during Mission Year was not too different. 

Thankfully, my teammates offered me a lot of grace while I stumbled through learning how to cook for five people.  And they never complained about how many times I 'cooked' hot dogs for dinner.  I learned a ton from seeing each of them cook throughout the year.  I learned that cooking can be very stressful sometimes.  That when you try new things, they don't always work out and that's just part of the learning process.  That a meal doesn't have to be picture perfect.  Much of what I know about cooking, I've learned from the people I've lived with from Mission Year and the years after. 

At the end of our year together, we decided to put together a cookbook of the recipes we made during the year.  I've used it quite a bit in the years since Mission Year.  It's a lot of fun to look through since we wrote notes about each recipe which are funny to reread.  I am very nostalgic about food.  For instance, when I eat something it reminds me about when I first ate it or who I got the recipe from.  When I make recipes from this cookbook I always think about those crazy months I spent in Philadelphia.

Below is one of the recipes from our 'Glitter Girls Cookbook'.  We called ourselves the 'Glitter Girls' because the walls of our house were covered in glitter.  The guy who did maintenance for our landlord covered the walls of the house in that horrible popcorn stuff that goes on ceilings and then threw glitter (like the silver glitter you used in elementary school for craft projects) up on the wall while the paint was drying.  It was horrible and was just one of the many quirks of our house.

I hope to include several more recipes from this cookbook on this blog as well as some of my adventures in Philadelphia.

The cover of our cookbook was a photocopy of our guest placemat.
We had our dinner guests sign and date the placemat.
The coveted hot dog recipe.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Source: Glitter Girls Cookbook
Printable Recipe Here
1 can black beans
1 can corn
2 or 3 green, red or yellow peppers
1 small bunch green onions
1/2 white onion
2 or 3 tomatoes
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic
salt, to taste

Empty beans and corn into a large bowl.  Chop up peppers, green onions, white onion, tomatoes and cilantro.  Add lime juice and spices.  Let sit in fridge for a few hours for the flavors to mingle.  Serve on chips or over lettuce as a salad. 

Amy's Notes:
I love this stuff.  I hadn't made it in almost two years so it was long overdue to make!  We ate this salsa as dinner because it was so good!  I've never done it but I would like to try adding avacado to this next time. 

All mixed together and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

Seriously.  So good.

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  1. I always knew that Matt was blessed to have you, but all of these recipes are just further proof!

  2. love you amy! this post brought a huge smile to my face. who can forget your hot dogs, arley's deer-meat chili, rae's home-made spaghetti sauce, sarah's garlic-craze, arley laughing/throwing up my first meal, and burning up over green curry?