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Being spoilt for choice

Uptown Corn Salsa incorporates fresh flavors like avocado and cilantro with a splash of lime for acidity.
Photo by Jeff Kane

“I’ll have a double decaf pumpkin spice latte with medium frothed organic low-fat vanilla soy milk.”

While I waited in line for coffee, I overheard the person ahead of me order. Although I’ve always encouraged my kids to read the whole menu, I remembered when we had fewer choices.

For instance, when I shopped the other day, I felt like I was wandering a Moroccan medina. Shelves held crackers made from amaranth and kamut, and is freekeh really a grain? I settled on quinoa, but next had to choose from flavor options that included lemon-ginger, rosemary-Parmesan, and cilantro-jalapeno.



We were out of balsamic vinegar. I wracked my brain trying to picture the label on the pantry shelf, but couldn’t recall if ours was blue, red, or orange. I assumed it was gluten-free, but was it aged in oak or cedar barrels, and was the hint of Zinfandel or chardonnay? I couldn’t decide, so moved vinegar to my next shopping list.

We needed milk and I remembered when milkmen left glass bottles in wooden boxes at the door. Now I had to choose from one or two percent, raw or lactose-free, and milk made of almonds, coconut, or soy. I opted for the grass-fed cow variety.



My last hurdle was at the check out, and I wondered about heading to self-checkout, the express lane, or the cash only line.

I have trouble with certain choices, but I hope you’re certain about trying these recipes.

Uptown Rice and Beans

4-6 servings

1 cup raw brown basmati

2¼ cups water

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

1 cup cooked black beans (canned beans always require rinsing and draining.)

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, lightly rinsed

1 teaspoon cumin

1 pressed garlic clove

Bring the rice, water, and Bragg’s to a boil. Then cover, turn down the flame, and simmer for 40 minutes until the rice just begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Mix everything together and serve with this next recipe.

Uptown Salsa

Makes 1½ cups

For a totally scrumptious experience, spoon this over Uptown Rice and Beans. Of course scooping this up with chips is also a good option.

1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained

1 medium avocado, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

¼ cup chopped radishes

¼ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped red pepper

¼ cup lime juice

Stir everything together and chill for hours. It tastes terrific when chilled overnight.

Charred Green Beans

Serves 4

1 teaspoon sesame oil

12 ounces green beans, ends cut off

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Dressing

Whisk together:

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon tamari

1 teaspoon mirin

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 pressed garlic clove

Heat the teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the green beans and sesame seeds and sauté over a medium flame. To give the beans a chance to char a bit, only stir occasionally.

When the beans are tender, turn off the flame, stir in the dressing, and serve.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.


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