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Community harvest dinner recipes!

By Vernice King, Eat2Live Garden Volunteer


Taco Bell? a community garden event?

Hecky Yeah!  Its vegetarian, delicious, and economical. This copy cat recipe of Taco Bell's Catina Bowl has been a really big hit for my family. A simple google search for each of the components makes this meal extremely affordable and even more delicious than the restaurant's version. This salad sells for about $8 at TB. I'll bet that you can serve your whole family for that amount. I'll also bet that you already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen already. Feel free to make substitutions including the red bell pepper for tomatoes if they're too expensive or not available.

Put the beans on the night before. Put the rice on while you make the corn and pepper salsa. I find that I don't need the pico de gallo because the ingredients are so similar to the corn and pepper salsa. The worse part of this recipe is chopping the onions, after that, you're home free. I have cheated and used dried garlic and/or onion if I ran out of the fresh stuff. Chop a whole bushel of cilantro and dice a few garlic cloves and distribute them accordingly.
Oh, and turn on exhaust fan when you're roasting the corn or your smoke detectors may go aoff.

Ingredients list:
Black beans
Jasmine rice
Bushel of cilantro
Red bell pepper/ tomato
Vinegar (white wine)
Spinach or salad greens
Avocaodo (optional)
Cool ranch doritos
Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cumin, and Cayenne pepper

Black beans
I start with bag of black beans in the crock pot or on the stove. I freeze them in 16oz containers until I need them.
I try to avoid using canned foods. I prefer fresh foods but I will use frozen foods when I'm in a crunch.
My mom made the beans for the garden event and here is her recipe as best as she could explain it to me. We do not use meat to season the beans.

1 1lb bag dried black beans
1/8 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp Tumeric
1/4 Garlic powder
1/8 Lawry's season salt
1/8 Paparika
1/8 Worchestire sauce
1/2 Salt

Soak beans for 2-3 hours and pour off the murky water.
Rinse beans again in room temperature water..
Cover with room temperature water and bring them to a boil for about 30 minutes.
Turn down to medium or low heat. Keep covered and add more hot water to keep beans submerged under water if necessary.
Check water levels are stir occasionally. When beans began to soften and plump add some sliced or chopped onion, chopped garlic, and chopped cilantro.
Smaller beans may be done in as little as 2 hours. Larger tougher beans may need to cook longer, maybe up to 4 hours or even longer.

When you freeze them, spoon your beans out. Pour off the top water and cover the beans with the gravy at the bottom with all the seasoning.
I love to eat black beans with baked sweet potatoes and string beans or sauteed kale.

Oven baked WHITE RICE
1 part water
1 part jasmine rice

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Combine equal parts of white rice and boiling water in a pan. 1 cup of rice and boiling water should be enough for 4 people. Allow some extra room because the rice will expand when it fluffs.
Seal tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
Read more:

Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
Servings: Serves 4

2 ears fresh corn , off the cob (or thaw and drain a bag of frozen corn kernels)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small diced red pepper
1 diced scallion
1/2 small diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Carefully remove corn by running a knife from top of cob to bottom until all corn is off.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan until smoky.
Add corn and roast until nicely burnt.
Season with salt, cool and reserve.
Dice red pepper, scallions and red onion, place in a mixing bowl.
Add cilantro, white wine vinegar and sugar.
Add corn once cooled.
Mix well until all ingredients are blended together. Season with salt and pepper.

*The extra tastes great as a topping on sautes greens
Read more:

Creamy Cilantro Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh onion (i put a chunk of garlic and an garlic clove in the food processor with the lime juice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
Makes 1/1/4 cups.

*The extra tastes great over peeled & sliced cucumbers
Read more

This plate gets big really fast with all the toppings.
Start with a scoop of beans and a scoop of rice.
Layer with a handful of spinach or salad greens of your choice.
A spoonful or two of the roasted corn and pepper salsa.
A squirt of the creamy cilantro dressing.
Avocado or guacamole on the side if like.
And finally, I absolutely love this dish with some Cool Ranch Doritos on the side.