Posts Tagged ‘black bean salad’

The husband and I stumbled on a culinary treasure in Birmingham last week, a restaurant that made the trip to drop off his mother at the Amtrak station more than worthwhile.

I spotted the Culinard Cafe between the interstate and the station and looked up the menu on the iPhone. It was a nice distraction as I hunkered down to wait for the 12:05 to arrive while trying to avoid the headache-inducing flicker of the overhead light. The restaurant is associated with the Culinary Institute of Virginia College in Birmingham and provides a working and learning environment for students.

The husband’s only concern was whether the menu held a ham sandwich. It did.

The lunch menu boasted a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, including some pretty fancy combinations (salmon & brie salad, anyone?).

My first choice was the Southwestern chicken wrap (it had me at “chili spiked mayonnaise”), but when I turned the menu over I spotted the flat-iron steak sandwich. Its menu description was pure culinary seduction: “Sweet chili roasted flat iron steak with grilled onions, Alabama Belle Chevre Goat Cheese, lettuce, tomato, and whole grain mustard and spicy aioli on Ciabatta.”

Goat cheese, whole grain mustard AND spicy aioli? You have GOT to be kidding me.

I chose the black bean salad for my side so I could compare it to my recipe. (Their version was more complicated, but I like mine better.)

The sandwich was simply divine. I actually put it down after the first bite and said, “I need to contemplate this sandwich for a minute.” The steak was cooked to tender perfection, and the goat cheese and whole-grain mustard added an unexpectedly creamy and tangy element (admittedly, the aioli seems to have gotten lost among the rest of the flavors).

Walkout price for this thing of delicious beauty? $7.95 before tax.

Oh, and the husband enjoyed his ham & Swiss sandwich with fries.

We are SO going back to this restaurant for lunch if we find ourselves in Birmingham on a weekday. You should, too.

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I’m not a vegetarian, but I always seem to bring vegetarian dishes to parties. I guess I’m a sympathizer.

This is a recipe that several people have requested. Last week, a friend remembered the dish from a year ago and asked me to bring it to a gathering tonight.

It’s ridiculously easy to make. The original recipe, which someone emailed to me a few years ago, called for a couple tablespoons of olive oil, but I left it out after the oil got clumpy in the refrigerator once. You won’t miss it. Also, the original recipe says it makes four to six servings, but it makes tons of servings for a potluck-style dinner.

Black Bean Salad

Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Chill, covered, for at least one hour.

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