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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Heidi's Salad

Many of us understand intuitively that food is deeply laced with meaning and memory. A particular smell or taste has the power to conjure nostalgia like nothing else. That power of food can be mastered to make a dish that is a living memory. When I want to remember my summer living in a Costa Rican village, I make Gallo Pinto, the simple combination of rice, beans and local seasonings that is the national dish.

During one of the times I lived in Ghana, it was my pleasure to befriend a Danish girl named Heidi (that's her at the right). Before Heidi’s departure from Ghana she created a salad that was a medley of all the things she loved about Ghana. The dish retains its whimsically thrown together appearance and always reminds me of the particular joie de vivre that comes from being deeply in love with the place where you are right now.


2 ripe papaya, seeded and 1 cm diced
1 large mango, pitted and 1 cm diced
8-10 oz of cooked red kidney beans, rinsed
8-10 oz of cooked chickpeas, rinsed
1 red onion, finely diced
garlic, minced, grated or pressed
ginger, minced, grated or pressed
1 cucumber, seeded and 1 cm diced
4 ripe avocados (should just yield when pressed), 1 cm diced
1 cup green beans, tips discarded, cut to 3 cm portions
1 ½ C dried penne pasta


Boil penne pasta until al dente in well salted water. Drain, splash with salt and white vinegar, and set aside to cool.
Bring a shallow pan of water to boil. Add one whole dried red pepper. Reduce to a simmer. Add green beans. Cook until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Mix all the ingredients from papaya to cucumber. Add cooled penne and green beans. Taste a large spoon of the medley for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Finally add diced avocados and gently fold into mixture (avoid mashing avocados).

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:
Salad Love Part I
Salad Love Part II

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