This is my friend Jo. After years of not corresponding, it's funny that we should circle back into each other's lives because of children (thanks to this very site about cooking with kids, but facebook helped too). After all, it's kids (10, 9 and 10 year-old girl campers to be exact) that made us friends.
It was the summer of '89 and Jo and I met at a sleep-away camp situated in the Catskill mountains of New York state. We were co-councellors of a sweet, scared, nervous, whiney, adorable and sassy group of girls all jammed into a bunk house with a bathroom that bred bugs the size of cats and bed cots that were as comfortable as a gravel driveway. I don't remember a lot from that summer other than the hours we'd spend talking late into the night while tucked under blankets in a dank corner of the bunk, the towny bars we'd hang out in on our nights off, the platters stacked high of grilled cheese sandwiches at our communal lunches and the times we laughed about the insanely odd but fun situation we found ourselves in that summer.
A few years ago, Jo and I got back in contact and, since the inception of SPC, she's been a supportive and loyal friend all the way from her lovely English countryside home. Married to Berni, another English transplant at Camp Echo, who she wed years later after an unlikely reunion, Jo has two gorgeous children, Harvey,9, and Cleo, 7.
Far from the flattened, grilled cheese sandwiches we were served at Camp Echo, Jo makes healthy and delicous dishes like this salad. According to Jo, she was recommended the recipe by her sister-in-law when she needed to lose some extra pregnancy weight. A fan of this salad because "it's full of crunchy vegetables," and it also helped her lose 2 stone (what is that in pounds any way?), Jo has kept it a part of her normal meal rotation. Besides, in Jo's own words, "if you don't mind chopping, this is an easy salad to pull together." Sign us up.
Adzuki Bean and Brown Rice Salad
1 mugful (prob 1 or 2 cups I should think) of brown rice, cooked according to instructions
4 oz can of adzuki beans (I usually use more than this)
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
6 spring onions, finely chopped
salt to taste
4 fl. oz olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves ( i usually don't bother with this)
Make up the dressing (minus parsley and celery leaves) and add to the cooked rice (while still warm) and adsuki beans. Mix well.
When cold add the chopped mixed vegetables mixing them in lightly. Season again if required. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and celery leaves.
Cleo didn't help with this dish since she's more a baker. You're actually more likely to find Harvey in the kitchen because he now sports a cooking badge from Cub Scouts. And since they're both robust eaters, this salad is a family favorite. Although, Cleo pretty much eats anything if it means she can one up her brother. (After all, this is a kid who decided to eat pickles one morning for breakfast.) Sigh.…If only she hate kale and he ate tomatoes. Then everything really would be rosy in the English countryside.