Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Great Recipe for Peace On A Summer Day

Creating art can really bring people together. That’s why for the past 15 years, the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago has had a weekend at the end of June to paint the cement bench at the Loyola Park beach as a community. The bench, which is a half mile long, is divided into sections. Each year, before the painting is done, the bench is whitewashed to  prepare for the new paintings. Any family or group can reserve a section of the bench. Generally, mention of businesses and specific religious and political groups is prohibited. Each year there’s a theme and this year it is Winds of Change.

We were able to see the bench paintings about a week after they had been done, before rain and time have faded the vivid colors and ideas. Some pictures were done in fun while others were painted to promote ideas of peace, ecology, and cooperation. They were all beautiful against the blue cloudless sky. The cliché that pictures speak louder than words is true here so here are some samples of the art.

After such a beautiful summer day, it was time to try a summer recipe. Here is one for salmon and couscous salad that I adapted from the New Zealand cookbook 100 Favourite 20 Minute Dishes by Simon and Alison Holst. This recipe is for 4 servings and takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

                                               Ten Minute Salmon and Couscous Salad

1 large can salmon
3/4 cup uncooked coucous
1 ½ cups liquid
½ tsp minced chili
1-2 celery stalks
2-3 lettuce leaves
½ chopped cucumber
about one cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
any other vegetable you feel like putting in

salad dressing

coriander, basil, dill, salt, pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

If you use canned salmon, drain the liquid from the can into a measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1 ½ cups of liquid. If using fresh salmon, use 1 ½ cups of water with chicken bouillion. Bring the liquid to boil adding the chili. When the water boils, add the couscous. Take off heat and let stand 5 minutes.

While the couscous is cooking, cut up the vegetables. Cut the salmon into small pieces.

 When the couscous is ready, mix the ingredients.

 Combine the ingredients above to make the salad dressing and add it to the salad.

 It was very easy and tasted just right on a summer day.

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