Friday, July 22, 2011

If you can't take the heat

Forget your preconceptions about Canada’s capital. We have hot, humid summers to balance off our perishing cold winters. Today it’s ninety seven degrees F. It may not be like the heat wave some of you are feeling, but hey, with the humidity factored in, it feels like 115. Regardless of the heat, up on Parliament Hill (our seat of government) every day in the summer, except in extreme storms, the Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Forces brings stirring military drill and music to what we call ‘the changing of the guards’. Thousands of tourists watch this every day in the summer. The young guards will have been wearing red serge and (wait for it!) bearskin hats. It's true. Some will pass out. I have watched as some poor darling folds like a sock. People will rush out with a pallet and the folded one will be carted away.

I love my city and the events that go on in the summer, but you know, as much fun as it is, I got overheated at the very idea. On days like today, I prefer a cooler kind of gig.

This is all to say that over in Maffiniville, the stove will not be turned on. Not for one minute. In fact, I keep finding reasons to check on things in the freezer. Is the spinach still solid? Ice cubes holding up? So I am glad that I have the makings of this bean salad, which we love. It’s healthy, easy, flexible and cool. It’s pretty enough to make an excellent ‘bring along’ dish to a party, picnic or any gathering. Naturally, I am assuming someone will have taken care of dessert!

I love the ease of various bean and legume salads in the summer. They’re easy to make, very good for you (don’t tell the kids) and don’t heat up the joint. I photographed the French side of the beans which gives it a continental feel! Haricots noirs maybe, they’re still just plain old black beans and white beans. If you want, you can buy dried beans, soak them and cook them. It’s your kitchen!

Black and white bean salad with confetti vegetables

1 can white beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1 half-cup celery, chopped

4 green onions, green and white parts, sliced

You can switch up these ingredients and add whatever other chopped veggies you have around. This is one flexible salad.

Combine all ingredients, gently, and then add vinaigrette


1/3 cup of mild olive oil

1/4 cup of cider vinegar or white wine vinegar or a mixture

1 – 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 – 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Add sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Go ahead and add some fresh herbs if you want.

Whisk ingredients together with a wire whip and blend into bean mixture. Garnish with chives or whatever else you have handy.

These are all good carbs and fresh veggies. There’s too much of this for one meal and it’s even better the next day. And my kitchen is as cool as it can be. Considering.

You know what else I think is cool? The fact that Charlotte Adams is still having fun in her fifth mystery adventure: The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder! Find out more about Charlotte, her friends and her miniature dachshunds over at There's stuff about me too.


  1. We saw 100 yesterday, so I'm making this dish today. The perfect summer dish, MJ! Wonderful for vegetarians, too!

    ~ Krista

  2. Considering indeed... And I spent yesterday over the grill because my wife didn't want the kitchen oven on... 102 in my section of god's country.

    Would have loved this for lunch. Great photo!

  3. Thanks, Krista! I had forgotten to mention the vegetarian connection there. Bean salad's pretty much a meal in itself.

    And Dave, what a small world. I was just in your wonderful blog checking out your technique for Tri-tip. You are my go-to guy from grilling, which we Canadians call barbecuing, because we don't know any better.

  4. Hot weather definitely brings out the salads, doesn't it? A vegetarian lovely bean salad. Terrific.


  5. Oh, yum! This is going on my weekend menu. Thanks for sharing. Looks lovely. Cheers~

  6. LOL on your post headline. I can take the heat, but I'm also staying OUT of my kitchen today because it is not air conditioned! I see the thermometer hoving at 100 degrees right now in NYC, and Con Edison has us on low power. Dang, it's hot. And humid. And you are shattering my illusions of Canada as a cool, cool place to get cool. And visit big-horned moose (not mooses, right?). Okay, the heat has gotten to me and I'm rambling...but I DO want to dive into your amazingly colorful bean salad. I grew up on bean salad and love it. A right fine idea for heat wave eats!

    Stay cool up there,
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Thanks, Avery and Elizabeth!

    Nancy, I hope it delivers on your weekend menu! Hot weather continues.

    Cleo, we are still cool in the winter (often minus 30!) Thinking about that helps a bit on these scorching days!

  8. Oh, yummy! I love salads, esp. in this weather. And it does sound healthier than out of a plastic container from the deli section of the grocery store. Can't wait to try it!