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2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fajita or taco seasoning (alternately, use a combination of chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder)
Kosher salt
8 medium whole wheat flour tortillas
8 oz pepper jack cheese, grated (can use non-dairy cheese to make it vegan)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise (can use eggless to make it vegan)
1/4 cup cilantro salad dressing

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
2. Saute the onion and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes, and then add the corn, spinach, black beans, seasoning, and salt. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
4. Spoon about 1/2 cup in the center of a tortilla and spread out to about 1 inch from the edge. Sprinkle with 1 oz of the grated cheese and fold like a burrito.
5. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortillas into into the oil, seam side down, and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
6. Combine the mayonnaise and dressing and stir.
7. Cut each “egg roll” in half on a diagonal and serve with the creamy cilantro dipping sauce.

Notes: should test it out in the oven, perhaps brush each “egg roll” with oil once it’s stuffed.

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Since I’ve moved from Brooklyn (yes, it’s true), I am happy to have more space, a calmer atmosphere, and a FRONT PORCH! The summer is past us but today was beautiful, sunny, and 82 degrees. (Note: this was written a couple of weeks ago–oops!) Since I had the day off, I spent it jogging, grocery shopping, and guinea grilling on the front porch in my lawn chair with a nice cold Octoberfest beer (hey–it is October).

photo 1

Just a guide, no real recipe:

Dice grilled chicken breast and toss with thinly sliced romaine, diced tomatoes, corn, crushed whole-grain tortilla chips, black beans, sliced scallions, diced or sliced avocado, and light ranch dressing (alternately, it would be delicious with a lime vinaigrette).

If you’re planning on having leftovers, don’t mix the dressing or the tortillas in the salad. Instead, garnish each salad with both.

photo 2

If you’re Italian, you call it polenta. If you’re from the South, it’s known as grits. I call it delicious. This creamy side dish errs on the side of indulgence, but when plated with leaner fare, it creates a healthy dish that actually satisfies.

I used medium-ground cornmeal, which gave the dish a chewy texture. Prepare the polenta according to the package’s directions; I recommend using whole milk in place of water. Once cooked through, toss in corn (fresh, frozen or canned will all work) and season generously with S & P, butter and cheese (I used Pecorino Romano, but you could easily substitute with Parmigiano Reggiano, or even smoked Gouda or cheddar cheese).

I served the creamy polenta with salmon and sauteed spinach:

I didn’t feel the least bit self-conscious when I stripped down to my underwear at the end of the night. And neither did my S.S. And, I’m sure, neither would my cousin Vinny.