Killer Orca Bean Salad with Mangoes, Oranges & Avocados


A few weeks ago Wouter was working in Los Angeles and I had the week at home to myself. Busy with photo shoots and faced with all the craft services tables and lunches every day on set, I decided to make sure I ate cleaner and healthier when at home,

My friend Terry is always referring to her “bean diet”…I am not sure what that is exactly..but she swears by it.  With this bag of “Orca Beans”, also known as Calypso or Yin Yang Beans,  and the recipe on the back of the package as my guide, I made a killer salad and went on my own version of the “bean diet”.


As you probably know from lots of past blog posts I am a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill products and these Orca Heritage Beans are no exception. I had not seen this particular type of bean before, but the black and white random patterning…much like an Orca Whale….


…appealed to me very much. These particular beans came from Washington state, but they can be found in Mexico as well.


Wonderous dried beans deliver lots of flavor, protein and are easy to cook. Blended with mangoes, oranges and avocados, lime juice and jalapeno peppers they become even tastier.


Rinsed and cooked in water with salt and pepper….drained and cooled down…..


…tossed with fresh ingredients….


…this salad gets better each day.


A killer Orca Bean salad….Bon Appetit!

Killer Orca Bean Salad with Mangoes, Oranges & Avocados

  • Servings: 8-10
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  • 1 cup Orca Beans, rinsed & drained
  • 4-6 cups water
  • salt & black pepper for cooking beans
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mango (peeled)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh orange (peeled, de-seeded) with juices
  • 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 to 2 fresh avocados chopped (peeled & seeded)


  1. Place beans in a pot with the water and season with salt & black pepper. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer and cook just until beans are softened (but not mushy).  Drain cooked beans in a colander and rinse with cool water. Let drain for a few minutes.
  2. Put cooked, cooled & drained beans in a large bowl along with the chopped mango, orange and jalapeno pepper.
  3. Add lime juice, salt & black pepper to taste and cumin powder and toss gently. Add chopped avocado if serving immediately, otherwise cover and chill salad and add avocado right before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. This salad keeps chilled for 3 to 4 days. It just gets better and better!

Adios sweet, cool April and Hello warm May.


“Blackberry-Mango Spring Libations”

It’s a Soup! No, No….wait…..

It’s a Cocktail!

It is not often that I concoct a recipe that is a “soup” for one event and a “cocktail” for another. In fact this is the first time ever and  I must confess it gave me a little culinary thrill. It was a coup without intention..a “culinary coup” if you will.

We received an invitation to a neighborhood “Soup Supper” party a few weeks ago. It is usually cold or cool when this yearly event happens. Not this year. The day of the supper party (a pot luck soup supper) it was around 80 degrees here in Nashville. Not exactly hot soup weather. I was hot, I was thirsty, perhaps I would make a cold, thick,  drinkable soup with a splash of rum…I rummaged around in the freezer and found a lovely packet of frozen blackberries from last summer that I had put away and some frozen mango chunks from a few weeks ago. A good base for a cold soup.

Ingredients needed for 2 quarts of  Blackberry-Mango Soup & Cocktail Base:

1 quart of whole frozen Blackberries

1 pint of fresh or frozen Mango chunks

2 cups of Corsair Spiced Rum, Nashville, TN  (or any good Spiced Rum)

2 cups Hibiscus-Orange Flower Ginger Syrup from “The Bang Candy Company”, Nashville, TN (or any other dark fruity syrup)

1 cup simple syrup – homemade or bottled (found at most liquor stores)

Juice of one whole lime & one whole orange

To  Make the Base:

1. Process Blackberries in a food processor until pureed. Strain out seeds over a large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press and separate pulp from seeds. Discard seeds.

2. Puree Mango chunks until smooth. Do not strain & add to  blackberries in bowl. Stir together until well mixed.

3. To the bowl of Blackberry-Mango puree, add Corsair Spiced Rum, Fruity Syrup, Simple Syrup, lime & orange juices. Mix together. Taste & adjust if necessary.

4. Pour half of the mixture into a glass quart jar, leaving a bit of headroom and freeze until ready to use.

5. Decant the other half into a bottle. This half will be thick but drinkable…a perfect appetizer soup on a hot day.  Serve cold soup with small glasses and berries to garnish.

“Historic Germantown Soup Supper”

As you who follow my blog probably have already figured out, every 3rd Thursday of each month for the past 3 years two friends of mine have hosted “Third Thursday Pot Luck” dinner parties here in Nashville. Nancy Vienneau & Gigi Gaskins have generously opened their homes for this gathering of friends to share & enjoy good food, conversation, drink and lots of laughs. The food is alway plentiful, beautiful, seasonal so I usually make a cocktail for before dinner…time to put the frozen quart of Blackberry-Mango Soup to work!

To create a cocktail from one quart of thawed blackberry-mango mixture:

1. To thawed puree add 1 additional cup of Corsair Spiced Rum & 1/2 cup simple syrup. Stir to combine. Taste & adjust flavors to suit…more rum, more syrups, more lime juice? Decant into a decorative bottle or pitcher. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

1. Serve poured over ice filling glass half full. Top with Ginger Ale and a freshly squeezed orange or mandarin slice.

“April 2012 Third Thursday”

Lil and with my 1st born, Whitney
Sweet Catherine & Wouter
Leah, Wouter & lots of other guests enjoying the beautiful evening.
Blackberry-Mango Cocktail seems to be a hit!
Bill always makes the ladies laugh!
Nancy busily makes sure there is room for every dish.
There are always fresh flowers.
Dusk arrives as we gather around to fill our plates.

It was a “soup”, it was a “cocktail”…..both lovely libations for whatever ails you!

A Month of Mango Madness

I have recently had mangoes on my mind.  Right now they are very plentiful, the prices are at a seasonal low, there are at least two varieties in most local markets from Mexico and  it seems that all the photo shoots I have worked on this month have had mangoes as part of the process. Mangoes in salsa, mangoes in cocktails, mango puree, mangoes as props.

I even took a photo of mangoes while in Mexico earlier this month!

Not one to waste this lovely fruit, I have been bringing home many of the leftover mangoes from photo shoots and working them into all my meals. Last night I added cut up mangoes pieces to a quinoa salad. This morning I simply peeled and ate the perfectly ripe fruit with some greek yogurt. Today with a few of these delicious mangoes remaining on my kitchen counter I felt some urgency to use them before they went from the “just right” to the “not so right” stage of ripeness. I was hot, sticky and tired from doing some yard work and wanted a cool-down drink for lunch. With some cold buttermilk in my refrigerator I concocted a lassi using mangoes & raw sugar.

Mango lassi

Mango lassi is most commonly found in India and Pakistan though it is gaining popularity worldwide. It is made from yogurt, milk or water and mango pulp. It may be made with or without additional sugar. It is widely available in UK, Malaysia and Singapore, due to the sizable Pakistani/Indian minority, and in many other parts of the world. In various parts of Canada, mango lassi is a cold drink consisting of sweetened kesar mango pulp mixed with yogurt, cream, or ice cream. It is served in a tall glass with a straw, often with ground pistachio nuts sprinkled on top.

“My Very Simple Mango-Buttermilk Lassi”


2 cups peeled & cut up Mango; 1/4 cup raw sugar; 4 cups good buttermilk(I used fresh buttermilk from JD’s Dairy in Russelville, KY); ice cubes; mint leaves for garnish

To Make:

1. Peel and chop two or three ripe mangoes to make 2 cups.

2. Put chopped mango, buttermilk & raw sugar in a blender and puree until very smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness if desired.

3. Fill glasses with ice. Pour mango lassi over ice and add mint for garnish. This drink will cool you down, give you one of your daily fruit requirements as well as a dose of protein & calcium.

As I was drinking my lovely cool-down lassi I thought that it would probably have a very different yum factor with the addition of some dark rum. So be it! With just a few adjustments I created a new cocktail for warm Spring evenings, or late lunches!

“Mango-Rum Lassi Cocktail”

For this you make the mango lassi using the recipe above. You will also need: dark rum; additional raw sugar to rim the cocktail glass, mint and ice.

1.   Rinse martini or other cocktail glass in cool water. Shake off excess moisture and turn glass with wet rim upside down in a saucer of raw sugar to coat rim. Pour about 1/2 to 1 ounce dark rum into martini glass.Add a few ice cubes. Pour mango lassi into glass to about 1/2 inch from rim. Garnish with mint. (Adjust alcohol according to your taste.)

A perfect cocktail. The ingredients are simple & easy to find. It is lovely to look at & refreshing. The crunchy raw sugar on the rim melds with the mango and rum flavors in a most delicious way.