My produce drawers runneth over these days. Bowls of juicy blackberries, fat blueberries stirred into oatmeal, roasted zucchini and rutabaga wrapped in tortillas for tacos, and a simple mango avocado salsa spooned over grilled chipotle chicken.
Summer is here.
And summer has brought with it a quiet contentedness that has settled in around me like a gentle breeze. I feel lighter these days and less burdened. The grief, wound tight for so many months, has started to unravel like a ball of yarn. The sharp-edged memories have softened. Acknowledging the pain, instead of shoving it in a dark corner, has helped. Accepting what is has helped. Recognizing the here and now has helped. It’s taken me a while to get to this place.
Last week, Feynman and I ventured out for an evening walk. It’s a habit and with warmer weather these days we take our time. We meandered around the neighborhood while the fireflies hovered in and around the grass and trees. As I watched them flicker I thought about that day last July when he left. It’s been almost a year now and I realized the deep loss of last year has transformed into something new. There’s a path ahead and for the first time I could see it clearly.
As we walked home that night amid the twinkling fireflies I couldn’t help but see more than just their gentle illumination. Each flicker was a reminder. Shine on, they seemed to say. Glow and light your way.
A new season has arrived.
Mango Avocado Salsa
A day or so after the walk with Feynman and the fireflies I bought some mangoes. Their tropical scent wafted from the paper bag and a gentle squeeze indicated their ripeness. I was tempted to dice them up as a snack right then, but I resisted the urge and, instead, mixed them up with some diced jalapeno, red onion, and creamy soft avocado. I added fresh lime and cilantro and, with a significant amount of will power, placed it all in the fridge to chill. I had a hunch my patience would be rewarded after all the flavors mingled together for a few hours.
Later, I sat down to a plate of grilled chicken flavored with a simple chipotle pepper marinade (Remember the huevos rancheros? I used the leftover chipotle peppers from that recipe). I spooned the salsa over the top so each bite had a little bit of sweet, spicy, smoky, and sour.
It was like summer on a plate. Light, fresh, and bright.
A fresh and light dinner idea perfect for a warm summer night. Prep the chicken and salsa ahead of time (up to eight hours for both) and when it’s time to grill it all comes together in less than 15 minutes.
For the Chipotle Chicken
- 1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 boneless skinless breasts (see note)
For the Mango Avocado Salsa
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 small avocado, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Marinate the Chicken: Place all the marinade ingredients for the chipotle chicken in a large resealable bag. Place the chicken in the bag, seal it, and sort of mush it around with your hands to coat the chicken in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
- Make the Salsa: Mix all of the ingredients for the salsa together in a medium bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Grill the Chicken: Heat the grill to medium high heat. Grill the chicken for five minutes or so on each side, flipping once. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest a few minutes before serving. To serve, spoon some salsa over the top of the chicken.
Look for chicken breasts that are approximately the same size. If needed, beat them with a meat mallet until the are of equal thickness. Do this before you add them to the marinade.
- Calories: 454
- Sugar: 14.1g
- Sodium: 806.4mg
- Fat: 17.5g
- Carbohydrates: 21.6g
- Fiber: 6.5g
- Protein: 53.7g