June has been one very difficult month for me and my family. We have suffered the surprising death of Ray, my beloved brother-in-law, and two weeks later the death of my beloved father-in-law, Meredith, who was a second father to me. And as if that wasn't enough, I almost lost my mother who suffered two heart attacks in one week and was hospitalized while we were on needles and pins.
There's a saying in Spanish that goes, "God squeezes but he doesn't suffocate." I believe it because my mother survived and is recovering at home and I can breathe easier, now. Another saying says, in translation, "Sorrow tastes better with bread." So for my brother- and father-in-law, we will remember them with love while sharing meals of the foods they loved to eat.
My brother-in-law loved Honey Nut Cheerios. He also loved refried beans and guacamole dip. In these last days and weeks I have cooked beans for the family and the other night Rich and I had Honey Nut Cheerios to remember Ray. We ate them from big bowls with milk, in the kitchen, standing up as he used to do. It was a homage to our dearest Ray in the last day that his body was in this world. He was cremated that morning.
My father-in-law was an expert at preparing pancakes. I have a small recipe book that he wrote including several recipes of pancakes. Surely, Rich and I will enjoy them - while remembering him - for many years at our Sunday breakfasts. In his last months my father-in-law enjoyed desserts very much; sweet dishes were sometimes all he would eat. A few weeks ago Rich and I prepared a cake of crepes with ricotta cheese and a blueberry sauce that he would have loved. We didn't have time to share it with my father-in-law but I am sure that whenever I eat a dessert I will remember him with love.
Thank God my mother and mother-in-law are still with us. But because of her heart condition my mom's diet has to be more strict and she cannot eat too many sweets or foods high in fats or salt. So, I have prepared a very healthy recipe for her that is perfect on these warm summer days. I'm sharing the recipe here.
Tomatillo Salad with Mango and Orange
3 Large tomatillos, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 Mango, peeled and chopped
3 Small oranges, peeled and segmented
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1-2 Tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
2 Tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl. Serve at room temperature.