Bittersweet / Agridulce

This week at work was filled with mixed emotions for me. We said goodbye to my best friend at work, Brian, who was promoted to a better, more important job.  Although I'm very happy for him and I wish him the best in his new job, I'm feeling very sorry for myself because I'm going to miss him a lot.

Let me introduce you to my friend: 

His name is Brian but it should be BRAIN. He is one of the smartest guys I've known. Brian loves computers and he is very good with most computer applications, his favorite is Microsoft Excel. I often walked into Brian's office and started talking to him about an idea I had to make the job easier but I needed a spreadsheet or a special tool made in Excel. He would ask me; "what do you need?" and while I was talking, he would have his fingers on the keyboard and before I knew it, in a matter of minutes he had my tool and had given me a crash course on how to use it. He is that good!

He was my fellow supervisor for several years and we enjoyed a friendly rivalry. He didn't like it when I didn't know how to do my job because he had to help me but he secretly enjoyed telling me what to do. I let him think I didn't know my job so he could feel good about himself.  Brian loves football games. I knew when he attended one because he always lost his voice from yelling too much. He pretended to be sick but I knew he was at the game the night before. 

I had a lot of fun all these years and I was very fortunate to have worked with Brian. During challenging times I could always count on him to listen and to give good advice. Everyone in the office is losing a good asset and I'm losing a fine friend. 

On the other hand, I'm extremely happy for Brian; he deserves a big promotion and a big celebration! We said goodbye to him with a potluck to celebrate his promotion and to let him know how much everyone appreciates him. Potlucks in my office are the best. We always have delicious food and lots of it! Here are some pictures of the food we had and the recipe of the dish I prepared for my friend.

Mediterranean Salad
Turkey Wraps
 Turron Filipino
Baba ghanoush
Oriental Salad
Fresh Strawberries
Multicolor Beans

Multicolor Bean Salad
8 sundried tomatoes (I used the ones packed in a bag, without oil)
1 can black beans (29 oz.)
1 can white cannellini beans (15 oz.)
1 each; red, yellow and green bell peppers
1 red onion
½  cup chopped parsley

Finely chop sundried tomatoes and place them in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and soak for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile drain and rinse beans in cold water. Drain well and place them in a salad bowl. Finely chop peppers and onions and add to the bowl. Drain chopped tomatoes and add to the salad bowl. Stir in the parsley and set aside.

For dressing:
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sumac (can be substitute with lime zest or any other dried herb)
½ teaspoon salt

Place all these ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well to blend. Add to bean mixture. Toss to coat all the vegetables. Serve at room temperature.