When my great-great-Chickasaw-Choctaw grandmother Margaret Delitha Ralph crossed the Red River by covered wagon into Texas she was only 14.
Born in Arkansas just five days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Margaret settled in central Texas near Brady Creek.
She married a cowboy, James Morgan, who spent most of his days on the Western and Chisholm cattle trails between Mexico and Kansas. Often he herded Brady area ranch livestock to markets up north.
The community of about 50 became a township, Brady City, with a new post office and general store when she first arrived.
By the time both of my maternal grandparents, aunt, uncle and mother were born in “The Heart of Texas,” in or near the city, it was shortened to “Brady.”
In honor of our cowboy ancestor and family who lived in the area, my youngest son was named Brady Morgan Dennis.
One of the favorite side dishes during family gatherings and holiday meals was black bean salad. Depending on who made it, the different variations were placed on the table with names such as “Texas Caviar,” “Southwestern Salad,” and even “Gringo Mexican Salad.”
In tribute to Brady Dennis and his family, we call this recipe “Brady Black Bean Salad.”
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lime zested and then juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped
Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight.
Right before serving, (to prevent from turning dark) add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.
DON’T FORGET TO DRAIN AND RINSE THE BEANS