This time of year is always busy. So many weddings, BBQs, birthday parties, and of course, work (work, work, work, work). Come the weekend, all I want to do is sleep in, wake up to birds chirping and a strong cup of coffee, and shop locally at our farmer’s market. In Wisconsin, we currently have a plethora of carrots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, and of course, green beans.
Green beans and wax beans as far as the eye can see. $3 for how many beans? Um, done. Goodness, I love summer.
Combine minced shallot, oil, vinegar and salt in a mason jar and set aside.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans. Boil until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the beans from the saucepan and submerge in an ice bath. Shake dry and place on a platter.
Spread the corn on top of the beans. Shake the dressing to blend and drizzle it over the vegetables. Top with fresh basil and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Recipe adapted from http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/
During hot summer months, I try not to spend too much time cooking over a frying pan or near a hot oven. My body craves meals that can be served at room temperature or cold. So even though there is some “hot” work involved with pasta salad, this is perfect to whip up and enjoy later in the day after it has had time to chill.
It’s also time for the corn and zucchini harvest, so this pasta salad is light, fresh, and in-season. All good things in my book!
This recipe is very easy to throw together. It’s great as a meatless meal, a side dish, or served with rotisserie chicken for a more robust entree. This keeps well at room temperature so you can bring this to BBQs as well, especially if you use vegan mayonnaise, like we did.
Note, we are not vegans we but prefer the taste of vegenaise.
In a large bowl, toss the corn and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute for four to five minutes, until the zucchini browns slightly. Add shallot and cook for another minute. Pour vegetable mixture back into your large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and pour into same large bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the mayonnaise with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice, chile powder; season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta, corn, zucchini, tomatoes and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Using a vegetable peeler or carefully with a knife, shave the frozen goat cheese all over the top and enjoy at room temperature or chilled.
Do you ever find yourself with a huge pile of leftover tortillas? Maybe it’s just me, but I have a tendency to purchase way too many tortillas at the grocery story. I don’t know why I do this – heck, maybe my subconscious is preparing for a Mexican apocalypse. At least tortillas are delicious, versatile rounds of flour and lard. You can use them to make cheesy quesadillas, wrap them around burrito fillings, or fry them up and make a nacho plate or crispy tortilla strips. You can even replace the bread chunks in your breakfast casserole with tortillas.
Like many breakfast casseroles, I prepared this casserole the night before to allow time for the tortillas to soak up the egg mixture. The mixture will seem very runny at first, but fear-not my friends, the casserole bakes to light, eggy perfection. If you don’t want to wait to eat this, I would allow everything to soak for at least a couple of hours before baking.
I used flour tortillas because I prefer them. I have not tried this recipe with corn tortillas. Let me know if you do!
With the cold weather lately, casseroles just seem like the perfect meal to warm you up. ‘Tis the season for casseroles and soups!
1 cup (4-ounces) shredded Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
Combine the salsa, black beans and corn in a bowl. Line 1/3 of the tortillas along the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 1/3 cup shredded cheese and 1 cup of the salsa mixture. Repeat these layers (tortillas, cheese, salsa) and top with remaining tortilla strips.
Combine sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and eggs; stir with a whisk. Pour over tortilla strips; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight (is best).
Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove dish from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
Wow, it is snowing here AGAIN in Colorado today! It’s supposed to keep snowing for the next three days. Usually I would be ready for Spring to arrive weeks ago, but because Colorado has been so prone to wildfires the last two summers, I am thrilled that we are getting some late minute precipitation before thunderstorm season. This probably isn’t enough snow to really help that cause, but I can hope!
Because it has been so snowy lately, I made this vegetable soup to warm us up. This soup is packed with vegetables and reminds me that Spring is right around the corner. I can’t wait to pick out fresh produce from our local Farmer’s Market. It’s one of my favorite things to do on Saturdays when it’s sunny and warm outside.
Anywho, I added some cheese tortellini to our soup pot because we love tortellini in soup (plus it makes this soup that much more filling). If you are trying to keep this Vegan, simply use Vegan tortellini or noodles to add a bit more body to this soup or omit the noodles completely. Your choice!
In a dutch oven or soup pot, saute the carrots in the olive oil over medium heat. After a couple minutes or so, add the onions and celery. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the garlic, stirring for a minute until fragrant.
Add the broth, thyme, basil, poultry seasoning, chives, salt and pepper, and red pepper if using. Add the corn, peas or edamame and spinach. Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are softened.
In the mean time, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the water then cook your tortellini according to the package directions (boiling for 2-5 minutes).
Add the can of tomatoes to the soup and the cooked tortellini. Gently combine, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary and serve hot, preferably with freshly baked bread for dipping.
I had been craving a southwestern style egg roll for weeks when we finally took a trip to Perkins Restaurant. Back in the day when I worked there, their mini chimi’s were one of my favorite things to munch on as the wee hours of the morning ticked on. I had finally been away long enough that the food was appetizing again, which was made apparent by my insatiable craving.
To my disappointment, Perkins took the chimi’s off of their menu. That figures huh? At least it motivated me to finally try to make these on my own. These turned out super flavorful and were easy to make. The filling is bursting with protein filled beans and vegetables but you could add some lean shredded chicken to this mix too. The least healthiest part about these egg rolls is the deep fry. You can opt to spray these with some non-stick cooking spray and bake them at 425 degrees F for 14-15 minutes (flipping halfway) instead but I’m a crunch FIEND and generally prefer that deep fry crunch. Yum!
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, and cook until tender. Stir in spinach, corn, black beans, and lime juice. Season with salt and cumin. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese.
Place 1/4 cup of filling in the center of each egg roll wrapper. Fold in the sides, and roll egg rolls; dampen the edges with a small amount of water to seal.
In a large heavy skillet, heat enough vegetable oil to cover egg rolls over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully place egg rolls in hot oil, and cook until golden brown. Remove to paper towels.
For the Jalapeno Ranch Dip:
Place the first seven ingredients in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Chill until serving. Serve with chicken wings and, if desired, celery. Yield: 2-1/4 cups.
Wear disposable gloves when you're working with jalapeno peppers.
We’ve already had our first snow here in Colorado. The second I saw the white stuff on the grass I immediately knew it was soup season. All I wanted to do after that long day at the office was to cuddle up in my soft PJ’s and warm myself inside and out with some homemade soup.
I love the how beautiful colors of the red pepper, chives, carrots and celery shine in this soup. There is something absolutely comforting about these ingredients. Maybe it’s the vegetables, but I think the half-and-half and cheese are really what does it for me. Mmm… yep. The cheesier the better. That’s my humble opinion of course.
1 cup shredded cheese blend (I used colby/monterrey)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Fill a large pot quarter of the way full with water and bring it to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt and boil the potatoes for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the potatoes to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a small pan to medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and brown the ground turkey 80% cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the browned turkey, corn, broth, poultry seasoning, red pepper, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring the contents to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard thyme and add the chives and cooked potatoes.
Taste test and adjust seasonings as desired. Add the milk, half-and-half, and shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely incorporated into the soup. Pour some of the soup in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Add the mixture to the soup pot. Keep repeating this step until the soup reaches the thickness you like. Serve hot with freshly baked bread.
Summer is great because the corn harvest is sweet and cheap. I’ve cooked my corn many ways – in the husk, without it, on the grill, in my oven, in a pot… I love it all. One thing is certain though, you must, I repeat MUST soak your corn in water with a bit of sugar in it. This will help all the natural sugars come out in your corn when you cook it.
This particular time I had a craving for Parmesan Chili corn. This corn sounds more intense than it actually is. Not one flavor overpowers another. Everything simmers together as the corn plumps and cooks, it’s a magical thing. And yes, you read the ingredients list correctly, I used mayo. Not butter. I know, I know, crazy talk right?
The mayo acts as a binding agent for all the seasonings. As the corn cooks, the mayo practically evaporates and you’re left with delicious chili and Parmesan flavors that stick to each kernel. If you’d try the same thing with butter, everything on your sweet corn will drip right off into a charcoal abyss and that, my friends, is no bueno.
Try this out for yourself and tell me what your taste buds say.
Quinoa is magical, isn’t it? It fills your belly but it doesn’t fill your waste-line. Quinoa is one of those healthy grains that you can manipulate to make it your own too. I like to cook mine in broth and add fresh herbs and veggies. This salad is tasty at any temperature too – great for those outdoor parties where you don’t necessarily have access to a stove or oven.
My porch garden is doing surprisingly well this year, considering the hot summer we are having. These guys are in full bloom.
And I’m using them in full force. This summer salad is fresh and easy and great for those times when you come home from the farmer’s market and realize that you can’t recall anything that happened in the last two hours but somehow came home with bags and bags of produce.
Whoooooweeee, it’s a hot one out there folks! Denver has been hitting near record highs all week. If temperatures are in the 90’s in June, I can’t imagine what the rest of the summer will be like. So far, my herbs and tomatoes are surviving. Here’s hoping they hang in there.
This cold soup is perfect for those excruciatingly hot summer days. The idea for this recipe was adapted from a recipe in Spenser Magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine for a small fee or read it online for free. Check it out for some great recipe ideas (and gorgeous photography).
3 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into small pieces, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot to medium high heat. Add 1/4 corn kernels to the dry pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until kernels are slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside for garnish.
Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil and butter. Add onion and celery and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add remaining fresh corn. Using the back of a knife or a large tablespoon, make one last scrape of the corn cobs to get any remaining corn or milk from the cobs. Discard the cobs. Add 4 cups of vegetable broth and add the potatoes if you are using them. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat basil and cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, in order to infuse the cream with the basil flavor.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat and stir in the basil-cream, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Chill soup for at least an hour and serve cold, topping each bowl with more basil and charred corn kernels.
Do you ever dream about food? I do. Sometimes I dream about slow roasting meats sizzling over a fire or savoring a perfectly baked pastry. Other times I dream about chocolate pudding and slathering it all over my body.
Let’s not get into that right now.
More recently I dreamt about cornbread. Cornbread with a brown, crisp yet chewy crust that is fluffy and springy in the middle and has just the right amount of sweetness to it. This is that recipe.
This is a very light and moist cornbread unlike other cornbread recipes I have made that are dense and heavy. When I eat this, I feel like I still have room for a rack of BBQ baby-back ribs.
I usually double this recipe and bake it in a greased cast iron skillet. This way I get a nice brown crust on all sides. This also works in a 9-inch round glass pie pan or muffin tins too, but the time will vary depending on what sort of container you use.
If your results end up being more bitter than sweet, your cornmeal may be old. If you want awesome cornbread, you’ll need some fresh cornmeal.
Try adding jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese to spice things up.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (or 400 degrees F if you have an older oven without a ceramic top).
Whisk the eggs and sugar together. In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk and corn, whisking in between to mix everything evenly. Mix in the melted butter.
Pour into a greased skillet or pan. Bake until the sides come away from the skillet (about 20 - 25 minutes for me). In the mean time, mix your honey with the additional melted butter to use for a topping. Turn the oven to a high broil and brown the top for about 2 minutes (watch carefully). Remove the cornbread from the oven and brush the honey butter on the top of your crust. Allow to cool and enjoy.
I love adding 2-3 jalapenos and a 1/2 cup sharp cheddar to this recipe.
Fresh salsa always reminds me of summer. This is one of my favorites to use. The roasted corn and fresh ingredients in this salsa makes it unbeatable. This recipe takes a lot of time if you want to do it right (believe me, the addition of roasted corn is well worth the wait) but if you can’t find fresh corn or don’t have the time to roast it, frozen corn will work in a pinch.
This salsa is super versatile. You can use it as a dip an appetizer with tortilla chips, or as an accompaniment to a Southwestern dish, or a condiment for your fish tacos. Get creative!
On a side note, I’ve found that using any type of chopper or food processor can make for a soupy salsa. I prefer a chunky salsa and hand chop all of my vegetables.
2 tablespoons fresh basil or cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
1 or 2 fresh avocado, pitted and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Diced fresh mango or strawberries (optional)
Soak the corn with the husk in salt-free water for at least 2 hours.
Preheat your grill, about 45 minutes, and place the cobs of corn (still in the husk) on the grill about 8 inches from the heat. The ears will blacken and the silks will brown. You can also roast the corn in your oven at 350 degrees F. Let the corn cook for 1.5 - 2 hours, turning from time to time. After 1.5 hours, peel back the husk on one ear. If the silk pulls away from the kernels and the kernels feels soft to the touch, then the ears are ready to eat.
Husk the corn cobs and let cool. Roll in butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and chili powder (if you're feeling frisky). Using a large knife, slice down the cobs of corn to remove the kernels.
Place the corn kernels in a bowl with the tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, garlic, avocado and basil or cilantro. Add the olive oil and lime juice and toss well to mix.
This salsa is great for parties or pot lucks and keeps well overnight in the fridge. Add diced fruits to this salsa, especially in the middle of a hot summer. Mango and strawberry are my favorites.
There is this restaurant/brewery in Appleton, Wisconsin called Alder Brau. Their beers are great especially paired with their German food. One thing that I will always remember about the place is their Corn Chowder. It is absolutely THE BEST corn chowder I have ever had. These guys inspired this recipe.
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until transparent, then combine broth, corn, rosemary basil, oregano, potatoes and optional vegetables and meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are just tender.
Stir in the half & half, cheddar and cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Serve hot with your choice of garnish.
This recipe can easily be turned into a vegetarian soup by substituting vegetable broth for chicken, and veggies for shredded chicken, etc.