Summer

Green Bean Corn and Tomato Salad

IMG_5615

Green Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad

1 cube Dorot frozen garlic (I get it at Trader Joes) or 1 clove garlic, pounded to paste
1/2 t salt
2 T white wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil

3 c corn (cut off 4-5 ears, blanched or 2 15oz cans, drained)
1.5 lb green beans, halved and then blanched
2 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 c fresh basil, coarsely chopped

In a small bowl (or jar. I use a jelly jar for vinaigrette because I can put the lid on and then shake it) put garlic, salt and vinegar. Let it sit for fifteen minutes. Then add olive oil and whisk together (or, you know, shake it.)

Put sliced red onion in a bowl of ice water and let it soak for at least five minutes. This removes much of the raw onion's sharpness and keeps it crisp.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If you are using fresh corn, add kernels to water and blanch for one minute. Scoop out and place in a large bowl. Add 2 T salt to the water and return to boil. Add green beans and blanch for three minutes. Remove from water and spread out the beans to cool.

Stir corn and green beans together. Then add red onion, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat everything thoroughly with dressing. Finish with black pepper.

Serves 8

Notes: Fine Cooking (again with the Fine Cooking - I'm a fan) ran a spread on summer salads a few years ago (issue 72, June/July 2005) that included something similar. I liked the vegetable combination but I thought the original recipe was too heavy on the vinegar basil and onion, which conspired to overwhelm the more delicate corn and green bean flavors. So I altered the ratios.

Green beans are perfect right now. I intended to make this with fresh corn but I must have arrived at the grocery between stock times and the corn had been picked over to the point that there was nothing worth buying. So... ho ho ho Green Giant. Properly done, however, this is made fresh out of the garden with just a hint of dressing. I serve it a lot when we have company in the summer (you can double, triple, quadruple it... no problem) and it is delicious. The only caveat is not to make it too far in advance because it gets limp after an hour. It most definitely does not keep overnight.


Chilled Corn Soup

IMG_5488

 Chilled Corn Soup

6 ears fresh corn, cooked, kernels removed and set aside

6 c water


2 T butter

2 c diced celery

1 medium onion, diced

2 c diced carrot

2 T minced garlic

1 t salt


1 lb red potatoes, diced

2 c corn stock

2 c chicken broth

stalk of fresh basil (stem with a bunch of leaves attached)


Snap corn cobs in half and place them in a stock pot. Cover with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about two hours. Let cool and then refrigerate (cobs and all) overnight.

The next day remove corn cobs from stock. Scrape cobs with a spoon to remove any remaining pulp (I held them directly over the reserved corn kernels) and then discard cobs. Strain stock into medium bowl. Melt butter in stock pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and salt and cook over medium heat until vegetables soften. Add garlic and cook another three minutes. Then add 2 cups of corn stock, 2 cups of chicken broth, potatoes, basil and 2/3 of the reserved corn. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft.  

Let cool. Remove basil. Then use an immersion blender (or a regular blender, working in batches) to carefully puree soup. Finally, push soup through a fine-mesh sieve held over a large bowl and refrigerate until cold.

To serve garnish with the reserved corn, fresh basil, black pepper and (if you have any on hand) coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes.

Notes: I took your advice and triaged the CSA box. Corn definitely had to be used first so we grilled all twelve ears. Ate half with dinner that night, used the rest in this soup. Technically there was enough corn stock to skip the addition of chicken broth but I am sort of a chicken broth junkie. Swanson's Natural Goodness reduced sodium being my aseptic package of choice. This was not quick - especially the final straining which I did with the back of a wooden spoon - but if you have some time and are feeling fussy it was really lovely. I saved the leftover solids and gave them to Caroline and Edward; nothing like a little potato carrot corn mush for lunch. They were skeptical but it tasted good so they overlooked the potential insult inherent in something that looked like baby food for babies. 


Minty Limey Goodness

IMG_4642

Minty Limey Goodness

12 oz can limeade
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
9 oz vodka
4 1/2 c ice cubes

Put into a blender and blend.

Notes: I cannot convey to you how good this is other than to say that everyone we have ever served it to has come back to us, usually weeks later, smacking their lips and asking how we made that lime-mint thing. Our blender cannot hold all of the ice cubes all at once so we add about half, blend, then add more ice, blend... you get the idea. The desired consistency is fairly thick.

We got this from Bon Appetit magazine years ago but their original recipe had silly quantities - what on earth were we supposed to do with the rest of an open, half-empty can of limeade? So we changed it. If you don't feel up to downing over a cup of vodka in one sitting this keeps for a few days in the freezer. Pour it into two (very important, otherwise it will leak) Ziploc bags .

My friend Noelle made it with gin. I think that might be pretty good too.

Serves nine (I suppose.)


Deconstructed Shish Kabob

IMG_4864

Deconstructed Shish Kabob

1/4 c olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried or 1 T fresh oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

6 cups bell peppers and zucchini; cut into 1.5 inch dice for peppers and 1/4 inch coins for zucchini
2-3 4oz beef tenderloin fillets

1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Chop vegetables (I used yellow red and green peppers this time because they were all cheap and it looked pretty) and put them into a large Tupperware (Rubbermaid, whatever) bowl with lid. Cut beef into segments - Steve likes rare and I prefer medium so I always do one filet into four equal pieces and the other into eight equal pieces. Same cooking time thus produces different degrees of doneness. Add beef to bowl. Add olive oil-garlic marinade, put the lid on and give the bowl a few good flips to evenly distribute everything.

Put in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes or all day or overnight.

We bought a cheap rectangular grill pan from Target that we use for this (also nice when grilling fish.)

Spray pan with cooking spray (or take a paper towel and rub it with a little vegetable oil.) Heat grill to medium-high and place pan on grate. Add beef and vegetables, spreading them out as much as possible. Cook for five minutes, turning once with tongs/spatula. Add tomatoes and cook one more minute. You want the tomatoes to be hot and starting to split, but not pulverized into mush.    

Notes: After five straight days of chicken I was ready for something different. Tenderloin is expensive but it is the only cut that I have found that can be cooked very quickly with no fuss and always be tender. I would love to hear other cut suggestions, though. In the meantime I just use a little beef and a lot of vegetables.

I served this with brown rice and it was enough for all of us with some leftover vegetables. Edward had those for lunch the next day.


Salad Caprese

IMG_4697

Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil... hard to go wrong.

Unless, of course, you go shopping with a crabby children who harass you with their sighs and force you to randomly grab at cheeses such that you return home and discover that you have purchased half a pound of smoked mozzarella. It actually wasn't terrible but it added a fake flavor to something that should have tasted like pure sunshine and summer. So pay attention! Read the package.

I read a tip in Cook's Country magazine that suggested you drain the tomatoes and then add the saved tomato water back into the salad after reducing it with some vinegar. I liked the idea but decided it could use some more oomph. I had a little can of tomato juice to spare so...

1 pt grape tomatoes, quartered (unless you do not have a chokables phobia; halved is probably fine)
1/2 t salt
   

Toss tomatoes with salt (unless I specify table salt I always mean Kosher, by the by) and let sit for thirty minutes. 

Drain tomatoes through fine-meshed sieve over medium bowl. Stir them gently to try to release as much liquid as possible. Pour tomato liquid into measuring cup and then put drained tomatoes into bowl. Add

tomato juice

to bring tomato liquid to half a cup. I experimented and using half a cup of straight tomato juice works really well too. Combine the tomato juice/tomato water in a saucepan with:

1 garlic clove, minced
1 T red wine vinegar (or balsamic)

and boil until reduced by a third. Take off heat and allow to cool. Then whisk in:

2 T olive oil

Set aside. To tomatoes in bowl add:

8 oz mozarella, diced
1/4 c fresh basil, slivered

Toss with the dressing and top with fresh ground black pepper. Taste for salt but I doubt you'll need it.

Note: This served me and Steve and Caroline. You might want to use two pints of tomatoes if you are feeding more/bigger people. The dressing should suffice without doubling, though, I think.


Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

IMG_3422

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

3 lbs Roma tomatoes
8-10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
olive oil for drizzling
salt
pepper

Heat oven to 300°. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange on heavy rimmed baking sheet. Scatter garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for two to two and half hours until tomatoes are browned around the edges but still chewy.

Patrick once watched me eat an entire sheet of these, one after the other.


Black Raspberry Cobbler

IMG_4209

Patrick likes to forage (he'd make a good bear, I think) and a recent expedition netted him about three pints of black raspberries.

"Let's make a pie!" he said.

"Let's make a cobbler!" I countered.

"What's a cobbler?" he asked. The actual answer is that a cobbler is what I am capable of making since I cannot make pie crust (I KNOW. feel free to teach me) but I am pretty good with forgiving doughs that are intended to be rustic and ugly.

I told him a cobbler is like a pie but you can use even more sugar. He became pro-cobbler, abandoning his pie platform in the face of my compelling rhetoric.

There are a lot of ways to cover a bunch of berries. You can use biscuit, oats, cake, bread, shortcake... personally, I like to make a sugar cookie dough and just drop it on top of the fruit. Even better is to give your child the ingredients and a chair to reach the counter and let them make it while you read a magazine. So that is what I did.

IMG_4215_2 IMG_4220_2

Black Raspberry Cobbler  

3 pints black raspberries (or red ones. blueberries. blackberries I suppose)
1 T cornstarch
2/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Gently combine and scrape into 9 inch deep pie plate. Heat oven to 400°. Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake about fifteen minutes until berries release juice.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking powder
pinch of table salt  

and set it aside. Then in a medium bowl beat

8 T butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar

until light and fluffy. Add

1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

After the fifteen minutes remove pie plate from oven. Stir fruit and then drop dough evenly over berries in heaping spoonfuls. Return to oven and bake (uncovered) until topping is browned and fruit is bubbly, about 35 minutes.

Notes:

Patrick's berry haul was shy of three full pints so I augmented the black raspberries with leftover blueberries I had in the refrigerator. It all baked down into a nice purple mess regardless.  

Did you make it? Change it? Have a better idea? Tell me what you think in the comments.