Monday, August 19, 2013

Simple Summer Corn Salad and Banana "Soft Serve"

I threw this summer corn salad together with leftover grilled corn and Greg loved it so much I had to make a big batch for our anniversary dinner with his parents, Sara and her Duke roomie, Annie.  My father in law loved it so much that he told me not to post it, but to enter it in contests first.  Well, that's a pretty good endorsement.  I have been crafting all kinds of summer salads with all the good farm stand and farmer's market produce we haul home and the herbs we grow at the top of our driveway.  My best vegetable plot would be my front yard, so I buy all my vegetables to maintain the order in our neighborhood.  Sara and I have our favorite vendors at the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market and I usually make at least one trip a week to Johnny's Market on College either on my way home from yoga in B Ripp, or it's worth the trip on a day off to stock up mid week between farmer's markets.  Good sweet corn is easy to find in Indiana.  It's kind of our thing.  Acres and acres of corn and soybeans.  Our tomatoes are pretty delicious too.  We're loving the heirloom variety cherry tomatoes that are fairly brown in color, look for some and give them a try.  I'd love to tell you the variety, but I have no idea.  I just grab my bags, fast cash 20's from the ATM and buy whatever looks good until the money runs out.      There's a plan for you.

If you are a Barefoot Contessa fan you know how she says "good" olive oil.  There is a reason.  When you are using simple ingredients, the right olive oil pulls it all together.  My favorite for this recipe is one I bought for $21 (Olio Santo from California) in Durham at Parker & Otis mainly because they had a little sign that said it was Ina's recommendation.  Good enough for me.  Really, $21 olive oil just has to be good.  I save my bottle for dressing and dipping things when I really want a smooth and rich olive oil taste, but I have found it on Amazon for $14 a bottle which will loosen up the reigns on it's usage.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Sara's not on campus until January this year and I can only ration for so long.

Simple Summer Corn Salad

corn kernels from 4 ears of grilled corn
one avocado, pitted and cubed
one pint basket cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
one small red onion, thinly sliced or minced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
"good" olive oil
white wine vinegar (any variety you like)
salt
freshly ground pepper

I always grill my corn.  Shuck it, line up the ears on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil (the regular cooking one you use) and grind over salt and pepper.  Roll the ears around on a baking sheet and rub to coat.  Grill about 10-12 minutes, turning once or twice until nicely marked.  Cool to handle.  Stand ears on pointy end and run a sharp knife along the cob to release the kernels.  This is messy.  Stray kernels can be snacked on.

In your serving bowl, toss the kernels with the avocado, tomatoes, onion and feta cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil (a good pour, maybe 3 T to 1/4 C) and some white wine vinegar (just one T or so).  Grind over some salt and pepper to taste.  If your vinegar is too forward, add more oil to mellow it out.  If it's all a little flat, add more salt to bring out the flavors.  I toss mine with salad hands and the avocado and feta get all smooshy, but you can toss more gently so it's prettier.  Serves 4-6.  Serve slightly warm or room temperature.


Banana "Soft Serve"
Bonus dessert recipe:  It's fruit fly season and if they are driving you crazy put all your ripe fruit in your refrigerator for starters.  I ended up with so many overripe bananas and after making my banana oatmeal snack cake with some mini chocolate chips mixed in, I peeled the rest of the bananas and froze them.  If you've never whipped them into "ice cream", you need to give it a try.  Mine always need about 30 seconds in the microwave or a little thawing on the counter so they are still frozen, but not rock hard.  Toss them into your food processor and process until the consistency of soft serve/fro yo.  Sara and I love to toss in a few mini chocolate chips and possibly a bit of peanut or almond butter and or some pretzel sticks.  So good.

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