Monthly Archives: July 2012

Grilled Corn, Poblano, and Black Bean Salad

I’ve been noticing how few vegetables have been making their way into my kitchen lately so when I went to the store early on Saturday morning, I spent a lot of time in the produce section, picking up zucchini, squash, peppers, oranges, corn, avocado, and tomato amongst others. I’m trying to make a deal with myself that I won’t eat anything unless it has a fruit or veggie in it or with it. Not a bad way to live, I assume. This means that if I splurge on an egg sandwich in the morning, I have to be prepared to bring in a baggie of spinach to put on it or at least pick up a piece of fruit to eat with it. It doesn’t help that I can’t stop watching the Olympics and seeing all of these physically fit athletes are really sending me into a self-loathing spiral. First up is Grilled Corn, Poblano, and Black Bean Salad which is perfect on a summer day.

Fresh Jersey corn, red pepper, poblano pepper, avocado and scallions are all grilled until brown and soft before being tossed with cilantro and black beans. A light coating of freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, salt and pepper, round out this light summer salad which truly tastes like summer in a bowl. Don’t have a grill or a grill pan? Just use your broiler instead (a great way to make this recipe year-round). The red peppers and corn are perfectly sweet while the grilled poblano (my latest obsession) gives a subtle kick of heat. The avocado, true to form, provides a slightly creamy element and the ground cumin adds a hint of smoky flavor. I can’t think of another word to describe this vibrant salad other than lovely. Eat this plain or with your favorite grilled burger for a true summertime moment.

The ingredients:

Place green onions, avocado, bell pepper, and poblano on a grill rack coated with cooking spray and preheated on high heat. Grill onions and avocado 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Grill bell pepper 6 minutes on each side or until blackened and peel (put peppers in a plastic storage bag for a few minutes to loosen skin, in necessary). Grill poblano 9 minutes on each side or until blackened and peel.

Brush corn with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and grill corn 12 minutes or until beginning to brown on all sides, turning occasionally.

Cut kernels from ears of corn and place in a large bowl.

Chop onion, bell pepper, and poblano and add to the bowl with corn.

Add remaining olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and black beans to bowl. Toss well.

Cut avocado into thin slices and place on top of salad.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette

Seriously, someone take my television away from me.  I can’t stop watching the Olympics.  Or checking scores online.  Or looking on my iPhone for Ryan Lochte’s latest tweets.  I woke up early on Sunday after staying up until midnight (watching the Olympics, of course) and turned on my television which was showing the Women’s Cycling Road Race.  I’ve never watched a bicycle race in my life because I never cared to, but there I was, sucked right in.  Seriously.  Someone stop me.  After ignoring my growling stomach and caffeine addiction, I finally decided to take a break during volleyball to make Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette, one of the best dishes I’ve ever made, hands down.

Zucchini, summer squash, garlic and olive oil are tossed together and placed over a mixture of ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, fresh thyme and lemon inside a buttery pie crust.  After baking and slightly cooled, fresh basil leaves tops the dish to add yet another fresh element.  I used a store-bought pie crust as opposed to making my own dough as shown in the recipe, simply because my food processor is broken and I’ll take a short-cut when I can anyway.  Not to mention that I would probably eat dirt and dandelions if it was served inside a pie crust.  Don’t judge.  The pie crust is flaky, the ricotta perfectly lemony, and the vegetables tender and sweet.  Using this ricotta mixture, I plan on making this again and again, using whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand.  Broccoli, spinach, red pepper, asparagus and/or tomato would also make an excellent galette.  The problem with this dish is that it’s hard to just eat one wedge because it really is so good.  It deserves a gold medal.  Sorry, I had to, you know I’m cheesy.  And yes, Ryan Lochte, I now consider myself a Lochtenator.

If you like this, also check out Rustic Summer Squash Tart.

The ingredients:

Combine olive oil, zucchini, squash, and garlic in a large bowl.

Stir together ricotta, parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper and egg in a medium bowl.

Place pie crust dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spread ricotta mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Arrange zucchini and squash slices alternately, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern over ricotta mixture. Sprinkle zucchini and squash with salt.

Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing gently to seal.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon water and egg white and brush mixture over dough edges.  Bake in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with basil.  Cool an additional 15 minutes.  Cut into 6 wedges.

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Flour
  • Baking Powder

Substitutions:

  • Refrigerated pie crust dough
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Summer Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette

Sometimes you just need a salad. After my birthday celebration this past weekend that lasted a day longer than we all anticipated, I need several salads. And several more after that. My problem is: I. just. don’t. like. salad. I do like salads at restaurants that have bad stuff, like crispy chicken, fatty dressing, tons of cheese and nary a vegetable anywhere. You know. The ones nutritionists and dietitians tell you in magazines that you should never order? Fortunately, the building where I work not only has a cafe with a large salad bar, but one floor up from that is another salad spot where you can have someone make one for you. Unfortunately, I hate those salads. I don’t know if it’s the dressing, the lack of options or what, but each time I get one of these salads, I’m miserable and disappointed. I have figured out though, I like salads I make myself, where I control the ingredients and only put in what I know I like. And I since I don’t really like bottled dressing, I like simple vinaigrettes where I can control the fat and the flavor. So after work last night, I stopped at the store and started filling my basket with both fruits and veggies that I knew would not only be tasty but would also take advantage of summer’s colorful (and local!) produce. Hence, the homemade Summer Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette.

A simple butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce combination is topped with Jersey plum tomatoes, baby carrots, avocado, red pepper, mango, and toasted almonds before being drizzled with a vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The almonds, carrots and red pepper give a yummy crunch while the avocado provides a creamy texture. And the mango…oh the mango. Some people don’t like fruit in their salads but I think nothing is better. The slightest bit of sweetness in the mango mixes so well with the other produce and gives this salad the perfect ending note. The vinaigrette is simple and light and especially good with a dash or two of garlic powder. Use any vinegar you like and as little or as much oil as you prefer. This salad didn’t leave me feeling unsatisfied or unhappy. It’s one salad I can definitely get behind!

Summer Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette (makes 2 servings)

  • 4 cups salad greens (your preferred choice)
  • 1 or 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted (or any preferred nut)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Combine extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if using) in a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk to combine. Divide lettuce between two plates, and top with even amounts of tomato, carrot, red pepper, avocado and mango. Top each plate with one tablespoon of toasted almonds. Drizzle each plate with dressing, using as little or as much as you like. Finish with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Combine extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if using) in a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk to combine.

Divide lettuce between two plates, and top with even amounts of tomato, carrot, red pepper, avocado and mango.

Top each plate with one tablespoon of toasted almonds and drizzle each plate with dressing, using as little or as much as you like.

Finish with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

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