Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Sides

We had a busy weekend of cooking. So much so that when I went to bed last night (much earlier than normal) I was physically exhausted and sore. But, all was good in the kitchen.

My college roommate came to visit on Saturday, staying until Sunday morning, and we had a Sunday dinner planned with my mom. So, while I probably spent too much time in the kitchen and maybe should have rested instead, we ate some good food and I have a few recipes to share this week.

First off are some summer side dishes. One thing I love about living in Ohio is the change of season. Having a change in the weather means really appreciating what you have at the moment because it won't last long. We had a gorgeous weekend -- more like San Diego than Ohio in the summer -- highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s -- wonderful for both grilling and sleeping. We enjoyed our meals outdoors and standing at the grill was not a chore by any stretch.

On Sunday, I used the recipe for a roasted corn salad that I found at Taste of Home Cooking (which I don't believe is in any way affiliated with the magazine). The combination of the corn, avocado, tomato, onion, and lime was wonderful -- this will be a summertime favorite forever in my house. The corn and onion were crunchy, and the avocado was creamy, the lime and cilantro brightened all the flavors. I roasted the corn, as the recipe stated, but my mom and I decided that it wasn't so important that the corn was roasted as it was the corn be fresh. In other words, I think you could skip the roasting, but I wouldn't go so far as to use frozen or canned corn. It was fun to roast the corn, though, and the smell, though it didn't carry into the dish, was worth the effort. The aroma took me back to the Ohio State Fair where roasted corn is always a must-have.

I am publishing the recipe in its original form. The only thing I did differently was to offer the cilantro on the side since my mom does not like it. I also made it ahead of time and chilled it -- I think it might have been better a few hours after I made it, so I'll do that again. It wasn't really cold, but definitely not warm either. Here's a tip for cutting the corn off the cob: don't remove the long "stem" when you are husking. After the corn is cooked, stand the stem in the opening of a bundt or angel food cake plan and slice the corn downward so the pan can catch the kernels.

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

5 ears corn, shucked
2 avocados, cut into cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely diced red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, zested and squeezed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Grill the corn until starting to brown in spots.
Allow to cool slightly then remove the kernels from the cob with a knife.
Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion in a large bowl.
Add the dressing ingredients and gently toss to mix.
Add more lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Another side which has been a summertime favorite in my house for many years is Marinated Green Beans. I don't have a picture, but then, you know what green beans look like. These are just green beans with dressing on them. This is a simple side, but goes great with everything from hot dogs and burgers to grilled chicken or fish. You could even change the look and taste by substituting some of the green beans for kidney and wax beans and have a three beans salad.

Marinated Green Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed and steamed to al dente
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. sugar (or more to taste)
salt to taste
1/2 t. dried basil

Drain steamed beans and place in a bowl.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix vinegars, oil and seasoning.
Pour dressing over beans and stir.
Refrigerate until cold.
Taste and adjust salt and sugar if needed.


1 comment:

The Home Cook said...

I'm so glad you liked the corn salad. It's a summer staple in our house for sure. Next time try it warm...I think you'll like how the flavors work together. :)