Corn Pancakes with Corn and Tomato Salad

_MG_6506Summer is the best time to do the as little as possible to produce. My favorite way to eat peaches is just washed, juice dripping down your chin as you bite into them. Sliced tomatoes need nothing more than a hint of sea salt to be perfect. Roasted corn needs no butter or salt at this time of year. But if you do feel like cooking (and thanks to unseasonably lovely weather in New York, it hasn't been too hot to cook the past few weeks), I suggest you give these pancakes a try. Light but substantial, they stay fresh thanks to a quick corn and tomato salad piled on top, and are just begging for a poached or fried egg to be added on top._MG_6501 This is my favorite time of year for cooking, and here are a few other great recipes that use summer produce, should you be so inclined: tomato-basil bruschetta, zucchini carpaccio, and peach cornmeal shortcakes. _MG_6500

Corn Pancakes with Tomato-Corn Salad (adapted from Food52)

2 cups corn kernels, divided in half (from about 3 ears)

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for cooking

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup basil chiffonade, plus more for garnish

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the topping:

1 pint cherry tomatoes,  halved

1 cup corn kernels

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Eggs, poached or fried or left off if you're lazy

  1. In a blender, purée half the corn kernels, butter, and buttermilk until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in remaining corn kernels, onion, and basil.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just combined.
  4. In a skillet, melt some butter over medium heat and about add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each pancake. (You can customize this based on how big you'd like your cakes to be, of course.) Cook about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. For the topping, combine tomato and corn with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over the corn cakes.
  6. Top each cake with an egg, salt, and pepper, and garnish with basil.

Corn, Chicken & Butternut Squash Soup

_MG_5428Soup isn't the most glamorous of meals – not nearly as exciting as, say, foie gras, or steak, or even pizza. And yet, there is something so inherently comforting about a bowl of warm soup, filled with hearty vegetables and diced chicken, with a little honey-drizzled cornbread on the side for good measure. Soup like this makes me long for a fireplace, for a cabin somewhere in the woods with snow falling outside the window and no honking horns of the city. I can't promise that this soup will take you there, but it will make you warm on a cold night no matter where you are, and give you your daily serving of vegetables to boot. And sometimes, that's good enough._MG_5431

 

_MG_5435

Corn, Chicken & Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from Epicurious)

Word of warning: this recipe makes A LOT of soup. So be sure to have plenty of tupperware for leftovers, or make it for a lot of people (i.e. more than two)

2 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
9 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (cut from one 1 3/4-pound squash)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 16-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
1 cup milk
4 cups diced skinned roast chicken (2-3 chicken breasts)
2 cups chopped green onions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1 cup bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth, then squash, potatoes, and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add corn, cream, and 1 cup bell peppers. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add chicken, 1 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup green onions and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

4th of July Recipes

Mention Independence Day, and I automatically think of barbecues, beach, and best of all, fireworks (not to mention the Will Smith movie). Growing up, we always spent the 4th of July at my grandparents' cabin in northern Minnesota, and the days were full of swimming in the lake, four-wheeling, card-playing, and, of course eating -- as I always think they should be. Living on the east coast makes it hard to get home for this celebratory holiday, but I'll be lying on the beach in Connecticut and hopefully eating some great seafood, which should be almost as good. I rounded up a few recipes that would make great options for a 4th of July barbecue:

_MG_3663Ricotta & Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini

_MG_4165Guacamole _MG_3090Corn & Tomato Salad

_MG_2829Greek Salad

_MG_4748Blue Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad

_MG_4715Pulled Pork Sandwiches

_MG_2988Rhubarb Pie

_MG_1739Peach Cornmeal Shortcakes

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Do you have any long-standing traditions? I'd love to hear!

Farmer's Market Quinoa Sauté

I actually can't take any credit for this recipe, and have to give it all to the lovely Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats -- a really great and healthy blog that my dear friend Greta introduced me to. It's always nice to find some new and interesting ways to use quinoa, and the lemon-honey dressing on this recipe is wonderful. The only changes I made to Kristin's recipe were using carrots in place of zucchini and goat cheese instead of feta (my personal preference). It made an excellent dinner (and lunch the next day), and is incredibly healthy to boot. You can find the recipe here

Savory Corn Waffles

As you can probably tell, I'm a little corn obsessed during the summer. Unfortunately for me, the Midwest is still by far the best place for fresh corn, but the East Coast has put up a pretty good effort over the last couple of months. I'm not even going to bother putting up a recipe for these waffles , since they are extremely similar to these -- with the addition of two cups of fresh corn, and the fact that by now I have a little more experience with my camera than previously. I served these for a leisurely breakfast with slices of avocado and fried eggs (mimosas optional), but I think they would also be good with a little ricotta spread over the top.

I love how the fresh corn pops in your mouth and adds such great texture to the waffles. Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with a Fried Egg

At some point, these 98 degree days have to end. Of course, I will be missing them in winter, but for the moment I am running out of sundresses to wear. Dinner has become whatever I can throw together in a few minutes, preferably with little to no cooking time. This salad comes together quickly, and can easily become a main course with the addition of sliced ham, avocado, and a fried egg -- which makes everything better, clearly. I love the contrast of the crisp, peppery arugula with creamy avocado and the tart vinaigrette. You can also poach the eggs for a slightly healthier version of this salad. Arugula Salad with a Fried Egg

6 oz arugula

2 ears corn

2 oz prosciutto or Ibérico ham, thinly sliced (optional)

1 avocado, diced

Handful walnuts, lightly toasted

2 shallots, diced

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pinch sugar

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 eggs

1 tablespoon butter

 

On a grill, roast corn until kernels turn bright yellow and are slightly charred, about 7 minutes per side. Alternatively, roast corn in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool then cut off kernels with a serrated knife into a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Add arugula, toasted walnuts, avocado, and ham and mix well. In a small glass or jar, whisk shallots, mustard, vinegar, and sugar until blended. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream while whisking, and mix until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, then add to salad and toss well.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Crack egg directly into pan and season with salt and pepper (one at a time is easiest). Cook until white is about half-way set, approximately 1 minute. Flip egg over with a spatula and cook until white is set but yolk is still runny, about 30 second (longer if you like your eggs cooked more). Repeat with remaining egg. Add salad to two bowls, then top each with an egg.

Corn and Tomato Salad

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After a lovely and relaxing few days spent on the North Fork of Long Island, I was lucky enough to return to temperatures topping 100 degrees back in Brooklyn. So much for escaping the heat -- and as someone without air conditioning, I'm sitting right in front of my fan while writing this, and will likely take my second shower of the day when I finish this post. Ah well. This salad just happens to be perfect for days like today, with minimal cooking times and quick assembly.

 

Corn and Tomato Salad

7 ears sweet corn

2 large tomatoes, diced, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 red onion, finely chopped, or 5 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

1/4 cup basil, julienned

1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)

Juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

On a grill, roast sweet corn until slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. (Alternatively, you can roast the corn in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or boil on the stove for 10 minutes). Cut corn kernels off into a large bowl. Mix with tomatoes, onions, chives, and basil. In a small bowl or glass, mix lime juice, olive oil, and vinegar, and pour over salad, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

 

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa

In an effort to be slightly healthier, Ari and I have started making more fish. Of course, it's still battered and pan-fried, but still better than a steak, right? Or bacon? Anyways, we made these fish tacos the other night and they not only came together in half an hour, but they were also quite good. And you get your daily serving of vegetables! Everyone wins. Well, except the fish, perhaps. Fish Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa (serves 2)

2 filets mild white fish, such as tilapia

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 egg

Salt and pepper

For the salsa:

2 avocados, large diced

1/2 cup corn

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 serrano pepper, small diced

1/2 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Corn tortillas

Lettuce, chopped (optional)

Combine first 5 salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over, then add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Place egg and cornmeal in 2 separate, shallow bowls. Season cornmeal with salt and pepper. Whisk egg slightly. Dip fish in egg, then cornmeal, coating completely. Sauté in a large frying pan until done, about two minutes per side.

After you have heated up the tortillas, place salsa, then fish (cut up) in the tortilla. Top with additional cilantro and lettuce, if desired.

That's it! Easy, right?