Sides


Busy as in Crazy Busy. Busy as in Holy Crap Is It August Yet? Those long, lazy days of summer are on hold for now.

I briefly visited the SLO farmer’s market on Saturday with my husband’s friend’s girlfriend, Princess Linzee, who prefers to go by Princess. It was a lovely morning, and at the time, I forgot to take the time to reflect upon the fact that this would be my last visit to this market in over a month. No, I was too busy running around tasting berries, popping juicy yellow plums in my mouth, and sticking Princess’s nose in the coconut orchid. “Smell it! Smell it! It’s amazing!” I like to think she shared my enthusiasm… either that or she thinks I’m nuts. But then again, she’s the one who introduces herself as a Princess.

So just a few items at the Market this week…

  • giant, beautiful, ripe, juicy blueberries
  • sweet boysenberries
  • yellow plums just small enough to pop in your mouth

Since July is so busy, and since the summer’s bounty is overflowing in my CSA box each week, the need for supplemental veggies is minimal. I’ve got enough squash in my fridge right now to…. to…. well, there’s just a lot of squash. So tonight, I’ll be shredding some up with an egg or two, a diced onion, fresh basil, and panko crumbs for some zucchini fritters.

Yesterday I made the Ultimate Tuna Salad sandwich. What made it so special? A can of Dave’s Smoked Albacore. Add to that about 3 Tbsp of Vegannaise, half a cucumber, diced, two scallions, diced, and two garden carrots, diced. Salt, Pepper, serve on freshly baked sliced whole wheat bread with baby greens. Mmmmmhmmm. Yum.

And last night I tried a new pasta salad recipe adapted from Cooking Light… The roasted peppers added a little smokiness, and the sweetness of the roasted corn was a nice contrast to the cumin-lime dressing. Overall, not my favorite pasta salad dish (I’ll post that one later), but still very good.

Penne with Roasted Poblano and Corn 

  • 2 Poblano peppers
  • 1 Red Bell pepper
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cups cooked Penne (about 8 oz dry)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups grape tomato, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 6 oz goat cheese (or queso fresco, if you prefer), crumbled

Preheat the broiler. Cut the peppers in half, discarding the seeds and the little veiny things (what are those called, anyways?). Place the peppers on a foil lined pan, pressing down on each to flatten. Place the ears of corn on the sheet, and put the pan in the oven. Broil for 18 minutes or until peppers are blackened and corn is browned, turning corn occasionally.

Seal peppers in a ziploc bag for 10 minutes, allowing them to steam a bit. Remove peppers from the bag, peel them, and chop coarsely. Once corn is cool enough to handle, cut the ears from the cob.

In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, salt, cumin, and pepper, whisk briskly with a fork. Add the peppers, corn, pasta, avocado, tomato, and cilantro, toss to coat. Crumble the cheese over the top.  Serves 4-6.

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I write notes in my cookbooks. I also doodle little flowers or stars as I wait for a pot of water to come to a boil or a pan of potatoes to roast. My cookbooks are a mess of ink and numbers, substitutions and suggestions, husband's reactions and ratings.

This recipe, adapted from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, has a chain of purple, glittery daisies meandering about below the recipe (don't know where the purple gel pen came from, or where it went for that matter), a squiggly border of vines and swirls edging its way around the description, a rating of 8.75, a scrawled tip: "try it with goat cheese next time," and The Husband's commentary: Da Bomb. That's right. I'm not proud to admit it, but at one point in time, "Da Bomb" was an integral part of The Husband's vocabulary. Don't tell him I told you that.

Last night I said goodbye to a good friend who's leaving to teach Math in Japan for two years. A Goodbye Potluck Barbecue. And what better way to keep the tears at bay than bring something yellow, cheery, and tasty. So I adapted the recipe to serve 10-12, to include some of my pantry's contents, and tried it with goat cheese this time.  

Fresh Corn Salad 

  • 12 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 1 cup shallots, diced small
  • 5 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp good olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup basil, chiffonade

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ears, and cook for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone.

Transfer cobs to a bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Once the corn is cool, cut the kernels off, staying close to the cob. Toss the corn with the shallots, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add the goat cheese and basil and toss once more just before serving.