Easy Summer Salads: Adventure #1

Recipes that require a 1/4 tsp of the hottest, hippest spices around are not the sort of kitchen orchestra I'm trying to achieve in this homemaking venture of mine. My mom has an impressive mental recipe book. On any given day, she can whip something up that is affordable, quick and enjoyed by the masses. Therein lies the talent I am attempting to harvest. Over the years I have come to understand that any new skill requires I start small, learn the basics first, then dive in.  

Luckily for me I have experience working with many chefs. Early in my career I worked for a restaurant group in Los Angeles named Tender Greens. They had four restaurants with more to come and I somehow convinced them to hire me. During that time we opened three locations. Despite being a very novice member of the California workforce, I often found myself sitting in board meetings, attending internal chef "Taste Offs" and being the guinea pig for many nightly specials. At one point, I even entered all their recipes into a massive database. You would think this gives me some sort of culinary prowess.... a little bit? Maybe? I do have a pretty good sense of what to pair with what and can whip up a mean salad? However, it really only re-affirmed my love for food and that I might be a picky eater that borders snobbish.  Especially in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where some very down to earth people serve french fries on their salads and remind me not to be such a judger. I should also note, that we only have access to quality fresh fruits and vegetables 1/3 of the year here (damn you winter!). In turn, it is necessary to take full produce advantage during the Summer. I hope to get some jarring and jamming in come August.

When winter finally skirts away for the very few precious months of warmth, we grow a garden in the backyard of the house. OK, if I'm being honest my partner and love, Tony, grows a garden in the back of his house.  I usually drink basil mojitos and cheer him on in the background. At the end of the day, we both value incorporating as much of the garden into our everyday meals as possible. 

Enter our first adventure, a not so wildly complicated, Corn Salad.

Beginnings of a Corn Salad

The corn salad was briefly inspired by the one and only Barefoot Contessa.  Her 3 minute corn boiling technique, followed by an ice water bath, works like a charm. Quick and Easy! 

Corn bath

This round I added: 

  • Corn
  • Basil 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Green Peppers (for crunch) 
  • Salt and Pepper

The round before had:

  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro 
  • Green Peppers 
  • Tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper 
Corn, basil and tomato

Easy, home-y and just what I was looking for! This simple player also took the stage for quite a few lunch appearances.