Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

Real summer is still a ways off, but we’ve been eating like it’s already here. An over-sized watermelon eaten in wedges, grilling every evening for dinner, and lots of fresh greens and herbs. This roasted corn salad includes a lot of quintessential summer ingredients. I wanted to publish it early in the season so you could take advantage of the first corn at the market. Grilling the corn and red bell pepper give a great toasted/caramelized flavor, while using a mix of herbs—basil, cilantro and parsley—add freshness to every bite. I used queso fresco, but if you’re unable to find that at your local grocery store, try feta or goat cheese crumbles.

Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs
Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

Published June 4, 2019 by
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Serves: 4-5   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 heaping cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
    2. Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut bell pepper in half and remove stem and seeds.
    3. Place corn and pepper on grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until outside is brown in spots. Remove from heat.
    4. Allow pepper and corn to cool enough to handle (you can speed up the cooling process by placing them in a bowl with cool water).
    5. Dice roasted pepper, and place in serving bowl. Cut corn kernels from cobs, and place in bowl.
    6. Add queso fresco, herbs, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar to bowl, and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Serve.

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    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Ina Garten’s recipe for parmesan polenta got me over my aversion for all things polenta. I had never been a fan of the gooey textured stuff before, but I had been missing something key: enough butter, cream, and parmesan. That, and the right toppings. This meal brings it all together—a creamy polenta base, which serves a two-part role as sauce and substance; and roasted summer veggies, which benefit from (and compliment) the creaminess of the rest of the dish; pine nuts, which add much-needed crunch. I’ve made it four times in the last month, a testament to how well I’ve been convert from polenta-hater to lover. Maybe it will convert someone you know, too.

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta
    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Published May 30, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For Roasted Summer Veggies:
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1-2 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  • For Parmesan Polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground or stone ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • For Serving:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Garnish: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, additional sprigs of thyme

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare veggies: dice eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice zucchini into half moons. Slice bell peppers into strips. Slice red onion into wedges.
    2. Place chopped veggies and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer. Use two sheet pans if veggies are over-crowding the pan. Drizzle liberally with oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
    3. Place veggies in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
    4. When the veggies have 15 minutes left to cook, begin preparing the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add salt and garlic.
    5. When water is boiling, add cornmeal, whisking immediately to prevent clumps from forming. After a few minutes, polenta should begin to thicken. Continue whisking, and remove from heat. Continue stirring almost constantly for about 10 minutes.
    6. Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream to polenta, stirring to incorporate. Polenta should become thick and creamy, and will continue to set as it cools. Season to taste with pepper.
    7. Serve: scoop polenta into serving bowls, and top with roasted veggies. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan and a garnish with a sprig of thyme. Serve hot.

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    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls
    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

    Do you ever take a spring break, even though it’s not really built in to work-life?

    This last weekend we went climbing in New Mexico. I’ve been looking forward to the trip for weeks, partially because the weather locally hasn’t been ideal for climbing outside, and I was craving the sunshine. Also because time in the desert is just the right kind of unplugging: no screens, no desk chairs. Just dust, dirt and the moon.

    Last month, I started a Best Self Journal. Have you heard of it? It was recommended to me by co-workers as a journal that gets you into a journalling habit and also tracks you towards goals. The journal is a 13-week track, and one of my goals was to send three V6s outside. This trip was one of our first climbing trips this season, so was also a time for me to really dig my heels and focus. In the end, I did one V6 and even one V7 — two out of three checked off the list, far exceeding my own expectations for the weekend! Maybe I needed a more aggressive goal since there are still 10 weeks left in my journal. Mostly, I think I just needed to believe I could do it.

    This is where my mind has been: journalling, planning, climbing.

    Admittedly I’ve put less energy to cooking as of late, but that’s how life goes, ebbing and flowing. Between everything else going on, this chicken was a standout meal. The combination of pineapple and chipotle is sweet and spicy and grilling season is just starting to call (well-grilled chicken is SO juicy and satisfying).

    With the base of chicken, pineapple, and bell peppers you can make either taco bowls (like in these images) OR fajitas, with tortillas. Both are good — and heck, you can make one for dinner and then use the leftovers to make the other the next day.

    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls
    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

    Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

    Published March 26, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons adobo sauce from a from a can of chipotles in adobo 
  • 2 tablespoons maple
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 

  • To serve: 
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips 
  • 3-4 slices of fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup black beans (cooked)
  • 1 cup corn (cooked)
  • 1-2 cups rice (cooked)
  • Garnish: cilantro, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeño

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate chicken: combine all ingredients for marinade in an air-tight container large enough to fit the chicken. Place chicken in marinade and turn to coat. Then, close container and marinate in refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
    2. When ready to cook: light a grill with a medium-high flame, and allow grill to heat to 450-500°F. Place chicken on grill and cook, with grill lid closed, for 5 minutes without moving. Then, using tongs and/or a metal spatula, flip chicken. Brush chicken with remaining marinade. Cook on second side for 5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Move chicken to a clean plate, and set aside.
    3. Place pineapple and bell peppers on grill, turning after 3-4 minutes. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, and then remove from heat. Turn off grill.
    4. In serving bowls, divide rice, corn, and beans. Add bell peppers and pineapple. Slice chicken and divide among bowls.
    5. Garnish with cilantro, avocado, and sliced jalapeño to taste.

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