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Everything but the Farmer Farmers’ Market Corn Salad

Everything but the Farmer Farmers’ Market Corn Salad

There’s still time to lend an ear, grab an ear, shuck an ear, do what you must…to make this peak-of-the-season fresh corn salad that was on the menu at last week’s Summer Harvest Bounty feast. I have shared this recipe before and while it’s a no-recipe recipe, I’ve been ask to fill in some blanks. 

Farmers Market Fresh Corn Salad

Nothing is better than late summer tomatoes and corn. Local farmers here in west Michigan know that I am a bit of a fiend when it comes to sourcing products. I have been known to hit four different markets and source my meal from half a dozen farmers in any given week. So much for reducing the carbon footprint from eating local. Gotta have corn from Ham Family Farm. Arugula only from Grandson’s Garden. (Don’t miss the world’s best $2 pot scrubber from 9-year-old weaver Liam!) Bacon from Creswick Farms (THEY have zero carbon footprint). Organic salad mix with nasturtium blossoms from Summer Blend Gardens. And don’t get me started on Laughing Tree Bakery breads. For the love of all that’s sacred, Charlie and Hilde, make more Elbridge Parmesan Olive bread!! It gets a little competitive most Saturdays.
Fresh Picked CornWith all that commitment to sourcing ingredients, who has time to follow a recipe? Truthfully I am a bit ambivalent about recipes. I think there is nothing sweeter than a well-tested recipe that works every time. They are worth their weight in culinary gold. (I’m talking about salt, people!) However, this time of year and with perfect ingredients, they can get in the way. There are no right or wrong ingredients for this dish. And no right or wrong amounts. What’s in season? What’s picked at the peak of perfection? What sounds good today?? But for those that prefer it, I have updated this recipe to show how I make it. You do you; I’ll do me.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Fresh Corn Salad – Yes, Please!

My go-to must-haves for this corn salad are always the basics – obvs corn and tomatoes. And I almost always include tomatillos. The grilled or roasted tomatillos provide the acid, and the bacon and avocados provide the fat, thereby eliminating the need for a dressing.  It’s a self dressing salad – pure genius!!!  The rest of the ingredients always vary and the proportions are flexible to taste. You can assemble all the ingredients except for greens and bacon well in advance.  Just toss the more fragile ingredients in at serving time and don’t overmix – I love the big chunky pieces of corn cut from the cob. It tells everyone you got your hands dirty.  That makes it taste so much better. What are you waiting for?

Farmstand Basil

As always, check the seasonings. If anything, I usually grab a generous sprinkle of smoked serrano salt. That’s salt and pepper in one-stop shopping – almost as brilliant as the self-dressing salad. Or Maldon salt – my flaky favorite. Fresh cracked pepper. Done.

IF by some miracle you have leftover corn salad, it makes a fabulous addition to a quesadilla.  But more than likely, you too will have a guest that grabbed the serving bowl and polished it off using a giant serving spoon. 🙂

Hey hey hey – I said everything BUT the farmer. 
But anyway here’s my corn guy from Ham Family Farm – always good for a recipe or produce update.

Corn and the Farmer

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Farmers Market Fresh Corn Salad with tomatillos, avocado, and microgreens

Everything but the Farmer Farmers’ Market Corn Salad


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8. 1x

Description

This farmers’ market fresh corn salad is a real crowd pleaser. Serve it when corn and tomatoes are at their peak, or sub out for other in-season ingredients.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tomatillos, husked and thrown on a hot grill until charred; chopped when cool
  • 4 cobs of corn, shucked, rubbed with a little olive oil, then grilled until a bit of color; cut from the cob
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons peppadew peppers, or other brined spicy peppers, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, charred over a hot grill, then sweat and peeled; discard seeds and chop
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup halved cherry heirloom tomatoes or chopped larger tomatoes
  • 4 pieces crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cups arugula, whole leaves if small, otherwise coarsely torn
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

Prepare all ingredients per details above.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding the bacon, arugula and basil when you are ready to serve. Gently stir to toss, keeping the corn chunks intact.

Check seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if needed.

Notes

Leftovers are fantastic in a quesadilla or omelette. 

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: corn salad

Everything but the Farmer

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Open Wide!! Incoming!! Prosciutto Pesto Puffs

Open Wide!! Incoming!! Prosciutto Pesto Puffs

Prosciutto Pesto Puffs!! Prosciutto Pesto Poppers?? Puffs or Poppers?  Mmmmmm, I can kind of go either way.  In support of Puffs, these tasty little morsels are light and puffy.  But, don’t discount Poppers; the journey from cutting board to platter is anything but guaranteed – see Open Wide above.   I say you get 3 dozen pieces, but do you???  What if you don’t? Who will know? Most importantly, this quick and easy app includes the four food groups (remember those?) –  cheese and dough, pesto and pig. Riiiiiiiiight??  I know I had you at cheese and dough.

Who among you doesn’t have some version of those four things in-house at all times?  Don’t make me come over there!  I know by now I have cultivated at least some level of pantry-responsibility in you.   Personally I am still working through pizza dough from last month’s Pizzapalooza/Bring Your Own Pizza Toppings pot lucky.  I was so uber prepped that I ended up with another half dozen crusts in the freezer. But this dish disappears so quickly you can short cut my Trader Joe’s dough short cut and just grab the poppin’ fresh variety.  It would be a crime against your calendar to make dough for this from scratch.

Good Enough to Eat!And pesto…I’m just about at the end of the stash of Pistachio Lemon Pesto I put away last fall. But for this I used an arugula pepita pesto –Y.U.M. – that was a contribution to the pizza party.  Any combo of greens and nuts or seeds will work. Just follow the basic proportions in this recipe.  The sassier the better. And, of course, you will get more depth of flavor if you toast the nuts or seeds first.  But if you are short-changed on time,  supermarket pesto ain’t half bad.  We’re on the clock, people! We got PopperPuffs to make.

Then there’s the pig – let’s just go straight for prosciutto and stop there. But of course you could use salami, ham, anything that is cooked or cured.  Raw bacon would be a mess. Smoked turkey would be a delish sub, or roasted peppers and thoroughly drained spinach if you are vegetarian.

Vegans however need not apply. This PopperPuff screams for cheese.  I met and [email protected]’d this dish about 8 years ago when my then 14-year old neighbor Allison whipped up a larger version, stromboli-like, and appeared for a boat ride with a hamper-full. All the adults were stunned. What? Is? This? Cheesy? Goodness?  It’s possible I broke a bicep shoveling in the gooey slices.  Ever since, we have called this (or any interpretation of) the Ali Roll.

It recently occurred to me it was a tad bit – don’t judge me on what I am about to say – too gooey.  I know. I know. But more because the center stays a bit dough-y than that there is too much cheese. Heaven forbid!  So for a Memorial Day app exchange – which had nothing to do with technology – I decided to whittle this down to bite-size, and the results were a crowd-pleaser.  The pieces were also less daunting than a slice 4+ inches wide which is considered bite-size in fewer and fewer circles these days.

Feel free to swap out all the fillings. This dish is pretty indestructible.  I haven’t tried it but am fairly certain you could make the logs and freeze them, then bake frozen. Or you could bake it off, slice and freeze in an airtight container. These are good warm-from-the-oven or at room temperature.

While not gourmet per se, this is squarely in the category my friend Cindy calls “People Love It”.

Enjoy!

Oven Ready - Prosciutto Pesto PuffsProsciutto Pesto Puffs

  • 13.8 ounce can of classic pizza dough (or equivalent fresh dough)
  • 2/3 cup pesto
  • ½ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced, (includes a bit extra for snacking)
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella*
  • Good olive oil, salt flakes and crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425o.

Roll or stretch dough into a 12” by 14” rectangle.

Cut in thirds lengthwise, creating three 4 x 14 strips.

Divide the pesto between the three strips and spread evenly. Leave a ¾” edge pesto-free along the far (long side) of each strip.

Cover the pesto area on each strip with prosciutto – about 4 slices per strip.  It’s okay to overlap a bit.

Divide the grated mozzarella between the three strips and sprinkle on top of the prosciutto.

Working with one strip at a time, tightly roll toward the pesto-free zone, creating a 14” long log.  Tuck the ends under and place, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other two strips.

Brush the logs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes ) and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan about half way through.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cool enough to handle, transfer the logs off the baking sheet onto the wire rack .   Let rest 10 minutes all together.

Slice into 12 slices per log. Stand back and relish the high praise.

*When asked on that maiden Ali-Roll voyage, the Ali-Roll Mistress herself instructed me to use “grocery store mozzarella for best melting.”   Sure, you could fancy it up with fresh mozz, but you still won’t have leftovers.

Makes 3 dozen PopperPuffs.

On deck - puffs are ready

This post contains affiliate links.  For more of my must-have faves, check out my shop.

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2016. All rights reserved.

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Pizza Party – Getting Pot Luck-y Part III

Pizza Party – Getting Pot Luck-y Part III

BYOPT!

Bring your own pizza toppings.   Pizza Party extraordinaire.

BYOPT - Bring Your Own Pizza Toppings

In case you haven’t guessed, these newfangled pot lucks (emphasis on the LUCKY, not the pot) are a big hit.  Perhaps the reason typical pot lucks scare me just a wee bit is their origin.  Historically, pot lucks date back to the European middle ages when nothing, but nothing, was thrown away.  (Maybe we could take a tiny page from that lifestyle – I’m looking at you 40% food waste). Rather, leftovers were thrown into a pot and kept warm kind of indefinitely, available to any unplanned arrivals on short notice. This practice was especially prevalent in taverns and inns in medieval times, so no matter when you arrived, you could be treated to the “luck of the pot.”  It’s entirely possible, to me at least, that modern day pot lucks could be of equally suspect food safety, never mind random items.   But the Pot Lucky aims to change all that!

While on the subject of random items, who can forget the famous shrimp dip?   My hosts, the charming Bob and Sally Oyler, were no doubt surprised when not only did a guest plop down a somewhat lame-ass (editorial comment mine, certainly not that of the gracious hosts) hors d’oeuvre smack dab in the middle of their fabulous holiday buffet, but said hors d’ was accompanied by kitschy  recipe cards to take away.  By the end of the party, pretty much every card remained – apparently not a dish that you really need (nor want, for that matter) a recipe for.  And now, for more than 35 years, they have appeared in my mail, tucked inside Christmas cards from Sally, their daughter Barb, and most recently hand-delivered by a grandson, something of a recipe card mule, given he had no idea what was in the envelope he bore.  I have gotten the last card from Sally, but trust, hope they will keep coming. Anybody want that recipe?   I might have a few to share.

Shrimp Dip. Shrimp Dip. Shrimp Dip.

Like everything, pot lucks have a silver lining. The beauty of the pot luck is that it spreads both the effort and the expense and makes entertaining a you-don’t-have-to-be-Martha-Stewart snap.  After the sausage making party and the soup swap, both definite fan faves, I landed on BYOPT – bring your own pizza toppings.  A Pizza Party. “Best Party Ever”, according to one guest.  I think part of the fun was that everyone got a quick turn at playing chef – drawing from the 40 some toppings, sauces, and cheeses that found their way to the kitchen island.  And by playing chef, I mean this in the truest sense of the word – all the items were prepped (mise en place) and assembly is both the easy and the creative part.  I committed to providing the dough (Trader’s Joe has fresh flour, whole wheat and herbed dough, as well as a frozen organic dough).  Then I threw out some ideas for both pizza combos and individual toppings, organized by sauce/base, oils, toppings (veg and meat), and cheeses.    You can plan it two ways – have people chose from a list of toppings and mix and match at the party, or have them bring enough for their own concoction and they are responsible for everything but the dough on that pie. We got a bit of both.  Just a little coordination will keep you from having a lot of dupes.

I of course had to make a run to the Cheese Lady, not just for the fabulous ooey-gooey meltable cheeses, but also for her fine collection of oils and vinegars.   I settled on a lemon oil (fabulous to drizzle with my lemon pistachio pesto) and a white truffle oil. Super aromatic oils like truffle need to be drizzled after the bake.  They are too good to go on before the oven.  Good news guys – a phone call to the Cheese Lady and these puppies can be on their way to you.   They don’t ship cheeses, but do take phone orders on the wonderful assortment of oils and vinegars.  There is a divine maple balsamic that makes a killer vinaigrette with the lemon oil, and the raspberry balsamic is wonderful drizzled into a seltzer.  Super refreshing!

Oils and Vinegars Chez Cheese Lady

I had to get a couple cheeses that weren’t on my radar – one was meadowkaas which I did know about but didn’t expect to see til June. This is a special (aren’t they all?) style cheese that is made from the first milk from the cows that wander into North Holland’s (the Netherlands, not Michigan!!!) first grasses each spring.   An importer found some 65 wheels from 2015 and upon Cheese Lady deeming it delish, they found their way to her.  Yahoo!   However, the other cheese I bought I had never heard – Kurpianka smoked cheese from Poland.  Its touch of garlic and springy texture make it a perfect melting pizza cheese. Yum.     Oh and it looks like a cheese grenade. I love that!

Cheese Grenade

The most important detail you can tell your guests is to make sure the ingredients are “pizza-ready.” That means olives are pitted, zucchini and shiitake-types are quickly sautéed, and bacon is at least par-cooked.  Otherwise you will get both a free for all with your limited space and a real mess. I considered a change of address halfway through the party.   But a little organization goes a long way. I had a building station with sauces and oils, a topping station, a cutting station, a bar area, and a plates & salad serving area.  My kitchen isn’t nearly as big as it sounds.  But it worked – just barely.  We had about 18 people and made about 13 pies.  I find that so hard to believe because I swear I made 15 myself and ate at least 20.  #CarbFreeMay

It helps to have some basic equipment – a Pizza Peel to transfer the prepped pizzas, a Pizza Stone or two (or three) always hot in the oven, pizza pans, and plenty of cutting boards and pizza wheels.   Everyone brought what they had. I think there may have been six pies in the oven and two on the grill at one point.  For the grilled pizza, we used the frozen dough.  If you make your own or use fresh dough, it is best to roll it as thinly as you can and then freeze it to make a smooth transfer to the grill. Oil the grill and cook the dough on both sides to color and get grill marks.   Then transfer to the building area where you can add toppings.  Slide back on the grill and close the lid to melt the toppings. This will only take a few minutes.   The oven (400-425oF) pizzas work well if you dust the peel with corn meal or make sure the dough is well floured and not sticky.  Build the pie and slide onto the hot stones.   All in all, it’s pretty neck-down in the execution, once you do a couple test pies to get down the technique.

Prepping Ingredients

We had some pretty fantastic Pizza Party toppings – here is a select list (email if you want my master list):

  • Sauces: red sauce, lemon ricotta, lemon pistachio pesto, fruit chutney, kale pesto, green olive tapenade, horseradish dill drizzle
  • Oils: EVOO, lemon oil, white truffle oil, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil (divine on the butternut squash ribbon pie), chipotle oil, fig balsamic
  • Arugula, charred scallions, roasted garlic, sautéed shiitakes, grilled zucchini and yellow squash, you’ll thank me in the winter oven dried tomatoes, sautéed broccoli rabe, fresh basil, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, roasted beets, dried figs, butternut squash ribbons (the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer worked perfectly), Brussels sprouts, smoked salmon, capers, roasted plums, radishes  – wait…..seriously??? A partial list????
  • Pepperoni, prosciutto, shredded chicken, ham, bacon, sausage
  • Grated mozzarella, fresh mozzarella – sliced, burrata, grated parm/asiago/Romano, fresh goat, feta, glacier wildfire blue, smoked kurpianka, meadowkaas

Building a Pie

And here are a few of the winning Pizza Party combos:

  • Pesto, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, you’ll thank me in the winter oven-dried tomatoes, and dressed with arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette
  • Red sauce, figs, bacon, chicken, roasted garlic, wildfire glacier blue, smoked kurpianka
  • Lemon pistachio pesto, fresh mozzarella, asiago/Romano/parm, smoked kurpianka, basil and shiitakes
  • Red sauce, sausage, mozzarella, basil, artichokes
  • Kale pesto, broccoli rabe, chicken, Kalamata olives, basil, mozzarella, burrata
  • Lemon Ricotta, spinach, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash ribbons, figs,  feta, toasted pumpkin seed oil
  • Arugula Pepita Pesto, goat cheese, butternut squash ribbons, pepitas

Oven Ready

I’m sure you wish there were more and better photos (I do), but seriously, I need my fingers.

Good Enough to Eat

Next up in the Pot Lucky series: Build Your Own Burger!

Pizza Party - The End

The End of (this) Pizza Party! (and thanks to the phenom clean up crew!!!)

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2016. All rights reserved.

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So Long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye.

So Long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye.

Oh for crying out loud. I’m a grown-ass woman. You would think I could get over the end of the farmer’s market and the demise of my herb bed without this drama. But…….have you met me?

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. In. Out. Focus! You know what to do.  Pretty much any time between now and Thanksgiving (a bit earlier if you are in the northern reaches and will have extended hard freezes before), you can cut back all your perennial herbs and hang them upside down to dry. I tend to focus on Thanksgiving because it’s one last chance to harvest the herbs you will need for stuffing et al. Besides, cutting back your herb beds and throwing down some mulch has the added benefit of getting them ready for spring – which really can’t be that far away when you think of it.

The main reasons to hang and to hang upside down are to stiffen the stems and provide enough airflow to keep from molding. Once dry, you can pick them off the stems, crumble and keep in an airtight tin. If you have hangups about the whole hanging scene, you can also pack the stemless leaves between layers of a good quality coarse salt and make, for example, your own rosemary salt. A little herb goes a long way. And then of course you could always gently heat olive oil and infuse it with some sprigs of herb. Discard the herbs in a few days or a week when you get the desired flavor.

Hanging the Herbs out to Dry

But what to do with the annual herbs? Basil, Parsley, Arugula, Cilantro?? These are definitely a goner after the first frost. I favor pastes for these which I keep in the freezer for a quick addition to other dishes, a theme you may be picking up on from You’ll Thank Me in the Winter Oven-Dried Tomatoes.   Pureed with some oil and whatever else you want, these pastes make great flavor boosts for those bleak winter months.  Some people like to leave the cheese (Romano or Parmesan, or other hard grating cheese) out, if freezing the pesto. I think if there is enough oil to coat the cheese, there is no reason why it can’t be incorporated up front. Play around with the combos and see what tastes good to you.   When making a basil pesto, I often add some spinach or arugula or even parsley – all depends how much basil taste I want to show up later. And if the basil has already started to go to seed, it can be a bit bitter, so adding some other herbs can round out the flavor and boost the color.

Fresh Basil

Basil Pesto is something that really does have to be made to taste. (I’m not making this up because I’m too lazy to give you a proper recipe). Am I sensing a little anxiety that there will be no real recipe again?? Come one folks, you can do it! The key components for traditional pesto are basil, garlic, olive oil/EVOO, pine nuts and cheese, generally Parmesan. I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I don’t get pine nuts, pretty much at all but definitely in this dish. They are super expensive, very delicate both in flavor and handling (sold rancid way too often), and provide no texture contrast to the paste. But what DO you like, you ask? Good question! Many use walnuts, but I love toasted pistachios. You can almost always find them shelled at a health food store. I spread them on a sheet pan and roast all naked (uh……….the pistachios, not me) for about 10 minutes at 400°F. You can definitely smell them getting to the right point. After cooling completely, I pulse in a food processor, keeping them a bit chunky. From there, I set them aside and stir in at the end by hand.

Lemons and Pistachios

I also like to add lemon zest – which works best if you are freezing. If you are trying to keep it fresh in the fridge for more than a few days, the acid will start to kill the green in the basil. Something about the roasted nuts and fresh lemon zest though that really elevate the flavor profile.

So here you go – make it your way.

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Lemon Pesto

4 cloves (or more if you love it) garlic, pulsed in the food processor til minced

4 packed cups fresh basil (mixed with spinach, arugula, parsley or whatever you want/have), pulsed til coarsely chopped

¾ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (you got it – your choice), pulsed a couple times

About 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, drizzled in while motor is running. Don’t let it get too runny if you are planning to freeze without an ice cube tray, but you do want the ingredients well coated.

Then, transfer to a bowl, and stir in:

¾ cup roasted, chopped pistachios

Zest of one lemon

Taste, and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper).

Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the pesto and refrigerate until it firms up a bit. Some like to use ice cube trays to freeze this. (I don’t have any). I usually just spoon out a 2 Tablespoon dollop onto a sheet pan, then once frozen place the pesto blobs into a Ziplock. You could use an ice cream scoop I’m guessing if you want to get fancy.   If it seems a bit thin for scooping, you can thicken with a bit more cheese. More cheese is always good, I’m pretty sure.

There are so many ways to use this – add to a soup or stew, jazz up your mashed potatoes, spread on pizza dough before adding the toppings, slather it on bruschetta or toss into a pasta dish. What would you do if you had a freezer-full (again, you’ll thank me) come January? Sharing is caring, so let us know.

Pistachio Pesto Mashed Potatoes

 Winner winner chicken dinner – with pistachio lemon pesto mashed potatoes.

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