Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's in season, it's on sale, so what can I DO with it??

Fresh vegetables abound, and the prices are low at your local supermarket. If you are fortunate enough to have local Farmer's Market(s)in your area, all the better. We only have one in this area, one evening a week, I have as yet to check it out. I'll get back to you when I have. But local supermarkets often have great produce, and right now they are exhibiting some awesome prices. If you're anything like me, I HATE to eat big heavy meals in hot, hot weather. The lighter the better. We've already discussed my love for salsa, and this recipe is similar, although named a "relish". A "relish" is usually thicker than a salsa, but I've honestly seen the terms used almost interchangeably. In any case, this recipe stands alone by itself, to be used with tortilla chips or bits of pita bread, or it can work WONDERS to a nice fish fillet (salmon, halibut, mahi-mahi, or swordfish are my favorites--all 4 stand up quite well to a good grilling, my personal favorite way to cook in hot weather) or a chicken fillet. Just seems to add a nice summer touch to a meal.

Sweet Corn, Tomato and Avocado Relish
2 large ears fresh yellow corn, peeled and silk removed
2 large Creole or other vine ripened tomatoes, cored and cut into about a 3/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)
2 Hass avocados (14 ounces), peeled, seeded, and cut into about a 1/2 inch dice (about 2 cups)
6 T. finely chopped red onion
2 T. fresh parsley chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper (honestly, you can use black....white is usually only recommended for "appearances sake", but if you don't mind, it doesn't matter)

In a kettle, bring some water and 1 tsp of the salt to a boil. Add the corn and simmer until tender, about 4 minutes (you are not going to cook this as COMPLETELY as if you were going to be eating it "off the cob") Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ear and place in a medium bowl. To the corn add the tomatoes, avocados, onions, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1 tsp of the salt and more pepper if desired.

Some tips here, always use "Haas" avocados. I know the South, Florida in particular, grows some big MEAN avocados, and they taste GREAT. But....they are quite "watery" and don't hold up well to using them in recipes. They're best eaten alone, on sandwiches or used as a garnish in salads.
When choosing your corn, always go for plump ears, with moist silks at the top. Patronize the stores that will let you peel the ears there (they often will provide a garbage can for this, bless saves a MESS at YOUR house!!). Check the ears when you peel back the husks and avoid like the PLAGUE any ears that look puny and dried out--with nasty dry silks. Puncture one of the kernels with a nail and make sure it's nice and "juicy". (hey, you're buying it, and you want to know if it's good!!)
Grow fresh herbs...if nothing else invest in a parsley plant, and if possible some chives and some mint. I use a LOT of rosemary so I have a rosemary bush on my front porch. This saves a TON of money in the long run, looks pretty and smells FANTASTIC. Learn to use fresh herbs instead of dry.

Today's food quote: "Ham and Eggs....a day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig" Anonymous

Today's cooking term: blanch: a method of cooking wherein foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds then into cold water to stop the cooking process. Used to loosen skins, heighten color and flavor and firm flesh.

Recommended cooking tool: a trusty kitchen timer. Use this for EVERYTHING. It is SO easy to get sidetracked when cooking, especially when cooking more than one thing, that having one (or even two) in the kitchen helps you keep track of everything. Kids can run through, phones (or doorbells) can ring and that trusty timer can keep you from suffering what I did yesterday. My home-made croƻton went into the oven as sourdough and came OUT of the oven quite resembling pumpernickel!! Just got sidetracked talking to the kids and didn't set the timer.

Enjoy your weekend, stay hungry, have fun.

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