Basic Corn Salad

This is the time of the year when corn is at its sweetest and readily available all over. There are times I buy fresh corn but don’t feel like serving it on the cob, even though it is perfectly delicious this way. This corn salad is a suggestion for you as a side dish with very little ingredients and pretty much all corn. I like to serve as a side dish in the summer because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep on Cooking with Candi.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of corn , schucked

1/2 cup small diced red onion

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt – you can always add more salt after you finish and taste for salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper the same applies for the pepper as for the salt

app. 1/2 cup cut up fresh basil leaves–use as much or as little as you like –it adds wonderful flavor

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for app. 3 minutes (just to let go of the starchiness) Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn cools down , cut the kernels off the cob , cutting close to the cob to get the whole kernel. I use a bundt pan to catch all the kernels.

Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

How simple and easy is this?IMG_5739

Farmers Market to Table Gazpacho

photo (9)DSCN0375DSCN0378

Delicious fresh vegetables from the local farmers market went into this gazpacho. This time of year you must take advantage of the awesome selection of fruit and vegetables at your local farmers market. In Colorado there is so much local produce it would be a pity not to . I bought the tomatoes , cucumbers, peppers, garlic and red onion all from our local farmers market. Whole Foods also sells many local products which is so amazing. I don’t want to preach and there are so very many foods that I am particularly fond of that come from very foreign shores ( shrimp for one) . It’s just quite the thing to put food on your table from your own garden or at least from one within 100 miles of where you live. Farm to Table . Simply put it’s the best .

Ingredients:

1 cucumber or 2 – 3 Kirby size cukes, halved and seeded , but don’t peel . If not Kirby cukes you can use a hothouse cucumber. Go organic, because you are eating the peel.

2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded. Of course you can use red bell peppers, but not green.

4 tomatoes , use what you can find. I went to local farmers market for mine . If you use plum tomatoes use 4.

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced or throw them into the food processor along with vegetables

3 cups Spicy V8 or use regular tomato juice

1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno depending on how spicy you like it, remove seeds from jalapeno

* cilantro, chopped is a nice touch for garnish

*avocado cut up is also nice garnish

*shrimp is also a nice garnish

Directions:

I cut up cukes, tomatoes, bell peppers and red onions into app. 1 inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor with steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not make baby food, don’t over process.

After each vegetable is chopped up combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic ( if you haven’t already) , juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. It’s a good idea to chill for a while, the longer it sits the more the taste develops.

The second night I added shrimp and avocado.

20130809-090155.jpg

20130809-090221.jpg

No Fuss, No Muss Salmon

This is really the easiest way to grill salmon and truly my most favorite way to cook and eat it! It really takes no time and the ingredients are simple, fresh and tasty. That’s why I call it No Fuss, No Muss Salmon. Of course you can cook this in the oven  just bake it in a baking dish at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes depending on the size of the piece of fish.

INGREDIENTS:

I use 2 1/2 lb salmon filets (1 per person)

1 lemon

Capers

Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Take a piece of aluminum large enough to hold 1 filet. Put the filet on aluminum and fold up edges (as pictured), making a little tray out of foil. I have made a little tent with aluminum where salmon is completely sealed in the aluminum and this will make a more steamed salmon. It’s delicious either way.

First pat salmon dry with a paper towel and very lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on each filet (it really doesn’t need it, but I use a little bit). Next, spread dijon mustard on the filet with a butter knife (all over the top). Sprinkle a few capers on each–as many or as little as you like, I don’t use a lot; just a few is good. I cut the lemon in 1/2 and then squeeze a little all over each piece (1/2 lemon is good for the 2 pieces) and then I slice very thin slices from the other 1/2 of the lemon and place them right on top of the salmon.

I then place the salmon on a hot grill in aluminum, lower heat to a more moderate heat and cook for about 20 minutes. Next, remove from heat and just let it sit for about 5 minutes. When you open up the aluminum and take the salmon out, it should lift right off the skin but you may have to play with it. The skin is actually very crispy at this point. Salmon should be light pink and flaky.

I served alongside corn on the cob (also on the grill) and some rice and a beautiful green salad.

 

No Fuss, No Muss Salmon

Broccoli Salad–no cooking involved here

IMG_8227

Brocccoli Slaw with same dressing

IMG_8225

IMG_7254

Original Broccoli Recipe made with whole florets

My kitchen is under renovation so I am not cooking at this very moment but that doesn’t mean you all aren’t cooking. This is totally delicious and definitely easy and worth a try. And no cooking involved!!!

I had this broccoli salad at a friend’s house and completely fell in love with it. It was so delicious.  Mind you I don’t even love raw broccoli , I usually prefer it cooked. This was really good and I even broke my own rule and made a new recipe for company. It is so simple to make and ingredients are easily obtainable.   No fuss and no muss here.

I put it together in the morning but you can definitely put together the night before. I would suggest making it at least 8 hours ahead of time so broccoli softens and soaks up some of the delicious marinade. Mix bowl throughout the day .  I left it out for 2 hours before serving to bring it to room temperature. It’s a great summer salad that you can make ahead of time and doesn’t require any cooking!

I also made it with broccoli slaw ( you can shred yourself or buy bags already made) Pre-made broccoli slaw is available almost everywhere now. If using the slaw I would use 3- 12 oz. bags . Just keep mixing it and make ahead so it can absorb, it was equally as yummy. I put photos of both salads on here.

Great recipe for those of you who don’t want to turn on the oven!!!!

Ingredients:

1 Large Bunch of Broccoli, broken up into florets

1/2 cup Red Grapes, I sliced them in half

1 cup chopped celery

1 bunch of scallions greens and whites only , sliced thinly

1/2 cup pignolli nuts or sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise ( you can use light but not fat-free please)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice , I used the juice of one small lemon.

Directions:

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the salad.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayo, sugar and lemon juice.

When dressing comes together and has a nice consistency pour over the broccoli give it a good mix and refrigerate. Give it a few mixes during the day and that’s it!

 

Tomato Time Pasta with Fresh Corn –Summer Pasta

I was going to make my tomato time pasta for the two of us and I was using fresh cherry tomatoes and whole wheat pasta. I had two ears of beautiful fresh corn and I figured how can that taste bad? Corn and Tomatoes are delicious and mixed in with the pasta they were just a perfect summer meal. My original Tomato Time Pasta was posted on August ’14 and that was the basis for this. This is what I did .

Ingredients:

This recipe is for 4-6 servings , I cut in 1/2 for the 2 of us.

1 lb. spaghetti, I like long ropy spaghetti for this recipe , use whatever you like. I also used whole wheat pasta last night.

4 -6 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil — start out with 4 and you might want to add a little more during the cooking process. I used 3 for 1/2 of this recipe.

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.

4 ears of fresh corn–I used 2 for 1/2 this recipe so I would double for whole recipe.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper– we like it spicy but obviously you can use more or less depending on your taste or omit entirely. I used a lot.

2 pints of cherry tomatoes ( app. 3 cups fresh tomatoes) I cut the larger tomatoes in 1/2 and left the little ones whole or use any kind of fresh tomatoes you’d like you’ll need app. 3 cups. The Heirlooms are delicious!

Fresh Basil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Freshly Grated Parmesan — on the table at your own discretion

Directions:

Cook Corn in boiling water for 2 minutes –Bring water to a boil and place corn in water for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with ice water and cool corn down. When corn is cooled off –cut the corn off cob and set aside.

Cook Pasta according to the directions on the box for al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water in the event you may need a little more liquid in your sauce. Add salt to the cooking water for pasta.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat — add olive oil then lower the heat and add garlic , cook until garlic is golden brown and not burned. About 2 minutes– watch the garlic –just to soften and get fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper and the tomatoes, and cook over medium low to medium heat. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt at this point –and some freshly ground black pepper about 1/4 teaspoon. Stir together all ingredients for a bit, making sure garlic isn’t burning and tomatoes start to burst and deflate for about 10 minutes. I then lower the heat and let the tomatoes simmer in the pan for at least 15 minutes and last night for 1/2 hour. This is when I added the fresh corn. Let it sit together for the last 15 minutes of cooking.  I even turned off the stove and let it just sit there , i then turned heat back on just before adding the pasta. Taste for Salt and Pepper.  Remember to reserve a cup of pasta water. I added a little water at a time to the tomatoes and corn at a low flame– stirred it in–probably used about 1/2 cup . It will give the sauce some needed liquid. Just stir in slowly don’t dump the whole cup in at once. Next add the cooked pasta right into the pan and stir it all up good. Tomatoes will be smashed up and olive oil will have turned a lovely light orangey red color. Add in the Fresh Basil–I cut it up into small pieces –again this is your choice you can throw it in whole leaves as well. There you have it. Dinner in 1/2 hour.

I plated it up and fresh parmesan was on the table if anyone wanted to use it.

Yum and even more delicious the next day cold out of the fridge.

 

 

 

Raw Corn Salad

I found this recipe on one of my favorite food sites– Food 52 and I had to make this amazing corn salad which is absolutely no cooking at all. What could be better? The corn in the summer is so amazing and all of the other ingredients are readily available and  super easy to make.

I made a few changes from the original on Food52 but check out their site it’s worthwhile. www.food52

Ingredients:

4-5 ears of fresh corn shucked– I happen to have bought 5 ears of corn so I used all 5 don’t use less than 4

1 pint of small tomatoes–plum, cherry or whatever — halved

4 oz. of good feta cheese crumbled

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 can of Cannellini beans –or black beans or whatever kind of beans you prefer –rinse and drain before adding

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

4-6 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Lime–halved

Directions:

Cut the corn off the cobs. Try to get as close to the cob as possible. This can be a messy process so I use a bundt pan and place cob in the hole of the bundt pan and cut down so almost all of the kernels fall in the pan.

Then in a nice size bowl I put the corn, sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta, herbs, and I added the beans.

I added 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill– taste and add 4 Tablespoons of the Olive Oil and the juice of half a lime. Mix well and taste if it needs a little more oil you can add and if you think it needs more S and P you can add now as well. I didn’t add more salt and pepper because the feta is salty and 1/2 teaspoon was enough. You can also add a bit more lime juice if you’d like.IMG_1611

Mix well before serving and serve immediately at room temperature.

Delicious!

 

Chicken Fajitas on the Grill

IMG_5599.JPG

 

IMG_5593.JPG Wow–Fajitas on the Grill and the best part is there were no pots and pans to clean up! Cooked in Aluminum Foil Packs right on the grill! They call them Hobo Packs.

Very quick prep and delicious ingredients. Feel free to substitute whatever peppers you would prefer. This is what I did.

Last night there were 4 of us so I used about 2 lbs. of chicken but kept everything else the same and it worked out just fine!

You’ll need heavy-duty aluminum foil for the grill.

Ingredients:

1 lb. chicken tenders–you can 1/2 them lengthwise into thin strips or leave them whole which is what I did. If you can’t find tenders use a cutlet and cut into thin strips.

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (approximately)

1 poblano chile or serrano chile whatever you can get. Stemmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. I used both .

1 Red Bell Pepper–cut into strips lengthwise

1 Yellow Bell Pepper –cut into strips lengthwise

*you can really use any peppers that you’d like–these are the ones I used Shishito Peppers would be wonderful as well.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper- you’ll need to be fairly generous with the salt –I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill.

4 -6 fresh oregano sprigs–at least 1 in each packet–I used 2 in each packet.

1 lime, thinly sliced crosswise

Warm flour or corn tortillas, sour cream , guacamole and salsa and some hot sauce for serving. I used small tortillas but any kind will work out nicely. This is a very easy Summer Meal.

Directions:

Cut up all the veggies, onions and chicken and light the grill, I had the grill turned up high , it should be medium to high. I put it to high to pre-heat and then lowered to a more medium – high, if you are unable to do this step just check on them after 12 minutes to make sure the bottom isn’t burning.

In a large bowl, toss the chicken, onion and all the peppers with the olive oil and cumin seeds. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again.

Arrange 4 14 inch sheets of heavy duty foil on a work surface ( see pics) app. 14 inches don’t get the ruler out. Just eyeball it, it needs to fit a pile of veggies and chicken. Last night I increased the chicken so we had about 6 packs.

Pile the chicken and veggies evenly on one 1/2 of each foil sheet and top with the oregano and lime slices. Fold the foil over the ingredients and pinch the edges to seal.

Place the foil packets on the grill, close the lid and cook over moderately high heat until the chicken is cooked through, anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes.

Open the packets and serve with warm flour fajitas, sour cream , guacamole, salsa and hot sauce.

*Packets can be made a night ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

 

Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

I love Sheet Pan Meals as most of you know by now. I also love Fajitas! They can be super healthy and light and when you make at home you’re in control of the oil and the salt and everything else that goes into them. I have to say I love them best rolled in a soft tortilla with guacamole and sour cream and a little hot salsa. They’re also good just served up on the plate . Rice and Beans are a nice side dish with this as well.

This is a healthy and fun dinner for the entire family which you can make in under an hour. Everything cooked on the sheetpan which makes for minimal clean-up is a win win in my book.

Enjoy!

*should serve 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. flank steak–sliced against the grain into 1/2″ strips –if making for 4 people you may want to add a little more meat ( 1/2 lb.) everything else can stay the same

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp.garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. kosher salt–if you’d like more salt you can add

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 onion ( spanish onion is good here) sliced no more than 1/4 inch thick

1 red bell pepper–thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper –thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper–thinly sliced

some lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro for topping

flour or corn tortillas — I like the small ones

I had guacamole, chopped fresh jalapenos, sour cream , and some delicious salsa  as toppings. This is entirely up to you.

*side dish suggestions to stretch this meal would be rice and beans!

DIrections:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl combine all the dry spices, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper and stir until evenly mixed

In a large bowl, combine steak strips , onions and bell peppers. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil,  sprinkle the minced garlic. Mix everything until it is evenly coated in oil and garlic. Sprinkle seasoning over everything. Mix again until everything is evenly coated.

I sprayed a large sheet pan with cooking spray. I used a very large sheet pan if you don’t have a very large one you can use two sheet pans. Lay all the vegetables and meat onto the sprayed sheet pan (s). Try your best not to overlap and to spread in a single layer.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until steak is finished. You may want to remove steak and continue cooking vegetables. I like my veggies a little crisp but don’t want to over cook steak. The last 5 minutes of cooking I placed tortillas in aluminum foil and placed right on the sheet pan to heat up.

When veggies were finished to my liking I added the steak back on the sheet pan mixed everything up and plated it up. Served with warm tortillas and lime wedges and sprinkled cilantro ( optional) .

Put extra toppings on the table so everyone can make their own tortilla .

Easy Peasy Chicken Caprese

This is one of those recipes that I make that is so super easy. Very few ingredients and other than cutting tomatoes and mozzarella balls, there is very little prep. You gotta love meals like this, especially in the summer when these beautiful heirloom tomatoes are abundant. I really only make this in the summer . It is light and delicious and makes for a beautiful salad as well and you can serve it at room temperature. I made this last night with burnt brussel sprouts on the side . You’re not going to believe how easy this is. It’s amazing!

Ingredients:

1 container marinated bocconcini ( mozzarella balls) you will need the oil from the container to marinate chicken ( it comes in an olive oil marinade with spices)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves , I buy them pounded thin

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 pint heirloom ( if you can get them) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Take bocconcini balls out of the marinade. Cut bocconcini balls in quarters. Transfer about 1/2 of the marinade from bocconcini to a medium size baking dish , add the chicken , salt and pepper the chicken and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking. If you’d like you can refrigerate , and take out and bring to room temperature before grilling.

Put cheese in a bowl, add the remaining oil marinade and add the cut tomatoes to this bowl. Salt and Pepper to taste, give it a good stir and put in refrigerator till you’re ready to cook chicken. I removed from fridge about 1/2 hour before I cooked the chicken. Just bring it to room temperature.

Grill the chicken over medium high heat , till you get nice grill marks, probably about 8 minutes. You can cut the chicken into smaller pieces and mix with tomatoes and cheese. I just plated up the chicken and put tomato/cheese mixture on the plate. Perfect summer meal.

Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Eggplant and Stringbeans

IMG_1456Here is a new recipe that I tried last night for Meatless Monday. Sometimes it’s good to lighten up the menu with no meat.   I love when I try something new and it’s so delicious that I know it will stay in the rotation all summer long.This is a delightfully light pasta dish with really no sauce just some delicious fresh vegetables and some amazing fresh burrata. Of course you can leave out the burrata and sprinkle a little parmesan cheese or just leave out the cheese all together. I improvised a lot with this recipe please feel free to do the same.

The beauty of this pasta dish is that it would be delicious served hot off the stove or at room temperature. You can prepare ahead , assemble and just let it sit out while you prepare other dishes if you’re serving to a larger group as a side dish.  It was just the two of us so we ate it hot off the stove as our main meal.

We love cheese in our house so we went with delicious fresh burrata. A little sprinkle of fresh thyme at the end and I sprinkled crushed red pepper at the end because I love a spicy pasta.

*Fresh Burrata is a delicious cheese with a creamy interior. It’s like Mozzarella on the outside.

Ingredients:

8 oz. Pasta — I used casarecce because I love that pasta when I can find it. Fusilli or Penne would work just fine — you can also use whole wheat pasta for an extra fiber boost.

8 oz. French Green Beans if you can find them if not use yellow wax beans or fresh green beans –trim them

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil — you’ll start with 2 and you may need a little more this will depend on how dry the eggplant seems while it’s cooking. I used about 2 1/2 Tbsp.

2 cups Chopped Eggplant– I used a regular eggplant and just chopped up into small pieces ( keep it uniform in size) you can use Japanese Eggplant as well. 1 average eggplant should work

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp. White wine vinegar

Kosher Salt– I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt on the eggplant and tomatoes but I added more at the end. Salt to taste.

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper– again to taste

6 oz. Burrata– if you don’t want to use Burrata you can also use fresh Mozzarella just cut into bite-size pieces.

2 Tsp. chopped fresh thyme– of course this is optional but fresh herbs always add a delicious layer of flavor.

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Add green beans for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the pasta.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cut-up eggplant and sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt , cook, stirring occasionally until tender — about 5 minutes. Add in the fresh garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes and cook until the juices from tomatoes start to release –another few minutes.

Add the wine, cook and stir often until most of the wine disappears. Add pasta and beans, toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta, cooking liquid– a little at a time– I used almost all of it. It depends on how dry the pasta is. Stir in the vinegar and taste for salt and sprinkle that 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper here.

Put Pasta in individual pasta bowls and top evenly with burrata and a sprinkle of chopped fresh thyme. I also sprinkled crushed red pepper on mine at the table.

This should serve 4 nicely even with only 8 oz. pasta as a side dish. It was just the two of us so we ate it as a main and there was left-over which will be delicious cold the next day.