Grilled Corn Salad

Image of Grilled Corn Salad on a plateCorn on the Side
Summer dinners tend to be a lot easier to produce. There is very little in your fridge that can’t go on the grill. Chicken, fish, beef, and veggies can all take a turn over the flames. The same is true when it comes to your side dishes.

Since you are going through the trouble of heating up the grill, might as well get the most out of it. If you’re like me, you have garden zucchini coming out of your ears. It’s easy to toss some with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and throw it on the grill next to your steaks. Corn is another great vegetable to put on the grill. You can leave it in the husk and grill it as is for on-the-cob greatness. Or, you can grill it husk-free for the Grilled Corn Salad recipe below.

Just prep the ingredients before you start grilling and while your meat is resting, throw it all together for a tasty smokey side. Bonus points if you grill the peaches too…

Grilled Corn Salad Recipe
Adapted from Love and Lemons
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Corn Chowder

Image of a bowl of corn chowder garnished with baconSummer In The City
One of the perks of living in the Bay Area is that come the summer months, we get some of the best sweet corn from Brentwood—which is right in our backyard. I wait all year for the arrival of fresh local corn and have a tendency to overdo it in the beginning so I need to pace myself.

There is another truth in the Bay Area. Although the calendar might say June or July, there are days when it feels more like November…in Michigan. Mark Twain nailed it. Summer in the city can mean some chilly and foggy days while at the other end of the bridge the locals are melting in one hundred-degree heat. That being said, there have been plenty of evenings when we have been enjoying a lovely time outdoors when “nature’s air-conditioning” rolls in and you go hypothermic.

What I am trying to say here is that it’s not unreasonable for something like a corn chowder to be the perfect answer for a summer dinner. It combines two very Bay Area things, local corn and chilly nights. Plus it tastes good. Pair it with a lovely green salad and a nice chilled white wine from Napa or Sonoma and you have the quintessential California dinner.

Corn Chowder Recipe
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields 4 servings

Our simple Corn Chowder recipe combines pureed sweet corn, sautéed kernels for added crunch, and an infusion of bacon. (If you want to make a vegetarian version of this dish, skip the bacon and use vegetable stock.) Read more…

Amy’s Pimento Cheese Spread

Photo of Amy’s Pimento Cheese Spread in a jarGraduation Board
My two sons graduate from high school on Thursday. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. It doesn’t quite seem real. But, maybe if I keep saying it I will be able to wrap my head around it. I mean it really doesn’t seem that long ago that I dropped them off for their first day of kindergarten—one of them excited and one of them sobbing. But now it is on to a different chapter in their life. And, like the hundreds of other graduates in their class, we will be having a party on Saturday.

Based on the number of invitations we received for grad parties, we know that the day will be much more of a rolling party than everyone gathering all at once. This means the food will have to be more passive than active. This is a fantastic opportunity for my daughter and me because we have both caught the ART-cuterie board bug that has become all the rage. Just take a quick spin through Pinterest and you will get the gist.

ART-cuterie is essentially a cheese board that combines salami and fruits and nuts as well as dips and cheeses in a though out and artful way. It’s kinda silly, really. But, they can be very pretty when displayed on your buffet table. Plus, it doesn’t always have to be made with meat and cheese. You can do a s’mores board, or something with baked goods, or fruit and chocolate. An all-veggie tray is always a good idea. You can make them as big or as small as you need or do more than one if you want even more variety. The possibilities are endless as are the combinations.

We’re planning on doing a mixed grill. So, I’m thinking that my board should have things that go well with a Summer BBQ. I am going with basic favorites like sliced cucumbers, celery sticks, and bell peppers. Since the peaches and nectarines are starting to come in, I think I might slice some up and add them along with some crisp grapes and Marcona almonds. There will definitely be sliced salami and prosciutto. For crackers, I’m going to go with some water crackers and some butter crackers. The absolute must-have for me though is Pimento Cheese Spread.

Our cheese department has our Pappy’s Pimento Cheese Spread which is darn tasty. But, sometimes I just like to do it myself so I can customize it a bit. For example, I like Amy’s Pimento Cheese Spread with a little fresh diced jalapeño for a bit more kick. I also like a little green onion—which isn’t traditional. But, I likes what I likes…

Amy’s Pimento Cheese Spread Recipe
Yields approxomately 4 cups
Read more…

Curry Chicken Salad

Image of curry chicken salad on half an avocadoParty Time
In our lives, we will attend many celebrations. (I know…such amazing insight!) There will be birthdays, holidays, and graduations. There will be happy celebrations and sad. What is interesting to me is the type of celebrations you attend in a lot of ways depends on your age and where you are in your life. Let me explain…

Not too long ago my husband and I were sitting around talking about how we really wanted to go to a wedding. It had been years since we attended a wedding and the two of us were kind of in the mood for a good party. The only problem is, at this point in our time on earth, all our friends are married and their kids as well as ours aren’t even close to thinking about marriage let alone doing it. So, alas, no party.

Same thing is true with bachelorette parties, wedding showers, and baby showers, though I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive a bachelorette party at this point (It hurts just thinking about it.), I haven’t been to a shower other than the wet and soapy kind for almost 20 years. This is nuts because for about a five-year period of time it seemed like I was hosting or attending a shower of some variety at least once a month.

It got to the point that my sister and I became masters of the baby/bridal shower—mostly because my sister is just good that way. But, we got it down to a science. And, as long as the guest list was different, you just went with the same process, menu, and setup. Different colors of course. We were a well-oiled machine.

Our menu of choice included this Curry Chicken Salad that we served in a fresh papaya boat. But, you could also do it with half an avocado if you wanted to go smaller. The recipe came from a Junior League Cookbook of my mother’s that has given us several family favorites. The recipe below is the original. But, if I had to make this recipe today, 20 years later, I would make a few changes as my personal tastes and eating habits have changed significantly. I’ve noted them in parentheses in case you feel the same.

Curry Chicken Salad
Adapted from the Private Collection: The Junior League of Palo Alto Cookbook
Yields 8 servings Read more…