from Jude's Kitchen: corny salads
I wait all year for the perfect flavours of fresh-from-the-field corn on the cob and tomatoes. They are two vegetables that taste nothing like the fresh version even days after they were picked, or if not picked at just the right stage in their maturity.
Green tomatoes, once picked, will eventually turn red, but there’s no comparison in flavour to those vine-ripened ones. Corn can be kept for a few weeks under adequate refrigeration, but it’s like a different vegetable from that picked and then steamed within hours. The flavour can’t be compared to the stored version.
Interestingly, there was a lot of corn used in different dishes offered up by our local chefs at the Feast of Fields this year, which was held at Claremont Ranch Organics in Lake Country.
For instance, Chef Stuart Klassen of the Delta Grand topped his braised apple barbecued pork, using Kelowna’s Double Cross cider, with a corn salsa which matched those flavours very well.
It was a great event with lots of tantalizing flavour combinations. And, it was often the simplest that tasted the best, like Waterfront Restaurant Chef Mark Filatow’s blue cheese-stuffed apricots with a ribbon of locally-smoked prosciutto wrapped around each. Yum.
Both corn and tomatoes are now ripe and ready to eat in local fields and gardens, so make the most of the opportunity and add them to everything. I snacked on tiny patio tomatoes, plucked warm and sweet from the vine, before I even had breakfast this morning.
And then, there are sweet peppers. Again, no comparison can be made to those creatures picked weeks earlier and shipped across the country. There’s nothing like eating them fresh off the plant and they do very well in our hot Okanagan summers.
Notice the variety of colours in both these salads, and visit the rainbow kitchen with your kids for ideas about involving your youngsters in cooking: http://www.todayiatearainbow.com/videos/in-the-rainbow-kitchen/
Kelowna’s Kia Robertson and her daughter created a series of kitchen videos involving adults and kids and you’re invited to do the same, with a chance to win big cash prizes in a province-wide contest put on by a group called Better Together, that believes strongly in the importance of families eating together, and that
Entry deadline is Sept. 3, so you’d better get busy now on your cooking video to qualify. Go to: bettertogetherbc.ca/
You’ll find lots of kid-friendly recipes in my book, Jude’s Kitchen, published by the Okanagan Institute and distributed by Sandhill Book Marketing of Kelowna. It’s available at local bookstores and wine shops.
Corn & Pepper Salad
It seems to me that vegetables that grow together and ripen around the same time just have to taste good together and that’s certainly the case with this refreshing, crunchy, sweet salad. It can have a bite to it if you add some spicy peppers in addition to the sweet ones, but follow your own instincts there.
2 cobs cooked corn
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 large green onions
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh basil
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp. (15 ml) white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) cumin
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) honey
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) coarsely ground sea salt
Lightly cook the corn and use a knife to shave the kernels off the cobs into a salad serving bowl.
Chop the sweet peppers and green onions into similar-sized dice and chop up the tomato. A paste tomato such as a Roma is better, because it’s meatier.
Add the vegetables to the corn and mix well.
Mince the fresh basil and set aside.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the corn and pepper mixture.
Scatter minced basil on top just before serving.
Donna’s Corn & Avocado Salad
This is a terrific side dish to serve with a spicy barbecued meat and is a refreshing salad or salsa for a hot day. Use more hot peppers if you prefer more heat. The sweet crunch of the corn is just a wonderful contrast to the creamy avocado. Donna sometimes makes this with half the corn and avocados, but she serves it with fresh shrimp or prawns as an appetizer.
2 cobs young corn
1 jalapeno pepper
6 grape or patio tomatoes
2 green onions
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lime juice
coarsely-ground sea salt
freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 c. (60 ml) fresh cilantro
Steam the corn until just barely cooked, cool and remove the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife into a salad serving bowl.
Mince the jalapeno pepper after removing the seeds and add to the corn.
Cut the tiny tomatoes in half or quarters and add to the corn, along with chopped green onions.
Peel the avocado, remove the pit and cut into very small dice, adding to the salad and drizzling with the lime juice.
Sprinkle it all with coarse sea salt and black pepper and gently combine everything. Taste and add more juice or seasoning if needed.
Just before serving, mince the cilantro and garnish the top of the salad with it.
Serves 4 to 6.