Growing up around family and parents that cooked as much as possible really put me in position to absorb some great flavors and techniques from a great deal of people. Nothing made more of an impact on me than when we ate straight from the garden. In our small backyard in Flint, MI as a young kid my mom and dad erected a couple plots of raised bed gardens. I can’t quite recelect exactly what we grew, but i do remember how great everything tasted when they threw together dinner on the grill or when we cracked into something my mom had canned when we were in the throws of a Michigan winter.
I can remember seeing my dad thumb through Victory Garden books and my mom making me sit through long sessions of canning at Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom’s house. There were seed catalogues scattered among the latest copies of Mother Jones and NRA hunting magazines on our coffee table (Weird combo right?)
My youth was filled with these experiences and it seemed like everywhere we went someone was sharing a recipe or exchanging a can or two of stewed tomatoes for some pickled green beans or something of handmade in the kitchen. Today some hipster would probably call it “artisan” or “crafted” but to me it was summer at home.
Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad
2 Cups grilled sweet corn- About 3 ears of corn
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, Grilled and diced small
1-2 T. Vegetable oil
1 Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup minced red onions
1 Tbs. Fresh Chopped Mint Leaves
1 tea. Fresh Chopped Oregano
2 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
1 Tbsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups Cooked Bulgur Wheat
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper To Taste
- Remove the corn husks and silk from the ears of corn. Lightly brush with vegetable oil and grill over medium heat until a light char develops on all the corn. Cool and cut the corn off the cobs.
- Prepare the peppers in the same fashion and grill whole until a light char appears. Be careful not to burn the skin. Set aside to cool and then dice small.
- Combine cooked peppers, corn and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bulgur Wheat How to Cook:
To cook, combine 1 1⁄2 cups medium-grain bulgur and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain, if necessary. This will yield 5 cups, so store extra in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Pickled Beets with Goat Cheese and Spinach
4 Large Beets, Roasted
½ Cup Water
1 Cup Verjus
Peel of 1 orange
2 T. Sugar
1 Clove Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
Segments of 1 orange
4 Cups Baby Spinach
8 Ounces Goat Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Roast the beets by placing them in a foil package, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in 350 degree oven for 45 min, or until fork tender. Cool and slice.
- In a small saucepan combine verjus, orange peel, sugar, garlic and bay leaf and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and take off heat and pour over sliced beets. Let cool in refrigerator for at least ½ hour.
- Arrange spinach in a large bowl or platter.
- Top with goat cheese and orange segments. Arrange the pickled beets atop the salad and drizzle with pickling liquid.
- Season with salt & pepper and serve.
Root Vegetable Slaw with Cumin Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon zest, 1/2 cup juice)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
3 medium carrots
2 medium beets
1 small celery root
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional- Lettuce or baby spinach to serve on
- In a large bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, cumin seeds, ground coriander, vinegar, olive oil, and sugar.
- Peel and shred the carrots, beets, and celery root and add to the bowl. (Do the celery root last as it’s prone to browning when exposed to air) Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- For best flavor, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.