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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Sliced Red Onions and Fresh Basil // Karista's Kitchen

This is the time of year I’m in food heaven. Summer produce is at its peak and it adorns my table with gorgeous color and delicious flavors, like this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad.  

Most of the plants in my garden are ready to harvest, with the exception of the few plants that have suffered little critter attacks, the heat and my apparent lack of gardening knowledge.  I was so excited about my little strawberry patch, only to walk out one morning and notice tiny teeth marks on my sweet red berries.  Darn bunnies. 🙁

I have a short list of plants I probably won’t attempt growing next year.  I have completely failed at sugar snap peas – and I love sugar snap peas.  Disappointment is looming.  I’m not sure what happened but I think I may have planted them in the wrong spot in the yard.  My knack for growing cauliflower never emerged this season… and then the white flies noticed the fledgling cauliflower hanging about and pretty much decimated what was left of the cauliflower crop.

I’ve had a few successes however.  I am awesome at growing greens!  Which is great because we eat loads of greens in my house.  Bok Choy, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Collards are being harvested daily.  My spring lettuce flourished as did the arugula.  Tomatoes will be ready soon and the cucumbers are popping out everywhere.  Another huge success are the peppers, which is making Ranger Craig very happy.  He could eat peppers daily.  And of course my herb garden is overflowing with the most beautiful and fragrant herbs.  Ok, so I have somewhat of a green thumb.  I believe it may be more determination than an actual green thumb. 🙂

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad with Red onion and Fresh Basil in a Sherry Vinaigrette

The one vegetable I do wish I’d grown in my garden this year is corn –  so I could make this Grilled Corn and Summer Tomato Salad straight from my garden.  

Summer isn’t summer without corn. And well… potato salad, grilled ribs, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled stuffed peppers, macaroni salad and I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes, noshing on corn on the cob with smears of butter on warm summer days, or watching my family dig into a bowl of this sweet corn and tomato salad.

Grilled summer corn and tomato salad is a staple on our summer table.  

It’s easy to prepare and it holds well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Although it doesn’t last that long in my house.   Slightly sweet from the corn and a little tang of fresh cherry tomatoes combined with a little spice of sliced red onion and then topped with fresh and fragrant basil.  The simplicity of clean, fresh flavors shines through and is melded together by a little taste of char from the grilled corn.  Earthy, fresh, fragrant and most of all, delicious.

Cheers to a delicious and fun-filled summer!

Loads Of Love,

Karista

P.S. Having a little trouble with my print plugin but hopefully it will be fixed soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

Grilled Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

5-6 cobs of fresh summer corn, husks peeled and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade (Julienne)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons and taste, if you need more add the extra tablespoon)

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Brush each corn on the cob with a little oil and then wrap each corn on the cob in aluminum foil and place them on the grill.  Note: Some people like to soak the corn on the cobs in water for about 10-15 minutes prior to grilling.  But if the corn is fresh and kernels look plump, this step won’t be needed. I don’t typically soak my corn prior to grilling unless its end of the season and the kernels look less than plump.

Grill the corn for about 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every five minutes to insure even cooking.  Once the corn is done, remove from the heat and let them rest for about five minutes.  Then unwrap the corn and let them rest another five minutes if they are too hot to handle.  Then scrape all the corn off the cob and place it in a bowl.

To assemble the salad, gently toss together the corn, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Italian parsley and basil.  Whisk together the olive oil and sherry vinegar and then gently toss with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This salad is fabulous when it’s had about 30 minutes to sit on the counter at room temperature.  This will allow all those delicious flavors to meld together.  Place any leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days.

 

 

Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Warm Farro with Wilted Baby Spinach and Crispy Pancetta

Meet my new discovery, Farro.   Well, it’s not really a “new” discovery, I’ve just finally figured out how to cook with it.  Farro is one of those new again ancient grains to gain popularity in the mainstream food arena.  A grain that feels and cooks much like brown rice or barley, but  more complex and stubborn.  As you can tell I’ve wrestled with perfecting the cooking of this little grain.   

Farro is the Italian name for Emmer wheat.  The first bite will have you hooked; rich and nutty flavor with just a bit of crunch keeps your spoon or fork digging in for more.  A fabulous alternative to brown rice or couscous, and deliciously pairs with veggies, caramalized onions, wilted spinach, chard and anything else you can think of.   

Ok, so now you know what farro is, let me tell you how I cook it.  I’ve experimented with several methods and the method I’ve had the most luck with is simply boiling in water for a recommended amount of time, taking it off the heat, and letting it sit for a while to soften.  When the grains have popped open and become soft, that’s when I think farro tastes and feels the best.  

I’d really like to tell you it was my culinary brilliance that figured out my favorite method for preparing farro, but honestly, it was because I had to quickly take the pot of farro off the heat so I could leave my house.  I’d lost track of time experimenting with recipes and forgot I had to pick up my daughter from school!   The farro was just going to have to wait and I’d deal with the disaster when I got home.  To my surprise it wasn’t a disaster at all, it was a delicious discovery.  I love when that happens!

If you can’t find farro where you live, here is a link to our local Emmer Farro grower, Bluebird Grain Farms.  They will ship right to your door!  http://www.bluebirdgrainfarms.com/index.html  

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 cups Emmer Farro (whole grain, if using cracked farro cut the cook time in half, or follow cooking instructions on the package)

4 1/2 cups water or veggie or chicken broth

8 oz – organic baby spinach ( or more, depending on how much you like spinach!)

8 – 10 slices pancetta (basically it’s Italian bacon)

1 small onion, halved and thin sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Butter

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Chopped fresh Italian parsley (for garnish, optional)

Directions

In a large pot, heat the 4 1/2 cups water.  Season the water with a little salt, and then add the farro.  Let the farro simmer for about 30 minutes.  Check the farro, if it is soft and plump and you like the texture then it’s ready.  However, if it’s still a bit crunchy and the kernels haven’t burst, take it off the heat and let it sit for another 30 minutes in the hot water.  

While the farro is cooking, heat a skillet on medium and add a pat of butter and saute the onions.  Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic and saute for a minute longer.

Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl and set aside.  In the same skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta.  Let the pancetta cook and crisp, like bacon and then transfer to a dish and set aside. 

Last, again in the same skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil if needed and heat on medium heat.  In batches, add the baby spinach to the pan and let the spinach wilt.  You just want the spinach to wilt slightly, not cook down until soggy.  Transfer the spinach to the dish with the onions and garlic. 

When the farro is done, drain if needed and place in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Toss the farro with the spinach, onions and garlic.  Once it’s blended to your satisfaction, crumble the pancetta over the top and serve.  Dust with fresh chopped Italian parsley if desired. 

Enjoy!

I surfed the net for additional farro recipes, and I love the farro post on the blog Orangette, a fellow Seattlite.  Sounds yummy! PS: I love Molly’s book too!  Definitely worth purchasing, a great read!

http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/04/its-name-is-farro.html