Last Monday was a bookclub night for me and my 'bookies'. We always make an evening out of our meetings with decor, drinks and food in the spirit of the book we have read. We just finished reading a book about a Mexican-American family living in L.A. so the theme for dinner was Mexican. I decided to make the Mexican street corn known as Elotes. Corn on the cob is shucked, grilled and then slathered with a mayo-sour cream mixture with garlic, cheese and cilantro, and is a beloved street food all over Mexico. It is usually presented on a sturdy stick for eating while strolling around town. This recipe is so easy and delicious, I predict that you will be eating your corn this way all summer long.
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
1/4 c Best Foods mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream or Mexican crema
1/2 c finely crumbled Feta cheese or Cotija
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder (any chile powder will work but the smokiness of the chipotle is wonderful)
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 tsp)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
pinch of salt and pepper
6 ears shucked corn, cut in half or left whole
1 lime, cut into 12 wedges
Preheat a gas grill or get your charcoal started.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, cheese, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir until blended and set aside. When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Transfer corn to bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder if desired and serve immediately with lime wedges.
I decided to re-post this recipe from a few years ago, it is the perfect solution to what must be happening in gardens all over right now. Squash and tomatoes coming on at an alarming rate right before your eyes. I love this easy, no cook salad, it's unusual, beautiful, seasonal and just right for entertaining.
My good friend Annie left a basket of summer produce from her garden on my front step the other day. It's fun to use these gestures as inspiration for my blog but I wondered what I could come up with that would be interesting and different enough that involves summer squash and tomatoes? Hasn't it all been done before? The answer came last night when I went to have dinner with my friend Carol. She was making a warm kale salad (she is always trying some new recipe!) and invited me to join her. I brought my garden offerings and at her suggestion, came up with this fabulous rendition of the classic Caprese! How refreshing to create such a simple salad with these 'all too often' over abundant summer garden ingredients! I hope you agree.
Summer Squash & Tomato Caprese
1 large, red garden tomato, sliced
10 small, gold cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 raw zucchini or trumpet squash, sliced on a mandoline
1 raw yellow crook neck squash, sliced on a mandoline
fresh mozzarella balls
fresh basil, torn into pieces
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
good olive oil to drizzle
Arrange the tomato slices on a platter. Tuck the thinly sliced squash in between. .Place the golden tomatoes around the outside of the platter with the mozzarella balls, however many you feel is enough and still looks balanced. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the torn basil, sea salt and pepper. Serves 4.
I may be a bit late in posting what is clearly one of the summer staples but...
My daughter Lily asked me for our family potato salad recipe the other day and I said, "it's on the blog" and then, after looking, realized that it wasn't. Well, it's about time that it is! I grew up eating this potato salad, first in Texas and then in California, and have been making it, literally my whole life. Barely a week goes by in the summer that I don't make this for a casual bbq or picnic, it's truly essential and my family never tires of eating it! My Mom (Lettie Lou) still makes it on occasion,...without the eggs. : )
Lettie Lou's Potato Salad
6 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2" pieces
1 T kosher salt
2 T sugar
2 T white vinegar
Cook potatoes in salted water until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
Drain and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and vinegar, toss, let cool.
1 c chopped green onion
1 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped sweet pickles (or more!)
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 t kosher salt
2 t celery seed
1-1/2 c Best Foods mayo
Mix all together and chill until time to serve. You can make it the day before, no problem.
Last week I made a chicken salad with some things I had in the garden and refrigerator --
I hadn't planned on making that salad, I just, all of a sudden, got a craving and went with it! It tasted so good to me and reminded me of the great salads that I used to cook so often when I had my café. I posted that recipe on my Face Book page but then the next day, I decided to make a slightly different version (a classic Veronique style) and treat a couple of good friends to an impromptu lunch, poolside. It was a perfect afternoon!
Chicken Salad Veronique
1.5 lbs fresh, organic chicken breast (about 2 large)
1/3 cup dry sherry
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
water to cover
Place the chicken breasts in a glass bowl or glass pie plate. Pour the sherry over and then add enough water to cover. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Let cool, covered, until cooked through. Save the 'stock' for another time. Cut into 1/2 inch chunks and place in a mixing bowl.
20 green grapes, halved or quartered if they are really big
1 rib celery, sliced thinly
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1 cup Best Foods mayo or more if desired
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Serve on a bed of fresh arugula or mixed lettuces tossed with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Garnish with fresh fruits.
The idea of this salad is to keep the ingredients 'all green' so adding a fresh pear, cut into chunks, would be wonderful!
Sprinkle with some good crumbled blue cheese for a different taste direction, yum!
Add a 1/4 t curry powder to the mayo if you are so inspired.
Due to C-19, we have all been cooking more than ever lately. I am trying my best not to go to the store too frequently so I'm keeping certain food items on hand so that I can always whip up something to eat that is yummy, nutritious and comforting. This tomato soup is one of those things that is easy to make and reminds me of home, family and all things I love. Keep a large can of tomatoes, a large container of chicken or veggie stock, a few onions and garlic in your pantry, carrots, parsley and celery in your fridge and you will have the makings for so many wonderful dishes. I always have butter or olive oil and some half and half for my coffee on hand so other than that, make sure you have some bread and cheddar cheese on hand for that ubiquitous grilled cheese to make the memory complete!
Simply Easy, Tomato Soup
2 T butter or olive oil
1 stalk celery
1 large clove of garlic
I onion, yellow or white, even red is fine
salt and pepper
4 C chicken or veggie stock (preferably homemade)
1 35 oz can of peeled tomatoes and the juice
2 T fresh parsley or whatever fresh herb you have on hand or In the garden
1 C half and half (optional)
Melt the butter or oil in a small stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and cook until sightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and stock and cook for 30-45 minutes to blend the flavors. Purée with a hand blender until smooth. Add the parsley and half and half, if using. Check seasonings. Eat with a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich, on the side or cut into small "croutons" to add to the soup. Freeze the extra…if there is any.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"