black bean & corn relish

Almost 10 years ago, for my graduation party, my Mother made what had to be at least 10 pounds of black bean salad. Now as good as the salad was, it apparently wasn’t very popular with high school kids as after everyone had left, we had about 8.5 pounds leftover. That, or my Mom greatly over estimated the number of friends I had. :) My Aunts each went home with a few pounds of that salad and to this day we still tease my poor Mom about the over abundance of that salad.

But here we are, 10 years later and I’m ready for that black bean salad again. It can be the perfect afternoon snack with tortilla chips, a delicious topping for salads, grilled chicken or fish, or just as a side dish as my Mom served it that exciting day, a long time ago. Only this time I’m certain there won’t be any leftovers.

Black Bean & Corn Relish - makes about 4 cups

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn (organic corn if possible)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Rinse black beans and corn. Add to medium sized bowl.

Chop red pepper, green pepper and red onion into small pieces..

Prepare vinaigrette. Whisk together garlic, lime juice, cumin, orange juice, olive oil and salt & pepper until combined.

Toss bean mixture with vinaigrette. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, grilled chicken or fish or as side dish.

zucchini toasts

If you don’t have a garden or you haven’t visited the farmers market recently you may not realize that we are currently in peak zucchini season. Those who grow it at home are probably already sick of it, wondering what to do with those pounds and pounds of zucchini. Since my pathetic patio “garden” is barely supplying me with the herbs I need and deserve, I’m still so ready for zucchini.

These zucchini toasts take summers bounty beyond the usual sauteed, grilled or baked. Shredded zucchini, combined with cheese and broiled make for an interesting and healthy twist on the typical grilled cheese. Any cheese that melts will work – it’s a great way to use up those cheese “ends” in your fridge. Gruyere or provolone would be especially tasty.

Zucchini Toasts - 2 servings

  • 1 large zucchini, shredded
  • 2 oz cheese of choice (I used goat cheese)
  • 2 slices bread (I used Rye)

After you shred the zucchini, sprinkle a bit of salt on it and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

Turn on broiler to high.

Squeeze all of the excess water out of the zucchini and set aside.

Stir cheese into zucchini mixture and divide between slices of bread.

Broil for about 4-5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

entertaining: watermelon cubes & feta cream

I can’t think of another fruit that pairs as well with feta as watermelon does. Ultra sweet and ultra salty combined in a healthy little treat. Does it get any better than that?

The credit for this however does not belong to me – we had something similar at my cousins wedding in Boston. I knew that at some point this summer I would need to make use of the quintessential summer fruit – so long as I had some feta cream to go along with it.

Watermelon Cubes & Feta Cream

  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • 8 oz feta cheese
  • Watermelon, sliced into cubes (as uniform as possible)

Process the cream cheese and feta cheese until smooth. This recipe will make about 2 cups worth of feta cream.

Cut watermelon into cubes.

For easy assembly, place 1 cup of the feta cream into a ziploc bag. Snip the corner (small snip) and squeeze directly onto watermelon cube.

Come to think of it, it would be the perfect addition to those Labor Day Celebrations this weekend!

Enjoy your weekend!

mill city farmers market

Of the many reasons I love Minneapolis, the Mill City Farmers Market is definitely on the top of the list.  I’m sure part of it is because I can walk there and part because I can get a coffee, fresh lemonade OR cucumber mint water; curry, crepes OR Chef Shack snacks; local pork, vegetables OR fresh flowers and see tons of cute babies, little red-heads AND adorable kids selling organic vegetables all in a half-hour time span.

I’ve mentioned (and complained I’m sure) before that the summers are so busy I don’t get there nearly as much as I would like to but when I do? I’m sure to soak everything in.