Welcome to Wednesday, Zesters!
From the dandelion yellow sunshine to the foamy blue waves crashing at the beach, there’s something about summer that screams color. And guess what? The foods of summer are no exception. Blush red heirloom tomatoes, crisp green Persian cucumbers, buttermilk yellow ears of corn, and bell peppers as bright as stoplights, it’s all so beautiful! And might I add, extremely tasty. Let me introduce you to a little recipe that shows off some of these delectably colorful veggies of summer…
Vibrant Summer Salad
- 2 ½ cups spinach
- 1 cup arugula
- ½ yellow bell pepper (or orange or red!)
- 1 Persian cucumber
- 4 tablespoons cottage cheese
- 2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes (red, green, yellow, white, or any other color you can get your hands on!)
- 1 ear of corn (I used 2 smaller ones in this recipe)
- 5 leaves of fresh basil
- 3 sprigs of Italian parsley (leaves removed from stem)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs of fresh lavender (just about a tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- Dash of salt and pepper
Side note: if you are local to the Central Coast area and looking for a great place to buy some fresh produce, check out the Avila Beach Barn! I got several of my ingredients from here, including the corn which they BBQ and sell on site for a delicious snack 🙂 There are a ton of local fruits, vegetables, honeys, jams, pastas, breads, and everything you could ever need to zest up your kitchen. They also have hayrides and a petting zoo— great for the kiddos. That’s not to say I haven’t had a blast petting some bah-bah black sheeps. Oh, and did I mention they are only minutes away from sunny Avila Beach? You could make a day of it! Just saying…
Visit http://avilavalleybarn.com/ to get a sneak peak 😉
- Let’s begin by boiling up that corn. It will take a little while, so start this step first.
- Take your olive oil and put it into a small saucepan. We are going to essentially “infuse” the olive oil with garlic so that you still get a garlic flavor but it won’t be overly pungent and intense! Add the garlic and heat it until its golden brown. Don’t heat it on too high of a heat because the oil will continue cooking the garlic even after it’s off the flame and it will char!
- Wait until the olive oil is cooled then pour it into a small, separate dish. Then take your lemon and squeeze it into the dish, and add your ginger and lavender. A little dash of salt and pepper, and there’s your salad dressing!
- As if these veggies weren’t colorful enough, we are going to give this dish even more colorful zest, with some added flavor… Using a pair of tongs, take your bell pepper and put it over the open flame of your stove until it gets some nice grill marks.
- Once your corn is finished, you will also grill it over the open flame. Don’t be alarmed if it makes a few popping and snapping sounds! The corn will take less time to blacken than the bell pepper, and it will dry out if you leave it too long, so keep an eye on it.
- Time to chop up all your ingredients… cut the heirloom tomatoes into wedges, cucumbers into thin slices, corn shaved off the cob, bell pepper into strips, and basil into thin pieces.
- Throw all your ingredients into a large bowl— all your chopped veggies, parsley, arugula, spinach, cottage cheese, and salad dressing. Mix everything together, and sit back to admire your vibrant summer salad!
If you want to eat scrumptious salad as a full meal (like I did) this recipe will serve 2 hungry bellies. If you want it as a side, it will serve 3 or 4. Just don’t come knocking on my door when you don’t have enough for seconds 😉
color the world,