Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

I will be a on a plane returning from Europe this Fourth of July so instead of a fun themed recipe (you’ll get that next year!), you get a tried and true favorite salad of mine which will be a nice balance for all those savory and sweet treats you will find at your BBQ’s. This salad screams summer and is very easy to make. If possible, try to use fresh corn, it really makes a difference. Happy Independence Day my friends.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 ears yellow or white corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon juice in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the mint and set aside.
  2. Make an ice bath in a large bowl by combining 3 cups of ice with 3 cups water; set aside. In a large pot of boiling water, add a tablespoon salt. Add the corn kernels and the asparagus and boil until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Strain in a colander and place into the ice water. When completely cool, strain again.
  3. Place in a large bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, reserved dressing, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: iVillage

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Spanikopita

I’ve tried a couple of different variations of Spanakopita and this blending of several is what I have found to be my favorite. This is absolutely one of those foods where you can taste the freshness of it being homemade, it is worth every effort. Get ready for pure deliciousness!

For updated recipes and photos, head over to The Simple Kitchen!

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
 
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Serves: 30 triangles
Ingredients
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (or both, depending on preference)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Spanakopita
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-4 shallots, diced
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (can use vegan version or olive oil)
  • ½ pound phyllo pastry sheets
Instructions
  1. To make yogurt sauce, peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
  2. In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. *This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.
  3. Remove spinach from package and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan, and add shallots and scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the mixture, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).
  4. Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
  6. Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use 3-4 pieces of phyllo dough and use a pastry to brush the top strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.
  7. Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

 

Pea and Mint Dip

Pea and Mint Dip

Want something a little different than hummus every now and again? The combination of peas and mint in this dip make it incredibly refreshing. It goes well on crackers, vegetables, bread, etc. Just dip and enjoy!

Pea and Mint Dip
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen peas, thawed
  • Handul of mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp garlic
  • 1 large avocado
  • ⅓ cup good quality olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Gradually add in olive oil until spread is the consistency you want.
  3. Serve chilled.

Serving suggestion: If you want a non-vegan version of this dip, add 1/2 cup of cheese of choice (parmesan, feta, manchego…)

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

So, next to bruschetta, spring rolls are one of my favorite things. I absolutely love the texture and the freshness. This was my first go at making them and I must say, I was so excited when I enjoyed these beautiful fresh spring rolls that I had made myself.

I did learn some lessons along the way. Rice paper isn’t THAT easy to find. You may be able to get it at Whole Foods or other specialty stores but you can also get it online. I ended up getting Three Ladies Brand. Play around with the sauce to your desire. I tried 2 different ones and didn’t love either so I kinda combined two different ideas to make it my own.

Average Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 8 spring rolls

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup – 1/2 cup hot water

Spring rolls

8 sheets of rice paper

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 package (14 oz) organic extra firm tofu, drained

2 Tbsp tamari

1 small head of red cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1 bunch of basil leaves, stems removed

1 bunch of mint leaves, stems removed

Directions

1. Combine peanut butter, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water (varies depending on the consistency you want your sauce).

2. Slice tofu into strips (approximately three inches long and 1/2 in by 1/2 inch). Preheat a saute pan with olive oil. Saute the tofu flipping occasionally until cooked to your desire. Add the tamari once the tofu is partially cooked. I prefer my tofu slightly toasted so I cook on a higher heat for a longer time each side.

3. Prepare a bowl filled with hot water. Dip rice paper in hot water until it starts to lose its stiffness and feel rubbery. Place rice paper on work surface and let sit 30 seconds. Layer ingredients on the third of the paper closest to you. Fold bottom of paper over ingredients. Fold sides, roll up (like you would a burrito) and place seam side down on plate.

4. Slice in half and serve with a side of peanut sauce.