Summertime Foods

29 Jul

I love eating cold, delicious food in the summer, so this post has two recipes that I make all summer long. Of course, they’re not limited ONLY to eating in the summer, but the heat index was 105*F this morning at 9:30, so I have cold food on the brain.

Both of these recipes are basically chopping and mixing, with very little heat to add to your sweltering kitchen.

First, Black Bean and Corn Salsa.

This stuff is AMAZING.  It’s quick and easy to throw together, and I made it for a BBQ I’m going to this weekend, so I thought I’d share. The recipe is my mom’s.

  • 1 lb frozen sweet white corn – don’t bother thawing, just dump it in.
  • 2 cans black beans (the plain ones with just salt, not seasoned), drained and rinsed well
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, very finely diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, very very finely minced
  • zest of 2 limes

Dressing: 3/4 c lime juice, 1/2c olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper)

If you just HAVE to have cilantro, you can add some, but I can’t stand the stuff. It’s pretty easy to cut this recipe in half, but when I do I usually still use the whole bag of frozen corn. Besides, this stuff is super healthy and makes an excellent side dish, or taco stuffing, or basically just eaten with a spoon. SSH and I can usually go through a whole batch before it goes bad.

Serve cold (it’s best if it sits a few hours before you eat it) with tortilla chips or on its own as a side dish (I like it with grilled chicken or on top of fish tacos).

And, if you’re grilling chicken (therefore cooking outside!) and serving it with a delicious, tangy bean and corn salsa, you might as well make a delicious cold lemonade to go with it.

Ginger Mint Lemonade

  • 2QT pitcher (glass if possible, this is pretty to look at)
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons, sliced thinly (save about 1/2inch off each end)
  • 20-25 large mint leaves
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, bottled is fine)
  • Several cups of ice
  • Cold Water

In pitcher place ice, lemon slices, lemon juice, about 10 of the mint leaves (give them a slight bruising), and 3-4 slices of ginger (also bruised/crushed).  Set aside.  This works best if the ice is on the bottom and the tasty things are on top.

In a glass microwave safe bowl (I use a 1 quart pyrex measuring thing), combine sugar, 1cup water, the rest of the ginger and mint leaves, and the lemon ends.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes, until the water boils, stirring periodically. Remove and let steep for 10 minutes.

Add another 1/2 to 1cup cold water to the sugar mixture to cool and strain it into the pitcher.  Fill the pitcher with cold water and stir to combine.

The end result is cool, sweet, slightly spicy from the ginger, and with juuuust enough mint to be noticeable in your mouth without being overpowering.  And it’s fantastic for a hot sticky day.  You can add more or less of any of the ingredients (or make it entirely without the mint and ginger) and it’ll be just as tasty.

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