Late summer veggie orzo salad

I have always loved the challenge format cooking shows, where competitors get a basket of miscellaneous stuff and have to quickly make something fantastic.

Our house is sometimes like this when we are nearing the end of the week and due for a grocery shop. I love the challenge of figuring out how to pull something together and the thrill of when it’s actually good.

This pasta salad could be made with a variety of things, substituting what you have on hand (different veggies, shape pasta, lemon for lime). I will say that adding a green of any kind is a nice change of pace and certainly adds some nutrients.

It also helps to have adventurous eaters (or just really hungry ones) to try out the experiments! 😉

Late summer veggies orzo salad

  • 12 oz orzo
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • Zucchini, sliced lengthwise in quarters
  • Yellow squash, sliced lengthwise in quarters
  • 2 ears corn
  • 2 large handfuls mixed greens, arugula or spinach

Cook orzo and rinse. Mix together dressing of lime juice, olive oil, dijon and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Toss orzo to coat. Add in greens. It helps if the pasta is slightly warm to just wilt them. Grill zucchini, squash and corn for 10 minutes. Chop squash and slice kernels off of the cob (let it cool first!) Add to salad and toss to combine.

A goat cheese or vegan goat cheese/chevre is a nice touch of tangy too.

Mexican street corn salad

One of our favorite discoveries during travel was at a little hole-in-the-wall Caribbean restaurant in Key West. The Mexican street corn served on the cob, slathered with a custom mixture of latin flavors was unlike anything that we were used to in Midwest corn country (ie. butter and salt). The boys loved it.

I wanted to find an easier way for Av to enjoy corn (he gets his braces off in a month, yippee!) so I converted this to a salad. If you’ve never grilled corn in the husk, this is also a super easy way to cook it. Plus you can do ahead since this salad is best at room temperature.

We like serious spice in our food, so you’ll want to back off if you don’t like feeling the burn. 

Mexican street food salad

  • 6 ears corn on the cob
  • 3 tbsp light mayo
  • Juice of a lime
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/3c crumbled feta
  • 1/3c cilantro, chopped
  • Dash of chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Grill corn in the husk over direct medium heat on a gas grill for 20 minutes, turning periodically. Pull from heat and allow to cool. **For a smokier flavor pull back husks and throw corn back on the grill for 5-10 min to char just slightly. 

While corn cools, mix together mayo, peppers and lime juice. Cut corn off of cob and add to mayo mixture, add cilantro and feta. Dust with chili powder and salt.

Spicy corn chowder 

I’m sorry that I don’t have a better pic of this corn chowder, but the adults went out for a late summer early evening walk…and this is what we came home to find. Two teenage boys=8 servings (plus BLTs). 

Oh well. It’s healthy, using a ton of late summer ingredients. In fact, only the chicken broth and cream didn’t come from our CSA farm share. The corn and potatoes are absolutely delicious right now!
Btw, The technique that I use to roast peppers is to hold it over the flame of my gas stove top burner (this is a good time to brag about the BTUs you’ve got;) and then when fully blackened, place in a ziplock for 10 min. This makes it easier to scrape off the blistered skin, and dice. Handle with care to avoid burns and of course play with fire inside at your own risk. 

Spicy corn chowder 

  • 1 jalapeño, roasted, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 yukon potatoes, diced
  • 6 ears corn, kernels sliced off
  • 4c chicken broth
  • 2/3c half and half (or milk or skip)
  • Salt to taste

Saute onion in butter til translucent, about 5 min. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook another 3 min on low. Add potato and continue cooking, add corn, saute until potatoes start to brown and corn is bright yellow, about 5 min. Season with salt. Add chicken broth, simmer 20-30 minutes until potatoes are soft and soup begins to thicken. Add half and half. Purée about half of soup with hand blender, leaving some chunks. Do not leave unattended with hungry boys. 

Corn and tomato saute with basil

Sweet corn, sweet, sweet, corn. Minnesota summer at it’s best. I was so thankful to get all of my favorite ingredients at their peak in the farm share box this week. 

While the corn is an obvious superstar, the things that make this recipe better are onions and garlic–FRESH! If you’ve only had the supermarket versions you’re missing out. Fresh garlic is in a completely different stratosphere, far more delicate flavor since it’s not dried out from all that shipping and storage time on a shelf. Seek it out at your farmer’s market, you’ll be convinced.

Hub threw a steak on the grill and voilà! Weeknight dinner on the patio. 

Corn & tomato saute with basil

  • 8 ears corn, kernals sliced off
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2c basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper

Saute onion in butter til soft, about 3 min. Add corn kernals and continue sautéing until bright yellow, about 10 min over medium-low heat. Add garlic, tomato and cook another 3 min. Toss in basil and season with salt and pepper.

Soup’s on!

I am particularly proud of these 2 recipes because they are what my grandmother would call ‘resourceful’. Meaning, they made use of some random stuff in the fridge, almost all of it from our CSA share. It’s my favorite kind of cooking–nothing wasted!

Summer corn chowder

3 tbsp butter

3 ears corn, kernels cut off

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, roasted and chopped

1 onion

4 small red potatoes, diced

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 c half and half

Salt and pepper

Roast the jalapeno, then sweat it in a paper or plastic bag, remove blackened skin, seeds and membrane, dice. Saute the onion, carrots and celery in butter until soft, about 5 min. Add jalapeno, garlic and saute another minute. Add diced potatoes and corn. Add broth and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Add half and half (or cream or milk to adjust fat levels). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree with a hand blender some, but not all, of the soup, if a smoother texture is desired.

Cold cucumber soup

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped

3 green onions rough chopped

1 clove garlic

6oz plain greek yogurt

1/2 c light sour cream

1/4c or a rough handful each of parsley and mint

juice of 1/2 lemon


Puree all of it in a blender or food processor. Chill 2 hours.

Photo Aug 15, 4 10 21 PM Photo Aug 09, 12 54 56 PM

Robin’s killer summer salsa

Thank you to my dear friend Robin for this recipe 🙂

I plan on making a double batch next week for healthy snacking over July 4th!

Summer black bean and corn salsa

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ears corn on the cob, kernels cut off (do not need to cook)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave the seeds if you like spice!)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2c red onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jicama, diced (I used kohlrabi this week from our CSA share)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt

Serve with tortilla chips.

Other recipes this week to use CSA vegetables (spinach, green onions, turnips):

Photo Jun 21, 2 58 52 PM