corn salsa with cilantro

Summer is about being outside. Because around here, winter lasts for like nine months. Not even kidding. So when it warms up, we go out. We cook outside, work outside, play outside, sleep outside, and eat outside. Grilling becomes second nature and any side dish that pairs with the dark earthy taste of charbroil, makes for happy tastebuds.
This corn salsa makes for especially emotive tastebuds. Because cilantro.
Cilantro, to me, takes like summer. Fresh, clean, bright. The more the merrier!
This salsa can be paired with a bowl of tortilla chips or served all on it’s own as a side salad.


2 15oz cans of yellow corn, drained
1/2 red onion, diced
2 sweet red peppers, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl gently blend the corn, onions, peppers, black beans, and cilantro. A soft spatula works best—you don’t want to smash the beans and corn together. Set aside.
Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small dish or dressing jar, and then drizzle over the corn mixture. Stir well to coat and then refrigerate before serving.


dilly fingerling potatoes 

You know what guys? Fingerling potatoes look a lot like . . . fingers. Just saying. And not in the like, “That’s awesome!” kind of way. More in the, “Well that’s odd,” kind of way.


Now that that’s out of the way, on to this most delicious recipe, staring: fingerling potatoes. Is that gross? I don’t know. Sorry, not sorry. Because this really is delicious. Reminiscent of summer picnics and everything cool and refreshing. Or, if you’re like me, a prefect late-night snack! Or if you prefer, a potato side dish that delights rather than bores.



1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
1/2 cup homemade mayo
1/2 teaspoon salt
a dash of pepper
dill weed
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

slice the potatoes in rounds—about 1/2 inch in width. I love these little potatoes because just a few slices and you have the most perfectly-sized bites imaginable.
Cover with cold water and a dash of salt in a medium cooking pot, and bring to boil on med-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes or so—until fork tender but not falling apart. These little potato bites will need to hold their own in the dilly mayo sauce they’re about to be slathered in.

In a bowl, blend 1 cup homemade mayo, (this is truly the easiest thing in the world to make and SO good, but if you’re intimidated, go ahead and use whatever remade mayo strikes your fancy), salt, pepper, dill weed, ground mustard, sugar, and diced garlic together until well combined. Add vinegar, lemon juice and greek yogurt, and whisk until smooth and all ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon over cooled potatoes in generous amounts. No holding back here. You’re going to want to pour it all on.
Yes. Go ahead. All of it. The sauce makes these guys sing.

Serve as a chilled side to grilled chicken, brats, or my favorite: salmon.

baked lemon-garlic salmon with lemon balsamic kale and spinach salad

I was at a book event a while back in this gorgeous little town, and upon discovering I was starving, (happens ALL THE TIME), I wandered into this fantastic little restaurant/pub/bistro that served up one of the better meals I’ve had in my life. And this people, this is saying something.
Perhaps it was because I was so hungry.
Or that I was alone for the weekend ( my four littles stayed at home with kind and generous husband!) —Introverts unite.
Or perhaps it was because for the first time in a long time no one drooled in my food, asked me for things mid-bite, or wiped ketchup across the small of my back while I was eating. (See earlier note about being alone).
Regardless, the meal was marvelous. Balsamic-lemon arugula salad topped with a maple spice-rubbed salmon done just right, and all the black coffee I could drink, (served hot, I might add, without the necessity of microwaving several times over). And did I mention I was alone? Ah yes. Sorry.

Since that wonderful, albeit staggeringly simple meal, I’ve been trying to re-create the experience. Taste-wise at least. And last night I think I got it.
There was dancing in my kitchen.

I am pleased to share my own version with you, slightly easier and more expedient to prepare, because I know how difficult it is to focus or do things with precision when small people are wiping ketchup on your back/legs/butt.



1 large fillet of salmon
Enough fresh kale and spinach to feed four people

Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette
½ teaspoon fresh pressed garlic
a dash of salt

Butter sauce for salmon:
2 tablespoons clarified butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh-pressed garlic
1 teaspoon Italian spice blend
a dash of oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with tin-foil and lay the salmon, skin-side down, on the foil. Mix up butter sauce in a small dish, and with a sauce brush, drizzled and coat the fish with the sauce until it is completely used up. Pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the fillet). The goal is to have a flaky fillet that isn’t overly-cooked and dry. You should be able to cut into it and have the flesh flake apart, but still be slightly pink in the very thickest part of the fillet.

Meanwhile, mix up the salad dressing and blend the two greens in a large bowl. Arugula can also be used, or any combination of young greens. Personally, I like how the kale and spinach hold their own with the fish. Pour dressing over greens, one tablespoon at a time, tossing until the greens are coated but not dripping. There will be dressing left over.

Plate greens and top each serving with a slice of salmon, roughly 2 inches wide.


Quinoa Summer Salad

Summer food is some of my favorite. The variety of fresh produce! The flavor! The color! All the exclamation points!
And when it comes to gorgeous summer food, salads are my standby. Not just lettuce (though hooray for all the garden greens!) but also grain and pasta salads. My kids are all um-no-thanks-mom-what-is-that-even?  I don’t care. I make the salads anyway. —Slide them on the top shelf in the fridge and eat them all week long. And this one? Oh this salad. Throw it together, toss on the dressing, and it’s about the most fresh, savory, bright meal you can imagine. It’s perfect all on it’s own, as a side, or as my husband likes to eat it, as a sort of salsa served with crispy tortilla chips. Bring it to a potluck, family reunion, picnic, or just serve it up to your Loves for dinner.



4 cups cooked quinoa (white, red, or a blend of both)
1 1/2 cups chopped red peppers  (about 2 large peppers)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow peppers (about 2 large peppers)
1 cup chopped red onion  (about 1/2 large red onion)
2 cups cucumber, chopped
1 1/2 cup of fresh/frozen edamame (not canned)
1 15oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (Roma or cherry—fewer seeds)
1/2 cup diced scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
3 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon diced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons sugar

Start by cooking your quinoa. I always make extra and freeze whatever I don’t use because it freezes so well and it’s a great addition to so many things. You can use a variety of quinoa for this recipe  I like a blend of the white and red, both for color and flavor. The red quinoa is a little stronger—more nutty. Once your quinoa is cooked, refrigerate it until cool. You will be mixing a ton of fresh chopped veggies into it, and if the quinoa is warm, all those veggies will wilt.

While the quinoa is cooling you can chop the vegetables—peppers, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. I usually just throw all the chopped veggies in one large bowl and refrigerate them until I’m ready to mix the salad. (Note: strain off any extra liquid from the vegetables before mixing them with the quinoa or it will be soupy.) Drain and rinse the black beans and thaw the edamame. Set everything aside while mixing the dressing.

The measurements above make about two cups of dressing, which will probably be more than you want for this salad, but everyone’s tastes are different. Use according to your own taste and refrigerate the rest.

(A note on oils in the dressing: I’m an oil snob. I love the weight and depth different oils bring to a dressing, but you don’t have to use each of these different kinds. You can use your own blends or simply olive oil and vegetable oil. Do try and use at least some olive oil as it adds a needed weight to the dressing.)

Mix oils (either the blends recommended above, or your own choices) and add the soy sauce, vinegar  garlic, ginger, and lime juice. Whisk until blended and feel free to taste. Sugar is a preference thing—I like my dressing a little sweet and so I’ve recommended using two tablespoons, but adjust according to your own taste. Mix well and set aside.

Blend the drained vegetables, edamame, drained and rinsed black beans, and cooled quinoa until well mixed. Use a soft spatula as a wooden or metal mixing spoon will crush the veggies and beans. Pour dressing over the salad according to your desired taste. Serve cold.

A couple extra notes:

If, like me, you have a loved one who likes a little “meat” with his meals, shrimp is an excellent addition to this sald.

This salad keeps really well—I actually make it a day ahead of when I plan to serve it as the flavors intensify and blend if it has a chance to rest.

Lastly, this recipe is huge. It makes 12 + cups of salad. Perfect for sharing. But adjust the measurements if you prefer to pare it down a bit.