Recipe: Chopped veggies in a light vinaigrette can cope with heat
Ready for the cookout: This colorful salad can be
served cold or room temperature. (Photos:
Oh, that forecast! Why did the hottest day of the month have to be Memorial Day? Anyone planning an outing or (fully vaccinated) home gathering Monday will have to factor in that predicted 104-degree or higher weather. And of course around here the temperature peaks just as you're getting ready to prepare or serve dinner.
This salad is my suggestion for the cookout table. The only cooking required can be done ahead, most of the vegetables are raw, and the dressing does not contain risky-in-heat mayonnaise. The salad can be served cold or room temperature, and is versatile enough to tweak to family tastes.
The base is the wonderful fresh corn now coming into market. The ears are roasted under the broiler or on the grill, and the roasted kernels stripped off to become the dominant vegetable in the salad. Also in there for color and texture are red bell pepper, celery, red onion and cucumber; easy additions or substitutions could include sun-dried tomatoes, sliced olives or chopped carrots. The thyme could be switched out for fresh basil or parsley, too.
|Four ears of bicolor corn went into this
Roasted corn salad
Makes 4-6 servings; easily doubled
4 or 5 ears of corn, husked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 or 3 celery stalks, quartered lengthwise and diced
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, then diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
Other possible additions: 1/2 cup or more sliced sun-dried tomatoes; 1 cup sliced olives; 3/4 cup diced or shredded raw carrots
Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh thyme, roughly chopped (1 generous tablespoon), plus more leaves for garnish if desired
This is the supporting cast. I used about half the
thyme in that bunch, which was just trimmed off
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the broiler or the grill. Brush the ears of corn with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and broil or grill until they're roasted on all sides, turning frequently to avoid burning. (Corn has a lot of sugar and can burn quickly) Let cool.
Combine the chopped bell pepper, cucumber, red onion and celery in a large bowl.
Whisk together the cider vinegar and about 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the thyme leaves, about 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste, and add more olive oil if desired, and correct the seasonings to taste.
Add a touch of salt and several grinds of pepper to the veggies already in the bowl, if desired. (I like pepper with corn, so I tend to use a lot.)
The corn cools after roasting. Use tongs to turn them
often while they're cooking.
Cut the kernels off the cooled cobs and stir them into the bowl with the other veggies. Re-whisk the dressing and pour about half of it over the vegetables, mixing thoroughly.
Cover and chill the salad until ready to serve. (One hour at least is best for flavors to meld.)
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Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of Sept. 24:
This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?
* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.
* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.
* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.
* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.
* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.
* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.
* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.
* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.
* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.
* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.
* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.
* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.
* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.
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