Month: July 2012

Summer Corn Salsa

Although I grew up baking and cooking, and watching both my grandmother and mother canning everything from beans to tomatoes, I’d never attempted canning until last summer. Ball sells a great starter kit and accompanying tool kit for the canning novice (I’ve also seen them at Walmart and Target during the peak summer months). My first adventure in canning was blackberry preserves, and I was in love.

This summer, I decided to be a bit more adventurous. When I got my hands on some great corn and tomatoes, I knew the perfect follow-up: corn salsa.

The bright colors and flavors make a great addition to any Mexican spread, an accompaniment for grilled summer steak, chicken breast or vegetables, or my personal favorite: scooped straight out of the jar with tortilla chips.

Canning is optional, and the salsa will keep up to three weeks without it — although as fast as I’ve watched my friends devour this stuff, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about it going bad. The flavors will be even better the day after it’s made.

Corn Salsa

From Put ’em Up, by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Yield: about 8 pints (Note: I cut the recipe in half)

12 ears corn, shucked

3 cups distilled white vinegar

1 c sugar

1 T ground cumin

1 T salt

5 lb tomatoes, diced

1-2 jalapenos, diced, seeds removed (leave the seeds for a spicy salsa)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic gloves, mincd

1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

Bring a large nonreactive stockpot of water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for 4 minutes. Drain. When the corn is cool enough to handle, stand the cobs on end and slice vertically to cut off the kernels, being careful not to cut into the cobs. (I use an electric knife.) Empty and wipe out the stockpot.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, cumin, and salt int he stockpot, and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and corn kernels. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, allowing flavors to blend. Stir in the cilantro and return to a boil. Remove from the heat.

If refrigerating, ladle into bowls or jars. Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

If canning, use boiling water method. Ladle into hot half-pint or pint canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Release trapped air. Wipe rims clean; center lids on jars on screw on jar bands. Process for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

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Apricot Compote

I love apricots. They’re harder to find — and, I think, a bit more glamorous — than peaches and other stone fruits. Perhaps it’s because their season is so fleeting, for a few weeks in July.

This simple recipe uses just three ingredients: apricots, lime juice and sugar. It’s delicious on its own or paired with Greek yogurt or ice cream. Many dessert, white and rose wines have apricot in their flavor profile; this dessert would pair beautifully with them. If your breakfast routine includes oatmeal, try a couple of these babies on top tomorrow.

Apricot Compote

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 lb firm, ripe apricots, halved and pitted

3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 Tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

Combine apricots, lime juice, and sugar in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Cowboy Krispies Treats

Confession: I love marshmallows. Okay, that’s not exactly a confession to anyone who knows me. When I bought a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, one of the first things I made was homemade marshmallows, which I’d never been able to do before. They were fluffy and sticky and gooey… and worth every penny.

Two of my favorite treats happen to involve marshmallows: s’mores and Rice Krispies treats. Each has just three ingredients, yet they stand up to every other snack, dessert, finger food, party fare, or inappropriate breakfast food I’ve tried in their place.

I didn’t think Rice Krispies treats could be improved upon until a recent visit to Buzz Bakery, when a barista greeted me with a hug, a large iced black tea, and “Cowboy Krispy” bigger than my fist. After the day I’d had, I’m not sure which I needed more.

Cowboy Krispies Treats are a rift on the classic cereal bars we all grew up with, but with kicks of salt and chocolate to keep you on your toes. When I needed a treat to bring to an Independence Day cookout, I knew these would be a hit — with marshmallows, chocolate, potato chips *and* pretzels all in the same treat, they were destined for greatness.

The beauty of this recipe is both its simplicity and its flexibility. Adjust the ingredients to suit your own tastes and what’s in your cupboard. Enjoy!

Cowboy Krispies Treats

1/2 c.(1 stick) butter

1 pkg marshmallows

6 c. toasted rice cereal (I use Rice Krispies)

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 c. slightly crushed kettle-style potato chips with sea salt

1/2 c. pretzel twists

Lightly coat a 9×13 pan with butter, or spray with cooking spray.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add cereal and stir until well-coated. Stir in chocolate chips. Fold in chips and pretzels.

Using a buttered spatula, waxed paper, or your hands, press mixture into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into 18 squares.