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I really don’t think too many of us have trouble using up tomatoes, but, by this point in the season, I am looking for some different ways to eat them, just to spice things up a bit (whereas in July, I have them with just salt and pepper for every meal of the day). These aren’t really recipes, so much as formulas, so play around with the flavors and ingredients based on what you have laying around and on what sounds good to you.

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Tomato-Cucumber Salad
A Sara Original

Ingredients:

A cup or two of cherry tomatoes, halved
Small red onion, diced
2-3 small cucumbers, diced
Handful of fresh basil or mint or oregano (we have all three in the garden, so I just pick on based on what sounds good, but really any fresh herb would be delicious), sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Splash of red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Throw all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir, barely.

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Heirloom Caprese Salad

A Sara Original (stolen from centuries of Italians)

Ingredients:

1 heirloom tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 cup feta (or fresh buffalo mozzarella for the more traditionalists)
Small handful of fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Assemble the tomatoes on a plate, followed by the onions, topped off with the cheese and basil. Dress with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

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Corn Salad
A Sara Original

Ingredients:

4 ears sweet corn, cooked and shucked (grilling the corn gives an even tastier, smokier flavor if you have time)
1 small red onion, diced
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno, diced (take out seeds for less spicy, leave them in for more heat)
Juice of one lime
1 tomato, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped (or more, depending on your taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Assemble all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir carefully. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and jalapeno if necessary.

Now I’m hungry, so I think I’ll head out to the garden and see what I can scrounge up!

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I feel like I say this about lots of summer vegetables, but is there really anything better than an ear or two of fresh Indiana sweet corn with lots of butter, salt and pepper? I think not. I don’t really love corn other than in the summer straight off the cob, but for the last few years, we’ve frozen batches of Indiana sweet corn for use in soups, tacos, etc. throughout the winter. That corn is a totally different story from the canned or frozen stuff you find at the grocery store, if you ask me. We canned a whole bunch too (recipe coming), but here is our easy process for freezing sweet corn.

Step one: recruit your sweet husband to shuck the corn.

Step two: cook the corn by your method of choice. I like the pressure cooker personally, but I also roasted a few dozen ears under the broiler and grilled another dozen or so on the grill.

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Step three: cut all of the corn from the cobs. We like to do this on big baking sheets because 1) it’s easy to catch the flying kernels and 2) we spread out the corn on the baking sheets and then plop them in the freezer. Freezing them on the baking sheets first makes it easy to just take a little out at a time versus putting them in the bags directly and then having them all freeze together in the bags.

Step four: After freezing the corn (usually overnight for us) on the baking sheets, we put it in bags, label them, and get excited about eating Indiana corn all winter long (or at least as long as it will last!).
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Working hard!

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Does it get any better than Indiana sweet corn? I think not (although I feel like I say that about quite a few vegetables…what can I say? I love me some produce!). Grant and I had a little miscommunication with our farmer’s market runs last weekend and winded up with two dozen ears of sweet corn from My Dad’s Corn (delicious!). A nice problem to have if you ask me.

I decided to try out some new recipes to use up all of that yumminess…

Spicy sweet corn dip
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
Corn kernels from four ears freshly steamed/grilled sweet corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 chopped sweet pepper
1 jalapeno, chopped (I left the seeds in for some extra kick)
1/2 cup homemade garlic mayonnaise
4 ounces queso chihuahua (or monterey jack), shredded
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (note: I made this ahead and put in the fridge to serve the next evening, and it turned out great).
2. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small pan (I used my cast iron skillet and baked the whole dip in the skillet). Saute the corn, salt and pepper until the corn browns – about five minutes.
3. Transfer the corn to a bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the onions and peppers. I like the onions and peppers a bit on the crunchy side, so I only cooked them for about two minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Add the corn back into the pan of onions and peppers, as well as the jalepeno, cayenne pepper, queso chihuahua and mayonnaise. Stir until combined.
5. Sprinkle the cheddar on top and bake for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
A Sara original

I made a huge batch of this on Thursday, and we ate it all weekend long. It makes a perfect snack for the pool or lake. Feel free to make vegetable substitutions based on what you have on hand.

Ingredients
1 pound black beans, cooked
Corn kernels from eight ears of grilled sweet corn
1 red onion, diced
2 sweet peppers, diced
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped (when I make this outside of tomato season, I use canned diced tomatoes, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good)
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced finely
Small bunch of cilantro, chopped

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Combine the ingredients for the dressing a glass jar with a lid and shake thoroughly until combined. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and top with the dressing. Stir gently to combine. I think the “salsa” gets better with age, so try to let it set for at least an hour before serving if possible.

There was still more corn, so I cooked up the rest, shucked it, and froze it in two cup portions. I plan to use them this winter when I’m desperately missing Indiana summer. I have my eyes on this recipe for Thanksgiving!

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