Fresh Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad

Hello there– Do you have a summer favorite dish??  Laurel made this for us on our stay with them in Wisconsin and I’ve made it twice already since we’ve been home!  Tonight it was on the table for a cookout at our neighbor’s house– my new summer favorite!!

Sweet charred corn, creamy avocado, summer ripe tomatoes– flavored with just a hint of lime.  Perfect!


3 ears of sweet corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lage avocado, peeled, pitted, chunked
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed, minced
zest & juice of 1 large lime
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil

Cut the corn kernels from the cob, slicing down the cob with a knife. Heat 3 tab. of olive oil in a skillet and drop in the corn for about 4 minutes, until some of the kernels are charred, stirring a couple times while it cooks. Take off the heat and cool the corn.

To make the dressing, carefully removed the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno, then mince it finely.  (I use a plastic bag on the hand holding the jalapeno, to prevent pepper burn!).

Put the jajapeno, lime zest & juice, salt, garlic and oil into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until the ingredients are well blended.

Add the cut cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and green onion to the cooled corn.  Mix in the dressing and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it up.


Potato Ham Chowder

Hi there–  Heading out this afternoon to spend a week in San Francisco to hangout with our kids and those SF grand-kids.  Can’t wait!  So I’ve been trying to amass a pile of leftovers in the fridge to leave behind for Larry— including this potato soup.

Hearty and hot from the soup pot, it’s chock full of tender potatoes, corn, carrots and those little bits of ham.  Serve it up with a bright salad and a chunk of sturdy bread– dinner!

2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. chicken broth
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 cups milk
1 tsp. thyme leaves
2 cups ham, cut to bits
2 cups corn, fresh, frozen or canned
2 tab. cornstarch
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
garnish: cheddar & green onions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot.  The drop in the cut carrots and onion and cook for 5 minutes until they are tender.  Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.

Then add in the chicken broth and cubed potatoes.  Bring the simmer back up to a low boil and let it cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the milk, thyme, ham and corn and bring the soup back up to a simmer.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake the cornstarch with 1/2 cup water.  Pour it into the soup, stirring until the soup thickens (about 3 or 4 minutes)  Taste it — and add salt & pepper until it’s just right!

Zucchini Corn Chowder

Hey there– OK, I’m ready– to have a new start after Christmas.  Tree down- check!  Decorations boxed up- check check!  Fudge all eaten– double check!  House in order again- mostly checkity check (close enough)!

Here’s a flavorful bowl of soup– warm and filling.  If you want to be a bit more healthy, change out the bacon for olive oil (we just had a bit of bacon leftover in the freezer, calling to be used!).  With a big chunk of study bread, just right for a winter’s evening.

1 tab. butter
4 strips of bacon, cut to small bits (or substitute 3 tab. olive oil)
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, but to small bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 smallish zucchini, cut to small pieces
1 cup half & half or whole milk
salt & freshly ground pepper
garnish: chopped parsley or grated cheddar

In a soup pot, cook the butter and bacon until the bacon starts to crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside, leaving the fat/butter in the pot.

Add in the cut onion and carrots and cook until they are tender (about 5 minutes), stirring now & then.  Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Pour in the water along with the bay leaf and dried basil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the corn and zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more until the zucchini is tender.

Take 2 cups of the mixture out of the pot to a blender (or with a stick blender) and puree it to thicken the soup.  Add the puree and half & half to the pot.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the bacon back into the pot.

Bring it back to a simmer jut to heat it all through and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheddar or chopped parsley (or both!).


Summer Pasta Salad


Hello all– This weekend we’re happily stacking all the things we need to pack up for early Monday morning, when we fly off for our Laurel & John’s wedding in the woods of Wisconsin!  Party dress,  check. Sunblock, check. Grandma Lo’s wedding cake bride and groom, check.  Surprises for grand-girl Jobay, turning 6 on the wedding date, checkity check.

And meanwhile, around here, we’re cleaning out things lingering in the kitchen before we go.  Had a 1/3 bag of egg noodles, a ready to eat avocado, MORE of Larry’s sweet tomatoes…  Throw them in with some corn, a couple slices of bacon and a little chicken.  Summer Pasta Salad  –just right on a hot summer evening!

4 oz. pasta (I used egg noodles)
1 boneless chicken breast
1 tab. olive oil
5 slices bacon
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, cut to nice chunks

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar*
1 tsp. seedy mustard
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and let it cool.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Cut the chicken breast into 3 flat filets and saute in a skillet until it’s nicely browned and cooked through (3 or4 minutes on each side). Remove to cutting board and cut into nice polite size pieces.

Wipe out the skillet and cook up the bacon.  Crumble it to small bits.

Cook the corn cobs in the microwave 6 or 7 minutes.  Cut the corn from the cobs with a large knife.

To make the dressing put the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until it’s completely blended.

When the chicken and pasta have cooled, put them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the bacon, corn, tomatoes, green onion and dressing.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Put to chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Chicken & Summer Veggie Tostadas

Hello all– If you go into our back yard and peek through the fence, you can see our neighbor, Mr. Wicks’ garden!  Really more of a mini-farm.  Fruit trees and all kinds of squash,  green beans and loaded tomato bushes eight feet tall!  And he’s generous.  Giving out fruit and his famous roses to neighbors who pass by.  And we are the often happy beneficiaries of his bounty– this week zucchini and yellow squash!

And of course, the best way to use any lovely food is to roll it into a taco, in this case a tostada.  Thanks Mr. Wicks.  They were delicious!


1 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped to small bits
1 cup fresh (or frozen, defrosted) corn kernels
1/2 cup sales verde
3 tab. chopped cilantro
6 standard corn tortillas
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup colby jack, grated
garnish: cilantro, avocado slices


Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Mix the cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Cut the chicken into flat filets and dredge it in the cumin mixture.  Set it in the hot pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan to a cutting board and cut it into small bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, add the chopped red onion, zucchini and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the salsa verde and cilantro.  Mix. Take it off the heat.

Set the tortillas onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil onto the tortillas.  Set them under the broiler on a medium heat setting for 1 or 2 minutes until they are crispy and lightly browned.

Then stir the chicken into the zucchini mixture and heap it onto the tortillas.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tops and set them back under the broiler for just a minute until the cheese melts.  Garnish with cilantro & avocado.  Add a crispy salad and dinner is ready!!

Mexican Cobb Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing


Hi all– We are trying to get a little jump on summer here.  It’s been warm and my thoughts are already on summer break, lazing in bed mornings with a book, lunch dates with friends, weekend beach walks, dinner out under the maples in the backyard…  It’s all about slowing down, less rush.

And salads.  A bright salad for dinner, makes it seem like summer.  Fresh colorful veggies, salty bacon and cheese.  And tart cilantro lime dressing.  It isn’t June yet, but with this salad on the table, it feels like summer!


4 cups leafy greens
3 small tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 firm avocado, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) corn kernels
1 Persian cucumber, sliced thin
3 strips of bacon, fried & crumbled
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
1/3  cup cortijo cheese*

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. lime juice (about 1 large lime)
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

This is easy.  Spread the lettuces out on a platter and spoon the other ingredients on top.  Done!

For the dressing, put the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, sugar and salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake til it’s thoroughly blended and drizzle over the salad.

Great served with a chunk of cornbread– or if there’s no time to bake, a handful of crispy tortilla chips. Dinner for two.  Enjoy!

*I didn’t have cortijo cheese in the fridge, so used feta.


Chipotle Veggie Chili

IMG_2395Hey there– Looking for something warm and cozy and good for you, amid all the Holiday eating?  Set aside the fudge and roast beast (thank you Dr. Seuss) for this simple, filling Veggie Chili.  It makes a fine supper served up with a hot slab of cornbread.

2 tab. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, stopped to smallish bits
1 chipotle pepper, seeds removed, minced
4 cloves garlic
1 tab. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2  14 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic
14 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans, include sauce
1 can yellow corn, drained
2 cups water
3/4 cup farro
1/2 tsp. salt & freshly ground pepper to tastE
garnish:  sour cream, cheddar green onions…

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then toss in the chopped onion and carrots.  Sauce for 3 or 4 minutes until the onions are tender.  Then add in the chipotle pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin and stir it around for a minute.

Then add in the tomatoes, black beans, chili beans, corn, water and faro.  Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes more until the faro is tender.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.  And serve it up hot with sour cream or cheddar or green onions…


Chicken Enchilada Soup

IMG_2573Hello all–  This week our young mom’s group* got together after our summer hiatus.  I made a major pot of soup (did I really think we’d eat that much?!) and set the table, but I didn’t know it would be a celebration dinner– Esther and her Brian finally signed the adoptions papers this week for their little guy– it’s been 3 years of unbelievable ups and downs.  We all couldn’t have been more thrilled!!

So this simple chunky soup became a special occasion supper– I think it was yummy enough to measure up– along with a bright fruity green salad and some orange poppy seed cornbread.  So happy for Esther and her sweet family!

splash olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
3 cups chicken broth
14 0z. can green enchilada sauce**
14 oz. black beans
14 oz. can corn
14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped to nice little bites***
1 cup cheddar shredded
salt to taste
toppings:  avocado, cheddar, cilantro, red onion, chopped tomatoes, chips…

Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup pot.  Throw in the onions and cook for 4 or 5 minutes until they are completely wilted, then drop in the garlic and cook a minute more.

Stir in the cornmeal.  Then stir in the chicken broth until it’s all blended and bubbling.  then add in the enchiladas sauce, black beans, corn, tomatoes and cumin.

I’m averse to big chunks of tomato floating in my soup, so I smoothed it all out with a stick blender at this point– but you can totally skip that if you’re found of tomatoes.

Then stir in the chicken and finally the cheddar.  Bring it to a simmer and taste to see if you want to add salt– I added just a 1/4 tsp.

It’s ready!!  So easy.  You can serve it with any or all of the garnishes– and with a fruity salad and a slab of cornbread on the side it’s a happy meal.

*It’s a young moms group– but I’m an old mentor mom in this group.

**I love Herdrez brand enchilada sauce (and their green salsa)
***Used a rotisserie chicken from the market, plus several cans of all those ingredients– makes the recipe so fast and easy.


Summer Corn Soup

IMG_2234Hello all–  Supper tonight landed at the intersection of summer and fall. The last of the sweet summer corn cooked into a hearty fall-ish soup.  It’s a little lighter and fresher than the normal corn chowder.  The sweetness of that summer corn shines through.

3 tab. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small red or yukon gold potatoes
3 ears of corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
3 tab. cornstarch
salt & freshly ground pepper
Garnish: paprika, green onion & avocado

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and then add in the chopped onion.  When the onion is wilted, add in the minced garlic and cooked 2 minutes more.

While that’s happening– cook the ears of corn for 6 minutes in the microwave in a dish with water and a couple shakes of salt.  Cut the corn off of the cobs.  (save a 1/2 cup of corn aside to use as a garnish)

Cut the potatoes into small bits.  When the corn is done cooking, pop the potatoes into the microwave in the dish with water & a shake of salt.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Then add the corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk to the onions in the soup pot.  Stir it up and taste.  Season with salt & pepper til it’s just right.   Bring it to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

In a container with a tight lid, shake together the cornstarch and 1/2 cup water.  Add it to the simmering soup and stir a couple minutes until it thickens.

Serve it up hot– and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, some chopped green onion, avocado and saved corn. Makes 4 -6 lovely bowls of soup.


Fresh Corn Salad

IMG_9582Hey there–  Break out the bar-b-que time at our house!  Even though it was Fathers Day, we set Larry to do the work at the grill, while the grand-girls cranked out “Happy Fathers Day” signs and blew up balloons to hang in the yard by the table.  Time to celebrate Dads!

And I was (where else?) –in the kitchen putting lunch together.  Loved this cool salad, in place of good old corn on the cob.  I could make it early in the day and let it chill, ready to set on the table as the meat came off the grill.  It’s crunchy & sweet & tangy– perfect for a sumer afternoon…

4 ears of corn
12-15 cherry tomatoes sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled & cut in small bits
3 green onions, the green parts sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, cut to small pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
2 avocados, peeled and cut to small chunks
6 tab. olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar
2 tsp. sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper

Cook the corn as you wish– I just cooked up these 4 ears in the microwave for 6 minutes.  When it’s cooled a bit, sliced the kernels off of the cob with a sharp knife.

Then in a large mixing bowl stir together the corn, tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, red pepper, cilantro and avocado.

Then in a container with a tight lid, shake together the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. When it’s well blended, pour it over the salad and mix it into coat all the ingredients.  Pop it into the fridge to chill for a couple hours if you have time.

That’s it.  Bar-b-que ready– for a summer’s dinner in the yard or at the beach!

IMG_9612Happy Fathers Day to 3 generations of Dads!  Our son Micah, Stu his grandpa and my Larry all ready to sit down to dinner in the backyard…  We love these great dads!

Mexican Pizza

IMG_4537Hi all– Do you have the “packing a lunch for work dilemma”?  Heading to the teacher lunchroom after a busy morning with the kids, I’m longing for something more than a soggy sandwich.  That’s why I love leftovers!  Little packages of last night’s dinner lined up in the fridge to see me through the week.  And my favorite is pizza, popped in the toaster oven and warm for lunch together with all the teacher friends talking through their mornings.  So here’s my dinner tonight– and leftovers for lunches all week!


Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings (enough for 2 pizzas):
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. Mexican style hot sauce
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. cheddar, grated
2 roma tomatoes, cut to small pieces
1/2 cup red onion, chopped to bits
1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn, defrosted
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, cut in small pieces
1 cup cooked carnitas meat in small bits*
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Stir together the oil, garlic and hot sauce.  Spread it over the crust with the back of a spoon (try not to flatten the crust too much).  Then sprinkle on the mozzarella and cheddar.  Layer on the tomatoes, onion, corn, pepper, carnitas and cilantro.

Pop the pizzas into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is cooked through and brown around the edges.

*I used leftover carnitas from a taco dinner with friends.  Bits of leftover chicken or beef would be just dandy.  Or make the pizza without meat for Mexican veggie pizza!


Sliver Pizza

IMG_2501Hello Friends–  I wish I could call you and just say, “Let’s meet up at Sliver in Berkeley for a chat over their scrumptious pizza!”  It’s one of those interesting places that makes just one kind of pizza each day and it’s always a good one, whatever they come up with.  The day my Ani and I dropped in for lunch they had this fresh summery version and it decidedly delicious!

They list the ingredients on a chalkboard every day so you can anticipate what’s coming out of the oven.  This one had yellow summer squash, yellow corn, red onion…  So here’s my best copy cat pizza.  It’s the next best things to a day of pizza with Ani in Berkeley.

Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_2526Toppings (enough for 2 pizzas):
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh corn, cutoff the cob
2 yellow summer squash. cut to smallish chunks
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped to small bits
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Blend the olive oil with the minced garlic and spread it over the prepared crusts.  Then layer on the squash, corn, red onion and red pepper.  Cover that with the mozzarella and feta.  Pop it into a 375 degree over for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese just begins to bubble and the crust is browned around the edges.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the cooked pizzas and serve it piping hot!




Here’s Ani and the yummy pizza from Sliver– It’s as good as it looks!



*warm water, not too hot, just about the right temperature for a baby’s bath.

Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Corn Hash

IMG_2605Hi friends–  We hit the good neighbor jackpot when we moved into our house next door to Mr. Wicks!  He’s an older gentleman (at least a little older than us), who spent years as a college photography professor.  Nowadays, he’s turned his talents to gardening.  His rose bushes seem to bloom non-stop.  His sunny yellow dahlias are the size of dinner plates!!  And he’s turned his backyard into a mini-farm.  So lucky for us, he occasionally turns up at our door with a sack of his luscious tomatoes.  They were the impetuous for this chicken dinner.  Thanks Bob!!

1 cup frozen corn (or fresh cut off the cob)
2 tab. olive oil
1 few shakes of garlic salt
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
a splash of olive oil for frying
3 ripe summer tomatoes
2 tab. red onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut in slivers (wait til the last minute to cut so they don’t brown)

Stir together the corn, 2 tab. olive oil and garlic salt.  Spread it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the corn starts to brown around the edges.

While that’s roasting, slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 2 or 3 smaller cutlets each.  Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic and parmesan together in a bowl.  Put the flour in another bowl and beat the egg in a third bowl.  Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and when it’s hot, one by one, dip the cutlets both sides in the flour, then the beaten egg and last coat both sides with the crumb mixture.  Drop the cutlets in the hot oil and cook them about 3 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned.  Then slide the pan into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to cook them through.

While they are cooking mix the roasted corn with the red onion and basil.  Then when the chicken is ready, slice the tomatoes and arrange the chicken and tomatoes on a platter and scoop the corn “hash” over the tomatoes.

We had this for dinner tonight, along with a green salad topped with almonds and blueberries with a tarragon dressing, brown rice an  a sturdy sour dough loaf of bread.
We liked it just fine.

Simple Summer Salad

IMG_2057Hi there– Last night Jenon came for dinner.  We sat out in the yard eating and talking until the sun went down and we just had the lantern light to brighten the table.  It was all old favorites for dinner– chipotle chicken, lime cilantro rice and this salad. I’ve been making if for years because it’s so fast and simple and goes with just about any summer meal.  It’s fresh, crisp and avocado creamy.

1/2 head red leaf lettuce (or your favorite greens)
1 can yellow corn
1 avocado, cut in cute chunks
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in thirds
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
salt & fresh pepper to taste

So just layer the torn lettuce leaves, corn, avocado and cherry tomato on a platter.  In a container with a lid shake together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until it’s emulsified.  Dress the salad just before you put it on the table.  So easy.  Enjoy!

Tamale Pie

IMG_8071Hi everyone– I’ve been eating this tamale pie for as long as I can remember.  It was a staple in my mother’s kitchen.  Since I’m too busy (lazy?) to make Christmas tamales, I whipped out this recipe when the Monday night friends came for dinner this week.  I love this stuff.  Not sure if it’s just the nostalgia of good old tamale pie or if it jus tastes so warm, savory, spicy great!  Anyway here’s the recipe ( a version of the 1950’s favorite)


1 pound ground beef
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can corn
1 14 oz. can small black olives
1 package Lawry’s taco seasoning

Brown the ground beef in a deep pan.  Strain off all of the fat that’s rendered.  Then mix in the tomato sauce, corn, olives and taco seasoning.  Simmer on low, low heat while you make the topping.

Cornbread topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 egg
2 tab. canola oil
1 1/2 cups milk

Mix the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ones.  This will be thinner than regular cornbread batter.  Pour the meat mixture into a 9″ square pan and then drizzle the cornbread batter over the top.  Bake it all at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the cornbread is golden and the filling is bubbly around the edges.

sour cream
green onions
chunks of avocado
cortijo cheese
grated cheddar

Pick the garnishes you like best and pile them on your tamale pie when it’s steaming hot ready to eat on your plate.  It’s just good old fashioned good food.


Corn, Potato and Ham Chowder

Hi friends– OK, it’s really soup weather around here at last.  It makes my heart happy that my soup pot is pulled out of the cupboard once more.  We’ve been eating this corn chowder since we were first married–37 years!  So we’ve had a few pot-fulls.  Making it again after a long soupless summer is like having an old friend drop in for dinner.  Here it is:

1 cup turkey ham, cut to bits (any ham will do)
2 tab. olive oil
2 tab. butter
1 yellow onion chopped
2 russet potatoes
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup flour
2 15 oz. cans cream corn
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
sprinkle of grated cheddar
Sprig of something green for a garnish

Put the oil and butter in the soup pot and heat it up.  Drop the small chunks of ham and onion into the hot pan and let them brown a bit, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and cut the pototoes into polite little chunks.  Cook them in the microwave with water and a 2 shakes of garlic salt for about 7 minutes until the a cooked through, but still firm.  Then sprinkle the flour over the cooking ham and onions.  Turn the heat up medium high and add the milk one cup at a time, stirring all the while until the sauce thickens.   Pour in the creamed corn, green pepper, salt and pepper.  Simmer on the lowest setting (this can scorch easily) until it’s nice and not.

Serve it steaming with a handful of cheddar on top. It’s pretty to add a bit of green.  We have a thyme plant on it’s last legs in the side yard, that worked just fine.  Make some bran muffins and a leafy green salad and it’s dinner!

Summer Salad with Avocado Dressing

Hey there– We had dinner in the backyard last week as the evening cooled down to celebrate my friend Jenon’s birthday.  Out under the maple tree, with a little breeze it was perfect (well, almost perfect except for a couple of pesky flies!).  Chicken and pasta with this fresh summer salad.  The real star is the cream salad dressing.  Here it is:

plateful of bits of red leaf lettuce
two ears of sweet corn kernels (or one can of corn)
1 avocado (cut in chunks, save 1/4 for the dressing)
5 radishes

Layer the lettuce, then kernels of corn, chunked avocado and radishes.

Avocado Dressing:
1/4 cup light mayonaise
2 tab. sour cream (we use nonfat)
a couple shakes of garlic salt
2 tab. minced cilantro
1 tab. lime juice
remaining chunks of avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado)
1/2 tsp. sugar

Blend all the ingredients with a mixer or stick blender on low.  Pour on the salad just before serving.

Chili Pork Salad (with lime cilantro dressing)

Hi there– Laurel and I are just back from our travels and the first thing I wanted for dinner was a big summer salad after all our vacation eating.  Fresh and tangy, this just fit the bill…

3 thin pork cutlets
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground coffee (the surprise ingredient!)
a few shake of salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
a head of red leaf lettuce, torn to bits
a cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 avocado cut in chunks
a handful of cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cup corn– fresh, frozen or canned…

Mix the cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, coffee, salt and pepper in a flat pie pan.  Coat the cutlets in the mixture and grill them in a pan sprayed with cooking spray,  just about 2 minutes on each side.  Cut them into strips.  On a platter, layer the lettuce, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and finally the pork.  Pour on the dressing just before you serve it up.

1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tab. cilantro, chopped finely
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tab. frozen orange juice concentrate

Mix this all in a container with a lid.  Shake it up until it combines thoroughly and pour over the salad (This may be too much dressing for one salad, but leftover keeps well in the fridge.)

Try eating this salad out in the back yard under a tree.  It tastes twice as good that way!  Hope you like it…