Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Caribbean Salad

I think this recipe came from Grandma's days working at the country clubs in California. It's pretty quick and easy and holds up nicely at long summer picnics.

Caribbean Salad
serves 4

1 16 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10 oz. bag of frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 7.5 oz. can hearts of palm, drained and cut into 1/4 in. thick rounds
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Add cilantro, coriander and lime juice to food processor. Slowly add olive oil while blending. Pour dressing over salad. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight to really let the flavors blend together.

Do you know how to seed your tomatoes? Grandma taught me this (of course) and it really makes the difference between a delicious salad and a soggy one. First, cut the top off your tomato to expose all the little chambers. Then, over a trash can or bowl, just stick your finger in each of the chambers and scoop out the seeds. Simple as that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Corn Relish Salad

Corn Relish Salad
serves 8-10

2/3 cup salad oil
2 1/2 Tbs. vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 cups whole kernal corn
half a green pepper, diced
2 1/2 tsp. pimento, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced

Mix well. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Peas and Potatoes

New peas and potatoes was a standby at Grandma's house in the summer (and my dad's favorite). It was one of the first recipes I asked for, but Grandma said there wasn't really a recipe. All these year's she just kind of winged it. Tossing together simple ingredients for an incredible result. When I spotted some new potatoes at the store, I decided to give it a try.

Ingredients (these are all estimates as I didn't actually measure anything)
New potatoes, as fresh as you can get 'em (a pound or so)
1 cup peas, shelled (again, preferably fresh)
1 tbs butter
1 cup milk

Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes. Add peas and boil about 8 more minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain. Return to pot. Stir in butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste.

There's a little magic in this dish. According to Grandma, new potatoes are extra starchy and that starch mixes with the milk to create the sauce.
The verdict? Not as good as Grandma's, but yummy enough to keep trying.


Every year from the time I was 12 years old, I spent the summer at my grandparents house up north near the lake. Ostensibly, the goal was to learn the value of hard work by helping my grandparents and great-grandparents in their gardens and around the house. Then, when I was old enough, I earned money working in the restaurant kitchen my grandma managed.

I certainly learned about hard work. There wasn't a morning my grandparents weren't up before the sun. They raised a huge garden with plenty to share with friends and family and anyone else who had a need. But with the sweat there was equal amounts of fun. Delicious meals and even more delicious desserts, pinochle tournaments, and great conversation -- all around Grandma's kitchen table.

It's been at least ten years since I've spent a summer at my grandparents house. Now I have a house and family of my own. But every year around this time, I start to long for those summers again. Last month I asked Grandma for some of her recipes and I'm going to try to recreate a taste of what we had around her table. Here we go.