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Simple Summer Stew

At the risk of sounding like my grandmother, I’m trying to get some more fiber into my diet. I’m also trying to cook as simply as possible this summer since I’ve grown tired of my tiny kitchen, which is probably the size of most of your bathrooms. My fantasies don’t involve exotic travel or lavish jewels, but rather a large, rustic, sunny kitchen with lots of windows, counter space, and a breakfast bar.

To me, simple cooking usually means a one pot dish and I make a lot of those. Since beans are a great source of fiber and I had them in the stock, I chose those for my protein. I love beans and they give me a lot of options when cooking vegetarian.  While I’m back on the meat wagon from time to time, my husband is not so dinners have been a bit challenging lately. Beans are a good compromise for us.

I wanted the taste of stew without much effort so I gathered some small white beans, brown rice, local carrots, an onion, a sprig of rosemary and two small red potatoes. The result was hearty, warm and satisfying. Warm in summer? The trick to stew in the summer is to eat dinner in the bedroom where your husband keeps the air condition at a crisp 62 degrees. It hits the spot and makes me long for my favorite season of the year.

Next week – stay tuned for the one year anniversary of Not My Mother’s Kitchen. And what a year it has been…

Simple Summer Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 can small white beans  
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 spring rosemary  
  • 1-2 cloves garlic  
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 6 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Directions

Saute garlic and onion in pot (use one that you can transfer to the oven) with a healthy serving of olive oil. Add carrots and red potatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Addpeas and beans and a bit more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and the sprig of rosemary. Cover pot and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender, about 30-40 minutes. Serve stew over brown rice. You can also use quinoa or millet if you prefer.

Summer Lovin: Corn on the Cob

We  all have our summer favorites when it comes to food. Mine have always been corn on the cob and watermelon. As you may know, we saw very little in the way of fresh veggies in my house as a kid with one notable exception – corn on the cob. We lived two blocks from a small farm that I would walk past going to school each day. When summertime hit, we would all line up for Nick’s corn. My mom would send me up there with $2.00 for our weekly corn supply. Then my brother and I got to husk the corn in the backyard – another treat. Fast forward thirty years later and my heart still skips a beat during corn season.

We make a meal out of corn on the cob at our house. Rather than make it a side dish, it is often the centerpiece of our meal, which is why I wanted to step it up a notch this summer. These variations are easy. The hardest part is husking the corn!

Serve with a nice hearty salad and top of with a sweet and juicy slice of watermelon for dessert. Perfect, easy summer “cooking!”

Jalapeno Lime Corn on the Cob (Rachel Ray/Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 6 ears corn on the cob, husked
  • 1 slice bread, of any kind
  • Coarse salt

Directions

Combine butter, lime, jalapeno, garlic and paprika in food processor and pulse process until smooth. Place on waxed paper or plastic and roll. Place in freezer until ready to serve. Cook corn by boiling, steaming or grilling. Cut disks of butter and rub onto corn, nesting the butter in a slice of bread to apply it to the hot corn. Season ears with salt (and fight over the hot buttered bread slice!)

Corn on the Cob with Triple Butters (SELF Magazine)

Ingredients

Grilled corn

  • 8 ears yellow corn
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chili butter

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Sun-dried tomato butter

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 large), softened in boiling water and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

Truffle butter

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For grilled corn

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill to high. Peel back husks of corn, but do not remove. Remove all silk from corn and coat corn with cooking spray. Sprinkle corn with salt and smooth husks back into place. Rub each husk with water and place directly on grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels soften and husks blacken, 10 to 12 minutes. Pull back husks and serve with 1 tsp flavored butter.

For each flavored butter

Using a spoon, mix butter with respective ingredients. Roll each into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours, then soften to room temperature before serving.

Baked Corn on the Cob with Herbs (Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn
  • Buttered flavored cooking spray or real butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 20 to 24 sprigs of basil, rosemary, thyme or dill

Directions

Heat oven to 450°. Husk corn and remove silk. Place each ear on 12-inch square of aluminum foil. Spray cooking spray on all sides of ears. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 5 or 6 herb sprigs around each ear. Seal foil. Place sealed ears of corn directly on oven rack. Bake about 20 minutes or until corn is tender.

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