Summer Corn Salad

Sweet corn!  Tender sweet corn is one of my favorite treats in summer.  It is at its peak at my market, along with deep red tomatoes and creamy-rich avocados.
Summer Corn SaladHere is my recipe for a simple summer treat featuring sweet corn in the starring role.  I serve it as a salad or side dish, depending on what else is on my menu.  This is a fabulous picnic dish, as it’s easy to make ahead of time and tastes best at room temp.

Summer Corn Salad

4 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
2 large ripe tomatoes*, cut into bite sized chunks
2 large avocados, cut into bite sized chunks
1/4 cup good quality olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
2 limes – juiced

Heat a large saute pan over high heat until medium hot.  Add 2 TB olive oil to pan, then the sweet corn kernels, and saute just until the kernels begin to turn from opaque to semi-transparent.  They may take on a bit of brown at the edge of the pan — this is good and adds flavor to the salad.  Total cooking time should be 5 – 6 minutes.  Turn the corn out into a bowl and cool until room temperature.

Using a fine rasp, zest one of the limes.  Then juice both of the limes.  In the bottom of a large bowl mix together the remaining olive oil, the lime juice and zest, about 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and chipotle powder.  To this dressing add the corn, avocado chunks, tomato chunks, and cilantro.  Gently toss, taking care not to mash the avocado.  Adjust seasoning.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

*feel free to use cherry tomatoes, halved, if you prefer  – or if that’s whats growing in your garden.

Summer Fruit Butter Cake

Simple, sweet, and packed with ripe fruit — a cake that tastes like summer.
summer fruit butter cake panI developed this cake in an effort to make the best of a friend’s blackberry patch and the luscious peaches on my counter.   The cake is buttery and tender but just dense enough to support the ripe stone fruit and berries that might sink into a lighter cake.  This beautifully textured cake would also take kindly to fresh blueberries, raspberries, plums, sweet cherries, apricots, nectarines, or a combo of what you have on hand.  A dollop of whipped cream makes it a perfectly easy summer treat.
summer fruit butter cakeSummer Fruit Butter Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
10.5 oz (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
13.5 oz (2 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 oz (1 cup) buttermilk
1 quart fresh summer *fruit, in chunks
(optional) cinnamon sugar:  2 TB granulated sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350, and grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.   Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add flour and buttermilk to butter mixture and mix on lowest speed until batter just comes together.  Scrape down bowl and give the batter a couple of gentle turns with the spatula.  This is a thick batter.

Spread the batter into the prepared ban.  Scatter the fresh fruit on top of the batter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.  This is optional.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool to room temp and serve with lightly sweetened whipped heavy cream.

* use any fresh ripe stone fruit, pitted and cut into 1 inch chunks, and/or berries.  Try peaches, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, nectarines, apricots, cherries, pluots, plums.  Let me know what combination of fruit you enjoyed!