Fresh Corn Salad with Halloumi Cheese

I hate corn on the cob.  Let’s be clear, I adore fresh corn, but I require it be off the cob.  Four years of braces left me with a horror of gnawing the delicious kernels off the cob.  No discussion of typewriter or rotary style here, please let me grill my corn and slice it off the cob to happily consume with a fork. 

I love this method of making polenta from fresh corn, but rarely do I approach a summer weekend with that much ambition.  Summer begs for simplicity, just slice, assemble and eat.  If you’ve been in my general vicinity over the last month you’ve seen this salad, heard about this salad or (for the lucky few) been fed this salad.  Corn combines with other summer market favorites, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno plus some grilled halloumi cheese.

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It seems to be the summer of halloumi cheese, as evidenced by all the recipes I’ve saved and pinned.  Halloumi is a salty cheese with a texture similar to mozzarella.  Unlike mozzarella though, it can be grilled or fried, resulting in a golden crispy outside and a delicious soft interior.  Plus it squeaks when you chew it.  Trader Joe’s now carries halloumi, making recipes like this corn salad even more accessible.

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Fresh Corn Salad with Halloumi Cheese

This salad is an excellent addition to any cookout or picnic you may attend this summer.  It can be made ahead, and is good for several days in the fridge.  Add beans or cooked grains for extra staying power to turn this salad into a meal.

  • 4 ears of yellow corn, cooked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package of halloumi cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the four ears of corn by your preferred method.  Grilling works wonderfully, but you can also roast them in the oven, cook them in the microwave, or cut the raw kernels off the cob and cook them in a skillet with a little olive oil and butter.
  2. While cooking the corn, chop the cucumber, scallions, jalapeno and tomatoes.
  3. Place the slices of halloumi cheese in a dry skillet over medium high heat.  Flip the cheese over once the bottom side has become golden brown, and cook until both sides of each slice of cheese are golden brown.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. When the corn is cooked, cut the kernels off the cob and combine with the other veggies and halloumi cheese.
  5. Dress the salad with olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper.

Blackberry, Avocado, Pistachio and Goat Cheese Salad

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This is my very favorite time of year.  It’s light until 8pm leaving plenty of time for long runs after work.  Every day I’m grateful for the extra sunshine, as I know winter with its dark afternoons will close in far too soon.  Not only are we lucky with all the extra sun, but the farmers’ market is full of fruit.  No sad winter markets with onions and potatoes in Berkeley these days.  The stands are full of greens and berries and stone fruit and all the best things the season has to offer. I came home from the farmers’ … Continue reading

Upside Down Rhubarb Cake

Last month I had dinner with friends at Heirloom Café in San Francisco.  It was a dream dinner: good friends, good wine, and delicious food.  We shared bites of everything, marveling more and more with each bite.  My meal started with a fava bean salad that tasted green in the best possible way, continued with gnocchi that were so fluffy I took each bite in delicious disbelief, and concluded with a rhubarb upside down cake that left me wanting to guard my plate from my friends’ forks. 

The miniature cake was made with such care that I was certain each piece of identically sized rhubarb had been placed with tweezers to achieve beautifully concentric pink circles.  I came home determined to recreate the cake.   Fava beans are best ordered in a restaurant where someone else has to shell and blanch and peel them, and the gnocchi I felt sure were technically beyond me.  The cake though, I thought I could translate from mini round of restaurant dessert perfection to a home baked cake to share over tea.

rhubarb upside down cake (2)   

Turns out this cake is good with tea, and also good with ice cream, whipped cream, hot from the oven, cold from the fridge and by the tiny wedge you can’t help but cut every time you walk past it.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

for the rhubarb topping:

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1/4” pieces (3-5 stalks depending on size)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice from half a lemon
  • pinch of salt

for the vanilla cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  1. Over medium high heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.  Add the sliced rhubarb to the melted butter and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar and cook the rhubarb and sugar mixture until the sugar dissolves into a liquid syrup.  Stir in the vanilla, lemon juice and salt and cook for an additional five minutes.
  3. Remove a 1/4 cup of just the rhubarb sugar liquid and set aside. 
  4. Pour the remaining syrup and rhubarb mixture into a buttered round 9” cake pan and spread the rhubarb mixture so it covers the entire bottom of the pan.  Place the pan in the fridge while you mix up the cake.
  5. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  7. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is a smooth pale yellow.
  8. Add the egg to the mixture while mixing.  When it is fully incorporated, add the egg yolk while mixing.  When the yolk is fully incorporated, add the vanilla extract.
  9. Mix half the flour mixture into the butter and sugar.  When the flour is fully mixed in, add the buttermilk, and then the other half of the flour mixture.  Beat until smooth.  The batter will be thick.
  10. . Remove the pan with the rhubarb mixture from the fridge.  Using a spatula, carefully distribute the cake batter throughout the pan.  (Don’t just pour it into the center of the pan and try to spread it out because the rhubarb mixture will be displaced and your cake will be patchy when you turn it over)  Instead carefully distribute the batter throughout the pan, and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly.
  11.   Bake the cake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  12.   Once the cake is done, immediately put a plate on top of the pan and flip the cake over.  Pour the 1/4 cup reserved rhubarb syrup over the top of the cake.
  13.   Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Six Minute Breakfast Taco

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Most of my weekday breakfasts are bowls like this pomegranate yogurt bowl or this blueberry cheddar cereal bowl or even this chocolate coconut chia pudding.  Bowls are quick, easy to pack, easy to make in advance and assemble at work.  I rarely have the time or energy to cook before I’ve had my coffee in the morning, and I usually get up, work out, grab my belongings, and have biked halfway to work before I’ve really shaken off the sleep. So how’d a breakfast that requires me to actually turn on the stove end up with a prominent place in … Continue reading

Pomegranate, Walnut and Yogurt Breakfast Bowl

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Monday breakfasts are hard.  Every Sunday night, I’m hit with a solid case of Monday-is-imminent blues, and this severe case of nearly-Monday-itis makes it unlikely that I’m going to prep tomorrow’s breakfast that night.  Then Monday morning arrives, and if I can make coffee and stand in front of the fridge blinking my tired eyes, that’s a success.  Luckily this breakfast practically assembles itself, with some earlier in the weekend prep work. This winter we’ve been picking up pomegranates at the farmers’ market or at the grocery store, depending on how much time there is in the week.  J takes … Continue reading

New Year’s Cinnamon Rolls

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I made you cinnamon rolls! Er… Hi.  Remember me?  It’s kind of been a year.  13 months if we’re being exact.  But that’s why I brought cinnamon rolls!  To help jog your memory. 2013 was a whirlwind of work, life, wedding planning, seven cross country trips, marrying my best friend, an incredibly honeymoon to Fiji, and a Sunday that was 41 hours long.  Through it all, I cooked and baked, but I didn’t share any of it with you.  I missed this space though, and I’m happy to reclaim it. So, cinnamon rolls.  I know it’s January, but if you’re … Continue reading

Race Recap: California International Marathon 2012

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It has taken me nearly a week to get a handle on my race last Sunday at the California International Marathon.  All the runners who lined up at the start knew what they were getting into.  I’m sure everyone else had spent the week before obsessively checking the weather too, thinking that there was still time for the chance of rain to become something less than 100%.  By 6AM on Sunday, standing in the dark at the start with thousands of other equally crazy runners, I knew we’d be running in the rain.  I knew it was likely parts of … Continue reading

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Spicy Maple Dressing

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Fall at the farmers’ market has a whole different feeling, and while I miss the fresh berries terribly, I do love how forgiving fall produce can be.  I lugged home a heavy bag today, filled to the brim with butternut and delicata squashes, onions, garlic, a bottle of apple cider and several pomegranates.  One of my pomegranates escaped and went rolling down the sidewalk in front of me, but I just scooped it up and it was really no worse for wear. Fall produce can be just as pretty as it’s spring and summer brethren (I love the colors of … Continue reading

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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You probably don’t need another chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I grew up in a house where my mom always kept the cookie jar full.  Chocolate chip cookies were a staple, as were her oatmeal scotchies.  I needed a new chocolate chip cookie recipe though, because my mom’s recipes never taste quite right when I make them.  My mom’s rolls are a perfect example of this unfortunate phenomenon.  She swears her rolls never taste the same as her mother’s even though they use the same recipe.  I’ve only attempted to make my mom’s rolls once in my own kitchen, and they … Continue reading

Pan-fried Vegetable and Tofu Dumplings

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Once I’d discovered how easy spring rolls were to prepare, vegetable dumplings jumped to the top of my list.  These are a much more significant time investment than the spring rolls, but they freeze beautifully.  I made a batch of about 60 while watching an episode of Bones on my laptop (so 45 minutes, give or take).  My first try with dumplings, I followed this recipe for golden potstickers from 101 Cookbooks.  I always trust Heidi to carry me safely through any new recipe or technique with carefully crafted instructions.  I bought gyoza wrappers at Berkeley Bowl (same aisle as … Continue reading