Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Chips and salsa is the ultimate in easy potluck offerings. It’s easy, it’s fresh, everyone loves it. If you have even a few minutes and want to take your chips and salsa to the next level, give this one a try.

The sweet corn, tomatoes, and black beans offer a delicious mixture in textures and flavors; the seasonings are just right, and the jalapenos add a bit of kick. You’ll be coming back again and again for more!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Adapted from Taste of Home

You’ll need:

  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen sweet corn
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (or 6-8 tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, minced
  • 4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin

1. Put the sweet corn in a pot, cover with water. Bring to just a boil, and drain. Prepare the rest of your ingredients by draining/rinsing/dicing/mincing.

2. Combine corn, beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapenos in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup lime juice. Mix thoroughly.

3. Sprinkle salt, garlic powder, and cumin on top. Mix together until the spices are distributed throughout.

If you have the time, let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight) to let the flavors do their thing. If you don’t have that kind of time, no fear–it’s delicious right after you finish mixing. Serve with tortilla chips, and get ready for the stampede of people requesting seconds.

If you’re interested….make your own fajita spice mix and the most delicious cookies.

Freeze your produce

The summer is full of the beauty of all things fresh and locally grown. If you’re on top of your game, you can enjoy this quality produce all winter long. All you need is a freezer and some ziploc bags.

Freezing fruit:

  1. Wash your fruit
  2. Do whatever it takes to get the fruit ready to eat: pull stems off, pits out, leaves off.
  3. Spread the fruit in one layer onto a cookie sheet. I understand that the photo below is of beans. Not fruit. But you get the idea.
  4. Slide it in the freezer for about 1 hour. This will ensure that each piece stays separate and that it won’t all freeze together into one large clump.
  5. Divvy up fruit in Ziploc freezer bags. Fill each bag half to two-thirds full. Get as much air out of the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  6. Label with type of fruit and today’s date, and store in freezer.

Freezing veggies:

Veggies are a bit more complicated because you have to blanch them before you freeze them. To blanch, get a large pot of water boiling on the stove.

While that’s happening, prepare your veggies. In my case, this meant shucking the corn and snapping the beans.

Once you have a rolling boil going, toss the veggies in. For both corn and beans, you have to boil for 4 minutes. If the water stopped boiling when you put the veggies into the pot, wait until it resumes a boil before you start the 4 minute timer.

When the timer dings, immediately remove the veggies using tongs or a slotted spoon and immerse them in cold (ice) water.

Once cool, the beans are ready to go on the pan and be frozen.

As for the corn: shave the corn off the cob directly onto a cookie sheet. When you have a full pan, slide it into the freezer.

Corn, especially, needs to freeze on the pan for at least an hour, or you’ll have a frozen brick of corn when you want to get it out of the freezer. For a family, this won’t be such an issue. For me, who just wants a cup or two of corn at a time, this is highly inconvenient.

Following the same rules as for the fruit, put the veggies in Ziploc bags, label, and freeze.

I wanna know: Do you buy in bulk? Do you preserve fresh produce/food when you can get it in bulk/on a discount?

Grilled sweet corn

About 3 months ago, I walked out my front door on an ordinary Friday morning, and was surprised to see a grill sitting on the sidewalk. A grill with a red bow on it. Since then, I’ve been grilling up a storm.

When I was in Iowa last weekend, I picked up some sweet corn. When in Iowa, right? I’ve had boiled sweet corn many times (and love it!), but, because of the new grill, thought I’d give grilled sweet corn a try.

Now, prepare yourself, there are two ways to grill sweet corn: in the husk or already husked. So, like any equal opportunity corn consumer, I tried it both ways. My conclusions:

  • Already husked corn cooks quicker, but is more dry
  • Corn in the husk takes a bit longer, but stays nice and moist and has a lovely smoked taste to it. It wins!

Grilled Sweet Corn

  1. Soak your ears of corn in a bowl of salt water for about an hour. Use 1 Tbs. of salt for every 2 cups of water.
  2. Lay the ears on the grill and rotate them periodically.
  3. They’re done when they have a slightly charred outside layer of husk all the way around the ear. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

Husk, slather with butter, and enjoy, preferably while sitting outside on your back porch and enjoying the summer evening.

I wanna know:  What’s your favorite summer food? There is something about corn on the cob that just screams SUMMER to me!