Simple prep for summer

Fresh corn and local tomatoes are an ideal summertime treat and can be used in recipes that are quick to prepare

I’ve been on a whirl-wind trip to Nevada to attend a conference over this past weekend. The conference itself was amazing but the transportation challenges getting there, while there, and for returning, were humongous and most frustrating. It’s left me drained, very tired, and with a need for comfort foods that will settle both the body and the soul. Summer foods like potato salad, corn on the cob, field tomatoes and cucumbers, served with fresh breads and cheeses fit the bill perfectly.

Right now I want recipes that are simple, simple, simple; that take little time to prepare and no effort; like the recipes below. Tomatoes are luscious with basil and cheese, set in toasted ciabatta bread. Fresh corn on the cob is one of my favourites and if fresh corn is to your liking, you’ll enjoy the fresh corn salad below. It can be a wonderful go-to salad in the summer. You can substitute frozen corn for the fresh corn if you like, (for other seasons in the year) just don’t cook it. (Thaw and drain well before using in the salad so it’s crisp-tender.) Having said that, however, fresh is best!

Tomato Brie Basil Sandwich

1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced lengthwise

3 tablespoons softened butter

8 ounces brie cheese slices

6 red ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/3” slices

20 fresh basil leaves

Spread butter on cut sides of ciabatta bread. Toast in toaster oven until butter melts and starts to sizzle. Arrange cheese slices on top half of bread; toast until brie melts. Make sandwiches with basil leaves, tomato slices, and bread. Put sandwich together, then cut into 3” segments. Press down lightly with your hand and serve immediately. Serves 6

fresh corn salad

6 ears of corn OR 16 oz. pkg. frozen corn, thawed and drained

1 green or red bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch green onions, sliced

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp. garlic vinegar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Husk corn and remove silk. In a large pot of boiling SUGARED water, cook corn for 1-2 minutes. Really, this short amount of time is perfect — you just want to heat the kernels. Place the corn in a bowl of ice water and let stand 3-4 minutes.

Cut the corn off the cob using a sharp knife. Combine in a large bowl with green or red pepper, onions and tomatoes. In a small bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, basil, garlic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour over corn mixture and toss gently to coat. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Cathi Litenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.