Kitchen Tips & Recipes – Corn Salad & Pesto

1. Be Green: Recycle your Water, try a little Water Reclamation. When washing produce from the garden or the grocery store, especially greens like kale & lettuce (they’re quite dirt caked from the garden), soak the greens in a big bowl of water, let sit for 15 minutes, & transfer greens to a basket in sink. Reserve the water used in soaking produce. Take the water outside & water the garden with it or water the inside house plants. Repeat this process several times until the greens are totally clean. You would be amazed at how many plants, things need water. And it’s great exercise; you’ll burn calories.

2. When in season, especially the glorious 3 months of summer, at the Farmer’s Market & grocery store we like to buy as many fresh berries as we can. They’re cheaper & more delicious when in season. We wash the berries thoroughly (recycle the water for the garden, see above, tip 1: water reclamation) and dry them completely & then freeze them in big bags. We use these for smoothies throughout the months ahead. Note: if you’re freezing strawberries, you will want to de-stem & quarter them. Makes for easier use. Make sure they’re completely dry so they don’t stick together in the freezer.

3. Freeze summer tomatoes. Summer is glory season for tomatoes & if you love them like we do, you’ll want to enjoy that burst of sunshine all year. Pick up local summer tomatoes, especially cherry & grape & freeze them. They’re great in sauces & soups later in autumn & winter & taste of summer while it’s snowing outside.

4. Make pesto with the abundant basil available in the summer months. Make a pesto with your fresh summer basil, add pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, blend in food processor (recipe at bottom of this page). Buy an ice cube tray or put it in plastic baggies and freeze your pesto. You’ll enjoy that fresh basil taste year round.

5. Use your coffee grinder to grind spices, especially dried spices.

6. Kitchen drain board- we use this to air dry our freshly washed produce, that way we can prep it & bag it for easy quick salads & meals.

7. Kitchen towel under your cutting board- keeps it in place for safe no slip chopping.

8. Potato peeler- we use this to shave cheese. Shave parmesan over a salad or sauce. It looks better &  you’ll have the perfect amount in every bite.

9. Getting ready to BBQ? Making kebabs on the grill? Well then, soak wooden skewers in water 45 minutes before you use them. This will stop the skewers from drying out the meat. Metal skewers will get to hot & over cook your red meat. The metal skewers are better to use with chicken. They will help cook the chicken all the way through. This will keep your chicken moist because it cooks in less time.

10. Easy corn on the cob- When shucking the corn, Cut both ends of the ear with a serrated knife. Roll the ear on the counter & the husk comes right off.

And here’s my corn salad recipe:

7 ears of corn (shuck, blanch & the using serrated knife shave the kernels off)

1 bunch of basil (chopped,  about 1 cup)

Optional – 1 bunch of parsley (chopped)

1 red onion (diced)

3 big ripe tomatoes or 5-6 smaller ones (only use tomatoes in this recipes if they’re in season, other wise, use 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes), chopped in bite-sized chunks

1 container of sheep’s or goat’s milk feta (good feta is usually kept in water, buy that kind)

1 cup black kalamata olives (chopped)

And for the vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 lemon (squeezed), glug of apple cider vinegar-about 1T (you’ll need the tartness to counter act the sweetness of the corn & tomatoes), salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper, dash of cayenne.

Whisk the vinaigrette in the bowl used for the salad, add the corn & herbs, stir in the vinaigrette, add tomatoes, gently combine, add olives, crumble the feta, eat immediately. This is best super fresh, eaten right away.

11. Minced garlic- Add a few drops of olive oil over the garlic before mincing. This stops the garlic from sticking to the knife. Plus, it adds flavor to your dish.

Currants & Berries at the Union Square Farmers Market

Hope these tips help you in your kitchen! Let us know your tips & we’ll keep sharing ours!

Pesto Recipe:

4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pine nuts

6 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Salt & pepper to taste

Serve with fish, chicken, shrimp, grilled veggies, pasta, anything & everything tastes better with this pesto.



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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.


  1. Daily Tip | says:

    […] Recognize what needs to prosper in your life and what needs to be recycled. […]

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