Elotes Corn Salad – lazy way

I know, I never post anything anymore. See what having a kid will do to you? But I wanted to get this written down because I keep making it!

Based heavily on Elotes Corn Salad by fiveandspice.com, but with some lazy person’s changes. Mainly, buying “fire roasted” corn, which is apparently a thing, and is SO good. (I have seen it at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.) It is like you grilled corn on the cob, cut it off, and then froze it. Which maybe someone did, but that someone wasn’t me.

Elotes Salad (serves 4)

  • One bag of “fire roasted” frozen corn
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (make sure it’s not parsley… not that this has ever happened to me…)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
  1. Microwave the corn per bag instructions.
  2. Add salt, pepper, mayo, lime juice, chili, and cayenne.
  3. Fold in cheese and cilantro.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
    (If you’re preparing ahead of time, like, say, for your coworker’s babyshower the next day, pause here. If not, march onward.)
  5. Stir in the avocado chunks.

Serve warm, cold, over tortillas, over the bowl with a spoon after your kid is asleep… I love this stuff.

Sesame Noodles… guidelines

To say this is a recipe is pushing it. It’s mostly just a bunch of guidelines…

Sauté a bunch of finely sliced onions in sesame oil. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic and a hunk of grated ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Toast some sesame seeds and throw those in. Add a bunch of soy sauce and see how that tastes. If it doesn’t taste exciting yet or isn’t enough sauce, add some or all of the following: Rice wine vinegar, more garlic/ginger, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, sautéed scallions, etc. This last time, I even heated some brown sugar up with the rice wine vinegar and added that, too. The flavors you’re going for are a little sweet (onions and sugar and fish sauce), a little sour (garlic and ginger and fish sauce and rice wine vinegar), and a little salty (soy sauce and fish sauce). I also like a little kick (red pepper flakes). Once you get a good sauce, toss it with cooked noodles of your choice (rice works fine, I’ve also used regular spaghetti noodles and that’s been good too). If you’re being fancy, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions. You could probably also add in some green veggies to this and it would taste good, but I’ve never gone that far!

Banana Avocado Dip

We were hosting a banana-themed dinner party recently, and I was in search of an appetizer. (What, doesn’t everyone host banana-themed parties? No? Well, that does explain some of the looks I got at the grocery store checkout line!)

For the meal itself, we were contributing an Indian plantain curry and banana-stuffed french toast. However, I’d recently acquired some banana chips, and I was sure that with the right banana-based dip, they would be a big hit.

Martha, of course, had the answer. A banana-avocado dip. (Of course, she assumes that one would make one’s own plantain chips. Naturally. Because who doesn’t have a deep-fry thermometer? And obviously everyone loves that great, post-fry feeling of oil all over everything.)

Right, so I had the chips already. What complex, insane thing could Martha make me do for the dip?

Ripe avocado + ripe banana + fresh juice of a lemon + dash of salt. Mash everything together and serve.

It sounds weird, but I kid you not, this dip (which I literally made as guests were arriving) was a huge hit. Kids would love it. Tastes kind of like something that’s bad for you. Sweet, light, and perfect with the chips.

ps. Oh and hey look, it’s vegan, too. How about that!

Tuna & Cannellini Bean Spread/Salad/Dip

A long time ago, I sat down at a Le Pain Quotidien in NYC with my good friend Tanya and had an incredible tuna and white bean tartine (open-faced sandwich). It was filling, tasty, and seemed so simple. I’ve tried a couple of times to replicate it and I think I finally found a recipe that I like. It’s easy and cheap, took under five minutes to make, and is also pretty darn healthy.

Note: It does call for blending the beans into a paste (kind of like the consistency of hummus). I’m sure you could not do this and just toss or mush the beans so it is more of a salad, but I really love the blended consistency, so I would give it a try at least the first time you make it.

Tuna & Cannellini Bean Mix

In a food processor (or using a hand-held mixer with chopping/blending attachment), add two tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, teaspoon of salt, several hearty grinds of freshly ground pepper, and garlic (one clove if you aren’t a huge garlic fan, two if you think it’s nifty, and three if you’re “a garlic person”). Blend, then add one can of drained cannellini beans. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you have fresh parsley or tarragon, that could be delicious here.

Mix in one can of drained tuna and then you can do several things: Spread it on bread (or matzah, if you’re like me and observing Passover), serve it as a dip (which I suppose you could also do without the tuna), or put it over spring greens and serve it as a tasty and filling salad.

Delicious Summer Chicken Curry Salad

Summer Chicken Curry Salad

Shred up the rest of that rotisserie chicken that you bought as a lazy weeknight dinner. Throw in a couple of globs of mayonnaise and stir to coat evenly. Add in a couple of teaspoons of sweet curry powder. Stir again. Add in about a half a cup to a cup each of golden raisins and chopped pecans. Mince one apple and add. Mix. Add about a tablespoon or so of honey (or to taste). Mix again. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on bread or spinach leaves (or both).

So tasty! The sweetness was exactly what was called for on a hot summer day.

Quick Fish Dinner

Last night, I went to the grocery store and picked up some haddock, thinking, “It’s fish, it’s easy, I’ll make something.”

(Moments like this are why I need a smart phone. I could get inspiration at the grocery store and then look up recipes right then and there! But oh well, I don’t have one.)

Anyhow, I went home and searched using the new Google recipe feature. I found a very basic recipe, which I modified slightly, and which was both a.) incredibly easy and b.) incredibly tasty.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Haddock

Preheat oven to 350. Cut up about a pound of haddock (or other white fish that’s on sale) into bite-sized pieces. Grease a baking dish and place in the fish. (It’s OK if they’re crowded together.) Melt about half a stick of butter, and mix with a cup of panko (or bread crumbs), a teaspoon or so of garlic powder, about two teaspoons of lemon zest, and a generous portion of your dried herb of choice (the recipe called for parsley, I used dill). Mix all together and spread lightly over fish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup (easier than pie) with inspiration from Barbara Kingsolverpumpkin soup

Buy small local sugar pumpkin. Cut out top and save. Carve out inside (remove seeds and pulp).

Fill with stock and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add dash of salt & pepper. Replace top.

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven. Scrape down sides, being careful to not scrape too close to edge. Add 2 tablespoons milk (if you have it) and squirt of honey.

Blend with handheld blender (this is key). Add dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg.


Oatmeal in the Rice Cooker

I was reading a blog post by Casual Kitchen about how breakfast cereal is so overpriced and how no one should buy it, and I commented that my solution to this is to buy oatmeal, which I can make so easily in the rice cooker. Surprisingly, everyone wanted to know how to make it. It’s so easy, folks!

Oatmeal in the Rice Cooker

1 cup regular Quaker Oats oatmeal (neither instant nor slow-cook)

2 cups water

Instructions: Combine in rice cooker. Hit “cook.” Wait about twenty minutes. If you want to spice it up, add raisins to cooking process (or afterwards, if you don’t like ’em plumpy), and serve with honey or maple syrup. I like to put soy milk on mine instead of milk. Yum!

Easy Baked Chicken Recipe

When I lived in a co-op in college, everything was bought in bulk— rice, flour, oats, sugar, etc. So whenever my cooking partner Honor and I decided to make chicken for our assigned dinner night, we obviously had to get whole chickens. Since they were bought several days in advance, they came frozen, too. Which was fine, except when Honor and I forgot to thaw the chickens overnight in the fridge.

me & honor during a post-college kitchen reunion

me & honor

The scene the next afternoon would be this:

Me: Hey, what time do you think we should start cooking tonight?

Honor: Well, dinner’s at seven, the tabbouleh’s already in the fridge, the hummus shouldn’t take too long… how long do you think the chicken will take?


Honor: Oh no.

Me: We forgot to defrost the chicken.

What would then follow was a series of creative defrosting attempts. If we remembered early enough, we’d put the chickens in the fridge. Then, that afternoon, we’d give them a cold water bath while we prepped everything else. Still, the chicken was often not completely thawed by the time we were planning to prep it for roasting. So we went to plan B: shish-kebabs. Honor would take a pair of sturdy kitchen scissors and cut the meat up into cubes, which she then marinated in some sort of lemon-y concoction while I attended to the rest of the dinner.

Whatever Honor made always tasted delicious. So much so, that I started paying attention to what she was putting into the marinade, and then experimenting with it myself— not with shish-kebab’d pieces, but with chicken thighs and tenders. Over the years, as I was only cooking for myself, it became my go-to recipe for baking moist chicken that was full of flavor. The best part is, you can marinate a bunch in advance, and then just pull out the pieces of chicken you want, bake those, and go. I like to eat it plain, but sometimes I also chop it up and serve it with rice, pasta, or over a salad.

Easy Baked Chicken Recipe Continue reading