Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salsa

My co-worker gave me some cucumbers she and her husband had grown in their garden. I wanted to use them right away as they were so fresh. This is a variation on a classic cucumber and tomato salad. I added charred corn for sweetness and smokiness. I also added poblano and jalapeno for spice. 

2 small or 1 medium cucumber, diced
2 ears corn
3 vine tomatoes, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbls apple cider vinegar
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsps dry dill
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsps salt

I wasn't about to turn on the broiler to cook the corn. It's been in the 90's here. Instead, I used the same technique often used to char bell pepper. Put the shucked ears directly over a gas flame on the stovetop. If you don't have a gas stovetop you can broil them or use an outdoor grill. 

The corn will pop and make a bit of a mess on your cooktop, but it's worth it. 

Char the corn evenly all around. Allow to cool and them cut the kernels off the cob. 

Stir together all i…

Hungarian Lentils Risotto and Barley

Something different is always nice. To break from my mostly Italian influenced low fat recipes I give you this vegetarian delight.

Ingredients

3/4 cup arborrio rice
1/2 pearl barley
1/2 lentils
3 cups vegetable broth (room temp or warmed)
1 cup water
1 medium red onion diced
1/3 cup frozen red and green peppers diced
1/3 cup frozen broccoli cauliflower mix
1/2 cup frozen spinach
2 tsps butter (smart balance or the like)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and basil to season

Begin by heating a large skillet with the olive oil on medium high heat. When pan is hot add diced onions. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes then add butter and a few sprinkles of black pepper.

Saute onion for 3 minutes and then add barley, lentils and arborrio. Toast grains and bean for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup broth.

Stir. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add broccoli/cauliflower mix. 1 cup more of broth. Stir. Cover and let simmer 3 minutes more.

Add peppers and spinach and last cup of broth. Stir. Cover and let simmer 3 minutes more.

Add water. Stir. Let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes more.

Taste each grain. Barley, lentils and risotto to determine how done they are. Continue simmering, tasting and adding water as needed until each is al dente. They will soften slightly more upon sitting before serving. If not eating now, cook less. All will soften even more with an overnight stay in the fridge.

When grains are nearly done add all spices. Add lots of paprika and black pepper. A little bit of garlic powder and chili powder. Just a hint of basil. There's no need to add salt. Broth has lots of salt already in it. Taste often to determine preferable flavors.

Cook 1 minute more. Remove to cool burner. Let sit 3 minutes. Taste. Add a few more of the spices according to your preference. Stir. Let sit 1 minute. Serve as is or store for later.

Alternatively you can also add a can of petite cut unseasoned tomatoes when you add your water. Cut back your water to compensate for the added tomato juice.