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…

Spicy Pinto Bean Vegan Meatballs and Mexican Tomato Dipping Sauce

Just wanted to see if I could make a decent vegan 'meatball'. Turned out pretty good. I was inspired by the show I've been watching lately, Masterchef UK Professionals. They used white bread to thicken a gazpacho. I thought to myself that maybe it could also do the trick for binding pureed beans. And besides, I had some left over bread to use up.

Why balls? I thought they'd look nice.

Meatball Ingredients
1 can pinto beans, lightly rinsed
1 piece of white bread torn into chunks
1/4 cup rolled oats, plus 1-2 tbls set aside
1/4 cup finely minced red onion, plus l tbl more set aside
1/4 cup finely minced celery, plus 1 tbl more set aside
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 inch chunk ginger
2 tbls beer
1 tbl pickle brine
1 tbl canola oil
squirt or two of sriracha
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tsps black pepper
1 tsp salt

Buzz up all ingredients, except those marked as set aside, in a food processor or blender. Remove to a work bowl. Consistency should be fairly thick. Only a little looseness. Although it will thicken a little more after chilling in the fridge.  Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Remove mixture from fridge. Stir in set aside ingredients. Consistency should now be pretty thick. Very little looseness left.

Grease a sheet tray generously.

Shape into 2 inch balls and place on sheet tray. Place sheet tray into the freezer.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

When oven is ready remove tray from freezer and cook for 15 minutes.

They're going to have spread a little bit. This is okay. Leave oven on and remove tray. They will not be that hot. They will have firmed up a lot, but not entirely. Carefully reshape each ball into a round again and place back on sheet tray with the top now facing down.

Return to oven and cook 15 more minutes.

Switch oven to low broil and cook 5 more minutes.

Serve with a spicy tomato based sauce or salsa for dipping.

Sauce Ingredients
3 ripe tomatoes
5 chiles de arbol, seeds discarded from all, but one
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Roast the tomatoes in  a 400 F oven for 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chiles, oil, salt and pepper to blender and puree.