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…

Sweet and Spicy Garbanzos and Barley

A departure from my usual heat and spice heavy fare, this has notes of sweetness to accompany the mild heat.

2 cubanelle peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1 banana pepper
1/2 cup white onion
3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup vodka
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl red wine vinegar
2 tbls sriracha
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tps spicy mustard
3-5 cups water

1 can garbanzos, with 1/4 of the brine
1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1 cup escarole
1 cup spinach

cayenne, salt, black pepper

First two sets of ingredients go into a large pot. Start with 3 cups water. Bring the contents to a boil, uncovered. Continue to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add barley. Cover and simmer to cook the barley. Add additional water 1/2 cup at a time, as needed, to cook the barley to al dente.

Add escarole, spices and garbanzos. Add more water if needed to keep things loose. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.

Add spinach. More water if needed. When adding more water use enough to keep things moist, with a little bit of liquid in the pot, but not so much that it becomes a soup. You just want to maintain a bit of sauce in their. If you add too much water, you can simmer extra time, uncovered to reduce it.

Tate often to test for tender barley and proper seasoning. When the barley is tender. Cover, Turn off heat. Allow spinach to wilt for 5 minutes.