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…

Burnt Mushroom and Artichoke Succotash

10 ounces button mushrooms. minced
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tbls capers and brine
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbls hot sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
1 habanero, minced
1 poblano, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
2 tsps basil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps garlic powder

This dish uses the char of the mushrooms to add umami. When you char mushrooms, it's almost as if they are transformed into an entirely different product. Those bland, little sponges are miraculously turned into a rich, meaty, flavor bomb. They become like vegan bacon lardons. They elevate all the other ingredients with which you combine them and make everything come alive. 

The key is to take the mushrooms all the way to the edge of being burnt. 

Cook the mushrooms heavily salted in a dry fry pan over medium high heat. They will release their liquid. Let that evaporate. Deglaze with the wine. Let that evaporate as well. The mushrooms are done when the pan is dry, they're starting to stick, they're all shrunken and small and dark brown. 

Once your mushrooms are cooked just combine everything in a large bowl. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least a few hours. Overnight is better. Your flavors will marry and brighten. Fridge time is crucial when you're not applying heat to most of the ingredients.