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…

Simplified Arugula Pesto and Creamy Hummus Sauce with Celery and Bean Salad

I'm a big fan of using silken tofu and the food processor to create rich sauces and purees. It's a pretty easy way to really take plant based food to the next level and make it restaurant quality. 

Arugula is great for pestos and purees. It's much less expensive than a big bunch of fresh basil. It also has a mild bite that works beautifully in sauces and condiments. 

I've done more complicated versions before, but this time I've really simplified it to accentuate the central flavors. 

I also hit upon a super simple and really delicious way to thicken vegan sauces. Hummus. 

Best of all, during the heat of summer, none of these recipes require the stovetop or the oven. 

Simplified Arugula Pesto
One 5 ounce container fresh arugula
5 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 package silken firm tofu
2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls nutritional yeast
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper

Puree in food processor and enjoy. 

It's paired with an easy to assemble celery salad. 

1/2 bunch diced celery
2 shallots diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 poblano diced
1 jalapeno minced
1 can garbanzos rinsed
1 can kidney beans rinsed
1 tbl dry italian seasoning
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl hot sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbls roasted garlic hummus

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to evenly incorporate. 

The second best part is there's no cooking required. The best part is the taste. It really is as good as I've made it look.