A Tale of Terror and Bravery – Corn, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Salad with Feta

Corn and zucchini salad with red pepper and feta

Some chopped  fresh veggies

I have debated the merits of including the descriptions of BUGS IN MY FOOD before a tasty recipe, but all other descriptions of this salad pale in comparison to the True Tale of Terror. So, please keep in mind as you read: “Nature is terrible but this corn salad is delicious.”

This is the story of how I almost died, but was the most courageous girl in the world and managed to finish this corn salad despite the extreme terror and agony I suffered.

THERE I WAS, innocently shucking corn for a corn salad. I peeled back the husk, only to see the world’s LARGEST WORM lunge at me from the corn kernels.

death worm

ACTUAL SIZE OF CORN DEATH WORM

 

I screamed and threw the corn into the trash can, then retreated into the furthest corner of the kitchen. Needing to share my terror, I called Christopher, who was driving back from Target.

“Hello?” he said.

“AUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” I said, bravely, in the calmest tones despite the abject terror before me.

“WHAT’S WRONG!?!” he said, flooring the gas, assuming I was the victim of a stabbing.

“WORM! CORN! AUGH! WORM!”

“That’s – that’s it?” he said, obviously not understanding the sheer terror I had bravely faced.

“IT’S IN THE TRASH CAN WAITING TO ATTACK. TAKE IT AWAY. TAKE IT AWAY.” I said, calmly and rationally, with pure survivor instincts.

He hung up on me, obviously needing to focus on driving speedily to come to my side to fight the Death Worm Beast. I tweeted about my harrowing experience, as one does.

When he finally arrived, not appreciating the ongoing threat, Christopher removed the corn from the trash and examined the worm. I had not expected to face my enemy again so soon. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! IT’S GOING TO ATTACK.”

He assured me it was not, but returned it to the trash can. After shucking the rest of the corn and examining the rest for unwelcome guests, the Corn Death Worm and its corresponding corn cob were whisked away to Trash Land.

I, the picture of bravery, knew now what must be done. I must finish the corn salad.

SO. This corn salad, WORM FREE, is absolutely delicious. The dressing is tangy, the vegetables crisp, and the feta cheese creamy. I started out using a recipe from Bon Appetit, but changed up a few of the ingredients along the way. OBVIOUSLY there was less corn than originally planned. I cut down the amount of zucchini because there really is so much raw zucchini one can take. I added a diced red pepper  for crispness and sweetness. I also upped the amount of feta cheese, because if there’s one thingI know, it’s that there is never such a thing as too much cheese.

You should definitely make this salad. You should also definitely check your corn at the store for unwanted intruders.

 

corn and zucchini salad with red peppers and feta

corn salad of bravery

Corn, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Salad with Feta

(Adapted from this recipe by Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces of feta, crumbled

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the corn in the boiling water for three minutes until bright yellow, remove from water and let cool. Once cooled, cut the kernels from the cob.
  2. Meanwhile, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise, forming thin strips.
  3. Combine the corn kernels, zuchinni slices, red pepper, basil, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with feta.

 

 

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End-of-Summer Eggplant Bake – Food and Wine, August 2014

End-of-Summer eggplant bake

Cheesy, eggplant goodness

Eggplant and I have a tenuous relationship. My first introduction to it was in college, when my roommate Kaitlyn made me eggplant parmesan. This was when I first realized eggplant was not the enemy, but could be a delicious marinara and cheese covered friend. On the other hand, I’ve had giant chunks of eggplant appear in side dishes and been unappreciative of the eggplant’s texture.

Kaitlyn’s love for eggplant extends far beyond eggplant parmesan, so when this issue of Food and Wine appeared in my mailbox a few hours before she came over, it seemed like fate. I was a bit concerned because there were no pictures of the finished dish in the magazine, possibly indicating it was a D-level recipe, so I bought an emergency backup of goat cheese and pita crackers. These proved to be unnecessary.

This is a good kind of eggplant dish. If you consider eggplant to be a good friend, one you’d text little eggplant emoji’s to ironically, you’ll adore this eggplant bake. The eggplant chunks are tossed in olive oil and roasted with spring onions or scallions, with a little bit of butter, then topped and baked with lemon ricotta  and bread crumbs. Roasting the eggplant gives it a silky texture, and the bread provides a good crunchy contrast.

I will say, if you have never had eggplant before and consider it to be a frightening purple enemy, this might not be a good gateway dish. It is very prominently eggplant. I suggest you find a nice friend or roommate to make you eggplant parmesan instead.

eggplant bake food and wine

Photo by Con Poulous

End-of-Summer Eggplant Bake

(Food and Wine, August 2014) – Recipe by Jessica Koslow

My Notes:

  • The recipe had a GLARING ERROR and did not have parmesan cheese on top. I remedied that.
  • I preferred the eggplant that had been cut into smaller chunks. It had roasted nicely and had a better flavor and texture.
  • I used a teaspoon of dry parsley instead of the tablespoon of fresh.
  • If you want to pat yourself on the back for being smart, line your baking sheets with aluminum foil. No pan cleaning, and you can fold the eggplant inside the foil to transfer it to your baking dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 spring onions or 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 ounces country white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. On 2 baking sheets, spread the eggplant in an even layer. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the spring onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions to the eggplant and dot with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes longer, stirring, until the eggplant is tender.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Lightly grease a 2-quart, 2-inch-deep baking dish. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the baking dish. Dollop with the ricotta mixture and scatter the bread on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.
MAKE AHEAD The roasted eggplant and onions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.