A quick trick for cutting corn off the cob (Grilled Vegetable Salad)

We can’t drive two miles east or west from our house without passing a roadside market hawking local sweet corn on the cob. The boys spot the signs – usually an upright ear of corn with arm and legs and a happy face – and shriek “CORN!” in unison from the back seat.

I swing off the road and a few minutes later we are back on our way, with a baker’s dozen fresh ears of corn tucked away at their feet for our dinner. Barefoot on the back lawn, the kids do the shucking – I insist – complete with gathering up the husks and disposing of them on the compost.

It’s that time of year when I’m adding handfuls of fresh corn to everything – tacos, muffins, rice, soups, chicken pot pie, and salads, like the grilled vegetable salad below. Read on for the recipe and a handy tip for cutting corn off the cob.

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Back to School Breakfast {Recipe: Pancake Mix}

Photos and article by Kristen Doyle

I am one of those moms who likes to hold on to summer as long as possible. I love it when my kids are home and dread sending them out of the nest each fall for another year of school. Don’t get me wrong… I appreciate their education, but I also love the slower pace, more relaxed days that come with school being out.

With four kids, school mornings are hectic. Getting everyone up and dressed, hair and teeth brushed, backpacks packed, and everyone well fed takes some planning on my part. We set clothes out the night before, have backpacks ready and sitting by the door before bedtime and hope that advance planning will help with a smooth school morning. It works sometimes, but not always. There’s always one who is resistant to getting a move on in the morning and pokes around, causing stress on the rest of us. [Read more…]

Garden Grow: Summer update from my backyard

If you popped ’round to visit me, it wouldn’t be long before we wandered into the back yard and over to the garden. It has the ability to draw you in, to sit on its edge and breathe in the deep scent of its basil.

Welcome to a brief visual tour of my garden. It’s nourished, but neglected, wild, yet still yielding. Every year is a learning experience, with mistakes and triumphs both recorded by hand in a little journal. I don’t consider myself a gardener, but my love for tender new lettuce leaves, sweet baby carrots, and fresh herbs in abundance drives me to plant every spring.

Here’s where those seeds took me this year.

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Spotlight Ingredient: Spinach (Recipe: Spinach Ricotta Shells)

As the Dowager Countess innocently inquired “What is a ‘week-end’?” on Downton Abbey, I too have experienced my days merging together into one blur. However, I haven’t been idly sipping tea and sacking servants, rather I am so immersed in the routine of feeding-burping-changing-bouncing Clara, that most days feel the same.

We’ve passed that six-week milestone together, Clara and I. She is more alert and smiling sweetly, stealing my heart every time her little mouth turns up at the corners. I have so enjoyed the early days, but truth be told, I’ve missed blogging, and I can’t wait to get back into developing recipes and sharing them with you.

I have to extend a big “thank you” to the guest bloggers who helped fill my shoes while I took some time off. Annie, Kelsey, Andrew, Jan, Katie, and Jessica – thank you for sharing your expertise with my readers! You’ve enriched this space and lent a different perspective on everything from freezer cooking and finicky eaters, to fresh mozzarella and feeding tweens. So, thank you!

Now let’s talk about spinach. It’s one of the earliest spring vegetables, and as my son loves to remind me, is a super food. That alone is reason enough to make this pasta for dinner tonight.

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7 ways to source your summer produce outside the supermarket

(This post was originally published in March, 2011.)

It is freezing as I write today, but that hasn’t stopped me from gazing out on our future garden spot and visualizing the raised beds full of lettuce, zucchini, herbs and tomatoes. Winter still has a few more weeks to rage and blow before it gives way to spring, however, one can’t help but think about pending arrival of fresh greens and tender fruits.

April is a good time to start making plans for how you will source your summer produce. If you live in the city, now is the time to sign up for a spot in the community gardens. If you are more rural, you should be putting in a seed order right about now. Not into gardening, but want farm fresh vegetables? Then perhaps you should be calling around and getting your name on a list for a CSA basket.

The first crisp asparagus spears and strong rhubarb shoots will be poking up through the ground before you know it. Here are seven ways to source your summer produce that don’t involve a shopping cart and a supermarket.
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