Southwestern Corn Chowder

Make this Southwestern corn chowder for a cozy dinner at home! This vegetarian corn chowder recipe is fresh, wholesome and delicious. It’s perfect for cool late summer…

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Southwestern corn chowder recipe

Make this Southwestern corn chowder for a cozy dinner at home! This vegetarian corn chowder recipe is fresh, wholesome and delicious. It’s perfect for cool late summer or fall evenings when fresh corn is at its peak. Or, you can make it any time with frozen corn.

I wanted the corn flavor to shine and balanced its sweetness with some Southwestern spice. You’ll find bell pepper, poblano and chili powder in this atypical chowder. I promise you will not miss the bacon.

corn chowder ingredients

I purposefully avoided using the heavy cream that you’ll find in most chowder recipes. Heavy cream has a tendency to dull flavors and also makes me feel weighed down. Instead, I blended a bit of butter into the soup (one of my favorite soup tricks) and stirred in some crème fraîche or sour cream at the end. These dairy ingredients offer some creaminess, of course, plus some tanginess that you won’t get from plain cream.

You can easily make this soup dairy free or vegan, if desired. You’ll love the end results either way!

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Vegetarian Succotash

Sufferin’ succotash! I promise, that’s my last Loony Tunes reference. This vegetarian succotash recipe is fresh, vibrant and bacon-free. It features pan-seared corn, plump lima beans and…

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succotash recipe

Sufferin’ succotash! I promise, that’s my last Loony Tunes reference. This vegetarian succotash recipe is fresh, vibrant and bacon-free. It features pan-seared corn, plump lima beans and fresh peppers.

Make this recipe now with fresh early fall produce, or bookmark it for your Thanksgiving table. You can easily use thawed frozen corn if fresh sweet corn is hard to come by.

succotash ingredients

As you’ll read below, succotash has Native American roots and many variations. Here in Kansas City, succotash is the namesake dish at a local restaurant called Succotash.

This recipe is my own interpretation of this uniquely American dish. I seared the corn in a skillet to develop more complex flavor. I added a variety of peppers (poblano, bell pepper and optional jalapeño) for some spice to help balance the sweetness of the corn. I’ve written the recipe to give you as much control as possible over the spice level, since individual preferences and corn’s sweetness can vary so much.

I omitted tomatoes because they made this dish more stew-like, and it’s more of a warm salad without. Creamy butter (no cream) and fresh herbs make this produce-driven, vegetarian side dish completely irresistible.

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How to Make Crostini

Who doesn’t love golden, crisp crostini? Crostini is crusty bread brushed with olive oil, toasted in the oven or in the grill to perfection. I love how…

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homemade crostini recipe

Who doesn’t love golden, crisp crostini? Crostini is crusty bread brushed with olive oil, toasted in the oven or in the grill to perfection. I love how it shatters between my teeth, offering the perfect contrast to a creamy spread or dip.

The word crostini means “little crusts” in Italian. I typically associate crostini with party appetizers and cheese plates, but you don’t have to throw a party to enjoy these little toasts.

For example, you can resuscitate a stale baguette by turning it into crostini. You can whip together a fun lunch or snack in no time with crostini and condiments from your fridge. Or you can make an everyday dinner more festive by starting with a round of crostini and a creamy spread. Crostini is the answer!

how to make crostini

I recently baked up some crostini to accompany my upcoming caponata recipe. As I consulted my bruschetta recipe for guidance, I realized that I must not be the only person wondering how to make crostini. So here I am, waxing poetic about Italian toasts. Did you know that the singular form of crostini is crostino?

Today, I’m sharing all my best crostini topping suggestions and a simple, foolproof recipe for homemade crostini. Do tell me how you enjoy your crostini in the comments!

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Classic Mojito

Finally! I’ve figured out how to make the perfect homemade mojito. Mojitos are bubbly rum cocktails that taste minty-fresh, citrusy and a little sweet. Club soda stretches…

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best mojito recipe

Finally! I’ve figured out how to make the perfect homemade mojito. Mojitos are bubbly rum cocktails that taste minty-fresh, citrusy and a little sweet. Club soda stretches out the flavors to create an afternoon-worthy sipper. Mojitos are ultra refreshing on warm days, and I feel like I’m on vacation every time I get my hands on one.

Mojitos originated in Cuba and I hope to taste a real one someday. We enjoyed Cuban-style mojitos in Miami over a long Valentine’s weekend earlier this year. Mojitos happen to be the only cocktail my husband will drink (he’s usually more of a beer and wine guy). I studied the bartenders’ methods while we were there so I could learn how to make them at home.

At Old’s Havana, they lined up highball glasses all the way down the bar, added a generous spoonful of sugar to each, followed by several sprigs of fresh mint (or yerba buena, as they call it). They mixed the mojitos in the glasses by the order, garnishing them with real sugar cane. I swizzled my drink and swayed to the beat of lively Latin string music playing just a few feet away. I honestly don’t know if it was an authentic or manufactured Miami experience, but it was magical nonetheless.

mojito ingredients

Outside of Miami, great mojitos can be hard to come by. Many bars don’t keep fresh mint on hand so they’ll turn down the request, and my own homemade attempts over the years have been lackluster. Now that I’ve studied and practiced my mojito technique, I’m excited to share my mojito recipe with you today!

Turns out, you just need five basic ingredients (mint, lime, sugar, rum and club soda) and a few simple tips to make the best mojito you’ve ever had. You won’t even need a shaker or simple syrup for this classic mojito recipe. Cheers to a long weekend!

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Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!…

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elote recipe

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! Elote tastes sweet and savory, tangy and spicy all at once. I love to make mine with grilled corn for some smokiness, too.

Elote is made with corn on the cob, slathered with mayonnaise, seasoned with chili powder and fresh lime juice, sprinkled all over with salty Cotija cheese and cilantro. It’s messy to eat but worth every bite. Elote is the perfect summertime side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal.

elote ingredients

In Mexico, elote means an ear of corn, and this recipe replicates a popular serving style sold by street vendors. I can’t claim that this elote recipe is quite authentic, but it brings me back to the elotes I enjoyed in Mexico City.

I’m dreaming of traveling throughout Mexico, sampling the cuisine region by region. Someday! For now, we’re making the most of dinner at home.

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Erin’s Peach & Avocado Green Salad

Have you had your fair share of peaches this summer? I certainly have not. I’m remedying that with my friend Erin Clarke’s vibrant peach, avocado and arugula…

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peach avocado green salad

Have you had your fair share of peaches this summer? I certainly have not. I’m remedying that with my friend Erin Clarke’s vibrant peach, avocado and arugula salad. Erin rounds out the flavors with salty gorgonzola cheese, crisp toasted almonds, and a zippy lemon dressing.

This simple summer salad is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a combination I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, and it’s so lovely. I couldn’t stop going back for more.

Perhaps you know Erin from her blog, Well Plated. Erin has been working hard on her first cookbook for several years now, and I’m so excited to share that it’s finally here! The Well Plated Cookbook (affiliate link) offers over 130 fast, healthy recipes you’ll want to eat.

salad ingredients with well plated cookbook

I found this colorful salad on page 116, titled, “Book Club Salad (A Great, Green Party Salad).” Erin’s headnotes are witty, warm and encouraging, just like she is in real life. Here’s what she had to say about this recipe:

“My friend Erika once brought this salad to our monthly book club, and now, five years later, we still won’t let her bring anything else. We refer to it as ‘The Salad,’ and its presence at the table is more mandatory than actually reading the book. This stellar green salad is sized for a crowd, tastes better than any salad I’ve eaten in a restaurant, and is beautiful and adaptable for the seasons…”

She inspired me not only to make ‘The Salad,’ but to join a book club when we’re able to get together again. In the meantime, this salad recipe is easily halved and perfectly suited for any summer dinner.

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The Best Grilled Corn on the Cob

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some…

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best grilled corn recipe

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some irresistible, caramelized grill marks.

Slathered with real butter and sprinkled with salt, there’s not much better.

corn on the grill

Last summer, our family and friends gifted us a gas grill for our wedding. Now that I finally have access to one, I’ve had fun learning how to use it.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried all the corn grilling methods out there and come up with my own. This recipe yields perfect grilled corn on the cob, every time!

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Favorite Veggie Burgers

Have you met my favorite veggie burgers? If not, it’s about time! I have high standards for veggie burgers, and these put all the rest to shame.…

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best veggie burger recipe

Have you met my favorite veggie burgers? If not, it’s about time! I have high standards for veggie burgers, and these put all the rest to shame. I have a feeling they’ll become your favorite veggie burgers, too.

These veggie burgers are hearty and satisfying, and feature an irresistible combination of flavors. They start with a base of quinoa, black beans and oats. Then we amp up the volume with sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, and some carefully chosen seasonings. They’re a little sweet and a little spicy, in the best of ways.

veggie burger ingredients

You may recognize this recipe as the “Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers” that have been hidden in the archives for quite some time. There’s a chance you’ve enjoyed these burgers in my cookbook, Love Real Food, sandwiched between buns with a crisp lime-cilantro cabbage slaw and guacamole (page 177).

Or maybe you’re seeing these burgers for the first time right now! If so, I’ll share why this veggie burger recipe is my favorite:

  1. These burgers are absolutely delicious. In fact, these are the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had. They’re better than any restaurant’s, and far better than store-bought frozen veggie burgers.
  2. These burgers retain their shape before, during and after cooking. Many veggie burgers are a chore to make or to eat, but these are totally fuss-free.
  3. You can cook these burgers in the oven, on the stove, or yes, even on the grill. They also freeze well, so you can make a full batch and enjoy them over time.
  4. These veggie burgers are perfect for serving to friends who follow special diets. These burgers are vegetarian, of course. They’re also conveniently vegan, gluten free, nut free, egg free and soy free.

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Tom Collins Cocktail

Do you know Tom Collins? The cocktail? If not, you’ve been missing out. I used to serve Tom Collins way back when I was a bartender, and…

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best tom collins cocktail recipe

Do you know Tom Collins? The cocktail? If not, you’ve been missing out. I used to serve Tom Collins way back when I was a bartender, and I believe this classic drink deserves some more attention.

Tom Collins cocktails taste like grown-up lemonade. They’re irresistibly citrusy, fizzy and refreshing, with herbal notes from the gin. While lemonade can be cloying, Tom Collins need not be too sweet—I like mine with just a splash of simple syrup to round out the flavors.

tom collins ingredients

If you enjoy a cold French 75 or Bee’s Knees, you’ll definitely enjoy a Tom Collins. They all share a similar flavor profile. Tom Collins are the perfect cocktails for hot summer afternoons, since they’re served over ice and full of hydrating club soda. I’ll always choose a Tom Collins over a gin and tonic.

To make a Tom Collins from scratch, you’ll need a few basic ingredients (gin, lemons, club soda, and sugar or honey), a cocktail shaker and plenty of ice. Add a fancy cocktail cherry if you really want to do it right. Cheers!

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Colorful Veggie Sesame Noodles

These sesame noodles are colorful and completely irresistible! I’m always excited when I find sesame noodles amongst a plethora of dishes at a gathering. As a solo…

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sesame noodles salad recipe

These sesame noodles are colorful and completely irresistible! I’m always excited when I find sesame noodles amongst a plethora of dishes at a gathering. As a solo dish, I crave noodles with a little more color, perhaps, and more texture and flavor. Must be the “maximalist vegetarian” in me. Always more veggies!

This riff on sesame noodles is exactly what I’ve wished for. This recipe features tender noodles and green onions, of course. I replaced some of the noodles with tons of crisp raw veggies, plus I added tiny sesame seeds, toasted to bring out their best.

The bold but simple seasonings include soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger and garlic, and a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro (omit it if you don’t like it). I added some chili flakes for extra heat, which you can scale up or down to suit your preferences.

sesame noodle salad ingredients

From what I’ve read, sesame noodles likely originated in the Sichuan province of China (please let me know if you know more). These noodles are not authentic, but they are tasty. I can’t stop going back for more.

Bring these noodles to a gathering or serve them as a side dish. They are nice at room temperature or chilled. Or, turn this recipe into a light meal by adding shelled edamame, crispy baked tofu or a fried egg or two. This recipe keeps well for several days in the fridge, and packs well for lunch.

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